Pirelli has confirmed that it will make changes to the tyre compounds on offer for the remainder of the season, with the new tyres set to be released at the Canadian Grand Prix in June.
The tyremaker has reacted to the harsh criticism is received in the wake of last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, which saw most of the field forced onto a four-stop strategy as they struggled with unprecedented tyre wear.
The decision follows discussions in the aftermath of the race, with Pirelli switching its focus to reduce the remaining races of the 2013 season to two or three pit stops, returning the focus to action on the track rather than the pit lane.
Pirelli has claimed that this shift in focus will still mean it adheres to its mantra of providing aggressively-wearing tyres, without jeopardising the performance of those – most notably Renault, Ferrari and Force India – who have shown an ability to handle the 2013-spec tyres.
“Our aim is to provide the teams with a new range which mixes the stability of the 2012 tyres and the performance of the current ones,” Pirelli Motorsport chief Paul Hembery said.
“As a company, we have always moved quickly to make improvements where we see them to be necessary. After evaluating data from the first few races this year, we’ve decided to introduce a further evolution as it became clear at the Spanish Grand Prix that the number of pit stops was too high.
“The Spanish Grand Prix was won with four pit stops, which has only happened once before in our history. These changes will also mean that the tyres are not worked quite as hard, reducing the number of pit stops.”
In saying all of this, Hembery also added that the absence of in-season testing was a contributing factor to some of the issues experienced this season, with the much colder pre-season testing conditions hardly being representative of the much warmer conditions being experienced during a typical Grand Prix weekend.
“With limited testing time, it’s clear now that our original 2013 tyre range was probably too performance-orientated for the current regulations,” Hembery added.
“However, having identified this issue, we’re determined to rapidly resolve it.
“It’s worth underlining that the current regulations for winter tests limit the opportunity to test the tyres under the same conditions as the race season because of the lower temperature and restricted time. The teams are of the same opinion as we are in wanting longer testing times and different locations for the next tests. We developed the 2013 tyres on the basis of careful simulations that were, however, not sufficient, taking into account the improved speed of cars (up to 3 seconds per lap).
“We’ve also taken this step to avoid the delaminations that were caused by track debris. It’s important to point out that these delaminations, which occur when the tread comes off, do not compromise the safety of the tyres as the core structure of the tyre is not affected in any way, helping drivers to complete the lap and to change the damaged tyres safely. These delaminations were due to damage from debris that overheated the tread.
“We’d like to thank all the teams for their continued and extremely valued support as we worked with them to identify the correct compromise between the pure speed that makes us the world leader in the Ultra High Performance sector and a global spectacle that is easy for Formula One fans to follow.”
And for those of you who haven’t read our rebuttal to the criticism heaped upon Pirelli, you can check it out here.