Fernando Alonso might have missed out on his goal of a third career crown in the F1 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale last weekend, but still the Ferrari star made sure he concluded the campaign on top in one respect, by leading a trio of world champions to the head of the timing screens on the second and final day of the Pirelli tyre test at Yas Marina.

Alonso completed 105 laps of the Middle Eastern circuit for Ferrari - his penultimate appearance 'behind-the-wheel' this year ahead of the Scuderia's popular annual World Finals event in Valencia next weekend, where he will be joined by team-mate Felipe Massa - and wound up ahead of multiple title-winner Michael Schumacher in the sole Mercedes Grand Prix and the sport's new youngest-ever world champion Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull Racing.

"Overall, it was a positive day," the Spaniard pronounced. "We had no particular problems with the Pirelli tyres, and we were able to gather a lot of data for their engineers to work on. We are pleased with the way we worked and in how we were able to adapt the set-up of the car to suit the new tyres, especially in terms of the work we can do on the new car in preparation for next season. From what we could see, the switch from Bridgestone to Pirelli should not be a traumatic one.

"Being back on this track after the disappointment of Sunday? It's normal that all of us still feel very disappointed, but that's part of sport. I would think it's the same thing the Dutch football players felt when they lost the World Cup final back in July - then, after a few weeks, they realised they had achieved something, while so many others had not even got anywhere close. The same goes for us; the final victory eluded us, but in any case we had a great season, with a fantastic fight back in the second part of the year - and next year we will try again!"

With the weather remaining hot and sunny in the UAE, Schumacher was just 16 hundredths of a second slower than Alonso on the final timesheets at the end of his 74 laps on-track, with compatriot Vettel another 14 hundredths adrift still following 66 laps.

"Today was my first day of testing for 2011, and I feel that we had an interesting session," underlined 'Schumi'. "We gathered a lot of data and insights, and have positive feedback from our first impression of the new tyres. I am probably the only driver to have driven with Pirelli tyres before, but it was 20 years ago and I didn't have any certain expectations before today.

"In terms of consistency, it looked quite good but we were using the 2010 car today and it will be all about how these tyres suit our 2011 car. I am already curious to try it out, but at the same time I am looking forward to having a break now. I am sure the guys are too, and they clearly deserve it. I would like to thank all of them for the good job they have done over the season, and I have massively enjoyed working with them."

"Michael and Nico [Rosberg] have now completed their first days in the car on Pirelli tyres and both have been impressed," added Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn. "This week's test has been very productive for us, and comes at a time when we can use the information gathered here to fine-tune the detail of our 2011 car and optimise the areas which we believe will be critical.

"Pirelli have done an excellent job to get these tyres to where they are now after such a short period of time, and we are looking forward to working closely with them through the winter test programme at the start of next year."

"We have had two busy days on-track, getting our first impressions of the new tyres, analysing how they perform and looking at some things for next year," reported Vettel, who is now set to return to his hometown of Heppenheim in Germany for the first time since lifting the laurels last weekend. "There is still a lot to do, but I think the tyres are already better than expected. Since February, we haven't really had time to do any in-depth testing on-track, so these two days have given us a chance to reflect on things we have tried during the season."

"It's been interesting to work with different tyres here, and it was good to have the opportunity to get information using a car we know well - the RB6 - before starting to work with the new car next year," concurred RBR head of race engineering, Ian Morgan. "Overall, we have done everything we planned to and we're looking forward to working with Pirelli in the future. It's sad that this is the last day of running for the RB6 - it's a car that we have enjoyed a great deal of success with this year - but we're looking forward to 2011."

Rubens Barrichello and Robert Kubica completed the test fourth and fifth for Williams and Renault respectively, with the Brazilian conducting brake-testing and set-up work in addition to tyre evaluations, and the Pole praising a 'productive' day as he gets to grips with F1's 2011 tyres.

"Another full day of testing today," revealed Barrichello. "We did a lot of laps! We learnt everything about the tyres that we needed to, and have a good amount of data check out over the winter. I want to thank all of the team for the effort they have put in over the year - they have been great to work with. I am now looking forward to going home and recharging over the next two months, and coming back refreshed in 2011!"

"We evaluated different braking systems today, from which we have some interesting results," added Williams senior test engineer, Tom McCullough. "The rest of the session was spent concentrating on performance set-up work and understanding the new tyres. In summary, the team has had a productive week in Abu Dhabi. We're pleased with the progress made with Pirelli, and we've collected plenty of valuable information to work on before returning to the track with the new car next year."

"It has been quite a productive day, and it's good to complete so many laps on the new tyres," mused Kubica. "Like yesterday, we ran with both compounds and collected a lot of data, which will be useful for us and for Pirelli as well. Overall, it has been a positive couple of days and now we have to try and extract as many conclusions as we can from the data. My initial feeling is good, and it seemed that the tyres got better as the track conditions improved throughout the day."

