Pirelli has just launched its new range of Formula One tyres saying that softer compounds and altered constructions for 2013 will improve racing this year. I hope so because it was getting a bit boring watching an exciting first few laps then having to snooze until the last 10 when the tyres dropped off and things got exciting again.
“The goal is to continuously set new challenges for the drivers and to ensure that all the teams start the new season on a level playing field when it comes to the tyres,” said the company’s motorsport director Paul Hembery. “Through accumulating more information with each grand prix last year, the teams eventually fully understood the tyres. The result, at the end of the year, was races with less competition and sometimes only one pit stop. Our 2013 range of tyres mixes up the cards to help overtaking and ensure two to three pit stops per race.”
To do this the company says the compounds across its range of F1 tyres are all softer, with this year’s hard tyres being similar in softness to last year’s medium compound. The tyres will now become less effective earlier during a race and this should hopefully lead to more pit stops.
Last year a number of teams encountered problems with getting heat into the tyres, particularly over one lap in qualifying, but Pirelli says this problem should in part be solved by the new softer compounds, which according to the Italian company will reach peak operating temperature earlier. The tyre supplier also expects the new tyre range to deliver lap times around 0.5 seconds faster than last year.
Not only will we see softer tyres but the hard compound will have a different colour. Last year it was very difficult to tell the difference between the silver banding of the hard tyres and the white banding of the medium. In 2013 the hard tyres will be orange!
Pirelli are hoping this gap in tyre degradation will encourage overtaking and give teams more choice when it comes to strategies. By the sounds of things the tyres have been sorted for this new season and we will be able to get through the season without someone being at the front until the penultimate lap then crawling their way around the finish as ten cars overtake them (a la Kimi Raikkonen) when the tyres drop off that cliff we all love so much.