With just two weeks to go before the 2013 Formula One season gets underway in Melbourne, the final four-day test took place in Barcelona, with two days of wet weather followed by two days of dry running. This enabled the teams to sample the entire range of 2013 Pirelli tyres and finally provided conditions representative to racing.
With Barcelona being an extremely familiar venue, particularly off the back of last week’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya, the teams were able to carry out some useful comparison work between all the compounds and assess the final upgrades to their new cars.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “It was a useful four days of running in Barcelona, although the weather conditions were still too cool to be typically representative of what we will face over the rest of the year. Consequently degradation was still high as the tyres were not able to operate within their intended working range for most of the test. This, however, is a familiar situation for both us and the teams, as it was exactly the case in pre-season testing last year too, so this is not of any great concern. The wet weather over the first two days gave the teams a valuable opportunity to assess the intermediate and wet tyres, which have been evolved to offer better traction this year, and to evaluate crossover points. Generally speaking, everyone was happy with the wet weather tyres, which shows that our work in this area has paid off. As this was the final test session, it was useful for the teams to have the opportunity to run through every tyre in the range as they complete their preparations. Now we’re looking forward to getting to Australia, where our tyres will be able to function properly within their working range, and we hope to see an exciting race with between two and three pit stops per car.”
The teams are allocated 100 sets of tyres per year for testing purposes, with 35 sets available for the final test in Barcelona. The supersoft and medium tyres have been nominated for the opening grand prix of the season in Australia, so many teams focussed on these two compounds as part of their race preparation. Most of the work concentrated on the medium compound though, as Barcelona is not suited for the supersoft.
Temperatures were once again cool for the final test, with ambient temperatures peaking at 18 degrees centigrade on the last two days of the test. Ambient temperatures did not exceed 10 degrees centigrade during the rain-soaked first two days of testing.
The fastest time of the test, set by Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg on day four (1’20’’130) with a new set of soft tyres, was significantly faster than the benchmark in Barcelona last week, and about a second and a half faster than the best testing times in Barcelona last year.
Many of the teams with new parts concentrated on aerodynamic testing of the new components, while some teams also carried out race simulations – especially those running new drivers this year – as well as qualifying simulations with the supersoft tyre.
More Testing Facts
Once again, the time difference between the slick compounds was in the region of half a second per lap, confirming the results seen at the previous Barcelona test, although the performance gap in Australia should be slightly bigger. The teams also assessed wet weather crossover points on a drying track and carried out pit stop practice.
While the weather was not always favourable, this was a test that challenged the versatility of the car-tyre package to the utmost. Not only did the cars run in an extremely wide variety of conditions, but Barcelona also assesses every aspect of a car technically, thanks to its demanding circuit layout that contains every type of corner. The tyres on the left side of the car are the most stressed, due to the quantity of high-energy right-hand turns such as turn three.
The total amount of kilometres carried out in pre-season testing: 36,970kms.
Most laps of Barcelona: Rosberg (Mercedes): 251 laps; Alonso (Ferrari): 222 laps; Hamilton (Mercedes): 230 laps
Tyre usage at Barcelona
Total number of sets brought to Barcelona: 451 sets which equals 1804 tyres
- of which supersoft tyres: 35 sets
- of which soft tyres: 119 sets
- of which medium tyres: 123 sets
- of which hard tyres: 112 sets
- of which intermediate tyres: 38 sets
- of which wet tyres: 24 sets
Total amount of sets used: 363
- of which supersoft tyres: 22 sets
- of which soft tyres: 104 sets
- of which medium tyres: 119 sets
- of which hard tyres: 63 sets
- of which intermediate tyres: 34 sets
- of which wet tyres: 21 sets
Longest run: 19 laps on the hard compound
30 laps of the medium compound
19 laps on the soft compound
14 laps on the supersoft compound
47 laps on the intermediate compound
48 laps on the wet compound
Lowest / highest ambient temperature over four days: 6 °C (Day 4) / 18 °C (Day 3+4)
Lowest / highest track temperature over four days: 8 °C (Day 1+2+3) / 26 °C (Day 4)