The stars of Formula One (F1) are being given their first opportunity to sample the motorsport's new range of tyres, courtesy of Pirelli.
All 11 teams involved in the prestigious motorsport will take to the iconic Jerez race circuit in southern Spain today (February 5th) to take part in the opening official test session of 2013.
While the training will primarily involve the most renowned names in F1 getting to grips with their brand new cars, the session also enables the stars to try out Pirelli's complete new tyre range, together with the latest-specification compounds.
One of the main characteristics which the tyre manufacturer believes the drivers will notice out on the Jerez circuit is how the 2013 tyres offer a bigger performance gap between the compounds and faster overall lap times.
In fact, Pirelli have calculated that a vehicle should get around a lap of the southern Spain race track approximately half a second quicker than what the old tyres could help the cars achieve last season.
Paul Hembery, the motorsport director at Pirelli, acknowledged: "The pre-season tests represent an important opportunity for the teams to integrate their new car package with the 2013 tyres.
"With the number of test days strictly limited, the work done in testing will be crucial for their understanding of the tyres over the rest of the season."
Another change that Pirelli has made to its F1 tyre range in 2013 when compared to last season is introduce a brand-new P Zero Orange hard tyre compound.
Such products will replace the silver-coloured compound and be the designation for the hardest tyre in the range. What's more, Pirelli is confident that the orange hue will be much easier to see with the naked eye than the old silver tone.
What's more, Mr Hembery stated: "The teams will encounter tyres that are quite different to the ones they were used to last year, as every P Zero compound and construction has been changed, with softer compounds that allow more performance and a different construction that will place a bigger footprint on the track surface to enhance traction and grip.
"This is one of the key aspects of Jerez, which should enable the teams to start to understand the nature of our new tyres by the time they go home on Thursday (February 7th)."
One aspect that Pirelli will be aiming to tackle in F1 2013, as the tyre manufacturer's chief technical officer Maurizio Boicchi described to Autosport towards the end of 2012, is to prevent the motorsport's teams from getting too familiar with the products and thus working their design to their advantage.
He explained: "During 2012, more or less all the teams learned much better how to use our tyres. One of the key criteria that improved their consistency was the fact that we have seen and measured much less [wheel] spinning from them – which means they have learned how to manage this phenomenon."
The opening official test session of the F1 2013 season takes place between today and February 8th, ahead of the new campaign getting underway in Melbourne, Australia on March 17th.
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Posted by Danielle Barge