It’s been a long time coming, but after 33 days of official and private testing, Pirelli is finally gearing up to show the world how its new Formula One tyres perform.
The Italian tyres manufacturer is rolling into Melbourne’s Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix which signals the start of its first season as the sole tyre supplier to the sport.
This weekends Australian Grand Prix marks the first race of Pirelli’s three-season agreement with the FIA, the governing body of world motorsport.
The new tyres have been surrounded with controversy during the development and testing phase, with several teams and drivers openly criticising the new PZero rubber.
The tyres are designed to help promote overtaking, but have come under fire for deteriorating too fast.
Pirelli is taking the hard and the soft compounds to Australia, with the soft tyres providing plenty of speed and grip, while the hard tyres are more biased towards durability.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli, said: “This is the moment that we’ve been building up to for more than a year now and it’s very exciting for all of us.
“Our tyres this year are designed to be different to what we have seen before in Formula One, but I think all the teams have managed to gather some useful information about them in testing.
“We’re aiming for between two and three pit stops in Australia, which in some ways is against our company DNA as our road car tyres are designed to be as durable as possible. But Formula One is a very different case, because our remit from the teams and promoter was to provide entertainment.
“With that in mind, we’re just keen to get going now and it will be fascinating to see exactly how the drivers and teams are going to use our tyres to employ different strategies during the race.
“We’ve noticed a few differences between the teams already in testing, and it’s going to be very interesting to find out exactly how that translates into a race situation.”
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team