Pirelli will supply a record number of tyres this weekend in Daytona, for the first Ferrari World Finals held in USA. The event, which brings together the European, North American and Asia Pacific editions of the Ferrari Challenge to elect a champion of champions, has previously taken place in Italy and Abu Dhabi. Pirelli adds that it has provided 15,000 tyres across this year’s 18 Ferrari Challenge events on nearly 700 cars on three continents. The World Finals comprises a series of races in equal Ferrari 458 Challenge Evos, and will mark the biggest presence Pirelli has ever had in the competition, with 5,382 tyres being supplied. As well as the Ferrari Challenge cars, there will be an appearance from Ferrari’s Formula One stars and a display of both historic and modern F1 cars.
Lewis Hamilton won the last grand prix run on the current Pirelli Formula One tyre range in Abu Dhabi, but was pipped to the drivers’ championship by Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, who finished second, using identical two-stop strategies. The tyre supplier called the Yas Marina-hosted grand prix “the last race in the era of deliberately high tyre degradation”, with its latest, larger range of P Zero slicks and Cinturato wets unveiled in the emirate before the weekend’s racing began. The final development test for the 2017 will begin on Tuesday, 29 November, with Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari appearing on track together in modified 2015 mule cars.
As far as the best-known Italian tyremaker is concerned, 2016 will be remembered as a very significant year for Pirelli with the company launching its all-new P Zero, continuing its involvement in Formula 1, sponsoring the Prestige and Performance Competition at Salon Privé once more, as well as completing the Cinturato family with the all-new Cinturato Winter.
The new P Zero was launched back in April at Estoril circuit in Portugal, and this was followed by a UK launch in May at Silverstone reinforcing the track to road concept of Pirelli tyres, which is at the heart of the company’s philosophy.
Following its global launch in Portugal this April, Pirelli has now introduced its newest P Zero to North American dealers ahead of SEMA 2016. The new P Zero is available in three variants tailor-made for specific cars, applications and performance levels: The P Zero for luxury saloons, P Zero for sports cars and the P Zero Corsa, a slick-like motorsport tyre with an “aggressive” tread design.
Jaguar Classic has announced a partnership with Pirelli to develop a new tyre package for the classic XJ220 sports car. Featuring a bespoke P Zero design the tyre maintains the look of the original P Zero, but is updated using Pirelli’s latest compounds and technologies. This includes internal damping within the tyre to even out shocks, lessen noise, and provide more precise control while increasing comfort. Pirelli’s P Zero ultra-high performance range continues to be a part of top level motorsport, like Formula One and GT racing, for which the XJ220 concept was originally developed.
Recommencing the Formula One season following a short summer break, Pirelli will supply its P Zero White medium, Yellow soft, and Red supersoft compounds to teams at the Belgian grand prix. Held at Spa-Francorchamps on 25-28 August 2016, Pirelli calls the track “one of the most epic drivers’ circuits of them all,” comprising as it does the longest lap of the year at 7.004 kilometres, which places high energy loads through the tyres. Pirelli calls the challenge of Spa multi-faceted for the tyres with a changeable microclimate providing a constant additional parameter for the strategists to consider.
Pirelli will supply its crews with the P Zero RK range of asphalt tyres, including the RK7B medium compound, as it seeks another strong showing at the Ulster Rally, the latest stage in the British Rally Championship. Pirelli locked out the podium places on the one previous all-Tarmac event this season – the Circuit of Ireland in April – and will be supplying a strong contingent of drivers on the 19-20 August event.
Pirelli said that a number of different strategies were in play at the German Grand Prix, with mostly three stops seen and many teams splitting their race strategies. Mercedes was one of these teams, with race winner Lewis Hamilton alternating the supersoft and soft tyre. Polesitter Nico Rosberg started with two sets of supersoft and then ended the race on two sets of soft.
Pirelli has announced the compound selection it will supply to the final two grands prix of the 2016 season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. The exclusive tyre supplier has announced nominations for “long-haul events” – those outside Europe, and therefore further from its distribution hub –14 weeks in advance, in accordance with the latest set of F1 tyre regulations. All five of Pirelli’s slick compounds will be available to teams at the final two events, with Interlagos seeing the harder end of the scale, and Yas Marina the softer.
The new Giulia Quadrifoglio is, as evo magazine puts it, the car that “could potentially re-launch” Alfa Romeo. The saloon can sprint from 62mph in just 3.9 seconds and its 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 sends a healthy 503bhp to the rear wheels. This power comes in contact with the road through Pirelli tyres – the P Zero Corsa has been selected as the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s original equipment fitment.
Pirelli will supply its P Zero Red supersoft, Yellow soft and White medium compounds to Formula One’s teams at the recently resurfaced Hungaroring. The tyre manufacturer says that the circuit “could not be any more different” following the previous race at Silverstone; the tight and twisty Hungaroring has been described as being like an oversized go-kart track, while weather conditions can range from extremely hot (a common occurrence) to rain (which was the case two years ago, as well as 2011).
The British grand prix takes place at Silverstone the weekend after Pirelli’s visit to Austria, but the manufacturer’s tyre selection is an indicator of the different challenges posed by famous circuit. The Formula One tyre supplier will bring its P Zero Orange hard, White medium, and Yellow soft tyres to the UK – its hardest possible tyre selection – the week after supplying its softest selection to teams in Austria. Accordingly, Pirelli states tha the two events “could not be more different.”
The British GT Championship remains open to Europe in a way seemingly at odds with just over half the UK, as it ventures to Spa-Francorchamps for the fifth event of the season. Though most of the British drivers won’t be as familiar with the Belgian circuit as the season’s UK tracks, Pirelli – in its first season exclusively supplying the championship – will supply a tyre, its P Zero DHC, that has completed many thousands of laps there at the Spa 24 Hours over recent seasons. Pirelli and its engineers will be at Spa on the Tuesday prior to the British GT races for the test day of the 2016 24 Hours, which takes place at the end of the month.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was victorious in Austria, winning the Austrian Grand Prix from pole position using a two-stop strategy. Teammate Nico Rosberg collided with Hamilton as the Briton passed him on the final lap of an action-packed grand prix, having used the timing of his pit stop tyre strategy to boost his position, “undercutting” a number of drivers including his team mate (who started from pole) to lead the race. Following contact with Hamilton, Rosberg’s car sustained front wing damage, leading to his fourth place finish. More worryingly for tyre supplier Pirelli was the blowout that ended Sebastian Vettel’s grand prix, the causes of which the manufacturer said it was investigating with the constructor, Ferrari.
Pirelli will bring its three softest P Zero F1 compounds – soft, supersoft and ultrasoft – to the Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, describing the track as “probably the closest that Formula One comes to a rally stage.” Big changes of elevation and a sequence of fast and twisty corners coalesce with unpredictable weather and the grand prix’s roots in the 1969 Osterreichring, which gives the track quite an old-school character.