The second four-day official test of the year takes place in Bahrain from Wednesday to Saturday this week: the same venue that will host the third and final pre-season test later this month. The warm ambient conditions of around 20 degrees centigrade or higher are set to provide a marked contrast to the first test of the year in Jerez, which featured low temperatures and rain.
All the teams are expected to be present at the Bahrain test, as they continue to optimise the interaction between their radical new cars – with 1.6-litre turbocharged engines and advanced energy recuperation systems – and the latest generation of Pirelli tyres, which feature new compounds and constructions this year.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery: ”The first test of the year in Jerez was all about the teams getting their first taste of a very different set of technical regulations, so as expected running was limited and evaluating tyres was not a priority. On top of that, winter conditions in Europe – even in southern Spain – are not representative of the race conditions we will generally encounter throughout the rest of the season. In Bahrain, we’re expecting better weather and more running, which will allow ourselves and the teams to assimilate more data and knowledge of the tyres.
”This track contains a wide variety of speeds and corners with high longitudinal demands that address most aspects of a tyre’s behaviour, making it an ideal test venue.”
Teams are allowed an overall maximum total of 135 sets of tyres for testing this year, including the in-season tests. The maximum total for the three pre-season tests is 85 sets of tyres: 25 sets for Jerez and 30 each for the two Bahrain tests.
The teams will be able to test three slick compounds in Bahrain: hard, medium and soft. On top of this, they will also be able to test the ‘winter’ hard compound, which Pirelli has created to ensure a rapid warm-up even at low temperatures. The teams have asked to try this tyre, designed for Jerez, in Bahrain as well in order to assess how it performs in higher ambient temperatures. The ‘winter” version is recognisable by the fact that it has no markings, whereas the ‘standard’ 2014 hard compound carries orange markings.
Pirelli is also bringing an extra set of medium tyres per team to Bahrain, with 2014 construction and compound. However, these are actually considered to be ‘prototypes’ as their purpose is to test tyre behaviour without warming blankets, which will be banned from 2015 onwards.
Of the 30 sets at each team’s disposal, 22 sets of the four slick tyres (hard, ‘winter’ hard, medium, and soft) are selected by Pirelli in accordance with the teams (2 softs, 10 mediums, 1 prototype medium, 8 hards and 2 'winter' hards). The remaining eight sets are chosen by the teams in advance, to suit their individual run plans.