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Pirelli ahead of schedule after French test 02 Sep 2010

Nick Heidfeld in action during a Formula One test for Pirelli, Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France, August/September, 2010. © Pirelli Pirelli tyres. GP3 Series Testing, Paul Ricard, France, 4-5 March 2010. Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010

Pirelli’s preparations to return to Formula One racing in 2011 as the sport’s sole tyre supplier continued apace this week, thanks to a successful test at France’s Paul Ricard circuit. The firm’s official test driver Nick Heidfeld was again on track following his debut outing for the tyre manufacturer at Mugello in Italy last month.

Heidfeld spent the two-day test behind the wheel of a Toyota TF109 fitted with Pirelli's latest PZero Formula One tyres. The German continued the development programme, working on both constructions and compounds. With the performance, consistency and reliability of the new rubber fully matching expectations, Pirelli were more than satisfied.

"We're very happy with the progress we've made so far, which actually puts us slightly ahead of where we expected to be at this point in time," explained Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery. "We worked through an initial development programme that has given us a useful insight into the performance of our prototype tyres under a wide range of conditions, corners and speeds.

“We've been hugely encouraged by what we've seen up to now, and that's been helped by both Nick's clear and precise feedback, as well as all the different possibilities afforded to us by the Paul Ricard circuit."

The circuit at Le Castellet has in recent years been developed into a high-tech test facility and can be driven in a number of different configurations. Pirelli's test team made full use of the circuit to run a high-speed configuration, enabling the engineers to assess the performance of the tyres under extreme loading as well as through slower and more technical sections.

Pirelli’s test programme will continue in Spain in two weeks' time.