By Alex Kapadia
Pirelli is heading to its first season as the sole tyres supplier for Formula One with confidence after completing another successful test.
The Italian tyres manufacturer carried out the latest tests in Sakhir as Pirelli ran for five days at the Bahrain venue which will host the 2011 season-opening Grand Prix next March.
The test concentrated on both compound and construction, with test drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Romain Grosjean sharing the load of 3000km running at the desert circuit.
The proceedings were hampered by sandstorms, which several teams have also experienced to their cost during recent seasons, however, Pirelli insisted the conditions added another element to their preparations.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli, said: “F1 is all about expecting the unexpected, and we were able to quickly react to these changing circumstances by extending our test.
“With the extra time we had, we were probably able to put in a little bit more work than we had originally planned, so everything worked out very well in the end.
“We ran through our entire dry tyre range, and to have reached the point where we are at now, just five months after the F1 tyres ran for the very first time at Mugello in August, is an incredible testimony to the commitment and capability shown by every member of our team.
“We ran two drivers in order to compare two different sets of feedback, and the fact that they were both saying the same positive things at the end of the test only underlines the progress that we have made.
“There’s still some work to do, but we can head into 2011 with confidence.”
Pirelli intends to complete two further tests prior to the start of the 2011 season in Bahrain, returning to Sakhir over 9-10 January and then transferring to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit – the scene of the 2010 finale – for a three-day test on January less than a week later.