Mercedes and Ferrari tested brand-new tires that don’t require heating blankets at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Over the course of two days, the drivers of Ferrari and Mercedes completed more than 600 laps at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the venue for the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend, as Pirelli evaluated a number of potential tyre compounds for the 2024 season.
On Tuesday, Mercedes’ George Russell and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc tested slick tyres that are being developed for 2024 and are intended to function without blankets.
Leclerc completed 167 laps and had the better lap time of the two drivers in Barcelona, with a 1’18.197 as his best time. Russell set 151 laps during the day in his Mercedes, although he was 0.203 seconds slower.
The four drivers completed 617 laps between them on Tuesday and Wednesday: 167 for Charles Leclerc, , 151 for Russell, 147 for Carlos Sainz and 152 for Mick Schumacher – the Mercedes reserve driver who was making his on-track debut for the Silver Arrows in the newly-upgraded W14.
“These were two very important days of testing as we gathered plenty of useful information to come up with the best possible choices for next year,” said Pirelli’s Head of Motorsport Mario Isola,
“In terms of construction, there are still just a few details to fine-tune, while during this test we began to identify a solid development base for the compounds; especially for the middle of what will be the 2024 range.”
While this was going on, Pirelli confirmed that no tyre blankets were used. The manufacturer had been planning to test a wet weather compound without a blanket at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but that race was canceled last month.
“All the running took place without using tyre blankets,” Isola added. “We verified a few interesting things on track… Now we move on to a complete analysis of all the data so that we head into the next test, at Silverstone after the British Grand Prix, as well prepared as we can be.
“After that we will draw some conclusions from all the work done over the last few months and present the FIA, F1 and the teams with the complete picture, so that the best decisions can be taken using all the information available.”
It was one of six 2024-related tests planned for this season, with other teams set to have the chance to test with the blanket-free tyres after the summer break.
The British Grand Prix at Silverstone, which will take place in July, will mark the debut of a new slick tire specification from Pirelli. Teams evaluated the new design during free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix last week.