Alguersuari gets to grips with tyre fitting

Pirelli’s latest test driver, Jaime Alguersuari, tried his hand at tyre fitting for the first time at his home circuit of Barcelona this afternoon, when he discovered for himself how Pirelli’s 2012-specification rubber is mounted onto the wheel rim.Alguersuari has driven countless racing laps throughout his career, but he had never before attempted to fit a tyre onto a wheel: the essential job that Pirelli’s crew of 19 fitters carry out at all the circuits of the world.The Spaniard, who has just completed a three-day test at Jerez with Pirelli, went through the whole fitting process from scratch. This involves mounting the tyre on the rim, inflating it to the right pressure and balancing it to the correct weight. Getting it right requires both precision and physical strength, as the 22-year-old discovered.After receiving instructions from one of Pirelli’s experienced fitters, it was Alguersuari’s turn. A Pirelli fitter can normally fit a tyre in around two and a half minutes, but Alguersuari took somewhat longer, concentrating on getting it right while talking about his experiences to the media who had gathered to watch.“It’s certainly a more complex process than it looks!” said Alguersuari, who tested new development tyres at Jerez. “The tyre doesn’t just click on: you really have to know what you are doing and place it exactly: sometimes using a lot of strength. And then you have to get the balancing precisely right, while not forgetting the other important things like putting a special glue on the bead of the tyre to stop it rolling around on the rim. There is really a lot going on, and this just makes me appreciate the work that the fitters do all the more. As well as a specialised skill, they also have a very big responsibility.”