Hembery: Jerez surface has “got worse”

2013 F1 season

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Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says getting useful data from testing at Jerez is becoming more difficult as the track surface deteriorates.

Hembery said they weren’t yet sure whether the 2013 specification tyres are producing the 0.5 second gain in lap time they expect.

“You can’t really tell,” he said. “The times, we think they could drop still quite a bit from what they’re doing.”

“The indications are, yes, we are seeing a performance improvement,” he added. “We are seeing the differences in the compounds that we anticipated – about half a second between the soft, medium and hard.”

“What we can’t tell of course, on a track like this because it’s so abrasive. The macro is so far off the scale compared to everything else we see in the season.”

Jerez has tended to be a rougher surface for tyres. “It’s got worse,” said Hembery. “It’s changed compared to last year as well.”

Hembery said the surface was now far rougher than that of any track on the F1 calendar:

“It’s gone right off the scale of the macro. It’s most the bitumen aspect of it, it’s worn away, so you’re left with almost the rocks, the stones and the gravel almost on its own with nothing in between.”

But Hembery admitted there “isn’t really a perfect solution” when it comes to looking for alternative test venues:

“It’s difficult because we’re going to get Barcelona, I’m sure, whereas here’s it’s really still quite chilly in the air which suggests that going further north again we’ll have the issues we had last year of being very cold, particularly in the morning.

“And even when you get past midday we were finding large parts of the track were in the shadow in Barcelona and you’re going from warm to very cold.”

He expects it won’t be until the third race of the season that they understand exactly how the tyres are performing:

“We have to believe in our own data that we’ve acquired in our own testing. From that point of view, with the little bit more experience we have now, we feel more confident in that.

“However, I think we’d all say in the team that it’s until we get to probably China in particular that we think we’d have a good indication when we get to a faster track, a track where we’ve got more downforce, downforce is more important in the corners, high speed corners, that’s when we’ll really get a better idea of what the season’s going to look like.”

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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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13 comments on “Hembery: Jerez surface has “got worse””

  1. So, Jerez testing or even Barcelona is pretty much useless…..

    1. Imagine, the track surface sounds like a regular road, so nothing that happens is the tyres fault.

      1. yep, completely out of bounds, nothing anyone could have experience with @hohum ;-)

      2. the problem maybe lies with the new tyres for being too soft to be endurable…….tyre graining was even worse than last year.

        1. It’s worse by design, by the end of last year, the tyres were lasting enough for one pit stop. Pirelli were asked for tyres that required more than that.

          1. Understood, but worse is still worse.

  2. Why not Imola?

    1. The max temperature in northern italy this week is expected to be about 6C

    2. I thought possibly Aragon (although that is relatively far north) or the Algarve circuit: both of which meet the FIA standards and both of which I’m sure have a better track surface as they are newer. They also aren’t ridiculous distances away from the team’s hubs so it would make sense to test there.

  3. Thanks Keith, sounds like Pirelli are playing there cards even closer to their chest than the teams! And thanks for the link to the Jan 23 article I had missed that. So it seems Jerez surface aside the tyres seem to be doing what they intended by degrading over the stint. That should make for some interesting strategies. I wonder what level of pay back you will get for looking after them early in a stint.

  4. The decision of Fernando to not participate in the session of testing is quite wise

  5. This is maybe the most important information this days. Cars could have a totaly different performance at other F1 tracks. I’m talking about top teams not that Marrusia would be faster than Red Bull :)

  6. Why not Estoril?

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