By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
Pirelli’s final tire test of 2016 wrapped up at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi today. It was the first time the modified 2015 chasis from Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari appeared together on track, and it was Pirelli’s last chance to evaluate potential tire compounds for 2017’s bigger, wider tires. Lewis Hamilton turned laps for Mercedes before withdrawing from the test due to illness. Pascal Wehrlein completed the test for Mercedes. Both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen ran for Red Bull, while Kimi Raikkonen was the sole runner in the Ferrari.
Pre-season testing of the much anticipated 2017 cars begins at the end of February, leaving Pirelli a very narrow window to analyze the some 96 compounds tested so far. In all the three teams present completed 331 laps of Yas Marina, and gave Pirelli a combined 24 days of testing over 12,000 kilometers. Pirelli will crunch the numbers and rely on simulators to help finalize the various compounds to be raced in 2017.
“Now the hard work begins as we collate and analyse the results of testing in order to define the tyres with which we will go racing next year. These will then be run on the actual 2017 cars for the first time during the official group tests next February,” said Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery.