Pirelli explains mysterious unmarked tyres in Barcelona

By on Friday, March 2, 2012

Mysterious blank Pirelli tyres made their debut in Barcelona

Numerous people in the Barcelona paddock were puzzled on Thursday when some drivers took to the Spanish circuit with odd-looking Pirelli tyres.

Some of the tyres, whose compounds are normally visibly differentiated with coloured branding, featured significantly different markings.

The big rumour was that, now just two weeks before the start of the season in Australia, teams had requested the blank tyres in order to hide their test programmes from their rivals.

According to France's Auto Plus, Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery cleared up the matter by explaining that the blank tyres were in fact "prototypes".

They had been manufactured not at Pirelli's usual F1 factory in Turkey, but from an unidentified facility, in the event that a natural disaster forced the tyre supplier to change its plans at the last minute. The test with those tyres in Barcelona are simply to ensure that they perform exactly the same as the normal tyres. These unmarked tyres are identical in compound and structure to the normal tyres. Each team was provided with two extra sets of these tyres for the test.

Hembery also answered the criticism that, after Pirelli's initial 2011 tyres spiced up the racing early last year, the new generation might not be aggressive enough.

"We need data from the races to judge that," he insisted. "It's far too early."

He also confirmed that Pirelli is close to announcing the identity of its 2010-specification test car, and a new test driver.

It is believed former Force India driver Adrian Sutil is a candidate.

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