Abu Dhabi post-season tyre underway as 2016 work begins
A mix of race and test drivers for final day's track running for F1 in 2015
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 01/12/15 3:48pm
F1's post-season tyre test in Abu Dhabi is underway as Pirelli trial developments for 2016 - including the new ultrasoft compound.
With the chequered flag only just falling on the 2015 season, the teams have returned to the Yas Marina circuit on Tuesday morning for a mammoth 12-hour tyre test which runs from 9am to 9pm local time (5am-5pm GMT), taking advantage of the venue's floodlighting system.
The running is taking place behind closed doors with Pirelli, F1's sole tyre supplier, in control of the programmes teams run with their cars. All tyres used will be unmarked, with teams unable to make changes to their cars.
The focus of Pirelli's 2016 work is twofold - the testing of a new construction for their slick tyres and the first run of the new ultrasoft compound, which will become the fifth tyre in the firm's dry range next year.
The ultrasoft, which will have purple markings when it is introduced in 2016, will sit below the supersoft and become Pirelli's fastest tyre, although it is only expected to be raced on smooth street-style circuits. The teams will not be told which tyre compounds they will be running.
As is normal convention for tests, teams are limited to one car apiece and all 10 outfits are in action for the first time this year.
A mix of race drivers and test drivers are being used, with Ferrari the only team to be using both of their regular racers. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will share driving duties across the day. Daniel Ricciardo is running for Red Bull, whereas world champions Mercedes are giving track time to test driver and new DTM title winner Pascal Wehrlein.
Having missed all five hitherto tests in 2015, Manor are splitting their running between development driver Jordan King and Indonesian Rio Haryanto, who has been linked to one of their race seats for next season.
Force India, meanwhile, are giving a debut to 19-year-old Mexican Alfonso Celis.
When the chequered flag falls on Tuesday night, it will mark the start of an 80-day shutdown for the sport with F1 only returning to the track on February 22 next year for the first of two pre-season tests to be staged at Barcelona - although a wet-weather tyre test has been mooted for mid-January at the Paul Ricard circuit in France.
Abu Dhabi test line-up
Mercedes - Pascal Wehrlein (Unconfirmed)
Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel (first) and Kimi Raikkonen (second)
Red Bull - Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren - Stoffel Vandoorne
Williams - Valtteri Bottas
Force India - Alfonso Celis and Nico Hulkenberg
Lotus - Jolyon Palmer
Toro Rosso - Carlos Sainz (morning) and Max Verstappen (afternoon)
Sauber - Adderly Fong
Manor - Jordan King and Rio Haryanto
Don't miss the F1 Midweek Report for analysis of the Abu Dhabi GP and all the latest F1 news. Former BAR boss David Richards and car designer Gary Anderson join Natalie Pinkham on Sky Sports F1 at 8:30pm on Wednesday.