The eleven F1 teams will get their first taste of Pirelli's 2013-spec tyres as the opening test of the year kicks off at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in southern Spain.
Although the teams had a chance to sample the new construction during free practice at last year's Brazilian Grand Prix, the opening group test of the new season will be the first time that they get to try out the complete new range, together with the latest-specification compounds.
The key characteristics that the teams will notice about the 2013 tyres are a bigger performance gap between the compounds and faster overall lap times, by approximately half a second per lap. However, as a result of the modifications made to the 2013 construction, noticeably a more rigid belt package, a set of tyres is now about two kilogrammes heavier than it was last year. This has been compensated for by adjusting the minimum weight of the car accordingly.
“The pre-season tests represent an important opportunity for the teams to integrate their new car package with the 2013 tyres,” Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery confirmed, “With the number of test days strictly limited, the work done in testing will be crucial for their understanding of the tyres over the rest of the season.
“As many new cars will be running as well, it is sure to be an extremely busy four days in Jerez. The teams will encounter tyres that are quite different to the ones they were used to last year, as every P Zero compound and construction has been changed, with softer compounds that allow more performance and a different construction that will place a bigger footprint on the track surface to enhance traction and grip.
“This is one of the key aspects of Jerez, which should enable the teams to start to understand the nature of our new tyres by the time they go home on Thursday.”
Each car will have a maximum of 35 sets of Pirelli's new P Zero soft, medium and hard compounds available in Jerez, including the Cinturato intermediate and wet tyres if needed. The first 20 sets will be decided by Pirelli, with the remaining 15 down to each team's individual choice. The supersoft will not be seen in Jerez as its characteristics are not suited for the track. Teams are allowed a maximum of 100 sets of tyres per car each year for testing purposes, but are allowed to choose any combination of compounds within that allowance.
High degradation of the rear tyres is expected this week, as the tarmac at Jerez is the roughest of all the tracks visited during the year.