With Red Bull leading the appeal against Pirelli’s radical 2013 tyre compounds, the Italian manufacturers have reacted, announcing that a more durable hard tyre will be available from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards. However, will this change quell the vocal dissatisfaction within certain teams in regards to the state of the entire tyre range. Super-soft, soft and medium compounds will remain unchanged.
Pirelli have undoubtedly spiced up the strategy so far this season. All four races have been significantly affected by tyres with an unprecedented rate of degradation. While it has added to the spectacle, teams have been against Pirelli’s radical design. Red Bull have been leading the charge, suggesting that they were being unfairly punished for having more downforce.
Following speculation, Pirelli have announced the highly anticipated changes today, stating that the hard compound will be made more durable ahead of the European season. This change will bring the hard compound closer to the 2012 specification compound.
Pirelli’s motorsport boss, Paul Hembery announced, “After evaluating tyre performance over the balance of the first four races, we took the decision – in consultation with all of the teams – to change the hard compound from Spain onwards, as we did in Barcelona two years ago when we also introduced a new hard tyre for the rest of the season. This latest version of the hard compound is much closer to the 2012 tyre, with the aim of giving the teams more opportunity to run a wider range of strategies in combination with the other compounds, which remain unchanged.”
The news will be welcomed by the majority of teams, who have been campaigning for a more durable tyre. However, there are a number of outstanding issues which need to be addressed. Firstly, a popular announcement would have been news that an additional set of tyres could be supplied for FP1, in order to increase the mileage completed by teams on a Friday morning. Reducing the restrictive nature of the first session would allow teams to experiment with different settings and give young drivers increased track time. To a lesser extent, talk of a qualifying tyre was a common suggestion, however, this was particularly ambitious regarding the amount of development work and funds required to construct a new compound.
The new hard compound will make its first appearance in the Spanish Grand Prix, alongside the medium tyre. It will be interesting to observe if their are any key characteristic alterations, or if the changes will slide under the radar.