Pirelli announced their new 2013 lineup for tires in Formula One today. Motor sport boss Paul Hembery had explained a few weeks ago that they were looking for some surprises in 2013 and now we know what those will be…softer tires with more degradation, faster heat-cycles and more pit stops. Here is the statement about the F1 tires:
Formula One. The entire range of Formula One tyres undergoes a revolution this year. The P Zero slick tyres and wet Cinturato tyres feature new structures and softer compounds. The objective is to increase thermal degradation and ensure at least two pit stops for every grand prix, increasing overtaking opportunities and so helping to provide an even better show. All of the slick tyres have improved performance and are faster by up to 0.5 seconds per lap. The performance gap between the different compounds is also at least half a second, in order to enhance race strategy and differences in speeds during each race.
The most visible change is to the hard compound P Zero, which as well as having a wider working range this year, changes colour and is now distinguished by orange markings on the sidewall (see separate article).
More passing has certainly become a battle cry for F1 fans claiming near-exhaustion with processional racing every time someone cares enough to take a survey but more pit stops? Was anyone asking for that? Sure, softer and higher heat degradation is a product they’ve used to get the characteristics from the tire but it will cost teams a second stop at least. Gone are the days of Sauber running deep, deep into a first stint and finishing the race on the options. To be honest, I rather enjoyed that…sad to see it go.
Of course a F1 team exists to defy the laws of science and it will be intriguing to see if a team quickly adapts to the new tires and see a one-stop strategy…perhaps Monaco? What do you think of the new tire direction? I can’t help but feel it’s just a game now where the teams catch up to the tire compounds and exploit them and then Pirelli goes back to the drawing board and throws a wicked curve at them and this takes half of a season to figure it out and by the last part of the season we see an almost conservative Pirelli. Then we start the dance macabre all over again. Oh how fun.