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Pedro de la Rosa has been continuing Pirelli's F1 testing programme at his home track, the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. The two-day test marked the Spaniard's second appearance as a Pirelli test driver, following his debut at Valencia just over two weeks ago.
The 39-year-old tried out Pirelli's intermediate and wet tyres in Valencia, but for the Barcelona test he concentrated on the Italian firm's medium and hard compound slick tyres for the first time, refining the package that has already been formulated from previous tests.
De la Rosa's work included validating the conclusions drawn from past tests in Mugello and Jerez as well as looking at different ways to make the medium and hard tyres even more effective. By the end of the two days, Pirelli was close to defining the rubber that will be taken to Abu Dhabi for the Formula One teams to try out next month.
In total de la Rosa completed two days and 262 laps of running, the equivalent to around 1218 kilometres. Pirelli carried out a number of endurance runs in Barcelona, running for around 35 laps at a time, in order to verify the new tyre's consistent performance and reliability in the long term.
Conditions were unusually cold for Barcelona at this time of the year, with temperatures of seven degrees centigrade in the morning. The weather warmed up to 21 degrees centigrade during the afternoon, allowing Pirelli's engineers to see how the tyres operated within a wide window of track conditions.
"It's been an excellent couple of days," said the Spaniard, "I've been very impressed because I have to say that the tyres were at an even higher level than I imagined. If you look at what Pirelli has done, it's hard to believe that all this work has been carried out in such a short space of time. These Pirelli tyres have their own quite different characteristics to the current supplier that the drivers will appreciate next year and I'm confident that they will form a very competitive package. Pirelli's arrival is great news for Formula One."
The Circuit de Catalunya, the traditional home of the Spanish Grand Prix, contains long straights and varying corners, making it the ideal place to test a wide range of parameters over a distance. At the same time, Pirelli continued the development of its GP2 tyres, with Englishman Ben Hanley once again taking the wheel of the all-new GP2 single-seater.
Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery, who oversaw both days of running in Spain, said: "Once again, Pedro has shown what a valuable asset he is to us through his hard work and detailed feedback. He's carrying out a crucial role and the information that he has provided to us has helped us to further define the tyres that we will take to Abu Dhabi."
Pirelli's next Formula One tests will take place at France's Le Castellet circuit in early November, where de la Rosa will concentrate on further development of Pirelli's soft and super-soft tyres: two of the four compounds (along with the hard and the medium) that will be offered to all of the teams next year.
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