The Formula One teams are preparing to put the new Pirelli tyres through their toughest test yet as the Malaysian Grand Prix approaches.
Sepang is well-known for abrasive asphalt and extreme weather, which ranges from intense heat to monsoon-like downpours. The circuit is also fast, with an average speed of over 210kph in qualifying, along with several flat-out corners and high-speed accelerations which make traction particularly crucial.
To cope with the demanding conditions, Pirelli has nominated the two hardest tyres in its range for the race – the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium.
The evolutions brought to the F1 tyres this year increase strength and reduce degradation, but maintain the same sporting characteristics and performance, to enhance the racing spectacle, according to Pirelli tyres.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli tyres, said: “Malaysia will obviously be only the second race that this completely new range of tyres, designed for the latest-generation Formula One cars, have ever competed in, and it also marks the debut of our 2014 hard tyre. The medium performed well in Melbourne, but Malaysia obviously presents a big contrast to Australia. We go from the smooth asphalt in Melbourne to a highly abrasive surface, and from the relatively cool conditions of Albert Park to much higher ambient and track temperatures.
“This of course will be as much of a challenge for the new cars as it is for the drivers, and we mustn’t forget that we are still at a very early point in the overall learning curve. Wet conditions in qualifying in Australia allowed the teams to sample the 2014 intermediate and full wet tyres, and this knowledge could become very useful in Sepang.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office