The Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia will host the official opening day of the 2011 Formula 1 season on Tuesday, which will also mark the debut of Pirelli's new P Zero tires, of which four dry types and two wet types will be offered throughout the 2011 season.
Testing will get under way at 10 a.m. local time Tuesday in Valencia, marking the beginning of four official sessions before the first Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain on March 13. The Valencia test will continue through Thursday, with the teams then heading for Jerez the following week.
The 12 teams had an opportunity to try out Pirelli's soft and medium tires for the first time last year in Abu Dhabi from Nov. 19-20, just a few days after the season-closing race. On that occasion, the teams racked up approximately 7,000 miles between them in two days, giving them a good initial taste of Pirelli's new tires.
The Italian company will bring a wider range of the new F1 compounds to Valencia this week, having defined the specification at the final private test sessions in the United Arab Emirates throughout mid-January. As well as the dry tires, Pirelli will also put the intermediate and wet tires at the disposal of the teams in case of rain: a frequent occurrence on the Spanish coast at this time of year.
During the three-day Valencia test, each of the 12 teams will receive a maximum allocation of 30 sets of tires. The teams can choose how many sets of each compound they wish to test, depending on their individual development strategies. The same arrangements will be in place for the following two tests, which will also take place in Spain: Jerez (Feb. 10-13) and Barcelona (Feb. 18-20).
All the teams will be able to rely on the support of the entire Pirelli F1 squad in Valencia, which is composed of 50 people. In particular, each team will have its own allocated Pirelli engineer, tasked with passing on technical information and working together with the team to help set up the car.
So far, Pirelli has covered more than 11,000 miles in 10 private tests including two days at Valencia last October when the intermediate and wet tires were tried out for the first time.
"We arrive in Valencia with all our compounds defined and ready to offer the teams different tire solutions, having enjoyed an intense and fruitful collaboration so far,” said Pirelli's Motorsport Director Paul Hembery. “This test will provide us with some useful feedback and a valuable taste of the season to come.
"Valencia will be a very significant test, as it will allow us to experience a situation that is very similar to real race conditions, although the ambient conditions aren't representative of the rest of the year, and also give us a good idea of how to work together in future. The objective of this test is to give all the teams the opportunity to become better acquainted with the tires that we will supply to them this season, before they end their development programs prior to the first grand prix of the year in Bahrain."
The Ricardo Tormo circuit was built in 1999 and is used mostly for motorcycle racing. It's not to be confused with Valencia's street circuit in the city center, which hosts F1's Grand Prix of Europe.