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Pirelli signs off first test with 11,000kms on the clock
Pirelli signs off first test with 11,000kms on the clock
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Nov 2010   |  7:21 pm GMT  |  79 comments

The Pirelli tyre test concluded today in Abu Dhabi with a total of 15 drivers on track in 12 cars and Fernando Alonso setting the pace.

Alonso on Pirellis (Ferrari)

In total the F1 teams have done 11,000 kilometres in the last two days, giving Pirelli some very good data to work with on compounds and wear rates. The next time the F1 cars will test will be at the start of February when the first 2011 runners will hit the track on the next iteration of Pirelli tyres.

For detailed analysis of the Pirelli tyres see yesterday’s post, but today Michael Schumacher had his first taste of the tyres and sounded a cautiously optimistic note.

“We gathered a lot of data and insights, and have positive feedback from our first impression of the
new tyres,” he said. “I am probably the only driver to have driven with Pirelli tyres before but it was 20 years ago and I didn’t have any certain expectations before today. In terms of consistency, it looked quite good but we were using the 2010 car today and it will be all about how these
tyres suit our 2011 car.”

Schumacher started his F1 career on Pirelli tyres in 1991 on the Benetton, in the days when they were very good qualifying tyres, but not so durable in races. Nelson Piquet gave the tyre marque their last F1 win that year in Montreal (the infamous day when Mansell switched off the Williams on the final lap)

McLaren has run the same drivers all week in both the final Bridgestone test, for young drivers and the Pirelli test. Certainly in Gary Paffett’s case that will have given him a pretty good feel for the difference between the two. Force India did a similar thing with Paul di Resta. And today Sergio Perez had a run in the Sauber on PIrellis, which will have given him a comparative view too.

Pirelli’s Paul Hembery commented, “The comments from the drivers are very encouraging: they especially enjoyed the performance of our front tyre, which is an area that we have worked on considerably. This was one of our objectives, and I’m delighted that we have hit our target. Throughout these two days we’ve tried out the medium and soft compound tyres and we’ve had good results from both of them, particularly in terms of wear rate. During the two days of testing here in Abu Dhabi we’ve racked up nearly 11,000 kilometres with all the teams: that’s more than we have accumulated in three months of private testing.”

Pirelli Tyre Test Day Two, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.529s 105
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m40.825s 66
3. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m41.294s 101
4. Robert Kubica Renault 1m41.614s 91
5. Gary Paffett McLaren 1m41.622s 46
6. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1m41.740s 30
7. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m41.757s 74
8. Paul di Resta Force India 1m41.869s 35
9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m42.110s 43
9. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m42.145s 98
10. Tonio Liuzzi Force India 1m42.416s 47
11. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m42.777s 46
12. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m44.521s 83
13. Pastor Maldonado Hispania 1m44.768s 65
14. Timo Glock Virgin 1m44.783s 83

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It is interesting to read all of the Driver comments on the performance of the tires,most Drivers seem impressed with this tyre,I wonder whether this tyre will in fact suite Schumacher’s style of driving, most articles seem to suggest that he is cautiosly optimistic about this tyre being the answer to his problems maybe its because he tested the tyres on the 2010 Spec Merc.James are you able to tell us how his Sector times on the Pirelli tyres compares to his Sectors times in Qualifying(Abu Dhabi-Final Race) on the Bridgestone tyres.Is there a difference?


I have the sector times, but the conditions were so different with track improvement etc that it’s pretty meaningless to compare


are the fronts the same size as last year.? remember they made them narrower than the year before.


pirelli have already said they will listen to what the teams want ; if they want tyres like 2010 , that’s easy , but if they want more aggressive tyres that will be more tricky to get the compounds correct

construction is now set for 2011 according to pirelli statements


I can’t help but feel a little let down if Pirelli make their tyres more durable. The best race of this year was Canada, a race where tyres went off very quickly. I would be very disappointed if the drivers complained about the tyres being less durable. They do want exciting racing and passing, I can’t help but think less duable tyres would only help that?


In 1991 Pirelli went down the durability route. I remember Piquet/Moreno trying to go through every race without stopping.

Obviously that was 20 years though and they will probably now have a completely different philosophy. I hope so!!


Wow a lot of people jumping to conclusions already. It was not a form guide guys. It was a test and the cars will be totally different in Feb.

I am also one of those who want to see good old Schumi but realistically I think he will be on par with Rosberg in terms of qualifying and race pace. And its not a bad thing because Rosberg may be on par guys like Vettel.

But then, if Mercedes produce a contender, he and Rosberg will be fighting for the title.


I rate Rosberg very high after this year. I put him up there as one of the best drivers this year.


James can you confirm that teams added extra ballist to replicate next years new weight. i read that Lotus did but didnt hear about any other team?


James could you maybe do an article over the winter about Herman Tilke and his monopoly on new f1 venues please. i find it really annoying that he designs these circuits that are bad for over taking.

Kind regards



I really want to read a post from you on the Williams team. The last piece of news is that they will use battery KERS instead of their home made FlyWheel KERS.

It’s for packaging and centre of gravity reasons, at least that’s how Patrick Head put it.

Everytime one gets news from Williams, it’s bad news.


I hope these new tyres suit Schumi’s driving style.


Is that a pitot tube on Alonso’s car? The last time we saw one of those, McLaren were testing the air flow through the back-end of their F-Duct system. What are Ferrari up to now, since F-Ducts have been banned for next year and all?


Which engines were the teams using for the tests this week, as I assume the 8 engines used during the season wouldn’t be suitable to be used again?


