Pirelli’s final chance to test the new 18-inch tyres before the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix, concluded as the Official Pre-Season Test at the Bahrain International Circuit came to a close.
The track temperatures at Bahrain were much higher compared to Spain, with ambient temperatures ranging from 22 to 39 degrees centigrade while track temperatures varied from 26 to 48 degrees. The second day (Friday) was the hottest.
The timing screen is somewhat irrelevant during pre-season, despite this the fastest driver at the Bahrain International Circuit was Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, who set a time of 1:31.720 on the softest C5 compound right at the end of the final day of testing.
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director, said that the tyre manufacturer have gathered plenty of data, but that the performance gap between the different compounds has been higher than initially predicted.
“The Bahrain test allowed us to gather additional useful data on the behaviour of our new 18-inch tyres on a circuit that’s very different to Spain in terms of layout, temperature, and asphalt characteristics. This was a test that you could split into two parts really: the first two days were very hot as well as windy, which meant that they weren’t so representative as the high temperatures accentuated degradation and distorted the true picture of tyre behaviour.
“The third and final day was definitely the most important one, thanks to milder temperatures, improved set-ups, and degradation levels that were much more in line with our expectations. This allowed the teams to focus more on the tyres, trying out all the compounds available to them. It’s still quite hard to work out the performance gaps between the tyres, but they seem to be slightly higher than we initially thought, with a similar time difference between each compound.”