Pirelli say their new range of F1 tyres will produce quicker lap times and more pit stops in 2013.
F1’s official tyre supplier will supply softer tyres for 2013 – this year’s hard tyre will be approximate composition to last year’s medium. Pirelli says the performance difference between the compounds to be around 0.6 to 0.8 seconds.
The tyres will have stiffer shoulders but stronger sidewalls. This will increase thermal degradation meaning teams will need to make more pit stops – Pirelli expect at least two per race.
This will also benefit traction and extend the peak performance of the tyres which should reduce lap times by around half a second per lap.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery explained the reasons for the change: “To get more grip, more footprint, we had to change dramatically the carcass, going towards more of a radial construction. It’s not fully radial, but the plies that are inside the tyre are crossed and when you make them a radial you increase the size of the footprint.
“That might sound easy, but when you do that unfortunately you lose some of your lateral cornering force. So you have to recover some of that by increasing the rigidity of the belt pack – that’s the area you see at the top of the tyre. That’s the real weight gain, where we’ve had to put reinforcing materials in.
“That has a number of advantages, essentially. It stops what you call coupling in corners, that’s where the tyre deforms and tried to fold in the middle of the tyre. With that increased resistance you don’t get the buckling.
“And with the structure, while being ten percent less rigid vertically, we have recovered the cornering force by adding in that belt. We would have lost about five percent in lateral cornering forces if we hadn’t made modifications to that belt pack. So it’s very substantial changes.
“Add on as well the changes to the compounds, the slick tyres, with that increased rigidity and much more rapid heat build-up what we’re hoping for is more degradation. Now that might sounds strange because most of our lives we’ve spent, as you can imagine, trying to avoid performance decay and degradation. In reality that’s what we’re being asked for in the sport of Formula One.
“As has been mentioned earlier at the end of the season we were getting to the point where we were having negative degradation. The loss of fuel was actually compensating for any performance loss, the tyres were still going quicker at the end of their stint, we had tyres that could last the whole race.
“So we had to look again at what we were doing to create at one side improved drive-ability with the mid-corner traction, from another point of view still maintain a technical challenge for the teams.”
Pirelli will also change the colouring of the hard tyre to make it easier to identify them. These will now be coloured orange instead of silver, with the other tyres remaining unchanged from 2012.
Pirelli will also offer a day of tyre testing in an F1 car to the winner of this year’s GP2 championship.
Jean Alesi, who used Pirelli tyres in F1 with Tyrrell in 1990, has been confirmed as an ambassador for the brand.
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Image ?é?® Pirelli/LAT