Pirelli heads to Barcelona for second round of GP2 and GP3 Series

After a very successful start at Istanbul Park in Turkey, Pirelli’s P Zero tyres are now ready for the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, where the second round of Formula One’s feeder series – GP2 and GP3 – will take place. The races are scheduled for 20-22 May, running alongside the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. The Italian tyres in medium compound specification were a highlight of the opening round in Istanbul, significantly contributing to the on-track action from start to finish. Thanks to its deliberately variable durability, Pirelli’s rubber provided these young drivers with a new challenge that will be vital for their future careers: learning how to look after their tyres and handle increased levels of degradation, as required by the championship organisers. Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola commented: “Competition in Istanbul was at its peak with our tyres playing an important part in making GP2 and GP3 races more spectacular. A number of people commented afterwards that they had not seen action like this in GP2 since the 2005 Nurburgring race, and that is very satisfying. We’ve received plenty of positive feedback from the paddock too, especially from the championship organisers who are pleased that we successfully managed to design tyres capable of greater performance but with less durability. It will obviously take time for the drivers to get a full understanding of the new tyres but I am sure that everybody will soon be able to get the most out of them by adjusting their driving styles and car set-ups accordingly.” In Barcelona, Pirelli will equip both the GP2 and GP3 drivers with its hard compound tyre, as Mario Isola explained: “The Circuit de Catalunya puts a lot of stress on tyres, due to the combination of different factors such as track layout, aggressive asphalt and the hot weather conditions expected for the race weekend. This presents the drivers with many big challenges along the way. We are planning to equip both GP2 and GP3 with our hard slicks in Spain because of the characteristics of the track and the likely weather conditions. When racing in hot ambient temperatures we need to put the accent on durability, which comes though at the expense of grip. It’s a tough compromise but an important part of racing.” “A final thought goes to Davide Rigon, who was injured in a serious accident during the GP2 sprint race at Istanbul. On behalf of everyone at Pirelli, I'd like to wish Davide a very rapid recovery and a swift return to the track, where he belongs,” concluded Mario Isola. Located in Montmelo near Barcelona, the Circuit de Catalunya is one of the most popular circuits in Europe. Because of its technical layout including several high-speed as well as low-speed corners, lots of testing takes place there and for this reason drivers and teams are extremely familiar with it. One of the big challenges of this circuit is the changeable wind direction: a significant factor in terms of aerodynamics and car set-up. The same holds true for the tyres, as the varying track conditions can lead to unexpected performance parameters. During pre-season testing in Barcelona all the GP2 and GP3 drivers had the chance to test Pirelli’s new P Zero hard slicks, running in mild and dry weather conditions on the 4.655 km-long Spanish track. GP3 driver Andrea Caldarelli (Tech 1 Racing) said: “During pre-season testing, nobody quite knew what was going to happen with the tyres. We worked a lot trying to get a good understanding of the new Pirelli rubber, especially in Barcelona. Now that we are heading to Spain once more, it will be just a case of managing the tyres as usual and getting the best out of them”. On Friday 20 May, the GP3 drivers will take part in two free practice sessions while the GP2 drivers will complete a single practice and qualifying session. On Saturday 21 May, the GP3 drivers will complete their qualifying session in the morning followed by the GP2 feature race at 15:40 and GP3 race one at 17:20 local time. Before the Spanish Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday 22 May, the GP3 race two will take place at 09:25, followed by the GP2 sprint race at 10:35 local time. For further information please contact: Laura Bartoli on +44 7500 877 304 or laura@mediatica.co.uk