Formula One's sole tyre manufacturer Pirelli have concluded a crucial two-day test session with Ferrari and Mercedes, testing their brand-new blanket-free tyres at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports on the all-important test of the revolutionary F1 tyres.
Following last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Ferrari and Mercedes stayed at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to complete an important prototype tyre testing as Pirelli continued to evaluate their all-new tyre specification that does not require tyre warmers.
Yesterday saw Charles Leclerc get behind the wheel of his Ferrari SF23 while Mercedes completed their work with George Russell driving the W14. The Monegasque driver racked up a total of of 167 laps with his best time being a 1m18.197s. The Briton, who secured a third-place finish at Barcelona, notched up a total of 151 laps, posting a best lap time of a 1m18.400s yesterday.
Today saw Mick Schumacher make his debut behind the wheel of the Mercedes W14 after racking up huge mileages in the team's simulator at its Brackley factory. Leclerc handed over his car to his teammate Carlos Sainz for Day 2 of the tyre test. The German and the Spaniard completed another 299 laps in total, which meant that Pirelli completed 617 laps with their new blanket-free tyres.
While the blanket-free tyres remain a medium-term goal, current F1 tyres are set to undergo an immediate change with a new specification of slick tyres due to make debut at Silverstone, the British Grand Prix.
After evaluating the performance gains and development rate of the current F1 cars, Pirelli decided to introduce a new specification that will sport a sterner, tougher tyre construction with the compound types remaining the same. The new specification will see the debut of materials that have been originally planned for 2024.
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Mario Isola commented: "Initially this was scheduled for 2024, but its introduction has now been brought forward to make the structure more resistant to fatigue, as the loads generated by the current cars have already reached the targets set for the end of the season after only a few races," Isola said.