Yesterday, Pirelli wrapped up its 2017 Formula 1 tyre testing. The final day out of a cumulative total of 24 brought together all three ‘mule’ cars from Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari on the Yas Marina circuit. These modified 2015 cars are designed to simulate new regulations that will come into effect next year and result in speeds increasing by five seconds per lap compared to last year.
In order to create tyres best suited to these increased loads, Pirelli has been testing a number of different compounds and structures, with the development work taking place at Yas Marina between 9am and 6pm in dry and warm conditions.
The three cars completed a combined total of 331 laps, equivalent to around 1,143 miles or racing the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix six times over. Approximately 96 different prototypes were tested, with all the teams running a variety of specifications in order to maximise data collection.
Kimi Raikkonen took the wheel for Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton and Pascal Wehrlein drove for Mercedes, while Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen shared driving duties at Red Bull.
“For the final test of the year, we had five F1 race drivers sample our 2017 prototypes as we completed the development programme with three cars at the same time,” comments Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery. “Now the hard work begins as we collate and analyse the results of our 24 days and approximately 12,000 kilometres of testing in order to define the tyres with which we will go racing next year. These will then be run on the actual 2017 cars for the first time during the official group tests next February. Our latest test in Abu Dhabi went according to plan and we were able to collect the data we needed thanks to the three mule cars from Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari; without whom it would have been impossible to carry out this intense development programme.”