Formula 1 News

Pirelli passed first driver's test

The Italian manufacturer will have its final hurdle at Hungaroring.
Saturday, July 20, 2013

LONDON, July 20, 2013 (AFP) - Less than three weeks after the spectacular exploding tyre failures seen at the British Grand Prix led to calls for a drivers' strike, the same men this week praised Pirelli for their latest racing rubber.

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A week ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, and back on the same Silverstone circuit that saw four violent blowouts in the June 30 race, some of Pirelli's leading critics were forced to change their tune.

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At the close of the 'young drivers' test over three days, Felipe Massa of Ferrari made clear he felt much more confident about Pirelli's supply.

Massa said: "For construction and safety it is better -- and nothing has happened here.

"There were no blow-outs or punctures like we saw in this race. That is the most important thing."

Pirelli introduced a new tyre for the test that featured a 2012 construction with the 2013 compounds.

Pastor Maldonado, who tested at Silverstone on Thursday, said the drivers would be happy to use the tyres tested for the upcoming high-speed races due to take place at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and at Monza in Italy later in the European summer.

"I think we need to go all together and believe in Pirelli now," said the Williams driver.

"They had the solved the problem -- they knew where the problem was and here we haven't had anything."

In an intriguing if unspectacular three days of running, there were few outstanding incidents or performances as, almost as expected, defending world champion Sebastian Vettel delivered the fastest lap overall on the final afternoon.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo drove with impressive pace in both the champion's Red Bull car and his own more usual Toro Rosso -- in which he topped the times on Thursday -- to prove his credentials to succeed compatriot Mark Webber at Red Bull next year.

The rest of the action saw a list of impressive young drivers produce goodlaps and remind many observers of the halcyon days of their fathers.

Adrian Sutil clocked the second best time of the day on Friday for Force India ahead of Nicolas Prost, son of four-time champion Alain Prost, whose best efforts for Lotus managed to lift him ahead of Carlos Sainz junior, in a Red Bull.

Sainz is the son of former world rally champion Carlos Sainz.

The day also saw Williams development driver Susie Wolff in action -- her best lap time left her ninth quickest of 16 runners at the end of the day and ahead of regular Grand Prix racers Charles Pic of Caterham and Jules Bianchi of Marussia.

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