"We've had a second useful day on the Pirelli tyres, and managed to complete medium-length runs on both the soft and medium compounds without any significant issues," concurred Renault F1 chief engineer Alan Permane. "This allowed us to start understanding the tyre characteristics and assess the degradation rates.

"We struggled with some understeer today, which we never totally got rid of, so we still need to try and understand that. Over the next couple months, we will continue building our relationship with Pirelli by exchanging data so that we're ready for winter testing to resume next February."

Sixth and seventh on the final timesheets were McLaren-Mercedes' equally-matched 'other' British pairing of Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey, with the duo providing very similar feedback to one another on tyre life and durability, providing the Woking-based outfit with significant modelling data for both the car and the tyre.

Eighth and eleventh-quickest respectively were Force India test and reserve driver Paul di Resta - in the cockpit of the VJM03 for a second consecutive day - and the man he could be in-line to replace at the Silverstone-based squad next year, Vitantonio Liuzzi. Together with Adrian Sutil the previous day, the trio focussed on tyre evaluations and completed tests designed to gather as much information as possible on weight distribution, aero settings and general balance to feed back into the development programme of the 2011-spec VJM04. di Resta took away the honour of the team's fastest time from the test.

"We have been looking forward to this Pirelli tyre test since we received the first real information about the tyres from them in early September," confessed FIF1 chief race engineer Dominic Harlow. "Over these two days, we've covered more than two race distances and have been impressed with Pirelli's tyres.

"We've allowed all three of our drivers to make an overall assessment in comparison to this year's baseline, and then we've carried out further parameterised testing with the two compounds available. In addition, we have run with a great many additional sensors and data acquisition systems to collect as much information as possible from the tyres on-track. Having used eight sets - four 'Option' and four 'Prime' - we feel we've built a reasonable early picture of the tyres at a circuit which, although changing in condition, has proven productive for testing.

"The next steps are for us to incorporate what we have learned into the development of VJM04, and for Pirelli's engineers to analyse the data they have collected as they determine the tyre specifications that will be available to us when we are next testing in February, 2011."

Sandwiched in-between di Resta and Liuzzi were Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi and Scuderia Toro Rosso ace S?bastien Buemi, with the former's 2011 team-mate at the Hinwil-based concern, Sergio P?rez. taking over from the young Japanese star in the afternoon and winding up a highly respectable twelfth overall.

"Overall, it was good to have this test with the new Pirelli tyres," acknowledged Kobayashi. "Despite some technical problems with the car this morning, I still gained a little bit more experience with these tyres and we got more data for next year. It was my last run with this car, so I want to say 'thank you, C29'! I also want to thank the team, and I'm looking forward to continuing to work with them."

"It was a pretty good day for me even though we had a few problems," concurred P?rez, "but we still got work done and have got a lot of data to be analysed now. It was important for me to do longer runs. I also felt a bit more comfortable with the car and more familiar with the procedures and the engineers, which enabled me to give better feedback to them. I'm quite happy and looking forward to pre-season testing."

"It was another useful day with the new tyres, but both drivers suffered from technical failures which compromised our programme," summarised Sauber technical director James Key. "We will look into these issues when we are back in the factory.

"We learned a little bit more about how the tyres are behaving, and it was important for Sergio to get his first run on Pirellis. The main part of his programme was to run on race fuel levels, to get a feeling for the car in race condition. Thank you to the team for all the hard work this year! We are looking forward to returning with the new car."

"I am pleased with my first test day on the Pirelli tyres," stated Buemi, after almost 100 laps. "We got through a lot of work, although it is difficult to draw any conclusions regarding actual performance, even if the feeling from the tyres is pretty good at this early stage. Now, our engineers will have a lot of work back at the factory to ensure the new car suits the characteristics of the tyres. Overall, I do not think we could have done a better job at this test, so it is nice to see the 2010 season end on a positive note."

"This has been a productive day," agreed Toro Rosso chief engineer Laurent Mekies. "We got through a lot of laps, with a mix of short and long runs. It was especially useful that S?bastien was able to do a very long run, equivalent to a race distance on the soft Pirelli tyre, so there is a lot of data from which we can learn for next season.

"Apart from the work on the tyre front, we also tried a couple of mechanical components aimed at next year's car and we ran trouble-free throughout the day. That marks the end of testing for 2010, and the team worked well to complete these four additional track days in Abu Dhabi on the back of a very busy end to the season. However, it will not be long until we start all over again in Valencia in early February."

Bringing up the rear of the order, once more, were the three F1 2010 newcomers, with Jarno Trulli giving Lotus Racing bragging rights - as, indeed, the team has had for the majority of the campaign - by pipping Pastor Maldonado in the Hispania car and Timo Glock's Virgin machine to 13th place by just over two tenths of a second.

