Tag Archives: Pirelli

Longer lasting medium tyre to be tested in Canada

Pirelli's medium tyre will be tested in Canada and debuted in Valencia

Pirelli's medium tyre will be tested in Canada and debuted in Valencia

Pirelli’s revised medium compound tyre will be available for testing by the teams in Canada next weekend.

Friday Practice sessions 1 and 2 will see the first running of the medium tyre in 2011 (in an official session). This compound was originally tested in Valencia in February testing, but was dropped after complaints of heavy wear after a few laps.

In the actual race in Canada, Pirelli will bring the soft and super-softs. Valencia will see the debut of the medium tyre, alongside the super-soft. Britain will see the hard tyre used in Spain return, as well as the soft compound.

The objective of this new medium tyre is to keep the same performance as the original mediums, but with a longer life.

Compounds used so far in 2011 race-by race:

Option Prime
Australia Soft Hard
Malaysia Soft Hard
China Soft Hard
Turkey Soft Hard
Spain Soft Hard
Monaco Super-soft Soft
Valencia Super-soft Medium
Great Britain Soft Hard

Monaco madness proves tyres are key

Pirelli tyres allowed for fantastic racing in Monaco

Pirelli tyres allowed for fantastic racing in Monaco

Not since 1992 has the Monaco Grand Prix seen such fantastic racing. Back then, Nigel Mansell chased down a significantly slower Ayrton Senna, hounding the McLaren all the way to the chequered flag.

On Sunday, we saw the astounding sight of three cars racing for the lead in Monte Carlo. Last year, only 4 overtakes were made here, all by Fernando Alonso passing the Virgins and Lotuses. However, 2011 is becoming one of the best seasons for on-track racing – all because of the tyres.

Many will criticise DRS, and rightly so, as being an artificial way of spicing up the racing. While it helps in a way, it also takes away the appeal of seeing cars side-by-side, rather than one simply slicing past another.

Turkey was a prime example of this, as the Mercedes and Red Bull cars were slaughtered in a straight line, and had no way to respond under braking.

On the other hand, the Pirelli tyres are promoting pure racing, and generating unpredictability at the same time. Although Sebastian Vettel has taken control of the world championship swiftly, he has been hounded to the flag in the last two races. In Spain, Lewis Hamilton, in an inferior car, clung onto the Red Bull for dear life. In Monaco, both Ferrari and McLaren caught Vettel out on worn tyres, and very nearly punished him dearly for it.

The best thing is, 3 or 4 stops are not needed by every driver in order to shake up the field. In Monaco, a 1-stop for Vettel and a 3-stop for Button both proved to be race-winning strategies (safety car periods and red flag excluded).

Unfortunately, the red flag, and the consequent switching of tyres, ruined what could have been a classic showdown to the flag. Despite this, I don’t think anybody will be disappointed with last weekend’s racing. Seeing so many overtaking moves in unpredictable locations, with varying results, has improved this sport far more than any technical gimmick ever could.

Pirelli announce tyre compounds for Turkey, Spain and Monaco

Pirelli will bring soft and hard tyres to Spain and Turkey

Pirelli will bring soft and hard tyres to Spain and Turkey

Pirelli have announced their choice of tyre compounds to bring to the Turkish, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix.

The hard and soft tyres will be continued to be used for Turkey and Spain, the same compounds that have been used all so far this season. It is also the same choice that Bridgestone made last year.

The Monaco Grand Prix, meanwhile, will see the introduction of the super-soft tyre, accompanied by the soft tyre.

This means that the medium tyre will be the only tyre that hasn’t been used yet this season.

Also bear in mind that from the Turkish Grand Prix onwards, Pirelli will be using a new system to differentiate the softer tyre from the harder tyre, although their system has not been announced yet.

Di Resta leads complaints over Pirelli “rubber bullets”

This year, heavily degrading Pirelli tyres have brought an extra spice to Formula 1. However, Force India driver Paul di Resta has pointed out that “marbles” – pieces of discarded rubber – were striking him throughout the entire weekend.

These “marbles” are littered off the racing line, as a by-product of tyre wear. In the past, this was not such a major concern, but with the heavily wearing Pirelli tyres, these marbles have been dubbed by some as “rubber bullets”, as they are picked up and flicked at the driver.

Di Resta claims that this was a problem all race weekend:

"There are a lot of marbles out there, maybe too many. Come the end of the race, it 
gets difficult to overtake.

The other big thing is that they kept coming up and hitting me in the hands. In the 
middle of a fast corner, these lumps of rubber would be smacking into my hands as I 
turned the wheel.

Rubber is not the softest material and if it got you in the right place, it could 
hurt. It happened quite a few times over the weekend and as you go into the corner, 
the rubber runs across the tyre and flicks up."

