In the presence of Pirelli’s President Marco Tronchetti Provera, the PZero tyres set a time just two-tenths of a second off last year’s pole time during the afternoon free practice session at Istanbul today. The fastest time was set by the soft tyre, but the drivers also had the chance to try out the new evolution of hard tyre.
In the morning, the intermediate and wet PZero tyres had their first proper outing during a grand prix weekend, throughout the rain-affected first free practice session.
Conditions were dry during the afternoon, with temperatures rising to 14 degrees ambient and 22 degrees in the track. McLaren’s Jenson Button set a best time of 1m26.456s on the soft tyres, which have the benefit of additional yellow markings so that they can be distinguished more easily. This was just two-tenths of a second off last year’s pole position time of 1m26.295s, with one more free practice session and qualifying still to come tomorrow.
For most of the teams, this morning was a first taste of Pirelli rubber in wet conditions. Both the wet tyres – denoted by orange markings – and the intermediate tyres, marked in blue, were used, with a fastest time of 1m38.670s set by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on the intermediates.
In the morning, the President of Pirelli, Marco Tronchetti Provera, visited the Istanbul Park paddock in order to meet with the team principals. He will return tomorrow to talk to some of the drivers.
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery commented: “We’ve been delighted to welcome Mr Tronchetti to Istanbul, on what has been a historic day for Pirelli. We’ve seen our intermediate and wet tyres take to the track for the first time, and as we confirmed when we tested in the wet at Istanbul Park last month, these tyres are extremely effective even in the soaking conditions we saw today. The weather for the rest of the weekend looks like it is going to be brighter, but even if it continued to rain, our wet tyres are designed to last for 30 laps or longer while the intermediates can run for about 20, so there are no concerns about supply. The teams also had the chance to try out the latest evolution of our hard tyre, which we are assessing with a view to Barcelona. It’s not quite as fast as our original hard tyre, but it does last a little longer with extra stability, so we will be very interested to hear the feedback from the teams.”
PIRELLI FACT OF THE DAY
Pirelli’s wet and intermediate tyres have only been used in testing by Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams – which ran in the rain on the final day of the Barcelona test held in March. The rules stipulate that teams are allowed four sets of intermediates and three sets of rain tyres for the race weekend.