Formula One’s new tyre supplier Pirelli completed a five-day test in Bahrain just before Christmas, the circuit that will host the opening round of 2011. Pedro de la Rosa and Romain Grosjean were behind the wheel of a Toyota TF109.
In Bahrain De la Rosa and Grosjean completed nearly 3,000 kilometres over the five days at the Bahrain International Circuit. Pirelli has now completed more than 10,000 kilometres of private testing.
The Bahrain test focused on refining both the compound and construction of the Italian company’s new tyres, based on the feedback given by all the teams after the official Abu Dhabi test. All four of the slick compounds that will be offered to the teams next year were tested: super-soft, soft, medium and hard, with extremely positive results.
Bahrain was chosen as a test venue because of the warm local conditions in the region of 25 degrees centigrade, which are difficult to find anywhere else at this time of year. But while Europe was sheltering from some heavy snowstorms, Bahrain was affected by a different kind of storm: a sandstorm that temporarily halted the running for two days.
Despite this unexpected setback, the Pirelli Formula One Team was able to extend the length of time in which it stayed in Bahrain, ensuring that all the work scheduled was completed without compromise.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery, who was present at the test, commented: “I think this goes to show that, wherever you are in the world, uncertain weather can arrive in a variety of forms! But Formula One is all about expecting the unexpected, and we were able to quickly react to these changing circumstances by extending our test. With the extra time we had, we were probably able to put in a little bit more work than we had originally planned, so everything worked out very well in the end.
“We ran through our entire dry tyre range, and to have reached the point where we are at now, just five months after the F1 tyres ran for the very first time at Mugello in August, is an incredible testimony to the commitment and capability shown by every member of our team. We ran two drivers in order to compare two different sets of feedback, and the fact that they were both saying the same positive things at the end of the test only underlines the progress that we have made. There’s still some work to do, but we can head into 2011 with confidence.”
Pirelli only has a short winter break before testing resumes again in the New Year. The Toyota will be in action once more at Bahrain from January 9-10, before moving onto a three-day test in Abu Dhabi from January 15-18.