With the launch of the McLaren Mercedes F1 Team's 2011 chassis scheduled for this Friday, this week’s three-day test at Valencia centres on Pirelli tyre development using one of last year’s MP4-25 cars.
“The car we ran today ought to allow us to get the right loadings on the Pirellis to understand how they behave,” said Gary Paffett at the end of the day. “The tyres have changed since we last ran them in Abu Dhabi last year, and they’ll change again before the start of the season.
“Today was about trying to understand the tyres – we established a good baseline and then did some long runs. Happily, the wear issues we experienced in Abu Dhabi have definitely improved; we saw better wear patterns and fewer problems with the tyres.
“It’s useful to understand how the tyres go off, and how the balance changes once they do. The Medium seems to last the longest and the Super-soft the shortest, but that’s exactly what you want from a tyre – and it should lead to different strategies once we start racing.”
Lewis Hamilton takes over at the wheel tomorrow, continuing our programme of understanding and developing the new Pirelli rubber.