New F1 tyres won't be understood until mid-season

Pirelli’s new-for-2018 Formula 1 tyres will not be fully understood until mid-season, according to the Italian company’s racing manager Mario Isola.

New F1 tyres won't be understood until mid-season
Pirelli tyres
Pirelli signage and kerb
Scuderia Toro Rosso mechanics and Pirelli tyres
Pirelli tire
Ferrari SF71H front wheel and Pirelli tyre
Red Bull Racing mechanic and Pirelli tyres
Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team mechanics and Pirelli tyres
 A Pirelli tyre technician at work
Pirelli signage

The introduction of the new pink-walled hypersoft as the softest tyre has taken Pirelli’s range of slick F1 tyres to seven, while it has also brought in new specifications of the ultrasoft, supersoft, soft and hard compounds.

Asked by Motorsport.com what impact this would have on teams’ understanding of the new tyres in the early races, Isola said: “I am sure there are some details we don't know.

“The compounds are more or less all new, except for the medium – that is the soft coming from last year. 

“We tested last year, we had a test in Abu Dhabi, we have a test [in Barcelona], but you cannot say that you know [every] detail of any compound with two tests. 

“So, the hypersoft is a compound that we need to understand where we can use it, and all the rest also. 

“I think that we start to know, really know the compounds, mid-season, not before. Before mid-season, the learning process is quite a steep curve.”

Teams committed to their early-race allocations some time ago, then found the usability of certain compounds ruined by cold weather during pre-season testing at Barcelona. 

Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur said that would make this weekend’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix, and first few races that follow, “a bit of a blind situation”. 

“It’s a tricky situation but it’s tricky for everybody,” he said. “We have a lot of compounds – if we have eight days to test that could make sense, with four days when you have to do race simulations and so on, it’s difficult to understand each compound. 

“As we had to do the selection a couple of months ago, now it’s a bit a blind situation for the first races. 

“I don’t think it will jeopardise the racing but it’s tricky to manage.”

Haas team boss Gunther Steiner said that even with a perfect run through pre-season testing “I wouldn’t be brave enough to say we would have a perfect understanding of the tyres”. 

He added: “They are pretty difficult to understand. As we see all the time, one of the biggest things is to get a car’s tyres into the working range. 

“You don’t get a script: I do this, this and this and it works. You have to work every weekend to do that."

shares
comments
Horner: Ferrari's capture of FIA man Mekies is "wrong"
Previous article

Horner: Ferrari's capture of FIA man Mekies is "wrong"

Next article

Fuel shortage cost Alonso Supercars test

Fuel shortage cost Alonso Supercars test
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Prime

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. Mark Gallagher ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022