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Pirelli seeks solution for rain tyres with additional test

Pirelli has been busy working on its rain tyres for the new power unit regulations 2026, which will remain at 18-inch in diameter.

Leclerc wet test Pirelli
To news overview © Morgan MATHURIN

For some time, Pirelli has been searching for the ideal tyres for the new F1 season. The Italian tyre manufacturer has been planning ferociously for the future, with a test having been conducted after the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Soon, another tyre test will be carried out in Mugello, which hosted a one-off F1 race during the COVID 19-impacted season. Now, Pirelli has taken another important step towards its future 2026 tyres, with a special wet weather test at the Paul Ricard circuit.

Two days after Ferrari's win in Monaco, the Italian team was already testing again some 200 km away. On Tuesday, Carlos Sainz was in action, focusing mainly on slicks. 

The Spaniard drove 121 laps on the layout used previously for the French Grand Prix that day, and 17 on a shorter layout. On Wednesday, it was Charles Leclerc's turn. 

The Monegasque was allowed to focus mainly on the intermediate and extreme wet tyres. At the end of the day, Leclerc had driven 160 laps.

According to Mario Isola, director of motorsport at Pirelli, the test was successful: "We had two useful days of testing, during which we were able not only to complete the program for the slicks, but also to look for solutions for the rain tyres. 

"We hadn't had that opportunity yet this winter. The rain system at this track gives us the chance to keep, at a constant level, water on the track so that we can test different prototypes."

Time to analyse data

Despite Pirelli using the circuit's clever rain system, several aspects cannot be replicated, something Isola recognises. 

Nevertheless, a significant amount of data was still gathered, which will now be analysed by Pirelli to help the manufacturer make final decisions regarding the development of future tyres. 

"Of course, there are several factors that you can't mimic in such a test, such as the weather," Isola continued. "For example, it was a very sunny day at Paul Ricard and this track is not exactly hard on tyres. 

"Nevertheless, we collected a lot of data that we will now analyse. That way we can see which way we should go with the development. 

"We have made great strides with the program for the slicks and we are now close to defining the construction and choices for the dry weather tires," Isola concluded.

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