Pirelli’s new PZero Red supersoft tires made their debut at the Monaco Grand Prix circuit today with two free practice sessions around the tight and twisty confines of the 3.340-kilometre circuit.
On the track, the drivers also used the Pirelli PZero Yellow soft tires, particularly during the first session when Sebastian Vettel went quickest for Red Bull Racing with a time of 1m16.619s. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was fastest in the second afternoon session, setting a time of 1m15.123s on the PZero Red tires, in temperatures that peaked at 27 degrees centigrade ambient and 45 degrees centigrade on the track. The new PZero red tires have red stripes on the sidewalls to make them easier to pick out on television this week.
The drivers used the session not just to assess the relative performance of the supersoft and soft tires, which turned out to be as expected within the region of 1.2-1.4 seconds per lap, but also the durability of the tires around the demanding and slippery Monte Carlo circuit.
Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel completed 22 laps on the supersoft in the afternoon while the soft tires are expected to provide a two to three stop strategy on race day.
Today’s free practice session was crucial to prepare for qualifying on Saturday: a vital key to success in Monaco as six out of the last seven grands prix in the Principality have been won from pole position.
After today’s sessions Pirelli was privileged to host a very special guest in the team hospitality unit: Prince Albert of Monaco, the sovereign of the Principality. Prince Albert met with Pirelli’s Chief Operations Officer Francesco Gori at the team’s new motorhome, signing the Pirelli visitor’s book.
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery commented: “We were absolutely delighted to welcome Prince Albert to our hospitality: as the sovereign of Monaco he hosts a fantastic show that quite rightly deserves its place as the highlight of the Formula One calendar. Today has given the teams some vital experience of running on our tires in unique conditions and we’re very encouraged by both the performance and the durability of our tires here, on the debut for the supersoft. We look forward now to the all-important qualifying session on Saturday, where we will see which team gets the most out of their tires on the day and which strategies they are likely to run in the race.”
Pirelli fact of the day
Pirelli’s PZero Red supersoft tire has been described as being similar to qualifying tires, which used to be a regular feature of Formula One in the past. Pirelli’s ultra-quick qualifying rubber helped to provide some giant-killing performances in the past, such as second place on the grid for Pierlugi Martini in a Minardi at the 1990 US Grand Prix, less than two-hundredths of a second off Gerhard Berger’s pole time.