Having seven compounds on offer, Pirelli aim to become more strategic in the 2018 Formula 1 season by selecting the right tires for the right race in order to deliver the right racing on track.
Key here is the compounds selected versus the track characteristics and Pirelli have brought new compounds giving them seven (7) to choose from and some new software in which to predict the best track for each tire.
“We have now a very good tool, software that we created this winter, to make all the combinations with three different compounds,” said Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola.
“And the software is returning the number of strategies in a certain interval of race time.
“So we always pick up the three compounds that have the highest number of strategies. Usually of course the target is two stops, but it’s not only two stops, we are taking the combination which on paper is giving us the higher number of strategies, to try to have more action on track.
“Software is a tool that is making a lot of comparisons in a quick way, but you need to put in the right numbers. If we collect good numbers from here, we can update the software in order to have new simulations and to decide the selection.
“We had a different system. We had one in the past, but now we have a new one that is considering more information. We have I feel a better, more representative output. The model is stronger, it’s more solid.”
Pirelli look to bring the right compounds based upon the lap time differences in each tire in their range. This is also why Pirelli said earlier this month that they may not get completely on top of the strategy until mid-year as they see the results.
“If we discover for example that soft, supersoft and ultrasoft are too close, we can nominate, as we did for China, where we did medium, soft and ultrasoft. It’s important that we collect the delta laptimes between compounds to decide the selection.
“If we confirm the numbers that we have seen in Abu Dhabi [testing in November] – between soft and supersoft we had 0.6s, and supersoft to ultrasoft was 0.4 s – depending on that, we can fine tune the selection and try to choose the best combination.”
A few years ago, Pirelli attempted to outsmart the team engineers and the teams themselves tried to answer the challenge by running the tires beyond what Pirelli mandated. This led to a series of blowouts that prompted Pirelli to reverse course and endures several seasons labeled as “too conservative” in their approach—including last year.
Now they are re-engaged and attempting to prompt more pit stops in order to make the on-track strategy action more exciting. Some fans feel this is what is needed in the sport while others feel it is a construct intended to avoid the obvious issues in F1.
Regardless, the teams will be learning quickly and along with fighting each other for on-track supremacy, they will spend a good portion of the fly-away races trying to learn and outsmart Pirelli’s new tire compounds.
Hat Tip: Autosport