Pirelli, Barcelona, 2010

2011 Pirelli tyre test: Driver line-up

2011 F1 testing

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Pirelli, Barcelona, 2010
Pirelli, Barcelona, 2010

F1 teams will sample Pirelli tyres for the first time at the Yas Marina circuit on Friday and Saturday.

Pirelli say the tyres being used are not the definitive compounds that will be raced in 2011. However most teams are using their race drivers to gather data on the first batch of tyres from the Italian manufacturer.

A notable exception is McLaren, who are using the same pair that drove for them in the recent young drivers’ test: Oliver Turvey and Gary Paffett.

Mark Webber will also not be at the test as he is doing a show run in Perth, Australia. New world champion Sebastian Vettel will do both days’ running for Red Bull.

Pastor Maldonado will return to test for HRT again, having driven for them in the young drivers’ test on Tuesday.

As recently as last Saturday, Williams were saying Nico H???lkenberg would drive for them on the first day of the test. As his departure from the team was confirmed two days’ later, Rubens Barrichello will now do both days.

Also in for both days is Robert Kubica at Renault. At Sauber, Kamui Kobayashi will do the bulk of the running with new driver Sergio Perez stepping in on the afternoon of the second day.

Meanwhile Force India will split the two days’ running between both their 2010 race drivers as well as reserve driver Paul di Resta.

Here are the drivers who are expected to take part in the test:

Team Friday 19th Saturday 20th
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel Sebastian Vettel
McLaren Gary Paffett Oliver Turvey
Ferrari Felipe Massa Fernando Alonso
Mercedes Nico Rosberg Michael Schumacher
Renault Robert Kubica Robert Kubica
Williams Rubens Barrichello Rubens Barrichello
Force India Adrian Sutil, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Paul di Resta (order TBC)
Sauber Kamui Kobayashi Kamui Kobayashi (am), Sergio Perez (pm)
Toro Rosso Jaime Alguersuari Sebastien Buemi
Lotus TBA (Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli expected)
HRT Pastor Maldonado Pastor Maldonado
Virgin TBA (Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi expected)

Update: McLaren have changed the order their drivers will appear. The test has begun with Glock driving for Virgin, Kovalainen for Lotus and Sutil and di Resta for Force India.

The teams will test soft and medium-compound slick tyres, with a coloured stripe on the sidewall to distinguish between them. Each team will have eight sets of tyres for the test and a Pirelli engineer on-hand.

Earlier versions of Pirelli’s tyres have already been tested at Mugello, Monza, Barcelona, Valencia, Jerez and Paul Ricard by Nick Heidfeld, Pedro de la Rosa and Romain Grosjean using a Toyota TF109. Pirelli will conduct further testing of their own in Bahrain in December.

Friday’s test marks the first time in 19 years that Pirelli tyres have been used in Formula 1. The company last bowed out following the 1991 Australian Grand Prix.

Pictures: Pirelli prepare for F1 comeback

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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62 comments on “2011 Pirelli tyre test: Driver line-up”

  1. Can teams use this weekend to do their own tests as well? Say develop couple of things for next season etc..

    1. Yes, most likley the teams will run their cars on the most neutral settings possible at first, but there is nothing to stop the teams running anything they want on the cars.

      1. I agree with this, but I’m also willing to bet that the FIA will make the teams run their 2009 cars. This is a test for the Pirelli tyres, not the 2010 cars. So it will probably be like the new rules about running in media events: the cars much carry the same parts that they did in the most recent race.

        1. They are using this seasons cars, as they are already obslete in F1 terms.

          1. Thats not the point for this test what Pirelli wants is to know how good are their tyres in comparison with bridgestone using season cars are the best way to evaluate that anyway i believe most teams are going to use there cars with already some changes the most visible will be the absence of f-duct and maybe embrionary forms of single deck rear diffusers

          2. Given that the test is the first team test of the Pirelli tyres it would make sense to use the 2010 cars with the same setups as used over the weekend of the Grand Prix.

            The car being the control, and the tyres being the variable. That way the teams can generate data on the performance of the Pirelli tyres and assess that data against data generated from the Bridgestone tyres, which means the teams can give feedback to Pirelli on what’s good with the tyres, and what needs improving. If the teams change the setup of the cars or install new parts the data they generate is meaningless for accessing the performance of the tyres.

        2. Jarred Walmsley
          19th November 2010, 4:37

          I assume you mean 2010 and 2011 not 2009 and 2010

        3. From what you say about them testing what was run in the last race, you probably mean the teams will have to run their 2010 cars and not be allowed to test parts for 2011 (flying in 2009 cars would be utterly useless, if not impossible for several of the teams)

        4. You’re pretty much always wrong about everything aren’t you PM?

    2. My guess would be that they would want to test the tires with nearly the same set-up they just used at the Abu Dhabi GP. Using the same set-up gives them an apples to apples comparison, whereas changing the cars would make the data more difficult to interpret.

      Just my thought, though.

