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Pirelli begins first ever wet night test

NEWS STORY
17/01/2011

Pirelli got the 2011 season underway in the United Arab Emirates today with an unprecedented test.

Never before in single-seater history has a test been organised at night and on an artificially wet track in order to recreate the conditions experienced in a typical rainy grand prix.

The Yas Marina Circuit is the perfect setting for this extraordinary event which brings to an end the development phase for Pirelli's Formula One tyres. For the first time in the history of F1, the 5.55-kilometre track has been coated in water for a unique 12-hour night test.

This is the last round of private tests for Pirelli, with the wet and intermediate tyres solely in use. Today's session started at 18:00 and continued until midnight, with the same schedule tomorrow. Within the range of 2011 compounds, these rain tyres have been specifically designed for wet or damp conditions. In line with current FIA regulations, Pirelli dry tyres comprise four different compounds that have already been successfully tested.

Test driver Pedro de la Rosa was at the wheel of a Toyota TF109 and will hopefully cover more than 1,000 km in extreme driving conditions over the two days with the rubber having to deal with severe stresses on a tricky wet and hot tarmac.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Formula One Team Director said: "This is a unique opportunity to witness a Formula One test car on track at night in the wet and on hot tarmac, in an entirely floodlit setting. We decided to do it this way because we want to challenge our rain tyres with the most difficult and demanding of all situations. And who knows, perhaps it could be a good idea for a future grand prix?

"These tests will provide us with useful information to finalise our tyre development process for Formula One. It is seven months since we started developing our tyres and five since we started with the actual testing. We are very satisfied with the results so far and we have also collected very positive feedback from the teams. Soon it will be time to get started in Spain where the first official test of the season will take place. We will use this opportunity to gather more feedback from teams and drivers and be ready for the Bahrain Grand Prix in March."

The two-day Abu Dhabi test is the last in a series of nine private tests that the Italian firm has carried out since August 19, when its test programme first got underway. Since then, Nick Heidfeld, Roman Grosjean and Pedro de la Rosa have covered more than 13,000 km in a variety of weather conditions at Mugello, Monza, Barcelona, Valencia, Jerez, Le Castellet and Bahrain.

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