Pirelli is hopeful its expanded tire compound range in 2018 will lead to increased overtaking compared to last season.
The introduction of new aerodynamic regulations in 2017 resulted in cars achieving faster lap times due to the increase in downforce levels, but this also shortened braking zones and made it more difficult to follow another car closely. With Pirelli also supplying harder tires to allow drivers to push, overtaking decreased significantly compared to the previous year.
Pirelli is expanding its 2018 compounds to include new superhard and hypersoft compounds, and motorsport boss Mario Isola expects the extra options will open up more overtaking opportunities.
“We have a range now,” Isola told RACER. “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 stops, and hopefully a bit more overtaking and a bit more degradation, obviously.”
While the superhard is a new compound for 2018, Isola says it is simply a back-up that is not intended to ever be nominated for a race weekend.
“We are not planning to use the superhard this year,” he said. “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.”
With the hard tire becoming a light blue color this year compared to the orange it was last season – as the superhard becomes orange – Isola also says the color of the extreme wet compound will be tweaked to avoid confusion in the unlikely event that both are used at similar times.
“We are planning to make the full wet a bit darker to make it more distinguishable compared to the hard,” he said. “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 color – just in case.”