      1. I do agree that the team should or will test some of their component for 2011.Collect the data & then develope that in the winter session,then come back in February to testify it.

      2. It makes sense that they want to collect data on the new tyres, but then again Pirelli said that the tyres will change until the season begins. So teams might just actually test the tyres one day, and the second day try testing new components for next year?

  2. HounslowBusGarage
    18th November 2010, 17:28

    Is this the only tyre test, or do the teams get the chance to evaluate the data and then have another test at a different venue?

    1. I gather that this is the only tire-specific test. I’m sure Pirelli will have something slightly revised for the first Winter test next February after the feedback they receive here.

      1. I thought they had said this was a development tire, with them bringing something far closer to the finnished rubber to the winter testing.

        1. @ Andy W – From what I believe this is spot on. If you take note of what McLaren are saying, this is only an initial compound, and the winter testing will be with the mostly finished product.

          I would imagine that the cars won’t differ to much from from what they were for the Young guns. But I wouldnt expect to see times anywhere near race pace.

  3. All the previous press releases from Pirellis have stated that they are looking for ‘consistent’ lap times. Even De La Rosa stated that the times he did were very consistent.
    What I understand by consistent is a monotonous decrease in lap times as the fuel level burns off with little to no increase in lap times due to tyre wear. If that is true, then perhaps Pirelli is making tyres similar to Bridgestone, one set of which would easily last for 300+ km.
    Felipe Massa has often stated that he is not able to adjust to this year’s tyres because they are very hard. May be, because the tyre compound is so hard, tyre degradation is low. If this is true, then Pirellis should be urged to make softer tyres. So that, they don’t last as long.

    1. Oh for the tire wars of the past…. Its a great shame that durability is the drive of a single manufacturer.

      1. Given Pirelli will win every Grand Prix in 2011, durability is the only selling point they have. Pirelli, like Bridgestone were, are only in the sport as the sole tyre supplier as a marketing exercise, to sell tyres, therefore the message they need to project by being in F1 is one that the average consumer wants to hear, and what does the average consumer want from their tyres? Durability.

        The average consumer doesn’t care about a fast, short mileage tyre. Pirelli, if they made really fast tyres that were only good for 50km, every commentator, journalist, engineer, and driver involved in Formula 1 would be moaning about how the Pirelli tyres don’t last very long, how they are only good for 5 or 10 laps. While the more dedicated fan would understand that the tyre was designed to do that, to the average consumer it translates to “Pirelli tyres are not very durable”. Which is not the message Pirelli would want to project.

        What I’m really interested in regarding Pirelli in F1 does it mean their iconic calendar will now feature classy black and white shots of half naked models draped over F1 cars?

        1. You do realise there is something between lasting 5-10 laps and being able to do an entire race distance on the same tires… The mandatory tire stop is precisely because of that.

          The thing is if you have a tire war between two or more manufacturers then they would be a balance point between the amount of tire degredation and the amount of time taken to pit and put on new rubber, as well as the ability of newer gripper rubber to allow more stability into and out of corners promoting overtaking.

          The problem of having 2 or more manufacturers is if one produces a significantly better tire than the other such as has happened in the past.

          1. The problem of having 2 or more manufacturers is if one produces a significantly better tire than the other such as has happened in the past.

            That and the costs.
            As DeadManWoking noted below, Pirelli have said they will have more aggressive tyres than Bridgestone did, which as I understand it, is a PR way of saying they won’t last nearly as long.

            I just hope that this turns out to be the case.

          2. Easy way to fix that, the team is supplied tyres manufactured by both suppliers, and has to run both during the GP.
            The incentive for the supplier to make softer faster tyres would be that pole was set on their tyres or fastest lap of the race that would inspire them to make softer tyres and no team or driver would get an advantage.

        2. The 2011 pirelli calendar has already been shot by Karl Lagerfeld in March and will be launched this month in Russia. Most people think it will feature some boys as well as girls.

    2. Softer tires that don’t last as long is just what Pirelli want to do:


  4. I am still surprised that neither Lewis or Jenson will drive… I would have thought that they would each be itching to make their stamp on next years car as early as possible.

    1. They’re doing PR works for Vodafone and Johnny Walker these days.

      Test team will be fine gathering data without them.

      1. I would still think they would want to make their mark on the tires for next season (meant tires rather than cars per say as they are using this years car), for the team to have neither top driver there will give the words of Alonso, Vettle, Shcumacher and Webber more weight than that of Parfftt and Turvy.

        1. jenson stated it was a team decision.

          he wanted to be there. i think it was on the ITV website

      2. Given the ultra-importance of simulator-work, and the hours and hours spent in it by the reserves, I’m very surprised more teams didn’t decide to ‘calibrate’ their test-drivers with some real-world test-mileage.

        Coupla days Young Driver, coupla days Pirelli, back-to-back, log the data, get a much better idea of where you are with them when they get bundled back into the simulator room.

        The real cars and the real tyres don’t show up for months yet, the race drivers are gonna learn nothing here.

