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Pirelli commence F1's first-ever wet night test 17 Jan 2011

Pedro de la Rosa, Pirelli tyre testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, January 2011 Pedro de la Rosa, Pirelli tyre testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, January 2011 Pirelli tyre testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, January 2011 Pedro de la Rosa, Pirelli tyre testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, January 2011 Pedro de la Rosa, Pirelli tyre testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, January 2011

Ahead of their eagerly-anticipated return to Formula One racing, Pirelli embarked on the sport’s first-ever wet weather night test in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Pedro de la Rosa is taking charge of the Italian tyre firm’s test car over the course of the two-day session, as he helps them finalise their wet and intermediate rubber specifications for 2011.

The 5.55-kilometre Yas Marina Circuit has been coated in water for the unique 12-hour night test, which got underway at 1800 hours local time. The test car is expected to cover more than 1,000 kilometres over the next two nights.

“This is a unique opportunity to witness a Formula One test car on track at night in the wet and on hot tarmac, in an entirely floodlit setting,” said Paul Hembery, Pirelli F1 team director. “We decided to do it this way because we want to challenge our rain tyres with the most difficult and demanding of all situations. And who knows, perhaps it could be a good idea for a future Grand Prix?”

The Abu Dhabi test will be the last in a series of nine private sessions Pirelli have carried out since August 2010, when their test programme started. Since then, test line-up Nick Heidfeld, Romain Grosjean and Pedro de la Rosa have covered more than 13,000 km at a variety of circuits as they sampled Pirelli’s range of tyres for the 2011 season.

The Formula One teams also got to sample the Pirelli rubber at a session at Abu Dhabi in November after the end of the 2010 season. Most recently, De la Rosa finalised the super-soft and soft compound tyres at Yas Marina last weekend.

“These tests will provide us with useful information to finalise our tyre development process for Formula One,” added Hembrey. “It is seven months since we started developing our tyres and five since we started with the actual testing. We are very satisfied with the results so far.”

With Pirelli’s private sessions soon over, the teams will take on the testing mantle as they start their own on-track preparations. All 12 are expected to attend 2011's first official pre-season test at Valencia from February 1-3, before they all journey to Jerez for a second test a week later.

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