McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh expects the new generation of tyres for 2013 to give teams more trouble.
“I think we do believe that the new Pirelli tyres will be a little bit more challenging than those we’ve had recently in terms of their ability to grain and to wear,” he said during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in.
“I think a high degradation which is arguably good for the show – actually, inarguably good for the show – would undoubtedly be a headache for those of us trying to race to win. But I think it’s an interesting challenge and at the end of the day it’s the same for everyone.
“We’ve had situations before in the last few years where drivers and teams have been frustrated with the tyres but actually have had some great spectacles.”
Whitmarsh said he was reluctant to draw conclusions from testing as much of it had been conducted in temperatures that were below what is usually seen at an F1 race. But he added the cool conditions often seen in Shanghai, the venue for round three of the championship, could prove especially tricky.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery described their 2013 compounds as “the most focussed and performance-orientated tyres we have ever made”.
“All the compounds and constructions have changed for 2013, and the drivers should notice a wider working range and a bigger window of peak performance,” he added.
“The performance gaps between the compounds are also larger, which means that teams have a greater opportunity to use strategy to their advantage by exploiting the consequent speed differentials.”
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