Pirelli has announced it is taking its soft and medium P Zero tyres to Australia for the first Grand Prix of the 2015 Formula One world championship season.
It is also predicting that lap times this weekend may be up to two seconds faster than last year, due to tyre development, which could mean increased traction, performance and durability.
Albert Park in Melbourn is a semi-permanent track, which means puts particular demands on the tyres. The racing line is often ‘green’: dirty and slippery, especially at the start of the weekend. This increases wheelspin, which leads to a greater degree of tyre degradation. The torque of the new generation of turbo-hybrid engines accentuates this phenomenon.
Acceleration and braking are the keys to a good performance in Melbourne, with the longitudinal forces at work on the tyres being greater than the lateral forces. The improved combined traction of the P Zero tyres this year marks a significant step forward in this area.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli tyres, explained: “Our fifth season of Formula One gets underway in Australia: one of the most exciting races of the year as it’s the start of a new season held at a venue that is always extremely challenging, popular and unpredictable.
“Just like last year, we’ve nominated the medium and soft compounds, which cover the very wide range of usage conditions that are possible in Melbourne. The new rear structure increases traction and helps drivers get onto the power earlier: one of the factors that has led to faster lap times this year.
“As always at the start of the season, there are big question marks about the pecking order and relative performance of the cars. All we know for sure is that performance will inevitably increase still further during the course of the year, which will naturally have an effect on the interaction between the cars and the tyres.
“The behaviour of the tyres was in line with our expectations during pre-season testing, but of course you cannot really compare testing to real racing, with drivers pushing to the limit. That’s why this weekend in Melbourne is so eagerly anticipated by everyone.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office