Pirelli has announced it will introduce two new compounds in 2018, calling the new additions the superhard and hypersoft at each end of the range.
This year saw five tire compounds used by Pirelli for the second time, with the hard, medium, soft and supersoft having been joined by an ultrasoft at the start of the 2016 season. In developing the wider tires for the 2017 regulations, Pirelli was conservative with its compounds as it was unsure of the performance levels that would be reached by the end of this year.
As a result, the hard compound has been rarely used, with a preference for the softest tires in the range at many circuits. To address this next year, Pirelli had already vowed to deliver softer tires and in Brazil announced the addition of a new compound that would be the softest overall, which would be named by fans.
After a fan vote, the pink-branded hypersoft was confirmed in Abu Dhabi, with Pirelli unveiling its full range that also includes a superhard option. As the hardest of the range, the superhard will be orange, with the hard-colored ‘ice blue’ next year. Having seven slick tires to choose from will allow the tire manufacturer to make choices more tailored to the specific characteristics of each circuit.
With all of the compounds being one step softer than this year, Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola is confident the range will increase strategic options while retaining the ability for drivers to push hard.
“Compared to this year, when the tires grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” said Isola (pictured above introducing the new compouds). “However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.
“We realized that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative; the tires we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.
“However, the fundamental design concept of the tires hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint. The new range consists of faster tires that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”
There are new constructions, compounds and working ranges for all of the tires, which the teams will get to test over two days at the Yas Marina Circuit next week.