By Alex Kapadia
Pirelli’s new Formula One tyres will be put through their paces on the tight and twisty Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia this morning as the official opening day of the 2011 season gets underway.
The Italian tyres manufacturer – which took over from Bridgestone as the sole supplier to the sport – will debut its PZero tyres, of which four dry types and two wet types will be offered throughout the season.
The first test begins at 10am – signaling the start of four official sessions before the first Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain on 13 March.
The 12 teams had an opportunity to try out Pirelli’s soft and medium tyres for the first time last year in Abu Dhabi, just a few days after the season-closing Grand Prix.
This time the Italian company will bring a wider range of the new Formula One compounds, having defined the specification at the final private test sessions in the United Arab Emirates throughout mid-January
As well as the dry tyres, Pirelli will also put the intermediate and wet tyres at the disposal of the teams in case of rain, which is a common occurrence on the Spanish coast at this time of year.
During the three-day Valencia test, each of the 12 teams will receive a maximum allocation of 30 sets of tyres. The teams can choose how many sets of each compound they wish to test, depending on their individual development strategies.
Paul Hembery, Motorsport Director for Pirelli, said: “We arrive in Valencia with all our compounds defined and ready to offer the teams different tyre solutions.
“Having enjoyed an intense and fruitful collaboration so far, this test will provide us with some useful feedback and a valuable taste of the season to come.
“It goes without saying that we are eagerly awaiting the first Grand Prix. Valencia will be a very significant test, as it will allow us to experience a situation that is very similar to real race conditions, although the ambient conditions aren’t representative of the rest of the year, and also give us a good idea of how to work together in future.
“The objective of this test is to give all the teams the opportunity to become better acquainted with the tyres that we will supply to them this season, before they end their development programmes prior to the first Grand Prix of the year in Bahrain.”