The amount of discarded rubber off the racing line is so copious this year that it is clearly visible for TV viewers in the second half of the race.

Pirelli’s director of motorsport, Paul Hembery, has defended his company’s approach, saying:

"I have not had those comments from the top three but if it’s an issue, we will have 
to confront it. There was a lot of overtaking though. We will have to analyse all the 
overtaking manoeuvres but the marbles have to go somewhere and that is a difficulty 
for us."

 

Pirelli anticipating 4-stop strategies for Malaysia

The tyres are expected to degrade much faster next weekend

The tyres are expected to degrade much faster next weekend

After a mix of mostly 2 and 3-stop tyre strategies in the Australian Grand Prix, Pirelli have claimed that they believe some drivers will need to make up to 4 stops in Malaysia next weekend.

The cool temperatures in Melbourne reduced tyre wear, which led to Sergio Perez and Jarno Trulli needing only one stop. However, the unavoidable searing heat of Sepang is sure to put extra pressure on the Pirelli rubber.

Motorsport director at Pirelli Paul Hembery said:

"We were absolutely thrilled by our Grand Prix debut in Australia, but we're aware 
that Malaysia should be a very different proposition, with  higher temperatures and 
increased degradation. We said all along that we  would be seeing two to three pit 
stops in Australia, but in Malaysia I  think that figure is likely to increase to 
three to four. They say that  it's never a question of if it rains at Sepang but 
when, so the  performance of our wet tyres could be crucial this weekend and we're 
certainly looking forward to seeing them out on track.

Malaysia will also see the introduction of a new version of the harder tyre, which will be given to the teams to test on Friday. Because of the steep learning curve everyone needs with the new rubber, two extra sets of slicks will also be supplied on Friday.

As with Melbourne, the soft (yellow markings) and the hard (silver) will be used next weekend.

Pirelli announce official tyre compound colour coding

Colour markings for Pirelli's 2011 tyres

Colour markings for Pirelli's 2011 tyres

Contrary to earlier reports in the year, Pirelli have announced a different colour coding system for their tyres this year.

As expected, the “Pirelli P Zero” markings will carry the colour coding, to inform the TV audience which driver is using what compound. The colour markings are as follows:

Dry tyres

Super soft =Red

Soft = Yellow

Medium = White

Hard = Silver

Wet tyres

Intermediates = Light blue

Extreme wets = Orange

To avoid confusion, I’ve deleted the article from a few months back, which claimed different colours were being used.

Overall it looks like a good system, but there may eventually be a problem distinguishing between the medium (white) and hard (silver) compounds. As the photo shows, there isn’t too much between them, and at 200mph it could be very difficult for the viewers as well.

However, it is unlikely that both the medium and hard tyres will be brought to the same race. Pirelli are bringing the soft and hard tyres (as they can only bring 2 dry coumpounds per race weekend) to the first three races.

Pirelli aiming for two-stop races

Pedro de la Rosa testing Pirelli wet tyres in Abu Dhabi

Pedro de la Rosa testing Pirelli wet tyres in Abu Dhabi

Pirelli have stated that they are still hoping to have every Grand Prix next year to incorporate two-stop strategies. The plan is to use much softer and quicker-wearing tyre compounds than those used in recent years.

The extremely durable Bridgestones last year were certainly effective at lasting the distance – too well, many would say. Strategies last year were often the same, and on several occasions, drivers could use the softer tyres until the second last lap with no difficulties.

Occasionally, races last year such as Montreal produced fantastic racing because of heavily degrading tyres on both compounds, and Pirelli aim to emulate this for the 2011 season.

Paul Hembery, motorsport director at Pirelli, said that the company would try their best, but could not guarantee results at every race:

"We hope to have at least two tyre changes in every race. We want to try to 
create more of a show.

We will try to play our part to create as much interest in the sport as 
possible. But we have to be realistic. This is our first year and some of 
the tracks we can't possibly test at - like the street circuits, or the new 
circuits.

We have asked the sport to consider testing new compounds during the season 
and they have suggested, verbally at least, that it could be possible in 
Friday first practices to try different compounds."

Up to this point, Pirelli have completed nearly 13,000 kilometres in testing. Currently, they are testing their wet weather tyres at the artificially wet Abu Dhabi track. According to reports, they will be supplying 50,000 tyres to Formula 1 per season.

Grosjean to replace Heidfeld at Pirelli

Nick Heidfeld, at the recent test for Pirelli in Jerez, will be replaced by Romain Grosjean

Nick Heidfeld, at the recent test for Pirelli in Jerez, will be replaced by Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean will take over tyre testing duties at the Pirelli squad, as next year’s Formula 1 tyre suppliers claim they don’t want to unfairly hand an advantage to teams interested in Nick Heidfeld, who has gained significant experience from testing these tyres already.

