2016 Formula One Wet-Weather Tyre Test Review: Paul Ricard

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With Pirelli requesting two days at the Paul Ricard circuit in order to test their 2016 wet tyres and intermediate tyre ranges; this is the first time we have seen action on the track since the post-season test at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

With the teams not allowed to run or test any parts on their cars in preparation for the 2016 season, many will be wondering how the three teams; McLaren-Honda, Ferrari and Red Bull will perform.

Day One

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Day one of the test saw Daniel Ricciardo set the quickest time. Ricciardo put in a lap time of 1.08.713. McLaren test driver Stoffel Vandoorne was 0.4 seconds behind and second quickest ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari in third place who was 0.9 seconds behind Ricciardo.

However, McLaren didn’t finish its programme from Pirelli as Vandoorne stopped out on track shortly before the close of play due to a problem with the Honda engine. His McLaren returned to the pits on the back of a flat-bed truck.

Both Red Bull and Ferrari completed 10 sets of 10-lap runs on a full-wet prototype tyre. In total; 285 laps were covered across the three teams.

With the two-day test has been organised by Pirelli in order to test their wet weather tyres; the track at Paul Ricard was artificially soaked by sprinklers and each car left the pits at 10-seconds intervals, circulating for roughly 10 laps before returning to the pits so the track could be soaked again.

Pirelli has been working on a combination of different compounds, different tread depths and configurations, but as the temperature at the south of France venue never rose about 10 degrees centigrade conditions were not ideal.

In preparation for the second day of the test, Sebastian Vettel will take over driving duties from Raikkonen at Ferrari, while Daniil Kvyat replaces Ricciardo at Red Bull. Vandoorne will complete the second day for McLaren.

Day One Timesheet:-

1. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull  1.08.713, 99 laps

2. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda,  +0.418s, 87 laps

3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari,  +0.924s, 99 laps

Day Two

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But the second and final day of Pirelli’s we-weather tyre test at the Paul Ricard circuit yesterday, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was quickest ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Stoffel Vandoorne.

With Vettel taking over driving duties from his team mate replacing Kimi Raikkonen in the cockpit of last year’s SF15-T, he topped the timesheets with a lap time of 1.06.750. He was ahead of Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat who replaced his team mate Daniel Ricciardo and was less than a tenth of a second behind Vettel. However, Vandoorne ended his driving duties for the McLaren-Honda in third place, just over a second behind the pace of Vettel.

Day Two Timesheet:-

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1.06.750, 134 laps
  2. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, +0.083s, 113 laps
  3. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda, +1.008s, 127 laps

Conclusion

The two-day test was conducted with the aid of the sprinkler system built into the Paul Ricard track, which artificially soaked the asphalt. This then allowed Pirelli to test different combinations of different treads and compounds of prototype full-wet tyres and running intermediates in yesterday’s test.

Pirelli has been working on improving the longevity and performance of its wet tyre and is set to introduce changes to its rubber this year as a result of the data gained at the test.

With Pirelli clocking up almost 1500 miles over its two days of wet-tyre testing, although times were irrelevant for the purposes of this test. The three teams chosen for the test and running in unmodified 2015-spec machinery; completed 374 laps in total, 89 more than on Monday, and a total of 659 laps overall.

F1’s next on-track action will be at the first of two pre-season tests for the new-for-2016 machinery at Barcelona’s Catalunya circuit on 22nd-25th February; with the second test on 1st-4th March

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