Barcelona, May 20th 2011 – The Formula One teams had the opportunity to try out the new evolution of Pirelli’s PZero Silver hard tyre in race weekend conditions at Barcelona today, after two free practice sessions held in warm and dry conditions that peaked at 25 degrees centigrade ambient and 35 degrees on track.
The teams also used the PZero Yellow soft tyre, which has remained in the same specification since the start of the year and set pole position at every race held so far. The soft tyres have additional yellow markings on them in order to make them easier to distinguish on television.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber set the quickest time in the morning session of 1m25.142s using the PZero Silver hard tyre: more than one second faster than his team mate Sebastian Vettel, who was runner-up.
The Australian used the PZero Yellow soft tyres in the afternoon to go quickest once more, on this occasion with a time of 1m22.470s. Red Bull appear to have a fight on their hands this weekend, as next quickest was McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton on the same tyre, with a time only 0.039s slower. The difference in time between the hard and the soft tyre so far has been in the region of two seconds per lap, as expected.
Williams driver Pastor Maldonado managed to put in a stint of 19 laps on the PZero Silver in the afternoon with no significant reduction in lap time, highlighting the increased durability of the new compound.
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery commented: “One of the main objectives that we have outlined for the new PZero Silver tyre is to provide a bigger contrast to our existing PZero Yellow soft tyre and the initial information that we have from the free practice sessions seems to confirm that this is the case, as we expected. We’re getting about 10 laps more out of the new harder tyre compared to the previous version and while this obviously comes at the expense of some performance, which will not be to the liking of all the teams, it emphasizes the crossover point between the hard and the soft tyres. The bigger step provides the teams with more opportunities to maximise their strategies, but we have seen so far this year that strategy does not just come into place on race day but also from Saturday, so it’s going to be very interesting to see which tactics the teams adopt tomorrow based on what they have learned today. We’re expecting warm and dry weather conditions once more, so this should provide a level playing field that is free of any complications.”
PIRELLI FACT OF THE DAY
Pirelli’s PZero Silver tyre is making its race debut but it has already been extensively tested at Jerez, Barcelona and Istanbul, on Pirelli’s Toyota TF109 test car driven by Pedro de la Rosa and Lucas di Grassi.
Here’s another remarkable fact: championship leader Sebastian Vettel has so far taken 93 points from four races. Last year, the reigning champion needed eight races to accumulate nearly the same total.