It was announced on Thursday evening that Manor driver Pascal Wehrlein has completed the latest test of Pirelli’s 2017 prototypes at Paul Ricard, completing 270 laps in a Mercedes mule car on wet tyres.
Pirelli is conducting an extensive testing programme for next year involving Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. The latest ran on Wednesday and Thursday at the French circuit, with Manor driver Wehrlein driving a modified Mercedes car with added downforce to replicate next year’s rule changes.
Wehrlein completed 135 laps on either day, which both concentrated exclusively on the wet weather tyres. Mercedes is the next team to test, as it is slated to run the slick tyres at Montmelo, Spain on October 12-13. Red Bull will then continue testing for the next three days. The tyre tests will conclude at Abu Dhabi at the end of the current season.
The wet tyres had previously been tested by Ferrari in August. The testing schedule can be seen in full below:
Yesterday at the Paul Ricard circuit, Pirelli’s 2017 tyre testing got underway with Ferrari and Mercedes helping to develop its prototype tyres at two different circuits.
Mercedes will be testing the new wider tyres at the Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France over a three-day test, while Ferrari is testing for two days at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona. The tests are designed to help Pirelli develop its constructions and compounds for 2017 and are conducted “blind” so as not to give an advantage to the teams participating. Data from the test will be analysed by Pirelli and circulated to all 11 teams in the interest of fairness.
With Manor driver Pascal Wehrlein was at the wheel of the modified Mercedes W06 at Paul Ricard while Ferrari’s regular race driver Kimi Raikkonen took to the wheel of the SF15-T mule car at the Circuit de Catalunya. They are the third and fourth tests of Pirelli’s ten-test schedule for 2016 and are both focused on developing the slick tyres rather than the wets.
The wider tyres will be twinned with a significant step in downforce levels next year in the hope of reducing lap times by as much as five seconds. Pirelli is in regular communication with the teams about the development of the 2017 cars in an attempt to understand the forces its tyres are going to be subject to and develop accordingly.
Pirelli is hoping to minimise the performance degradation of the 2017 tyres, which has been a major factor in races since 2011. The hope is to develop a tyre that allows drivers to push throughout a grand prix distance while still having multiple pit stops during a race. Pirelli is also optimistic the wider contact patch will allow it to reduce the high tyre pressure prescriptions it has needed to introduce in the last two years as downforce levels have increased.
It was announced yesterday afternoon by Pirelli that Mercedes and Ferrari have chosen two very different sets of tyre allocations to attack next weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The ultra-soft, super-soft and soft compound tyres will be available to the drivers in Singapore and it will be mandatory for drivers to use either the super-soft or the soft at some point during the race. At the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix most drivers opted for a two-stop strategy using the super-softs and softs (the only compounds available that year), but the addition of the ultra-soft tyre this year could create a three-stop option.
The 2015 Singapore Grand Prix was also memorable as the one race where Mercedes struggled to get its tyres working and finished as the third best team to Ferrari and Red Bull. For this year’s race, Ferrari appears to have gone aggressive with nine sets of the ultra-softs compared to Mercedes’ and Red Bull’s seven.
Haas, which has a technical partnership with Ferrari, is the only team to match Maranello’s stock of ultra-softs, while Force India and Manor have opted to stock up on the other two compounds with just six sets of ultra-softs for each of the two teams’ two drivers.
Here’s the tyre selections that each team has requested for the Singapore GP as follows:-
Yesterday tyre manufacturer Pirelli has released the first images of its wider 2017 tyres attached to a car on track after Ferrari’s SF15-T commenced the manufacturer’s extensive testing programme for next year.
Vettel drove a modified 2015 Ferrari at Fiorano in Italy on Monday, completing several laps on slick tyres in the morning. He turned his attention to wet and intermediate tyres on an artificially dampened circuit in the afternoon. Ferrari is one of three teams, along with Mercedes and Red Bull, to have provided Pirelli mule cars to help develop the chunkier new rubber.
Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez will take over from Vettel for the second day of running on Tuesday. Red Bull will then take over testing on Wednesday and Thursday at Mugello, where former Toro Rosso driver and current Formula E champion Sebastien Buemi is set to test the slick tyres.
Pirelli is conducting 24 days of testing over ten individual tests. Though the three teams are likely to benefit from testing modified versions of their cars with the new rubber, they are also obligated to share all the information they gather with the remaining eight outfits not taking part.
Earlier this week, Pirelli has revealed the tyre selections each driver has made for the German Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.
The drivers had a choice of super-soft, soft and medium tyres and all have gone for a majority of super-softs, which is the fastest tyre on offer. The most unusual selection is the Force India drivers’ preference for three sets of medium tyres, which will be the slowest of the three compounds but also the hardest wearing in the race.
Both Mercedes drivers have identical allocations for the weekend, although they may choose to leave a different combination of compounds for the race — as happened in Austria.
Here’s the official selections as provided by Pirelli as follows:-