Pirelli’s 2016 tire plan didn’t pan out

The season has begun and if you boiled down the biggest changes to F1 this year, it would be the new tire compound, elimination qualifying and the radio ban. The results of the latter two issues remains to be seen but there is an interesting development concerning the tires.

During my season preview event, a question was asked about the new Ultra-soft compound tire and if the entire line had changed or just a new compound added. I haven’t read any detailed account of the changes to the Hard through Super-soft tire construction but today Pirelli commented on their efforts to re-introduce a steeper cliff performance edge in this year’s tires without success.

“That was the theory, that’s what we were trying to do, but it hasn’t worked at the level we wanted,” he said.

“We haven’t seen the difference in terms of a cliff.

“That’s something we’re looking at for 2017 now.

“We’re not going to do anything in-season, all our work is focused on 2017.”

This would indicate to me that they have continued with a similar performance compound throughout the line as last year but simply added the Ultra-soft compound to the lineup. Last year Pirelli were accused of being too conservative with their tire and while they tried to remedy that in 2016, it seems that it didn’t work or at least that’s the word from the Italian tire maker.

If I were Pirelli, I would be focused on the same performance as last year be it conservative or not as it didn’t create any drama for the brand and adding a softer compound is enough action for the season. But that’s just me, I don’t make tires for a living nor am I being asked to make a product that is antithetical to my reason for being.


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