The tire tests are private and serve, almost exclusively, for Pirelli engineers to collect data that will help them during the season when it comes to managing tires at grand prix. But there are inopportune ones (in the middle of summer) and opportune ones (just before the start of the season). Aston Martin and Mercedes have been graced with the latter: the two teams will have two days of training starting this Tuesday at the Jerez circuit. There they will pilot Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
For the two-time Spanish champion, it is the perfect moment: after weeks of work with his new team, and after having tested the car from last year in Abu Dhabi, get back on AMR22. It is the only exception that the FIA allows when testing recent single-seaters (less than two years old) outside of pre-season testing or the filming day. It helps him adjust to his new steering wheel, get along with his engineers and finish fitting into the Aston Martin structure.
The format is inconspicuous: the engineers choose the tires to use, the fuel load and the duration of the batches. But the driver gets used to the sensations with each tire and, above all, loads himself with laps before starting a short preseason: the official tests will be on 23, 24 and 25 in Sakhir, a week before the first grand prix (March 5 in Bahrain). There is barely a day and a half per pilot. All the kilometers count and these, which will be of quality, even more.