Pirelli test driver Pedro de la Rosa remains "very impressed" by the tire company's progress ahead of its demonstration run at the season closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
During a two-day test session in Barcelona, de la Rosa ran extensively for the first time on Pirelli's medium and hard compound tires, completing over 262 laps in the process. His work at the Circuit de Catalunya follows a two-day test session at Valencia two weeks ago, where he completed work on the company's intermediate and wet tire setups. Despite unusually cold running conditions, the Spaniard was delighted that early expectations had been met.
"It's been an excellent couple of days," he said. "I've been very impressed because I have to say that the tires 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."
With current tire supplier Bridgestone withdrawing from Formula 1 at the end of the year, de la Rosa remained confident that Pirelli's arrival could help improve the show.
"These Pirelli tires have their own quite different characteristics to the current supplier that the drivers will appreciate next year," the former Sauber driver continued. "I'm confident that they will form a very competitive package. Pirelli's arrival is great news for Formula 1"
The test marked only the second appearance by de la Rosa as Pirelli's official test driver, following his dismissal from Sauber shortly before the Singapore Grand Prix. Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembrey was quick to confirm, however, that the former Sauber pilot's input was beneficial.
"Once again," Hembrey explained, "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 tires that we will take to Abu Dhabi."
Former GP2 development driver Ben Hanley was also at Barcelona, testing the company's new tire compound ready for its debut in GP2 next year.