JEREZ, Spain (Reuters) - Pirelli have taken special winter tyres to the first pre-season Formula One test to ensure teams get as much track time as possible if the weather turns cold.
Testing, which starts in Jerez on Tuesday with 10 of the 11 teams, has been brought forward from February because of the challenges posed by a new turbocharged V6 engine and accompanying energy recovery systems.
Jerez is the only test in Europe, with the other two scheduled for the heat of Bahrain, before the season starts in Australia in March and teams can ill afford weather delays.
“Last year the teams lost some pre-season running due to excessively cold conditions in Spain: we even saw some ice on the track at one point,” said Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery in a statement.
“In order to combat this we have developed a special ‘winter’ version of the hard compound. This will be used for the Jerez test only and it is designed to work effectively even in cold conditions.”
Pirelli came in for criticism last season for the rapid deterioration of their tyres and were forced to change compounds and structure mid-season after a spate of failures at Silverstone.
The Italian manufacturer tested prototype 2014 tyres in Bahrain last month and have said they are aiming to be more conservative this season given the massive technical changes the sport is facing.
The last of the four days in Spain will be dedicated to wet weather testing, with Pirelli arranging for the track to be watered artificially, although that will change if it rains before then.
Editing by Tony Jimenez