        1. Its not so much about what they learn about the rubber, but the comments and feedback that they give to Pirelli that will go into developing the tires that are brought to winter testing and the development that will go on from there to what become the differing race tires.

          Pirelli have said that the rubber they will have today is still in development… I would have thought that both Jenson and Lewis would want to see if they could make the tires more to their individual liking… the same way that Seb, Webber, Schui and Alonso will…

  5. I was expecting that Pirelli build some real tyres, that wear with the use, what would turn the races much more interesting. But I’m starting to believe that Pirelli tyres will be like the Bridgestone tyres, four cylinders of bullet-proof concrete, where even the extra-soft will be strong enough to keep his performance for 300 Km…

    1. H_Kovalainen: Wicked day today met some really nice people and played a game of squash, tomorrow back to driving!

  6. I remember reading that Pirelli was considering tires that would be good for the “show”, which wouldn’t mean extremely durable tires in my understanding.

    Maybe what they mean by consistency is that the same behaviour is to be expected by different tires of the same type. So that the second set of soft tires behave like the first set of soft tires.

    Well, one can only hope…

    1. But they have to make tires that will last the distance, and in company think safer is better than riskier.

      I expect the 1st couple of races to probably be very conservative as both Pirreli and the teams play it safe.

      1. which could mean boring races at the start of the season – ie Bahrain…

  7. those tyres look bigger and harder. anyone know what the times are from previous tests?

    1. they certainly look more rounded than the bridgestones, I wonder how they will distinguish their hard and soft tyres.

      1. It would be cool if they made the soft ones with red ‘Pirelli’ in the side (aggressive) and the hard one in yellow letters.

  8. GOOD to see the yellow letters on the sidewalls… I liked that more than the white from Bridgestone or Pirelli and Michelin the old days…

    On the Lotus in particular, with the yellow and green rims, it’s gonna look awesome!

    1. I would have preferred the red of the first photo. And a red stripe on the tyres instead! That would look pretty good.

      1. I would prefer red letters for soft tyres and yellow for standard instead of the green stripe we have now.

        1. The stripe has to be green, in order to give climate change deniers something to moan about so that FOM can get on with its carbon offsetting in peace.

          1. It’s not for nothing that green is also a synonym for gullible, credulous, easily taken-in, wide-eyed and a sucker.

            If Pirelli don’t take the opportunity to put that ridiculous green stripe nonsense in the trash where it belongs, then they only embarrass themselves as a company and continue to insult the intelligence of most F1 fans.

            Yellow Pirelli logo for primes, red Pirelli logo for options, their corporate colours, simples.

    2. I agree, have the softer tyres with red letters and the harder tyres with yellow. It looks great and will probably be easier to spot than those green stipes

  9. Does anybody know if and where we can watch live testing tommorow?. Even just text to keep us updated would be good.


  10. I just quickly put together this side by side tyre comparison between the bridgestone and the pirelli,


    1. That Pirelli logo just looks so right on a tyre! Pirelli seem like a proper racing supplier, rather than Bridgestone which was more of a typical Japanese corporate entity

  11. The tyre sizes will be the same as in 2010? Or going back to 2009? Or different?

  12. So it will be the P Zero tyre next year. There must already be a P1…..

  13. that ‘p’ in pirelli should be big,like in their logo. Now it’s just like bridgestone, but with another word in the same font….
    Having said that, i hope they get room to make really soft tyres… suiting schumacher!

  14. Any word on what the different tyre compounds are going to be marked with to differentiate them?

    Who’s in favour of a colour coded band that is consistent with the compound.
    Hard – Blue
    Medium – Green
    Soft – Yellow
    Super Soft – Red

    That way, we can see clearly what compounds are used for each race, with the softer compounds being more “aggressive” colours.

  15. with a coloured stripe on the sidewall to distinguish between them.

    how do you know this keith? what colour will the stripe be?

    hopefully in 2011 we’ll have 20 races just like the 2010 canadian gp!

  16. Pirelli have often said they want to bring in extreme tyres, where the two tyres brought to a weekend are on the extreme ends of performance. Their only worry, is the publics perception of Pirelli as a tyre company.

    If people assume, oh these tyres only last for 5laps and they are finished, will that have an influence on their every day road tyre sales?

  17. Must be a bit strange for Vettel. Won the world championship and he’s back in the car before you can say Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

  18. I just wonder if rear and front tyres are the same or they are 2010’s version ?

  19. Mark Webber’s drive in Perth is not until the 28th November, so that’s not the reason he’s not in Abu Dhabi.


    1. Very interesting – thanks for that Ed.

  20. if you want live times: don’t mind the greek :P, just look at the chart (no need to reload, it’s automatic)

    1. He might be just testing a new Schuberth model or something like that.

      Hopefully he keeps his old design as I think its one of the better ones on the grid.

      1. Had a quick flick through the official websites pictures, Alonso also has a pure red and white helmet, obviously a special corporate Ferrari thing that they decided to do for this test.

  21. is there any website that gives the lap times?

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