Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has said that Italian tyre firm will start official testing next month with a 'strong package'.
Pirelli completed its final private test this week, with Pedro de la Rosa running for four days in Abu Dhabi at the wheel of a Toyota TF109. In total he managed more than 2000 kilometres to add to the 1100 he racked up in Bahrain the week before. This brings the total testing kilometres accumulated by Pirelli since the first tyres took to the Italian circuit of Mugello in August up to more than 20,000.
Pirelli used its final test by spending two days running through its entire range of PZero dry tyres and two nights during which it tested the wet and intermediate tyres.
Pirelli's wet weather test made history, as it was the first time that a F1 car had been run in wet conditions in the dark. In order to replicate rainy conditions, tankers dampened the 3.1-kilometre north loop of the Yas Marina circuit with approximately 140,000 litres of water over two evening sessions that lasted from 1800hrs to midnight.
The first wet session was aimed at selecting the wet tyre that will be used by Pirelli during the coming season. Under the intense spotlights used to illuminate the track, de la Rosa completed 13 runs and 119 laps, totalling around 372 kilometres.
He completed a similar distance during the second night, but this time focused on testing the intermediate tyre and determining the crossover point, during which it is necessary to make the switch from full wets to intermediates and vice versa.
“It's been an extremely positive test session here in Abu Dhabi, thanks to the fantastic facilities we've had available to us and the usual hard work from Pedro and the rest of our team,” Hembery said.
“We're very proud to have been part of creating a little bit of history by running a F1 car at night for the first time on wet tyres: we very much believe that Pirelli will be able to contribute to the spectacle of F1 in the future and seeing the car kicking up huge plumes of spray under the floodlights has certainly been an amazing sight that we will all remember for a long time.
“While we are well aware that we are new to F1 and still have plenty to learn, I'm very confident that we can approach the start of this year's official testing next month with a strong package.”
de la Rosa, who has been Pirelli's official tester since October, was equally positive: “In my opinion, Pirelli is ready now for F1,” he continued. “The dry tyre test went very well, and confirmed everything we had learned in Bahrain the week before.
“But the most original part of the test was when we were running at night on the wet tyres, which was as new an experience for me as it was for everyone else. The most important thing was that the water levels were consistent, which allowed us to have some accurate results from the test. At the end of it, we've come up with two tyres – wet and intermediate – which I believe are both competitive and stable.”