By Alex Kapadia
Pirelli is putting its new Formula One tyres to their final and ultimate test – in the dark and on an artificially rain-drenched track
The Italian tyres manfacturer is conducting the test at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, which will be sprayed with water to create a unique 12-hour night testing ground for their wet weather tyres.
Pirelli, who have replaced Bridgestone as the sports exclusive tyre supplier, have covered more than 13,000 kms of testing in the past five months.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli, said in a statement before the first of two six-hour sessions: “This is a unique opportunity to witness a Formula One test car on track at night in the wet and on hot tarmac, in an entirely floodlit setting.
“We decided to do it this way because we want to challenge our rain tyres with the most difficult and demanding of all situations.
“And who knows, perhaps it could be a good idea for a future grand prix? These tests will provide us with useful information to finalise our tyre development process for Formula One.”
Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa was at the wheel of a Toyota FT109 car for the test, which is the last of nine private tests carried out by Pirelli ahead of the season opener in Bahrain on March 13.