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Still no confirmation on new tyres for Spain

NEWS STORY
14/05/2011

Mat Coch writes:

Contrary to reports last weekend that teams would be given a new specification hard tyre for the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix, no official announcement has yet been made, despite the race being less than a week away. Over the Turkish Grand Prix weekend teams were given a set of development hard compound tyres by Pirelli, with a view to using the new rubber in Barcelona.

Having taken a battering from some sections of the media during winter testing, the company has enjoyed widespread praise for the higher wearing P-Zero tyres it's produced this season. The high wear has produced far less predictable racing, keeping drivers, engineers, strategists and fans guessing until the final laps.

Far from resting on its laurels however, the Italian company has continued its tyre development, running a 2009 spec Toyota in both Turkey and Spain ahead of the arrival of the world championship. The development led to a new tyre being given to teams to test in Turkey which Pirelli hopes will last slightly longer than the existing hard compound tyre.

"The teams also had the chance to try out the latest evolution of our hard tyre, which we are assessing with a view to Barcelona. It's not quite as fast as our original hard tyre, but it does last a little longer with extra stability," said Pirelli's Motorsport Director Paul Hembery in Istanbul last weekend.

When Pitpass spoke to Hembery over the Australian Grand Prix weekend the Englishman stated that the company would look to supply teams with development rubber at various points during the season, with a view to assisting the company develop next year's rubber. "One of the issues we've had as a tyre maker is when we're developing, we're working on 2012, how on earth do we test the tyres? We don't want to just turn up in January of next year and go to the limit when we haven't tested with them.

"What we've agreed is to use, if we require it, Friday's free practice, and we can bring two sets of the new development to the test," he continued. "We can use those during the Friday free practice which for us is fantastic because it gives us real time data on a track we're going to race at with all the teams, all the drivers. That will assist us greatly in 2012's development."

Given his comments suggested the development rubber was designed to aid next year's tyres, Pitpass contacted Hembery to clarify the situation. "We always said from the beginning that we would look at tweaking the compounds during the year if that would help the teams in any way," he told us exclusively. "A few of the teams were interested in the possibility of a harder hard tyre, so we're happy to look at that and get some feedback, which will help us in our future development as well.

"It's not been decided that this is the tyre that we will take to Barcelona, but if there is a generally positive reaction, then there is a strong possibility that we will do that."

At this stage there's still no confirmation that a new hard compound tyre will be taken to Spain, or if the company will persist with the current tyre.

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