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Pirelli tire testing continues in Barcelona
Tire testing for Pirelli ahead of its 2011 Formula 1 comeback continued in Barcelona on Wednesday, with local driver Pedro de la Rosa taking to the Circuit de Catalunya for the start of a two-day run. GPUpdate.net caught up with the Italian company.

Pirelli’s F1 testing program has now reached Barcelona. How are things progressing, generally?

Very good, so far so good. Today Pedro has been testing the Medium and Hard compound tires. We have good weather like last time, with no interruptions, so it’s really made for a consistent morning and afternoon.

We’ll be here tomorrow too and Pedro was also saying earlier that he must have done a million laps around this circuit!

How many tests now remain before the end of the year?

We’ll have one at Paul Ricard at the beginning of November followed by another in Abu Dhabi later in the month – that will be on the Friday and Saturday after the race, after the Young Driver test (which will use Bridgestone tires) in the week.

That will really be the first chance the current Formula 1 teams have to get their hands on Pirelli tires and they’ll be doing that with whichever drivers they select.

We’ll also maybe try and fit another test in before the end of the year, depending on available time and our schedule.

How far away are the tires now to what will be used in winter testing next February?

Obviously they’re getting closer now, with two tests to go. It’s hard to say a percentage and we’re continuing to tweak little things.

It’s made more difficult to say because the technicians actually chop up these tires to analyze wear rates and so on.

In 2011, will the compounds retain the same names as this year (Hard, Medium, Soft and Super Soft)?

Yes, they will remain the same. The rules haven’t changed, so that will just stay the same as at the time when the deal was announced.

We’re yet to learn of a decision over a possible universal tire for F1 and GP2; the last we heard was that it remains the FIA’s decision – do you know anything more on that now?

We haven’t seen anything about it recently but it looks more long-term future than short-term. As we were only announced as tire supplier this summer, which is very late in the day in comparison to usual, we don’t think that’s really at the top of the agenda, but we can maybe expect that next year or the year after.

This year Bridgestone is using a green-painted sidewall on its tires to distinguish its Option compound from the Prime – will Pirelli adopt the same system?

There will obviously be some differential between the two although the exact format is not yet sure. It probably won’t be anything radically different, but whether it will be green stripes, blue stripes or pink dots we don’t know! It could well remain the same, as the green is part of an FIA initiative.

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