Pirelli has declared itself 'very satisfied' following the conclusion of its first F1 running in almost two decades at Mugello this week, as Nick Heidfeld put an unbranded example of Toyota's 2009-spec TF109 through its paces around the Italian circuit to begin the development of the tyres that will be used in the 2011 world championship.
Having been newly-appointed as the Italian manufacturer's dedicated test driver, Heidfeld spent two days sampling prototype versions of Pirelli's new PZero tyre, which will be used by all F1 teams from next season onwards according to the terms of a three-year agreement struck with world motorsport's governing body the FIA less than two months ago.
The objective of the test – which was held in largely dry and sunny conditions – was to begin the process of determining the front and rear tyre profile and construction, and Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery hailed it a successful start.
“This was the first step of our return to F1, and we are very satisfied with how the tyres performed and the information we were able to collect,” the Englishman reported. “We concentrated on finalising the profile and the construction of the front and rear tyres, which is a process that we will continue over the next few tests that we carry out.
“A lot of people have made a big commitment to get to where we are today in a very short period of time, and the effort really has been incredible. The Toyota team has also been very professional and provided a good, reliable car and we are all very happy to begin our relationship with Nick Heidfeld, who gave us a lot of good feedback and suggestions.
“Mugello has quite an abrasive surface, with long and medium-to-high-speed corners as well as hairpins and quick changes of direction, so it is quite a good proving-ground. We are on-target, and we come away from this test with lots of data to analyse, which is exactly the situation we hoped to be in.”
Testing will continue at Jerez, Monza and Paul Ricard over the coming weeks, before the F1 teams get their first run on next year's rubber at the Yas Marina Circuit following the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November. The tyres will be substantially the same as those that will be provided to the feeder GP2 Series, with Ben Hanley having tested alongside Heidfeld at Mugello aboard a 2011-spec Dallara.