Hembery: Jerez surface has “got worse”

2013 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Jerez, 2013Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says getting useful data from testing at Jerez is becoming more difficult as the track surface deteriorates.

Hembery said they weren’t yet sure whether the 2013 specification tyres are producing the 0.5 second gain in lap time they expect.

“You can’t really tell,” he said. “The times, we think they could drop still quite a bit from what they’re doing.”

“The indications are, yes, we are seeing a performance improvement,” he added. “We are seeing the differences in the compounds that we anticipated – about half a second between the soft, medium and hard.”

“What we can’t tell of course, on a track like this because it’s so abrasive. The macro is so far off the scale compared to everything else we see in the season.”

Jerez has tended to be a rougher surface for tyres. “It’s got worse,” said Hembery. “It’s changed compared to last year as well.”

Hembery said the surface was now far rougher than that of any track on the F1 calendar:

“It’s gone right off the scale of the macro. It’s most the bitumen aspect of it, it’s worn away, so you’re left with almost the rocks, the stones and the gravel almost on its own with nothing in between.”

But Hembery admitted there “isn’t really a perfect solution” when it comes to looking for alternative test venues:

“It’s difficult because we’re going to get Barcelona, I’m sure, whereas here’s it’s really still quite chilly in the air which suggests that going further north again we’ll have the issues we had last year of being very cold, particularly in the morning.

“And even when you get past midday we were finding large parts of the track were in the shadow in Barcelona and you’re going from warm to very cold.”

He expects it won’t be until the third race of the season that they understand exactly how the tyres are performing:

“We have to believe in our own data that we’ve acquired in our own testing. From that point of view, with the little bit more experience we have now, we feel more confident in that.

“However, I think we’d all say in the team that it’s until we get to probably China in particular that we think we’d have a good indication when we get to a faster track, a track where we’ve got more downforce, downforce is more important in the corners, high speed corners, that’s when we’ll really get a better idea of what the season’s going to look like.”

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