F2 teams were able to sample the new specification hard tyres for the first time during the championship’s three-day test at the Sakhir Circuit which concluded on Wednesday.
Ferrari Driver Academy member Shwartzman ended the test eighth overall but was quick to point out the challenges posed by the new Pirelli rubber compared to last year’s hard compound tyres.
Each car was assigned six sets of prime and two sets of option tyres for the test, the same allocation the drivers will receive for the opening round of the season at the same circuit on 26-28 March.
Shwartzman was satisfied with his display but revealed the new tyres provide less grip and are much more difficult to adjust to.
“The test went quite well. Qualifying performance wasn’t bad, and the potential is there, we still have to improve a few things,” said Shwartzman. “I was generally satisfied with my performance in the race simulations, although the new hard tyres are much more complicated than the old ones.
“We have less grip, and degradation is more difficult to control. Anyway, we got really close to our limit and to putting everything together, and we know where to work. I’m looking forward to the season.
“I will line up with a fresh head, positive energy to try to be on top right from the start.”
It was a view echoed by DAMS driver Marcus Armstrong who topped the final morning session and finished third fastest overall behind ART Grand Prix’s Christian Lundgaard and Trident’s Bent Viscaal.
The New Zealander, preparing for his second year in the F1 feeder series, believes the new hard tyres will make the racing more interesting this year.
“The performance runs this morning went quite well. I think that there’s quite a decent step between the soft and hard compounds now,” said Armstrong on the championship’s website.
“They changed the hard a little bit and the difference between the two compounds is quite large now, so the races will be interesting when we arrive here.
“In quali, it will be more all about adapting to the grip. Overall, it’s been a good day with a lot of laps completed.”