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GP Week : Issue 92
PIRELLI tested its prototype 2011 F1 tyre for the first time at a private test in Paul Ricard last week, as the Italian firm continues to ramp up preparations for its return to the pinnacle of motorsport next season. The test was carried out by an unnamed driver behind closed doors and, although details of the test remain scarce, they are reportedly happy with the initial performance. Speaking to Irish website Manipe F1, Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery confirmed that the test had taken place with a 2011 GP2 car, and that he was happy with the performance: "We've started some initial testing on the GP2 car, we had the first runs this week at Paul Ricard. It was very successful, we're very happy with the performance of the product for the first test." Pirelli will continue testing with the 2011 GP2 car for the time being, but it's rumoured that the 2009 Toyota chassis could be used further down the line to collect more relevant data on the tyres. Teams will then get the chance to test the tyres on their own cars for the first time at a two-day test in Abu Dhabi, following the season-ending Grand Prix. Pirelli is replacing Bridgestone as Formula One's official tyre supplier next year, having last supplied rubber to the sport in 1991. Pirelli conducts rst 2011 tyre test Schuey: I'm here for 2011 MICHAEL Schumacher remains adamant that he will honour his Mercedes GP contract in 2011 despite enduring a torrid first half-season on his return to Grand Prix racing. The 41-year-old German lies just ninth in the drivers' standings after 11 races in a car that is incapable of challenging for wins and he is now pushing to have the team focus fully on next year's car to take advantage of the numerous rule changes. Speaking ahead of his Grand Prix in Hockenheim at the weekend, Schumacher responded with a categorical "Yes" when asked if he would race for Mercedes in 2011, but the paddock remains unconvinced with his potential after three full years away from the sport. Officially Schumacher has a three-year deal with Mercedes GP taking him up to the end of the 2012 season and he remains fully focused on winning an eighth world championship by then. "It is what I mentioned the other day -- that I officially publicised when I rejoined F1 -- which is to win the title," said Schumacher. "That is my focus and that is what I am here for." Schumacher has scored just 38 points in the first 11 races, less than half team-mate Nico Rosberg's 94. F1 NEWS >> Our exclusive partnership with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes means you can stay in the centre of the F1 action when you book a Grand Prix weekend package. For more information or to book, please visit hiltonracing.com Click here to book your Michael still focused on World titile