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F1 Barcelona Test: Pirelli Numbers And Misconceptions

by on March 5, 2013
Sergio Perez - McLaren

Sergio Perez – McLaren

The Numbers:

Top three fastest laps over the final four days :
1. Nico Rosberg             Mercedes    1.20.130
2. Fernando Alonso     Ferrari        1.20.594
3. Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes    1.20.558

NB. All times were set with the Soft Compound Pirelli PZero

Top three most laps run
1. Nico Rosberg            Mercedes    251 laps
2. Lewis Hamilton      Mercedes    230 laps
3. Fernando Alonso    Ferrari        222 laps

Total mileage amassed over winter tests:

  • 22,972 miles (36,970kms)

Chart of What Pirelli provided in Barcelona:

Compound Sets Provided Sets Used Longest Run
Hard 112 63 19 Laps
Medium 123 119 30 Laps
Soft 119 104 19 Laps
SuperSoft 35 22 14 Laps
Intermediate 38 34 47 Laps
Full Wet 24 21 48 Laps
Total 451 363

The Misconceptions:

The times recorded during all winter testing should be viewed as inconclusive. There are far too many factors which lead to the times being invalid and not a true representation of order.

Factors such as fuel loads, setup and lap abortion are only some of the reasons the times are not an accurate depiction of the entire picture.

As I mentioned in another article, the conditions in Barcelona were rather cool.  This has multiple implications including cooling and tyre performance as well as tyre life.  The new Formula One cars have not yet run in hot conditions as they will most likely be subject to in Australia and Malaysia in the first two rounds.  If there are any issues with sufficient cooling or high brake temperatures, they will likely not have been exposed in Barcelona.

The lack of warmer ambient and track temperatures in Barcelona also gives us a skewed picture of performance.  It is likely that some teams that did not fair well in the cooler temperatures, may make better use of the Pirelli tyres when the heat is cranked.  It is also possible that those teams that performed well in Spain, may not be as gentle on tyre wear in hotter conditions.

The biggest misconception is that the fastest time translates into the fastest car/driver package.  A one lap glory run or fastest lap is great if the objective is to flex your F1 muscle.  However, a fastest lap will do very little in the course of a Grand Prix where victory will not be claimed in a race based on a single lap.

This season will likely be more about tyre management, strategy and consistency than single lap performances.

Author: Ernie Black
Twitter: @TheF1Poet


From → Formula One

One Comment
  1. michaelsantolini permalink

    nice article! Do you mind if I reblog this post?

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