By Alex Kapadia
Formula One teams are getting the chance to build up a greater understanding of how the Pirelli tyres work during a three-day test at Mugello in Italy.
The tests, which will run from the 1st to the 3rd of May, present the first time that in-season testing has been seen in F1 since September 2008.
But for Pirelli, Mugello has a much more recent significance, as it was where the company’s prototype F1 tyres first took to the track in August 2010, less than two months after it was confirmed the Italian tyre manufacturer was taking over from Bridgestone as the sports sole supplier of tyres.
Pirelli will bring all four slick compounds to Mugello – supersoft, soft, medium and hard – but the teams will only be able to use the tyres that are left to them out of their testing allocation of 100 sets of tyres per car per year.
The Cinturato intermediate and wet weather tyres will also be available at Mugello in case of rain.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director, commented: “The Mugello test will be very important when it comes to understanding the way in which the tyres work, and I’m sure that the teams will take away plenty of information that will allow their knowledge of the tyres to evolve as the season continues, which was exactly the case last year.
“As much as a battle between the drivers, it’s a technological battle between the engineers as well,
which is one of the many fascinating aspects of this sport.
“As well as accumulating more data, this test is also a valuable opportunity for some of the third drivers to get time in a Formula One car on the current tyres, which would be very difficult under normal circumstances.
“With the closest start to the championship that we have seen for a very long time, the competition has never been tighter – and the teams will be keen to take every advantage that they can from the next three days before the European season starts.
“For us, it’s nice to be going back to a track close to home, where the story of our latest Formula One campaign all beta.”