Pirelli began testing their 2023 tyre compounds with two days of running at Imola, with several teams involved and helping the process.
Having already gone through extensive testing last season for the arrival of the new 18-inch wheels in Formula 1 this year, those tests were run with mule cars from nine of the 10 teams, with older chassis having to be modified to accommodate the different tyre profiles.
But now the new cars are here in the correct spec to run the new tyres, the Italian manufacturer has already set to work in planning their compounds for next season – and a few teams were on hand to help in representative machinery.
Alpine driver Esteban Ocon spoke of the benefits of having a testing day so early on in the season, having run 122 laps of Imola on the prototype tyres.
“124 laps, trouble-free day, a lot understood and more practice for us early in the season, which is quite important,” he said on an end-of-day video on Alpine’s social media accounts.
A closer look at @Charles_Leclerc and our 2023 #fit4f1 prototype tyres testing with @ScuderiaFerrari at @autodromoimola today! pic.twitter.com/QDbTIoeWfP
— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) April 27, 2022
AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly ran an almost identical plan, with Alfa Romeo’s Robert Kubica and Zhou Guanyu and both Ferrari drivers also involved – albeit with an issue cutting Carlos Sainz’s running short, meaning he and his car had to be picked up and escorted back to the pits.
Yuki Tsunoda also had a day’s worth of running at AlphaTauri’s home circuit, and the news of a test was welcomed by Pirelli – having previously held concerns about the congestion of the 23-race calendar and how that would affect their testing plans.
The remaining teams will have the chance to run a tyre test later in the season, with Pirelli offering equal opportunities to gain track time on their 2023 designs.
The next planned test for Pirelli is due to take place from 24 June at Mugello.
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