Official Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli has made it apparent their dissatisfaction for the Jerez race circuit in Spain, saying the track no longer provides proper conditions for its first round of winter testing. The track, which was repaved in 2005, no longer gives Pirelli ideal data for its soft and super-soft compounds, according to spokesman Paul Hembery.
According to Hembery, in an interview with Formula 1 for its official website, the track surface has simply become too abrasive for accurate data of softer compounds, and there is statistics to back it up. Teams ran only a maximum of twelve and eight lap runs on the soft and super-soft tires respectively.
Pirelli is more optimistic in the amount of data which they can acquire from the upcoming test in Barcelona, where temperatures should be cooler and the track surface more suited for long soft tire test runs. However, with major technical changes coming in 2014, the engineers at Pirelli are looking towards the future production of their Formula 1 compounds, and with new designs may come a new location.
In a separate interview to Brazilian paper State of Sau Paulo, Hembery suggested that the Jerez circuit may not be suited for the initial tire test at all, and a new location in the Middle East may be a necessity. Based on the condition of the tracks asphalt and the conditions surrounding them, Hembery stated that “I think next year maybe we should go to Bahrain or Abu Dhabi.”
Hembery did add that as far as this year is concerned, Pirelli has enough data and he is optimistic that the current compound will close the gap between smaller and larger teams. Whereas earlier generations of compounds struggled with rubber buildup, Hembery claims that the mechanical grip produced by this year’s tire will be the greatest ever.
Ideally for the fans and sponsors alike, Hembery’s comments will be taken seriously. Perhaps it is indeed time for a change regarding winter testing. If it is good for the sport and brand of Formula 1, we should be looking forward to the testing in the Middle East this time next year.
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