Pirelli has confirmed that 2021 tyres will be tested by the drivers during Friday practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Pirelli’s compounds for the 2021 season have already been tested this year at the Portuguese Grand Prix, where each driver used them for the first 30 minutes of FP2 to provide data for the Italian company.
In Bahrain, each team will be provided with two sets of next year’s C3 compound. They must use one set during FP2, and are free to use the other in either Friday session.
Furthermore, at the final race in Bahrain, teams will be required to run the 2021 C4 compound tyre during the latter of the two practice sessions on Friday.
Pirelli F1 tyre chief Mario Isola says that the programme will provide the drivers with their first ‘proper’ experience of the compounds they’ll be using throughout next season.
“During the first weekend, drivers will run the new 2021 tyres on Friday with the C3 compound, getting a first proper taste of the rubber they will use next year,” he said.
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For the first time ever, a race is to take place on the oval-shaped outer track at Bahrain as the second part of the double-header there.
Isola is expecting it to be a challenge for Pirelli and the teams, as the circuit is completely different from any that has been raced on before.
He also says that the simulation data they have is not enough to have a clear idea of degradation levels and strategy options.
“We get to experience something quite different during both weekends in Bahrain,” Isola added.
“Perhaps the most interesting challenge will be the Sakhir Grand Prix, as it’s not like any other circuit where we have raced before: even though it uses about half of the standard Grand Prix track.
“While there’s some simulation data already, we need to wait for real data from free practice to understand the exact effect on wear, degradation, and therefore strategy.
“On top of that, we’re bringing tyres that are a step softer than last year, which open up more opportunities in terms of strategy.