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Formula 1 Spanish GP

F1 teams set to trial new Pirelli tyre in Barcelona

Formula 1 teams are set to learn about Pirelli’s latest tyre construction when it is tested on Friday at the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of its Silverstone race debut.

Pirelli technicians in the pit lane

The new tyres are a reaction by Pirelli to increasing downforce levels and cornering loads, and represent a fast-tracking of a construction that was originally intended for 2024.

Some teams have already tried the new spec in 'blind' 2024 testing, but Barcelona will be an opportunity for everyone to run the definitive versions, with each driver getting two extra sets of C1s to be deployed at any point in FP1 or FP2.

They will be used for a full weekend for the first time at the British GP.

"We already tested this new material that we were planning to introduce in 2024," Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola told Motorsport.com. "We are using the same compounds, no change in profiles.

"We tested this material, with some fine-tuning, starting from last year. The idea was if we move to no blanket tyres in 2024, we need a construction with a higher resistance to fatigue, because we have to start at a lower pressure. And so we started to test this new material.

"And we tested in many sessions. I believe that at least four or five teams tested, but obviously in Barcelona we have the latest version for everybody."

Isola says testing suggested the new construction won't have any impact on car behaviour, adding: "We saw a better resistance to integrity and fatigue, we didn't see any shift in balance, we didn't see any difference.

"We already provided all the data to the teams, but also during the testing for some drivers, it was transparent. So I'm not expecting anything."

However, teams are intrigued to see what the impact of the mid-season construction change will be, especially those for whom tyre management has been a critical issue in 2023, such as Ferrari.

"It's always difficult to predict but it will be good for us to do the test and to see what is the direction we will take with the new construction," said Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Alessio Morgese

"And it could be also a game-changer in terms of approach for the team, the consistency, but let's see after the test what's the situation."

Other team principals admitted that the change for Silverstone won't necessarily be straightforward as their engineers have to adapt to the new tyres.

"I think we're just going deal with it," said Haas's Gunther Steiner. "We've got the data, we were told they tested them, and they are better, and there shouldn't be a lot of difference.

"But the proof is in the pudding. And when we try them, we will find out what they really are. At the moment, I cannot say more than that.

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"But we need to trust Pirelli. They were surprised by how much we improved our performance and the downforce and the loads on the tyres.

"And they needed to take a step for safety reasons. That's what they did, and I'm pretty sure it will work.

"For sure, in the beginning, the first race maybe, we need to adapt it, and we will complain about it, but we will get over it and just deal with it."

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