By Alex Kapadia
Formula One teams are set to get their first taste of Pirelli’s new season tyres at the first official test of the year at Jerez in southern Spain today.
The key characteristics of the new tyres is that there is a bigger performance gap between the compounds and faster overall lap times, by approximately half a second per lap.
Speaking ahead of the three day test, Paul Hembery, director of motorsport for Pirelli, commented: “The pre-season tests represent an important opportunity for the teams to integrate their new car package with the 2013 tyres.
“With the number of test days strictly limited, the work done in testing will be crucial for their understanding of the tyres over the rest of the season.
“As many new cars will be running as well, it is sure to be an extremely busy four days in Jerez.
“The teams will encounter tyres that are quite different to the ones they were used to last year, as every P Zero compound and construction has been changed, with softer compounds that allow more performance and a different construction that will place a bigger footprint on the track surface to enhance traction and grip.
“This is one of the key aspects of Jerez, which should enable the teams to start to understand the nature of our new tyres by the time they go home on Thursday.”
Pirelli has also introduced a new colour to their line-up – P Zero Orange hard, which replaces silver as the designation for the hardest tyre in the range. The new markings should also make the colours easier to distinguish.
Although the teams already had the chance to sample the new construction during free practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix last year, this will be the first time that they try out the complete new tyre range, together with the latest-specification compounds.