Pirelli has presented their 2013 tyre compound range at a ceremony in Milan on Wednesday.
The Italian tyremaker has responded to criticism over the unpredictability of its 2012 compounds by producing a new range that it claims will produce “at least two pit stops per race” with a minimum performance gap of over half a second per lap between each compound.
In what is called a “completely revolutionised” process of tyre design, Pirelli has produced softer tyres in compared to their 2012 predecessors, which will heat up more easily and evenly to reduce blistering and inconsistent wear.
One of the main visual changes has been the re-marking of the Hard compound tyre with orange banding, as opposed to the hard-to-see silver colour bands we have witnessed in previous years.
“The 2013 season continues the philosophy adopted by Pirelli last year in evolving the original 2011 range of Formula 1 tyres,” Pirelli’s motorsport director, Paul Hembery, said during the press conference.
“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. Our 2013 range of tyres mixes up the cards to help overtaking and ensure two to three pit stops per race.”
The changes in compound structure of the 2013 tyres means each set will now be 2 kilograms heavier than previously, leading to the FIA to increase the minimum car weight from 640kg to 642kg.
Each car will be allocated eleven sets of dry-weather tyres per race weekend – six of the harder ‘prime’ compound and five of the softer ‘option’ compound – in addition to a limited allocation of intermediate and full-wet weather compounds.
The same tyre compounds will be supplied to Formula 1’s support categories, GP2 and GP3.
Also present at the event was former Grand Prix driver Jean Alesi, who was announced as the firm’s new brand ambassador. Alesi gave Pirelli one of its major highlights during the tyremarker’s previous stint in F1 in the mid 1980s and early 1990s, famously battling with Ayrton Senna for the lead of the 1990 United States Grand Prix at Phoenix.
Hembery also refuted rumours that Kamui Kobayashi was set to be signed as a Pirelli development driver, and indicated that incumbent drivers Lucas di Grassi and Jaime Alguersuari would remain in their roles.