Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery says he expects the F1 teams will decide not to go to Bahrain.
The teams are due to head to the Bahrain International Circuit for a test session and the first Grand Prix of the year after the end of today’s test.
Speaking to journalists in Barcelona he said: “Obviously they can’t go anywhere without tyres, I guess we are quite key to that decision.
“The teams have a meeting at 5pm today, after that meeting, they will tell us where they intend to go racing.
“Certainly, looking at the news, Bahrain looks very doubtful, that’s fair to say. I’m expecting that they will take the decision not to go to Bahrain, I don’t know that for certain, but nothing has changed overnight with the news to change that.”
Hembery added that no-one had raised the possibility of moving the test to Abu Dhabi. He said: “The suggestion is a test session in Spain, all together.
“Clearly, logistically, it would be far better to keep everyone together. They aren’t obliged too, they have the right to test where they want. But logistically, from our point of view, it would be easier if all the same location.”
“We have seen decent temperatures in Barcelona, obviously the Barcelona circuit is on the F1 calendar, so if we ave better weather, it could provide us with some very useful info.”
Hembery said running in hotter temperatures – 45-50C – was Pirelli’s “biggest concern”. He said a test in Bahrain would have been useful for that:
“We would have liked to have had the Bahrain test session because of the warm weather conditions.
“I think we have found out that going winter testing it is not very useful testing the tyres in lower temperature conditions.
“We tested extensively in Jerez and had quite different results. It’s been disappointing in that respect we haven’t had warmer conditions.
“The morning sessions here at 6-7C from our point of view have been completely useless. We would have known what to expect in Bahrain test. We just would like that info for the 2011 cars.
“Here we have seen very low grip, the tyres are working very aggressively, they aren’t working. The compounds aren’t working the way they should be. It’s important from an integrity point of view.
“We know that this circuit is one of the toughest on tyres as the front left tyre gets a lot of stress here. So from our point of view we are very pleased with reliability of the product.”
He hopes that tyre ‘marbles’ won’t present too much of a problem for the drivers:
“Clearly if there are too many marbles you could risk getting pick up and that’s something we want to avoid. We are rather hopeful when we get to normal running conditions, we won’t have that issue with marbles.
“Equally if drivers are on different strategies and a different stage of tyres, we will get a lot of overtaking. Fernando [Alonso] has said he thinks there will be a lot of overtaking.
It’s a tough one. If you run beyond 25-30 laps, you’re on a one-stop strategy, which is what we were told not to do. So designing that, to get that right is extremely difficult.
“We believe from our test data we have a question mark as our test data is from a 2009 Toyota.”
He : “All teams have been working on race simulations and three-stop strategies. A couple of two-stop strategies, which is interesting.
“If you had to race tomorrow in a temperature of 10-15 degrees, there’s no doubt it would be a three-stop strategy.”
Hembery said the intermediate wet weather tyre had proved very durable: “three teams have run over 40 laps on the intermediate tyres.
“Our intermediate has a different working range than what they are used too. Our intermediate will work in drying conditions very well.
“It won’t blister, because it’s not a full wet. But it has a great range. I think the teams have worked out where the changeover point is.”
Quotes and additional reporting by Leandra Graves
2011 Bahrain Grand Prix
Image © Pirelli