Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenberg satisfied with new tyres' safety after test
Pair, however, reserving full judgement on impact until Hungary
By James Galloway at Silverstone. Last Updated: 19/07/13 2:46pm
Pastor Maldonado believes Pirelli's Hungarian GP-spec tyres represent a step forward in terms of reliability, although both the Williams driver and Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg insist it is too early to say how they will impact on performance.
The pair are so far two of only five race drivers who have gained first-hand experience of the revised tyres to be brought to the next race, having each completed half a day's worth of running at the modified Silverstone Young Driver Test on Thursday.
With teams having to adhere to strict FIA guidelines when running race drivers this week, both Maldonado and Hulkenberg's times on track were spent getting a feel for the new-look medium and hard compounds in Pirelli's range.
Three weeks on from the multiple tyre blowouts that marred the British GP there have been no repeat of the failures on the same Silverstone circuit with the modified rubber so far this week and Maldonado was pleased with both the tyres' consistency and durability.
"I think there is an improvement in terms of reliability and performance as well. Maybe the tyres are not quite that what we had in the past, but they are very consistent, which is quite good," the Venezuelan told reporters.
"We don't exactly have a clear idea because we don't know, as always in the test, what the others are testing. But it seems to be quite normal."
Pirelli have married last year's tyre structures with this season's more aggressive compounds in their new range, having already reverted to Kevlar constructions at the last race in Germany.
Maldonado, however, is reserving judgement on how the pecking order might be affected given teams have been restricted to the most minimal of set-up changes when race drivers are in the car.
"Today the track was very, very stable," he stressed. "We need to see what is happening in a proper race weekend situation when the track is always changing from P1 until qualy.
"In terms of reliability and problems there is a step forward, clearly. We did a long run, no vibrations as in the past. In terms of performance we don't know because we didn't work with the tyres. Even [with] the pressures, they [Pirelli] put the pressures on the tyres. We didn't touch the car."
And although this week's test is taking place on the exact same circuit as last month's now infamous 2013 British GP, Sauber driver Hulkenberg says it's difficult to make the most accurate of comparisons given so many variables are at play.
"A lot of factors are different here. The conditions are quite a lot hotter to the race weekend, the tyres are different, we had an update on the car. So many things and it's difficult to filter everything out. But the car still feels the same pretty much," the German said.
"I think we really have to start a race weekend and see how it develops."
Coincidentally or not, Sauber made a step forward when the Kevlar-belted tyres were introduced at the Nurburgring and Hulkenberg added: "Now everything should be sorted in terms of safety and these are the tyres provided by Pirelli and we have to adapt as quick as we can, just like everybody else."