Barcelona provides wet weather test for Pirelli Cinturato F1 tyres
The teams of Formula One had their first opportunity to test out the latest iteration of Pirelli’s Cinturato wet weather Formula One tyres as they encountered wet weather on the final day of a four-day test at Barcelona. The first three days of testing were dry but cold – cold enough to make ambient temperatures lower than the nominal operating range of the P Zero slicks at 10-15⁰C, which led to higher degradation. Pirelli is confident that when F1 travels to Australia, with car setups more settled, the tyres will show better longevity. Barcelona hosted the first meeting of the full grid of 2013 cars this year.
Pirelli said that the conditions restricted the amount of “meaningful data” that could be compiled, though the opportunity to try out the wet Cinturatos in the pre-season could prove to be a blessing. The wet weather tyres have a new rear construction this year, which improves traction at the rear in particular and reduces snap oversteer. The final pre-season test of the year, following this week’s and the Jerez test earlier in the year, also takes place in Barcelona next week, from 28 February to 3 March.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director, reiterated the tyre supplier’s assertion that the increased degradation of tyres in Barcelona was “really down to the weather”, which was “far from typical of the rest of the season”. “This put the tyres outside of their usual working ranges, which led to problems such as graining,” Hembury explained. Graining occurs when a tyre slides if it is not up to temperature, with the friction against the track surface tearing off strips of rubber.
“The conditions were particularly unsuited to the supersoft tyre, due to the circuit layout and the roughness of the surface in addition to the cold temperatures. Coupled with the fact that teams are still making big set-up adjustments to their new cars and trying out our complete range of our tyres to optimise the package, we saw levels of degradation that are not typical. Once we get to Melbourne the tyres should be much more within their intended working range, which will eliminate the unusual amount of degradation that some teams have experienced.”
F1’s teams are allocated 100 sets of tyres per car per year for testing purposes.
Pirelli’s facts and figures at the second test
With most of the initial work out of the way at Jerez, Barcelona saw teams focus on longer runs and race simulations with varying fuel loads. Pirelli noted that while some teams carrying out race simulations took the equivalent of four stops in Barcelona, the conditions in Melbourne should be more conducive to the two-three stops the tyre supplier expects at the first grand prix in Australia.
The time difference between the slick compounds was in the region of 0.5 seconds per lap, Pirelli says, though the company said the unusual weather conditions would make this observation inconclusive, especially considering the effect it had on the supersoft P Zero Red.
The fastest overall time of the test was set by Fernando Alonso on day three (1.21:875) comfortably beating last year’s fastest time during testing at Barcelona, 1.22:030 (set by Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus). He set the time using the soft tyres, which proved much more durable than the softest set in the range too.
Pirelli brought a total of 385 sets to Barcelona – or 1628 tyres. 303 of these sets were used, including almost all of the medium and hard slick tyres and the intermediate wet tyres. The longest runs on each tyre were: 24 laps on the hard compound; 36 laps of the medium compound; 31 laps on the soft compound; 16 laps on the supersoft compound; 29 laps on the intermediate compound; and 22 laps on the wet compound.