- First Barcelona Test, Day Two
Perez surprised by 'extreme' tyre degradation
Sergio Perez says the extreme level of degradation he has experienced on this year's Pirelli tyre during testing has made it difficult for him to learn about his new McLaren.
Perez completed his fourth day of pre-season testing at Barcelona on Wednesday, setting the fastest time and completing 97 laps. However, he said the drop-off in tyre performance has been the biggest challenge and would be a bit of a worry if there is a cold race this season.
"It's extreme," he said. "It's very difficult, the degradation, and it's a big surprise. Normally we see in winter testing a lot of degradation but never this much. We are sometimes going to have cold races, like it is here, so it's a bit of a worry. We're still learning about the tyres and I hope that once we go racing things can change about the tyres."
Pirelli has aimed to create more degradation with the latest generation of tyres by choosing softer compounds and changing the structure to ease warm-up. However, in the cold temperatures experienced so far in pre-season testing, the tyres are graining more than they would in warmer climates and that is leading to a big drop in performance.
"I definitely hope it changes because if we see this situation in Melbourne we are going to need something like seven or ten stops to manage the race," Perez said. "I'm sure we always see a lot of degradation in winter testing and all the teams are learning, and especially us, we need to learn a bit more about the tyres.
"The [low] temperature only increases the problem because we go into graining. It doesn't help, but as I said before, we always see a lot of degradation in winter testing and when we get to the racing it is quite a bit better."
Perez said he was struggling to understand the car because performance was dropping off so quickly.
"Once you do one lap you start fighting degradation so it is difficult to learn anything from your car or from your balance," he added. "It has been difficult to learn anything in that respect.
"[But] I think the car in general is quite strong and has a very good base. It has a very good potential to be improved with some tweaks if we can make them work."