De la Rosa racks up the kilometres at Le Castellet
Pirelli's Formula One testing programme has now rolled past the 7000-kilometre mark as Pedro de la Rosa resumed his duties at the Le Castellet circuit in southern France at the wheel of Toyota's TF109. Le Castellet, which is also known as the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track by virtue of its advanced facilities, contains a wide variety of configurations designed to test every aspect of a car's overall performance. De la Rosa, who had not driven on the circuit since 2006, completed a total of 315 laps and 1118.5 kilometres during the two-day test: 158 laps on day one and 157 laps on day two. The Spaniard tested both the soft and super-soft compound rubber, over short and long runs on the 3.551-kilometre configuration, on his third outing in the role of Pirelli's test driver as the Italian company gears up to its Formula One return next year. The first morning of the test was affected by damp conditions, which meant that de la Rosa had an unscheduled opportunity to run on Pirelli's wet tyres again in order to dry out the wet parts of the circuit. Once the track was dry, de la Rosa carried out a number of short runs with the soft compound tyre during the afternoon, before switching to longer runs at the end of the first day. Conditions were sunny from the outset throughout the second day, with temperatures peaking at 25 degrees centigrade in the afternoon. In the morning de la Rosa continued work on tyre construction, trying out Pirelli's latest evolutions as a result of the data gained from previous tests. In the afternoon, de la Rosa sampled Pirelli's super-soft compound rubber for the first time. Like the soft rubber, this is also an 'option' tyre, used to generate maximum grip and performance. Once more the Spaniard combined short runs of seven laps and longer runs of 20 laps, driving until daylight became marginal just before 5pm on each day. Pedro de la Rosa said: "These have been two of the most productive days of testing that we have seen yet, and I'm particularly encouraged by the consistency of the times that we managed to set on both the short and the long runs, demonstrating that the tyres are quick to reach a constant level of peak performance. There were a number of interesting solutions that we have started to investigate in depth. We enjoyed perfect reliability from the car and the tyres, which allowed us to cover more than a thousand kilometres and take some important steps forward in the development programme." Pirelli will continue testing at Paul Ricard next week for two days, taking advantage of the circuit's modern facilities to complete the European test schedule before the Formula One teams get their first chance to sample Pirelli's tyres after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of the month. Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery concluded: "Once more, Pedro's knowledge and feedback has given us some valuable information to finalise the second compound that we will bring to Abu Dhabi, as we finish our testing in Europe this month. Next week's test at Paul Ricard will enable us to complete our test programme on wet and intermediate tyres, taking advantage of the facilities available there."