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Teams set for crucial, final pre-season test in Barcelona 27 Feb 2013

Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C32.
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, 19 February 2013 Pirelli tyre engineers.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain, Thursday, 7 February 2013 Front wing and Pirelli tyre detail on the car of Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 22 February 2013

Formula One racing’s 11 teams are gearing up for the final, four-day, pre-season test which takes place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona from Thursday.

It’s not only the final opportunity the teams will have to develop their cars on-track before the season-opening Grand Prix in Australia on March 15-17, but - crucially - it’s the last chance they’ll have to assess the performance characteristics of Pirelli’s new-for-2013 tyres.

“The last test at Barcelona was affected by bad weather, which meant that we experienced more degradation than usual due to the tyres not being able to operate within their intended working range,” said Pirelli’s motorsport director, Paul Hembery. “Hopefully this time we will find conditions that are slightly more representative, which will allow the teams to collect more relevant data.

“The fact that we’re going back to Barcelona gives them all an excellent known baseline from which to operate. These 2013 tyres are quite different to their predecessors, both in terms of compound and construction, which makes the work that will be carried out over the next few days even more essential.

“At this stage of testing it is always difficult for the teams and drivers to know what to expect from the first race as conditions are not always representative. Past experience from the last two years shows a big reduction in tyre degradation over the course of the season: roughly half the degradation seen in winter testing.

"This year, we think that degradation will be higher than it was in 2012, and we estimate a degradation rate of around 0.15 to 0.18 seconds per lap in race conditions for the hard compound in Barcelona.”

Each car will have a maximum of 35 sets of Pirelli tyres available for the final test, including the supersoft, soft, medium and hard compounds, as well as the Cinturato intermediate and wet tyres - a good thing as forecasts are predicting the cold, wet weather that blighted the final day of the previous Barcelona test could return on Thursday and Friday.

But despite the less-than-ideal conditions last time out in Spain, Pirelli say that the data from race simulations indicates that they are on target to reach their objective of two to three pit stops per race in 2013.

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