Monday, February 25, 2013


Testing at Barcelona is done. Barcelona is important as it is a track that is used in the championship, teams will race here later although in warmer weather than it has been at this test. This test at Barcelona is also important as it usually shows up which team will be strong come Melbourne but as always it is very difficult to tell during testing as each team has a different program compared to the rest. Some may be sandbagging or hiding their potential.

The next test in Barcelona as well should tell us more as teams have no choice but to show their hand as Melbourne is so close after that. For this test however, there have already been some good pointers to which team or driver stands a good chance open it's open season. We as fans do have to make our own analysis as best we can, so any and all information is always good.

Below is re-produced an analysis done by Pirelli on their tire range performance so far. This is critical information for any serious F1 fan as we know that tires play a huge role in performance and how a race can pan out. It makes a huge difference between winning and losing.

The Formula One teams encountered wet weather for the first time this year on the final day of a four-day test at Barcelona: the second of three official pre-season tests. The other three days were dry, enabling the teams to run through the complete range of P Zero tires – all of which are new for this year – on a circuit that they are all familiar with. However, some unusually cold conditions restricted the amount of meaningful data that could be accumulated. The final pre-season test of the year also takes place in Barcelona next week, from February 28 to March 3.

Paul Hembery (Pirelli motorsport director) had this to say:
“The teams experienced quite high degradation in Barcelona, and that was really down to the weather conditions. The conditions we had in Barcelona are far from typical of the rest of the season, with much cooler ambient and track temperatures than we would normally race in, and even some rain on the final day. This put the tires outside of their usual working ranges, which led to problems such as graining. The conditions were particularly unsuited to the supersoft tire, due to the circuit layout and the roughness of the surface in addition to the cold temperatures. Coupled with the fact that teams are still making big set-up adjustments to their new cars and trying out our complete range of our tires to optimise the package, we saw levels of degradation that are not typical. Once we get to Melbourne the tires should be much more within their intended working range, which will eliminate the unusual amount of degradation that some teams have experienced.”
Testing Facts

The teams are allocated 100 sets of tires per car per year for testing purposes. After an initial contact with the 2013 range for the first time in Jerez, they again concentrated on expanding their knowledge of the new tire characteristics this year, and how they interact with the new cars, all of which were present for the first time in Barcelona.

Ambient and track temperatures were cool, generally between 10 to 15 degrees centigrade ambient, which was on the whole cooler than the previous Jerez test. This led to some graining, which occurs when a tire slides if it is not up to temperature, with the friction against the track surface tearing off strips of rubber. With most of the initial work on new cars already completed in Jerez, the teams were able to also focus on longer runs and race simulations with varying fuel loads. Between two and three pit stops are expected at the first grand prix in Australia some of the teams that carried out race simulations stopped the equivalent of four times in Barcelona, demonstrating that the ideal target should be met in the more typical conditions of Melbourne.

The time difference between the slick compounds was in the region of 0.5s per lap, but the unusual weather conditions in Barcelona meant that this was not entirely conclusive.

Most laps of Barcelona: V Bottas – 355 laps; F Alonso – 283 laps; M Chilton – 241 laps

The teams sampled the Cinturato Green intermediate and the Cinturato Blue full wet tire for the first time on Friday. The wet-weather tires have a new rear construction this year, which improves traction at the rear in particular and reduces snap oversteer.

The fastest overall time of the test set by Fernando Alonso on day three (1m21.875s) comfortably beat the fastest time during testing last year at Barcelona: 1m22.030s (set by Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus).

Barcelona is an extremely technical circuit that tests most aspects of a car’s overall performance. The most stressed tires at the Circuit de Catalunya are those on the left.

Testing Numbers

Total number of sets brought to Barcelona: 385 sets which equals 1628 tires,

- of which supersoft tires: 24 sets
- of which soft tires: 87 sets
- of which medium tires: 132 sets
- of which hard tires: 97 sets
- of which intermediate tires: 40 sets
- of which wet tires: 27 sets

Total amount of sets used: 303

- of which supersoft tires: 5 sets
- of which soft tires: 53 sets
- of which medium tires: 127 sets
- of which hard tires: 84 sets
- of which intermediate tires: 24 sets
- of which wet tires: 10 sets

Longest Run

24 laps on the hard compound
36 laps of the medium compound
31 laps on the soft compound
16 laps on the supersoft compound
29 laps on the intermediate compound
22 laps on the wet compound

Highest / lowest ambient temperature over four days: 20 °C (Day 2) / 7 °C (Day 4)
Highest / lowest track temperature over four days: 26 °C (Day 2) / 6 °C (Day 4)

Testing Times

Day 1

1. Rosberg, Mercedes 1’22’’616s Medium New
2. Räikkönen, Lotus 1’22’’623s Medium New
3. Alonso, Ferrari 1’22’952s Medium New

Day 2

1. Perez, McLaren 1’21’’848 Soft New
2. Vettel, Red Bull 1’22’’197 Soft New
3. Räikkönen, Lotus 1’22’’697 Medium New

Day 3

1. Alonso, Ferrari 1’21’’875 Soft New
2. Hülkenberg, Sauber 1’22’160 Soft New
3. Grosjean, Lotus 1’22’188 Soft New

Day 4

1. Hamilton, Mercedes 1’23’’282 Medium New
2. Button, McLaren 1’23’633 Medium New
3. Vergne, Toro Rosso 1’24’’071 Soft New

Hopefully with this "official" analysis from Pirelli, we fans will have a clearer picture of our favorite teams/drivers positions going into the final test and the first race. Again, note that although tests are interesting, it is not the final say on the pecking order. That we will only know once we get to Friday practice (at least) in Melbourne. Having said that, tests do show a car's strength and weakness if you look at the numbers in context, which we will do in the next article.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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