"It's been a very positive day," affirmed Trulli. "It was good to try the Pirelli tyres for the first time, and while we have obviously got a lot of work ahead of us, I think this was a good start. We will need to focus on the driveability of the tyres - on performance they were good, but we will need to work together in a clear direction to maximise the handling of the car.

"The hard compounds were pretty consistent, a little less so with the softs, but we have gathered a lot of data that will play an important part in the development of next year's car. Now the season is over, I want to thank the whole team for their work this year - we have finished where we wanted to be, and everyone in the team has played their part in helping us reach our goals, so thank you to them and to the fans for everything this year."

"Another successful day for us, and a successful conclusion to both the test with Pirelli and the year in general," added Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. "My thanks to Jarno for his work today - he gave us some excellent feedback, which will give us valuable data for the development of the 2011 car.

"As this is the last run for the T127, I also want to thank the whole team for all their efforts in what has been a fantastic year and thank all our fans for giving us such great support throughout the season. Now we look ahead to 2011, and we are all excited about taking the next step forward with the new package in what is certain to be another very exciting chapter in our story."

"I am very happy to have been able to do the two days of the Pirelli test with Hispania Racing," reflected Maldonado, who concentrated on a succession of short runs in the Cosworth-powered F110. "Today we tried different settings on the car to find the right set-up with the new tyres. Our focus was not on doing the best lap time, but on getting a lot of data which will be important for the development of the car for next year. I really enjoyed being in an F1 car and getting more experience - and now I am already looking forward to next season, when I hopefully can make use of it in F1."

"After gaining a lot of data about the new Pirell tyres, we used last night to analyse all of it and define our testing programme for today," explained HRT team principal Dr. Colin Kolles. "We tried to get more data on the last day of testing, and we have been able to learn more about the tyres and how to use them.

"During this week, we have given three talented young drivers the opportunity to get experience in an F1 car. It was good to work with them, and we hope to see them in F1 soon. Our aim during this testing week was to do as many laps as possible, and to have as much information about the new Pirelli tyres and the car behaviour into the winter break to be able to keep on working with and to be well-prepared for the next tests before the new season begins."

"First of all, my thanks to the team for one final push this week," praised Glock, who successfully achieved the most mileage on a single car in one day that Virgin has all year with 83 laps of the Yas Marina Street Circuit. "It's been another busy week for us all at the end of the season, but the information that we have collected will be invaluable for next year's programme. We had a very good day of running, and we have been able to gather a huge amount of data from the tyres and the development parts for 2011.

"With regard to the Pirelli tyres, I think we have seen some positive things and also some things that need to be addressed, but that is to be expected. The 'Option' looks very good and is very consistent, but there seems to be a lot of rear degradation with the 'Prime', so that's something to be worked on. Generally, though, a very good test and now it's over to the technical guys to feed all that back into the programme and make sure we have a strong package next season."

"We said we wanted to end the season on a high, and that is exactly what we've done here in Abu Dhabi this week with four very positive days of running," confirmed Virgin team principal John Booth. "We've done some good work with the tyres over the last two days, and this has been an important step towards our 2011 programme.

"We have also been able to demonstrate just how far we have come this season by achieving over 400 kilometres of running today. I would like to thank Pirelli for a very positive start to our working relationship - they have been a pleasure to work with. Once again, my thanks to everyone in the team for another week of hard work, and I wish everyone a well-deserved break before the big push gets underway for next year."

The next private test to fine-tune the tyres will take place in similarly hot conditions in Bahrain in December, with another session in cooler European climes in January - prior to the official commencement of 2011 testing in early February - but with each team having completed an average of 80 laps on the final day in Abu Dhabi and a combines total of more than 10,000km over the two days, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery admitted he couldn't be happier.

"It was hard work, but a very positive and educational experience for us," the Englishman acknowledged. "We know that this was only our first test, but we think we've passed it with full marks. The comments from the drivers are very encouraging - they especially enjoyed the performance of our front tyre, which is an area that we have worked on considerably. This was one of our objectives, and I'm delighted that we have hit our target.

"Throughout these two days, we've tried out the medium and soft compound tyres and we've had good results from both of them, particularly in terms of wear rate. During the two days of testing here in Abu Dhabi, we've racked up nearly 11,000 kilometres with all the teams - that's more than we have accumulated in three months of private testing! They have also been 11,000 very interesting kilometres, given that we were testing for the first time with the current cars, rather than the 2009-specification Toyota that we have used up to now.

"Furthermore, the teams have begun to test different solutions specifically for 2011, giving them further development directions. We've now collected a huge amount of data and opinions, which we will start to analyse on Monday as we prepare for the next tests in Bahrain at the beginning of December. After then, we will have finalised our product and we can look forward to the next official test with all the teams at the start of February."

To see the testing times, click here



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