Pirelli hopes that its new expanded tyre range will encourage more overtaking this season compared to 2017.
F1 introduced new aerodynamic rules in 2017 that gave us faster cars due to the higher downforce effect. But the change reduced the braking zones, and it got harder for the cars to follow each other closely, reducing chances of overtaking. As a result, passes dropped to half of what the sport saw in 2016.
Pirelli introduced two new compounds (Superhard and Hypersoft) for 2018 season. They also made the entire range one step softer than the previous year. The tyre company’s motorsport boss Mario Isola hopes the new range will offer more opportunities to overtake.
Talking with RACER, Isola said: “We have a range now,”
“We are not obliged to go to most of the events with the soft, super and ultra. We have a medium compound that is last year’s soft, so it’s a good compound for many circuits. We have a good range from hard to Hypersoft targeting the two s tops, and hopefully a bit more overtaking and a bit more degradation, obviously.”
Superhard is a new addition to the hard range. Isola says the addition is only a backup and they do not expect to nominate it for a race weekend.
“We are not planning to use the Superhard this year,” – Mario Isola
“The reason why we wanted to homologate it is that if you have it in the range, you can use it. If you don’t homologate, you are obliged to ask for unanimity from the teams to introduce this one.”
Since the ‘hard’ tyre will be coloured Blue from this year (it was coded Orange in 2017) and Superhard will take the Orange dye. Isola confirmed that the wet compound’s colour will be tweaked to avoid confusion in case both are used in the same race.
“We are planning to make the full wet a bit darker to make it more distinguishable compared to the hard,” Isola added. “The hard is ice Blue and the wet will be a Blue that is more dark, but I believe it is quite [unlikely] that we can see the hard and the wet used at the same time.
“It’s not really an issue. If at one event you have the hard, medium and soft and it’s damp, I struggle to believe that somebody is jumping from the extreme wet to hard! But you never know that’s why we’re changing the colour – just in case.”