Pirelli going the distance in testing of Formula One tire designs

Jan. 1, 2020
Pirelli's Formula One testing program has now rolled past the 7,000-kilometer mark as test driver Pedro de la Rosa resumed his duties at the Le Castellet circuit in southern France at the wheel of Toyota's TF109.
Pirelli's Formula One testing program has now rolled past the 7,000-kilometer mark as test driver Pedro de la Rosa resumed his duties at the Le Castellet circuit in southern France at the wheel of Toyota's TF109.

Le Castellet, also known as the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track because of its advanced facilities, contains a wide variety of configurations designed to test every aspect of a car’s overall performance.

De la Rosa, who had not driven on the circuit since 2006, completed a total of 315 laps and 1,118.5 kilometers during the two-day test; 158 laps on day one and 157 laps on day two.

He tested both the soft and super-soft compound rubber over short and long runs on the 3.551-kilometer configuration as the company gears up to its Formula One return next year.

The first morning of the test was affected by damp conditions, which meant that de la Rosa had an unscheduled opportunity to run on Pirelli’s wet tires again in order to dry out the wet parts of the course.

Once the track was dry, de la Rosa carried out a number of short runs with the soft compound tire during the afternoon before switching to longer runs at the end of the first day.

 

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Conditions were sunny from the outset throughout the second day. In the morning de la Rosa continued work on tire construction, trying out the tire maker’s latest designs as a result of the data gained from previous tests.

In the afternoon, de la Rosa sampled the super-soft compound rubber for the first time. Like the soft rubber, this is also an “option” tire, used to generate maximum grip and performance. Again he combined short runs of seven laps and longer runs of 20 laps, driving until daylight became marginal just before 5 p.m. on each day.

“These have been two of the most productive days of testing that we have seen yet, and I’m particularly encouraged by the consistency of the times that we managed to set on both the short and the long runs, demonstrating that the tires are quick to reach a constant level of peak performance,” de la Rosa reports.

“There were a number of interesting solutions that we have started to investigate in depth,” he explains. “We enjoyed perfect reliability from the car and the tires, which allowed us to cover more than a thousand kilometers and take some important steps forward in the development program.”

Testing was to continue at Paul Ricard for two more days, taking advantage of the circuit’s modern facilities to complete the European test schedule before the Formula One teams get their first chance to sample Pirelli’s tires after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

For more information visit www.us.pirelli.com.

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