Next season’s racing should feature greater variation in strategy and a wider range of options for how teams tackle the race weekend, after tyre supplier Pirelli unveiled it new range.
And according to Pirelli’s motorsport chief Mario Isola, there will be no repeat of the problems experienced this season where the harder of the three compounds has barely featured in the races, restricting the strategies and the variation in the racing.
Next year, with a wider range of options to choose from, Pirelli can bring three tyre options that all have a strategic advantage and let the teams decide which ones to use which work best with their car, their drivers and their objectives.
“With a wider range we can have the right compounds at each race,” said Isola on Friday night in Abu Dhabi.
“This year was a bit tricky because with the hard compound, which was a bit too conservative and the other four compounds available, we have to race on twenty circuits with only limited movement across the compounds so the idea is absolutely not to generate more confusion, it is to keep the same philosophy, different colours immediately recognisable by spectators who also decided the name of the pink (tyre) but all the three compounds useable at each race so different strategies: one stop, two stop or even more.”
Isola noted that this year the cornering speeds have been dramatically higher than in previous years, thanks to the higher downforce cars and wider more grippy tyres,
“In some famous corners like turn three in Barcelona or Copse at Silverstone or at Spa, we had an increase in speed of 30-40kmh on these kind of corners so all of the lap time improvement was in cornering and not, for sure, on the straights where the additional drag from the wider tyre is limiting the top speed.”
After a few difficult seasons early on when Pirelli was criticised by drivers, suffered some high profile failures and argued with teams about tyre pressures and camber angles, the success of this year’s programme seems to have brought a renewed confidence from the Italian manufacturer.
Hence the move to a step softer on all the compound titles, the introduction of the hyper soft, which will be used at street tracks and possibly places like Hungary.
Reaction from the team strategists has been a cautious welcome; until they run the tyres in the test next week and next year it is hard to draw too many conclusions.
The target will be to introduce effective degradation that makes the strategic advantages of each tyre clear; what will not be ideal is if all the degradation is thermal and that requires more ‘management’. The risk there, with a parallel reduction to only three engines per driver for the whole F1 season, is that there is too much ‘management’ and not enough of drivers pushing flat out. We have had more of that this year, with the new 2017 specification cars and tyres.
What do you think of the latest development on tyres in F1? How have you felt it has worked this season? Leave your comments in the section below