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Analysis: Pirelli pleased with Formula 1 wet weather testing, drivers unimpressed

Pirelli believes it learnt a lot from its first ever wet-weather Formula 1 test with current machinery and could use some of the prototype tyres as...

Analysis: Pirelli pleased with Formula 1 wet weather testing, drivers unimpressed

Pirelli believes it learnt a lot from its first ever wet-weather Formula 1 test with current machinery and could use some of the prototype tyres as race rubber in 2016.

The Italian firm, which used a two-year-old Toyota F1 car for its previous wet weather running back in 2011, held the two-day test at the Paul Ricard circuit with Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull asked to provide one 2015 car each.

Across the two days of running, which were topped by Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel respectively, Pirelli provided the teams with a number of different compounds of wet weather tyres.

Pirelli Paul Ricard

Following the end of the event, Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola explained that while it was too early to provide the final results of the test, the initial feedback the company had received about the experimental tyres was positive.

He said: "It's almost impossible now to give you a final evaluation of the result of the test because we need to analyse the data. We were crossing different specifications on different cars, so it's not easy to give you a final result now, but it will be more or less in one week.

"The first impression is we have a good compound for extreme wet and also some modifications of the tread pattern are working well. This is the first feeling. I don't want to sell this as a final result of the test, but we are confident there is something positive in the different prototypes we tested.”

Isola also explained that if, after further analysis, the test data indicated that Pirelli could bring new wet tyres in during the 2016 season, it would do so in due course.

Mario Isola

He said: "Of course, if we have a new product from this test then we will introduce it during the season, as soon as possible."

Raikkonen unimpressed

But Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen announced after his single day of running that he preferred the 2015 tyres and was not yet convinced by the new tyres he had tried.

He said: "We had the same as last year and some of the new ones, but I think we prefer last year's ones, but it's a bit too early to say."

Kimi Raikkonen

"I think it was okay. We haven't driven for a while. We can learn from this. It helps to understand more.

"I think here is as good a wet tyre test as you can get because it's similar conditions all the time. We help Pirelli and it's useful for us, so I think it was okay."

Vettel, who set the fastest overall time of the test on his day driving for Ferrari on Tuesday when Pirelli was testing its tyres in drying conditions, explained that although he only had a vague idea of what rubber he was using, the test had been beneficial.

He said: “It’s always useful to drive a car. It was fun, even if, with a lot of different prototype tyres, you may get different results, without knowing which tyres we are testing, or if they are going to be used in the future or not.

"You can have a rough idea which tyres you test and how the tyres were last year, but it’s not clear what’s going to happen with the tyres after this, even if for sure there are some results, but it’s too early to say.”

Sebastian Vettel

Mercedes absence explained

Pirelli also played down the absence of Mercedes from the test as Isola explained that the levels of spray involved in the wet testing meant the company did not want more than three teams to be present so it did not have to divide the on-track running.

He said: "We said we were happy with the number of cars, from one to three, all together on track," he said.

"With four teams we would have been obliged to split - two and two [on track at any one time].

"You have a lot of water a car sprays up from the circuit. If you have 10 cars, it is almost impossible to run a wet test.

"So when Mercedes knew we had three cars, they said 'OK, if you need us we can come, otherwise we stay at home'. With three cars the test was OK.”

Stoffel Vandoorne

What do you make of Pirelli’s wet weather testing? Will it be useful for F1 racing in 2016? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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