Pirelli predict record-breaking 1’17 Spanish GP pole time

2017 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has predicted Formula One’s new cars will set a record-breaking pace.

After studying data from the first two days of tests at the Circuit de Catalunya, Hembery believes the new generation of cars could lap as low as one minute 17 seconds in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

“We’re a long way off the performance levels we envisage when we come here in May,” he told F1 Fanatic.

We’re lapping now under the pole of last year,” said Hembery. “We believe we’ll be close to 1’17 for pole this year when we come here. That’ll be close to five-and-a-half, six seconds [improvement].”

The fastest lap of the current configuration of the Circuit de Catalunya is a 1’19.954 set by Rubens Barrichello in 2009. The quickest time in testing at the track was a 1’18.483 by Fernando Alonso the year before.

F1 testing day three in pictures
As of yesterday, Kimi Raikkonen has posted the fastest time of the first test, lapping in 1’20.960.

Hembery said the move to wider tyres for the 2017 season was driven by a desire to improve performance as well as for aesthetic reasons.

“There was a description of how the car world be in terms of performance and what was being requested from us to provide in terms of the tyre aspect involved in the package they wanted,” he said.

“It’s always a combination, you’re given a lot of data and you come up with some simulations and go back and say for that type of application this is what we suggest.”

The new look is “definitely driven by performance”, Hembery continued. “The prime request is to reduce lap times by five seconds compared to Barcelona 2015.”

“The second aspect was to take away some of the thermal instability that we’d been asked to put in six years ago. So a step in another direction, with the objective of giving the drivers something they could push a little bit harder on.”

2017 F1 season

Browse all 2017 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

10 comments on “Pirelli predict record-breaking 1’17 Spanish GP pole time”

  1. “The quickest time in testing at the track was a 1’18.483 by Fernando Alonso the year before.”

    Wrong. The quickest time in testing was 1:18.339 by Felipe Massa.

  2. Whilst I think this will be brilliant to see, my question is where do they go from here for 2018, there is no way the FIA will want to see them go faster still, usually they set the regs with them being slow for the first year and then they get faster over time, this time around they’ve started with them going as fast as they would want them to possibly go haven’t they?

    1. Tony Mansell
      1st March 2017, 10:44

      You get big initial steps then diminishing returns. I think that with all imperfect sports, like we saw in Rugby at the weekend, you get constant evolution in rules as people pick apart the current status quo. So the answer is you deal with 2018/19/20 after you see the evolution of 2017. Also, try and enjoy what we have.

    2. Hopefully, before 2018, Ross Brawn has started formulating some steps to improve racing, and we won’t feel the cars need to go seconds faster to make F1 spectacular I guess @bezza695

    3. I hope they get faster, and faster, and faster again. Pushing the limits of what’s possible, making F1 truly the pinnacle of motorsport with everyone on the edge of their seats. Put all those safety measures like run-off at the circuits to good use, have good reason for them and continue to pursue safety from outside the car rather than slow them down.

      It’s the only real chance F1 stands when compared to the likes of Formula E (without reverting to inferior technology like noisy engines) in the long run.

      1. noisy engines can still have high technology weirdo… you want fast fast fast… well that is for show isn’t it?? and for many years the show part of f1 has been noise also… much in the same way people like to watch drag racing. if f1 wants to break speed records, easiest would be to make the cars 600kg again (they are about 100kg heavier now). pound for pound, in downforce and power, WEC cars are now more spectacular in speed and sound then f1 is.

  3. Yeah “Aesthetics Reasons”
    We got better tyres and we gain the fin… great.

  4. Maybe just me, but I think the tyres look ridiculously big. Better than before, but the rear ones are too massive IMO.

  5. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    2nd March 2017, 3:31

    That image of Hamilton with a yellow lid in a widebodied, low nosed F1 car is just iconic. I wish he would stop messing about with these white and candle apple red helmets. No biggie just an observation!

  6. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    2nd March 2017, 3:33

    Also that T wing looks stupid but you need to be looking for it to notice it so again, not a big deal. The overall shape of the cars is fantastic apart form the ones that have turned their sharkfins into billboards aka Williams and FI.

Comments are closed.