The teams will take to the track at Silverstone for three days from Wednesday to Friday this week for the official young driver test. This is an opportunity to run young drivers, develop cars for the future, and also to test the new specification of P Zero tyre that will be used from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards.
In agreement with the FIA, the annual allocation of tyre sets for testing purposes has been increased by five to 105 in total. Within their remaining tyre sets available, it is up to the teams to decide how many of those tyres they wish to use during each test, and which compounds they would like to assess at every test venue. No team has chosen the supersoft at Silverstone, for example, as its characteristics do not match those of the fast and flowing Northamptonshire circuit: one of the quickest on the calendar.
In addition to the test allocation of 105 sets (minus those already used), Pirelli will bring seven further sets of tyres to Silverstone, which are made up of three hard compound tyres, two medium compound tyres and two prototype hard compound tyres, the latter having already been available for testing during the Friday practice sessions of the Spanish and British Grand Prix this year. Current race drivers (who may only take part in this test on condition that they do tyre testing based on run plans supplied by Pirelli) may use this additional tyre allocation.
The tyres that will be used in Silverstone this week are all in the specification that will be used from Hungary onwards, with a 2012-style Aramid construction matched to the current compounds. All the remaining sets from each team’s existing test allocation have been reproduced to match the new constructions.
Although the overall specification of the tyres tested at Silverstone is new, the teams will still be very familiar with their characteristics, as they have plenty of data on the construction from last year and this year’s compounds. The work done will consist mainly of refining the car-tyre package to get the most out of the new specification.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “This young driver test presents a valuable opportunity for the teams to assess the new specification of tyre, and also to run their young drivers. With the occasions for testing minimal during the year, it’s important for every team as well as ourselves to get the very most we can out of these opportunities. The experience of the race drivers is bound to bring a lot and we look forward to hearing their feedback. We’re not expecting the new specification of tyre to feel considerably different to the previous specification to drive, and the general characteristics should be similar. Nonetheless, there will be plenty of useful work that the teams should be able to carry out within the next three days.”