Massa is, I think, the only driver whose time on Pirelli tyres was better than his GP time on Bridgestone tyres. And he actually matches Alonso times in the test (I know, his time was better than Alonso’s but he tested on the first day, when all the times were better by about 0.3 s and none of the drivers testing on both days could actually match their previous times on the second day, so I guess it means that Massa and Alonso would be more or less on par – a very simplified conclusion, I know).

Does it mean that he was really struggling that much with Bridgestone tyres or he just didn’t care at the end of the season and didn’t really do his best, while now he wants to prove that he can match Alonso?


Maldonado going well again. I’d always thought his performances in GP2 were flattering his ability, due to his financial backing, but it looks like he might be genuinely quite useful. Not quite the prospect Hulkenberg is, but Williams’ willingness to compromise is starting to make more sense.


All I can say is that the following things make 2011 season encouraging after a gutting 2010 championship (ofcourse, being a permanent Ferrari fan, I’m likely to logical for me to feel this way):

1. Michael Schumacher comfortable on Pirellis (even though he is driving for Mercedes, we the Ferrari fans will always look at Schuey as a Ferrari driver and a part of us. Unless next year he does Petrov on our drivers, which I’m sure he won’t for he still is a part of our Ferrari Pedigree) 🙂

2. Massa was quicker than Alonso over a single lap, which sorts out the fact that it was the tires that he was struggling with and not his post Hungary Accident Form.

3. Alonso is ofcourse being Alonso but with a Vengence and with his statement “…cos We Are Ferrari” is a clear indication that he has finally got the team for himself by winning their hearts (and ours) by scintillating drives in 2010. After Mclaren betrayal, he is finally home so you can expect him extend a step further since the 2011 Ferrari Challenger will be built around him.



1.) petrov did what he was paid to do, which is drive for Renault. Alonso would still have had to pass others ….

2.) I hope felippe has a good season next season as he is one of the good guys. I’m still not convinced he will want to stay at Ferrari (depending on possible moves elsewhere).

3.) the mclaren betrayal, very similar to the Massa situation in my book. Massa was very quick over a number of years prior to alonso coming to Ferrari.

I didn’t like the way alonso was treated at mclaren, or mark at redbull but sometimes this happens.

While the drivers all drive for the team, it I’d understandable if they become demotivated if they feel they are not being supported.

Still, gives us all something to talk about until February doesn’t it 😉


Schumacher did cut the chicane so his best time wasn’t counted. And his second best time was P7.

Alonso and Massa were testing new Schubert helmets. I suppose they will both have new designs for the new season then.

Instead of pesterting Mr. Allen with questions how about trying google or follow the live timing/approbiate twitters. Its not so hard.

The teams have been testing. No-one was doing qualifying laps. While Rosberg said those tyres seem to be a bit slower then the Bridgestones, it has not been the final version of the Pirelli tyres. I think we will only see the final version at the first tests in February.


Felipe wore the same red helmet on Friday. I think its nothing more than testing a new helmet design from Schuberth for next year.


Drivers were testing new helmets.

That is why Alonso’s had a different livery. Massa’s as well.


I guess Alonso will add some red/yellow (as in the Spanish Flag); something related with Asturias (that yellow cross -“Cruz de la Victoria”- on a blue background); and two aces, representing his two WDC.

Don’t know if there will be enough room for all that items! 🙂


Interesting that MSC and Rosberg set basically the same fastest time.


James, do you know how different are the tyres used today to the ones thay will be using on February in Spain? And after those tests on February, will they still develop the tyres before the season starts? (e.g. to adapt to wet conditions, as long as they have not been tested on wet track)

Off topic: I’ve read on Spanish papers that the Ferraris are testing some parts for 2011 car. Is this legal?


It’s a test… they could put a turbo on the car and it wouldn’t matter!

Beyond a few runs to get a baseline comparison against the Bridgestones, why would you spend a lot of time working on setting up your 2010 car when you could be working on systems for your 2011 car? Maybe try a new floor with no double-diffuser…?


Seems someone was in a extreme hurry to compile a report.

In the tests completed today,Michael was the second fastest


Extremely sorry James.

I just saw the other reports.My previous comment was after I saw the report.

Sorry again


Surely Schumacer was second fastest not 7th


He was, but his time was erased for cutting a chicane.


James, a fascinating update as normal.

It will be interesting to see how the tyres develop over the next couple of months, and if as a result of this test, the teams have to make any adaptations to development towards 2011.

I would like to ask why were a few drivers wearing different helmets? Have there been recent updates in helmet technology? And if so what are they?


Maybe I’m just a little bit paranoid, but should we be reading anything into the fact that Red Bull used Vettel for both test days, despite the fact that Webber has much more experience at testing and seems to be acknowledged as giving very good feedback and analysis.

I mean it could be that Mark just needs some time off after the disappointment of losing the title, but most of the major teams (except Mclaren) seem to have given each of their drivers a day of testing. Williams and Renault both used just one driver for the whole test and both of those teams have yet to 100% confirm their driver lineup for next year…


I was suspicious as well – some websites claim webber is missing the test due to a scheduled surgery, presumably to have pins removed. Not sure how credible the source is.


Webber himself declined the tests, in an interview he said he just wanted to go home and be with his family and dogs, recharge, end quote.


I get the impression that Vettel was sandbagging. I really do not think that considering the significant advantage the Red Bull has over the rest of the field (as displayed last week) that putting on a different brand of tyre would negate that advantage. Is there any particular reason why the pace in general was slower during day 2, logic would dictate that the track would get faster the more Pirelli rubber is laid down?


I don’t understand how Schumi was a second faster than Rosberg on the same tyres? Does this mean that we will see him back at the front next year or is it too early to say?


he wasn’t really …missing a chicane improves your time


Thanks for that information lebesset, I didn’t know that he missed a chicane.

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