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Bahrain test gives Pirelli confidence

Pirelli has wrapped up its 2010 development programme with a successful five-day at the Bahrain International Circuit with Pedro de la Rosa and Romain Grosjean.
Pirelli has said that it can head into its 2011 F1 with confidence following another successful test to round out 2010.

The Italian tyre manufacturer replaces Bridgestone as F1's sole supplier next season, and has been working through its preparation with a test hack based on Toyota's TF109 chassis, and a range of drivers, starting with Nick Heidfeld, and concluding with both pedro de la Rosa - who swapped places with the German after Heidfeld's appointment to Sauber - and former Renault rookie Romain Grosjean.

The latter pair were both on track in Sakhir as Pirelli ran for five days at the venue which will host the 2011 season-opener next March.

The test concentrated on both compound and construction, with de la Rosa and Grosjean sharing the load of 3000km running at the desert circuit. The haul takes Pirelli's track work over 10,000km in less than six months since beginning its development programme.

As several teams have found to their cost - notably Ferrari and Toyota in recent seasons - the location threw up several unusual problems for Pirelli, especially sandstorms which delayed proceedings.

Motorsport director Paul Hembery, however, insisted that the conditions only added another element to Pirelli's preparation.

"F1 is all about expecting the unexpected, and we were able to quickly react to these changing circumstances by extending our test," he pointed out, "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.

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