Force India’s Sergio Perez says a strong understanding of Formula 1’s 2018 Pirelli tyres could lead to teams gaining key advantages in the opening rounds of the season. 

Pirelli introduced two new sets of slick tyres - the Hypersoft and Superhard - to its 2018 range, making each compound a step softer in a bid to encourage a move away from one-stop race strategies and improve the spectacle for fans. 

Perez racked up 93 laps on his way to finishing the opening day of the second pre-season test a low-key 10th and 1.2s off the pace. After Tuesday's running had ended, Perez explained how Force India was prioritising long runs in the hope of gaining a quick understanding of how the new tyre compounds work. 

“I want to and am encouraged by the long runs in the car to understand the new tyres as I think there is a lot to be gained early in the season learning properly about the new tyres,” Perez said. 

“I think we are in a much better understanding of where we are but I am very hopeful for what we are going to have for Melbourne. We definitely need a good step for the first race and hopefully that will come and then we can be competitive from then on.”

Perez said he is encouraged by his early impressions of Force India’s new-for-2018 challenger as the Silverstone-based squad looks to build on back-to-back fourth place finishes in the constructors’ standings. 

But the Mexican warned it is too early to start making predictions about the pecking order for the upcoming campaign. 

“There are reasons to be optimistic as we’ve done good steps in terms of balance and obviously this is a very different character of conditions to what we will have in Melbourne. It is too early to be disappointed or happy, I think we have to keep our heads down and keep working.

Right now it’s hard to judge, it’s hard to see where we are but certainly I don’t think we are leaving the midfield at the moment but I always say it doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you are in Abu Dhabi.”

While the first day of the second pre-season test saw much higher temperatures hit Barcelona - in contrast to the cold snap which hampered proceedings during opening week of testing - Perez believes current conditions are not representative compared to those that will be seen when the season gets underway. 

“I think what we are experiencing on these days, it’s probably irrelevant because I think once we go to race weekends track temperatures are going to be quite different to what we had some far.

“It has been an interesting day as you know how close everyone has been but I think we can’t learn a lot from this Barcelona test because it is very cold. I think apart from Silverstone we will not have a weekend like this because it is so cold.”

 

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