Tuesday was the final day of tyre testing for Pirelli and it saw the three ‘mule’ cars running the 2017 wider specification rubber on the Yas Marina circuit. There was one from Mercedes, piloted by Lewis Hamilton and Pascal Wehrlien, one from Red Bull, with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo sharing the driving duties and one from Ferrari, with Kimi Raikkonen behind the wheel.
The modified 2015 cars, designed to simulate next year’s new regulations that will increase speeds by five seconds per lap compared to last year, were out on track from 9 in the morning to around 4.30 in the afternoon in dry and warm conditions.
In order to create tyres best suited to these increased loads, Pirelli has been testing a number of different compounds and structures and the three cars on duty completed a combined total of 331 laps, equivalent to around 1839 kilometres or six Abu Dhabi Grand Prix distances. Approximately 96 different prototypes were tested, with all the teams running a variety of specifications in order to maximise data collection.
“For the final test of the year, we had five F1 race drivers sample our 2017 prototypes as we completed the development programme with three cars at the same time,” said Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery. “Now the hard work begins as we collate and analyse the results of our 24 days and approximately 12,000 kilometres of testing in order to define the tyres with which we will go racing next year.”
“These will then be run on the actual 2017 cars for the first time during the official group tests next February. Our latest test in Abu Dhabi went according to plan and we were able to collect the data we needed thanks to the three mule cars from Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari; without whom it would have been impossible to carry out this intense development programme.”
2607 laps in a cumulative total of 24 days have been driven between August and now by a total of 11 different drivers on five different circuits.