Teams try out 2018 Pirelli F1 range

Testing of Pirelli’s 2018 Formula 1 tyres took place at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit over a two-day period this week, and following the conclusion of proceedings the tyre maker is proud to report that four-time and current champion Lewis Hamilton has declared the new PZero Pink hypersoft tyre the “best tyre Pirelli has ever made.”

Featuring the softest compound seen so far in a Pirelli Formula 1 tyre, the PZero Pink is one of two new additions planned for next year (the other being the PZero Orange Superhard), and testing at Yas Marina on 28 and 29 November was the first opportunity for teams to try it out together with the rest of the 2018 range. The PZero Pink teamed up with 2017 runner-up Sebastian Vettel to deliver the fastest test time, with the Scuderia Ferrari driver managing 1 minute 37.551 seconds on the new hypersoft tyre during the second day’s proceedings.

“The new Pink hypersoft meets our initial expectations, with times that are about a second per lap faster than the Purple ultrasoft, but this obviously needs to be confirmed on other types of track as well,” comments Mario Isola, head of car racing at Pirelli.

Each team received 20 sets of tyres for testing. Of these, Pirelli chose 12 sets, a selection of 2018 tyres plus some of their 2017 counterparts for comparison. The teams selected the other eight sets themselves. “In total, 23 different top drivers did some long runs as well, so not in qualifying conditions,” Isola shares. “The characteristics of the Yas Marina circuit meant the test concentrated on the compounds from White medium to the Pink hypersoft. The whole test and all the drivers gave us very positive feedback.”

While this year’s tyres were 25 per cent wider than those fielded in 2016, the main point of difference with those we’ll see next season is that each tyre in the range is a step softer than their 2017 equivalent. Isola notes that this is “in line with what the teams asked for.” The Pink hypersoft, he adds, is two steps softer than this year’s ultrasoft.

“We now look forward to getting back on track for the first official pre-season test of 2018 at Barcelona from February 26 to March 1,” the head of car racing concludes.

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