Pirelli has announced that it will supply an “experimental hard compound” of rubber for teams to test during Friday practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
We had earlier reported that the Italian tyre maker was working on making a fifth dry-weather tyre compound – dubbed an ‘extra hard’ compound – for possible use at selected events during the 2011 season.
The initial reports were of the opinion that the compound was designed to cope with extreme high-wear situations, such as Turkey’s famous quadruple-apex Turn 8 left-hander. Pirelli has just concluded a test session with Pedro de la Rosa at the Istanbul circuit over the weekend.
“The new tyre is an experimental hard compound that could be used in the future,” Pirelli announced in a statement.
“With testing not allowed during the season, this gives us a valuable opportunity to gather more data and feedback, while it also gives the teams an interesting taste of what could be coming in the future,” added its motorsport boss Paul Hembery.
The tyre maker fears that the wear rate could be so high at Sepang that the 58-lap race could see teams choosing up to four pit stops as the high temperatures ramp up the degradation of its tyres.
“We were absolutely thrilled by our grand prix debut in Australia, but we’re aware that Malaysia should be a very different proposition, with higher temperatures and increased degradation,” Hembery added.
“We said all along that we would be seeing two to three pit stops in Australia, but in Malaysia I think that figure is likely to increase to three to four.”
Many insiders had predicted up to four pit stops for the Australian Grand Prix as well, but just a few drivers pitted three times during the race, most stuck to two stops, and Sergio Pérez was able to complete the race on a single pit stop.
[Original image via AUTOSPORT]