Pirelli begin first-ever wet night test
In their final preparations before the first group test in Valencia at the start of February, Pirelli began two nights of extensive testing of their wet weather tyres in Abu Dhabi on Monday. With Pedro de la Rosa at the wheel, the Spanish driver will complete six hours of testing each night for the Italian tyre firm helping them to finalise their wet and intermediate rubber specifications for 2011. The test car is expected to cover more than 1,000 kilometres over the next two nights, on the 5.55 kilometre Yas Marina Circuit, which has been coated in water for the first ever overnight Formula One test, and first dedicated test for the wet weather Pirelli compounds. The Italian firm chose to test in Abu Dhabi due to the warmer track temperatures, which they feel should be closer to the wet conditions experienced during races next season. Speaking about the overnight tests to the BBC, which got underway at 1800 hours local time, Pirelli F1 team director, Paul Hembery said: “This is a unique opportunity to witness a Formula One test car on track at night in the wet and on hot tarmac, in an entirely floodlit setting,” “We decided to do it this way because we want to challenge our rain tyres with the most difficult and demanding of all situations. And who knows, perhaps it could be a good idea for a future Grand Prix?” The Abu Dhabi test is the last in a series of nine private sessions, which Pirelli have carried out since August. Within this time the tyre company has covered more than 13,000 kilometres on its new tyre compounds at a variety of circuits. Next the teams will take on the testing mantle as they start their own on-track preparations for the 2011 season in Valencia at the first official pre-season test from the 1st of February to the 3rd before moving on to Jerez for a second test a week later. Hembrey added “These tests will provide us with useful information to finalise our tyre development process for Formula One. It is seven months since we started developing our tyres and five since we started with the actual testing. We are very satisfied with the results so far.” The F1 teams did get to sample the Pirelli rubber at a session in Abu Dhabi after the final race of the 2010 season.