Heidfeld was announced as Pedro de la Rosa’s successor at the Sauber team on Tuesday, and many rumours claimed this was because of his testing with Pirelli. Paul Hembery, motorsport director of Pirelli, explains that they wan to avoid “favouring any individual team”:

"We’d like to thank Nick for his very valuable contribution to 
our tyre development programme and we wish him all the best for 
the future.

In order to avoid favouring any individual team, we have jointly 
decided to release Nick from his contract and now we have chosen 
Romain to test for us in Monza. He’s packed a lot of experience 
into a short space of time, including all our GP3 tyre 
development, so I’m sure he’ll be able to give us some very
useful feedback.

The tests here at Jerez have gone extremely well and we 
completed all the work that we planned over the two days. 
Now we move onto Monza, where our task will be to finalise 
the construction before we focus further on compounds."

Romain Grosjean took over from Nelson Piquet Jr after the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, but, like Piquet, failed to score a single point throughout his racing time that season. Despite the fact that he only had a few races’ experience in F1, and at times was only 0.3 seconds off Fernando Alonso, he was dropped from the team for 2010.

It’s good to see Grosjean get the opportunity to return, as he never got a fair chance at Renault last year.

First pictures of Heidfeld’s test with Pirelli tyres

Yesterday Nick Heidfeld began a 4-day test at the Mugello circuit to test out the Pirelli tyres that they will be using for the 2011 Formula 1 season. He was driving a Toyota TF109, which had been painted all-white, seeing as Toyota don’t seem to own the car any more.

If it wasn’t for a fault with the blog, I would have been the first blog or website to have it up. Here are the first pictures of the test at Mugello:

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Nick Heidfeld testing Pirelli F1 tyres in a Toyota TF109

Heidfeld released from Mercedes to test for Pirelli

Nick Heidfeld is leaving Mercedes to join the Pirelli tyre suppliers

Nick Heidfeld is leaving Mercedes to join the Pirelli tyre suppliers

Mercedes GP have confirmed that they have released their test and reserve driver Nick Heidfeld, to allow him to test for the Pirelli tyre company, in preparations for the 2011 season. It is unclear whether this means Heidfeld can get a drive with a team next year or not, as it depends on how long the tests last.

The first tyre test will start today at the Mugello circuit, behind the wheel of a Toyota TF109, which has now been confirmed by Pirelli. As well as these tests during this season, all of the teams will be allowed to try the tyres out, in a 4-day test in Abu Dhabi after the season concludes.

Paul Hembery has explained why Nick was the ideal choice for their test driver:

“We’re delighted to welcome Nick into the Pirelli family, and
we’re confident that he’ll do a great job for us. The role of
test driver is a crucial one, so we were looking for a driver
who had plenty of recent Formula One experience, the speed to
push our new tyres as hard as possible, and the consistency to
provide reliable simulations, as well as the analytical skills
to relay information accurately to our engineers.

Nick fits the bill in every respect and we’re very pleased to
have secured his services and obviously thankful to Mercedes GP
Petronas for agreeing to release Nick from his contract. As for
the car, we have a policy of complete impartiality, so we did
not want to favour any existing team. The Toyota was the perfect
solution, as it is a contemporary racing machine with proven
speed and reliability but without links to any of the
manufacturers currently competing in Formula One. I’m confident
that we have an extremely good package that will give us every
opportunity to maximise the potential of our tyres prior to
the start of next season.”

Meanwhile, Nick Heidfeld has said:

"First of all I would like to thank Ross Brawn, Norbert Haug 
and Nick Fry for allowing me the opportunity to become Pirelli’s 
official test driver.

The team has always said that they would not stand in my way 
if such a chance arose and they have kindly allowed me to take 
up this exciting new role. I would like to thank everyone at 
Mercedes GP for the great cooperation that we have had this 
year.

I have greatly enjoyed supporting the team in my position as 
Reserve Driver and have felt welcome right from the outset. 
It was impressive to have the opportunity to work with the 
current World Champions and I wish the team all the best for 
the remainder of the season and beyond.

It’s a great privilege for me to join Pirelli in order to 
carry out this vital work and I am very grateful to Mercedes 
GP Petronas for releasing me from my contract to take on this 
role. Through the experience I have built up over the years, 
I’m confident that I will be able to provide Pirelli with 
some important feedback regarding the development of next 
year’s tyres.

I’ve got a lot to give but I haven’t been driving so much 
this year, so it is good to get started! Together, I’m sure 
that we can create a dynamic range of tyres that will make 
Formula One an even more exciting sport in the future.”

One interesting thing to note about this, though, is the fact that Nick will soon gain extensive knowledge of next year’s tyres, which obviously will play a huge part in the performance of the cars. With this information on board, he may well be in huge demand for a drive next year, as the teams strive to gain as much detail on the tyres as they can.

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