Pirelli close to 2013 performance level
26 February 2014 – Pirelli's Motorsport Director Paul Hembery reckons that Formula 1's tyre supplier is close to 2013 levels of performance ahead of the third pre-season test.
The Italian company's 2014 tyres feature similar performance levels to their 2013 precedessors but have less degradation.
Nico Rosberg's pace-setting effort of 1:33.283 from last week's test, set on Soft tyres, was just shy of a second slower than his pole position time at last year's Bahrain Grand Prix.
Teams have a final chance to sample Pirelli's 2014 compounds at this week's four-day test in Bahrain, which begins on Thursday.
"We saw more work on tyres at the recent Bahrain test than there had been at the very first test at Jerez, and with teams likely to be attempting more qualifying and race simulations this week in preparation for the opening grand prix, we would expect this upward curve of tyre work to continue over the final four days in Bahrain," he said.
In order to cope with the increased torque from the new power units, the 2014 specification tyres feature a greater contact patch than last year's rubber.
"It's still early days, but so far we’ve seen both performance and durability from our latest P Zero tyres, which all feature new compounds and structures to maximise the unique power characteristics of the latest-generation cars," he added.
"The contact patch is greater, to help put down the extra torque, and the working ranges are wider to reduce degradation.
"As the lap times in Bahrain have shown, we’re already very close to 2013 levels of performance, despite much smaller capacity engines and a completely fresh set of technical challenges."