Pirelli test kicks off at Abu Dhabi

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F1 Test, test session, Yas Marina Circuitae

For the first time since the annoucement of Pirelli starting a tyre supply in 2011, the teams get a chance to test the tyres at a common test. All teams are still present at Abu Dhabi and will run their race or regular test drivers to assess the Italian rubber.

Halfway through the session, Williams in particular are focussing on aerodynamic evaluation of the tyres as they are doing slow aero testing as well as baseline runs. It is well known the the shape of a tyre can drastically affect a car's aerodynamic performance. Renault for instance had notable problems in 2007 with making the switch from Michelin to Bridgestone.

Gary Pafett is in action for McLaren, putting in lots of laps. By noon he completed 65 laps, but Barrichello (Williams) and Maldonado for HRT are above 60 laps as well. Other notable runners are Felipe Massa for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull. The latter topped the timesheets before the lunch break.

Initial comments by the drivers were also positive, noting that the new tyres are not too different from the Bridgestones, and that their performance in terms of laptime looks to be similar as well.