Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc kicked off 2020 Formula 1 track action by conducting an 18-inch wheel Pirelli tyre test at Jerez on Saturday.
It was the first of 25 days of dedicated running for next year’s tyres, the testing of which will be shared across all 10 teams.
After fog delayed the start to the day, two-time grand prix winner Leclerc completed 130 laps at the wheel of a modified SF90 mule car.
Ferrari declined to allow the Italian tyre company to release any pictures of the car in action.
All teams have committed to building mule cars for the testing of the tyres. These will also be used at the post-season test in Abu Dhabi.
Teams will complete two days of dry running apiece, while F1’s ‘big three’ outfits – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – will share five extra days of wet tyre running between them.
The schedule reflects the fact that most midfield teams have chosen to wait until the middle of the season before their 18-inch tests, in order to get through the busy opening half of 2019 without the distraction of preparing and running their mule cars.
Some teams have chosen to do their two days back-to-back, while others – notably Mercedes and Ferrari – have preferred to split their dry running across different venues at opposite ends of the season.
Ferrari is the only team to run an 18-inch test before the start of the season, and also has a wet day at its Fiorano test track pencilled in prior to the Australian Grand Prix.
Tests have been scheduled in the days after the Bahrain, Spanish, Austrian, British and Japanese Grands Prix, with the rest of the running focussed on Paul Ricard.
Pirelli’s 18-inch 2020 testing schedule
|March 5||Fiorano||Ferrari (wets)|
|May 12||Barcelona||Red Bull, Alfa Romeo, Renault|
|May 13||Barcelona||Red Bull, Alfa Romeo|
|May 26||Paul Ricard||Red Bull (wets)|
|May 27||Paul Ricard||Red Bull (wets)|
|July 7||Red Bull Ring||AlphaTauri|
|July 8||Red Bull Ring||AlphaTauri|
|July 21||Silverstone||Racing Point, Williams, McLaren|
|July 22||Silverstone||Racing Point, Williams|
|September 8||Paul Ricard||McLaren|
|September 9||Paul Ricard||Mercedes, Ferrari|
|September 10||Paul Ricard||Mercedes (wets)|
|September 11||Paul Ricard||Mercedes (wets)|