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Pirelli wants to let teams choose tyre compounds

ESPNF1 Staff
September 8, 2011 « Ferrari preparing 'unbeatable structure' | »
Pirelli has some new ideas for 2013 © Sutton Images

Pirelli is considering letting Formula One teams select their own choice of tyre compounds ahead of each race in 2013.

Pirelli is the sole tyre supplier in Formula One and currently brings two predefined compounds to each race. The company picks the best overall tyre choices for each event from its range of four dry-weather tyres, but the characteristics of some cars suit certain tyres more than others. Under the proposed system the teams would chose their own tyre compounds ahead of each grand prix.

Talking at the FOTA fans forum in Milan, Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery said his company has lots of ideas for 2013.

"We have put forward some proposals, such as qualifying tyres and better usage of the tyre allocation than we have now," he said. "These conversations are geared towards 2013 and we may let the teams choose compounds, which is something we've done in the past in the World Rally Championship. But these are just discussion points, but to tell you the truth we are very happy with what we have done so far so we shouldn't exaggerate the problems. So far, so good."

However, Hembery made clear that the plans for 2013 are still in their infancy.

"In terms of logistics, we'd need to know in advance what tyres to take," he said. "We have many races outside Europe, to which shipments need to be made a couple of months beforehand. We're already talking about doing this, but it will take some time to finalise. We're talking about logistics with the team principals and we're talking about it on a technical level too because we can't be too extreme with our technical decisions."

Hembery said the main objective for next season is to limit the amount of unused tyres after each event, as Pirelli has found that drivers tend not to use one of their five sets of harder tyres at each grand prix.

"We received a memo from the drivers only yesterday, asking us to review the tyre allocation because at the end of each race the drivers still have a set of unused tyres - usually the harder of the two compounds," Hembery added. "The drivers want us to find a way to use them, either in the qualifying session or over the weekend at some point. That's something we want to sort out for 2012.

He also revealed that Pirelli is working on faster compounds for 2012.

"I don't expect major surprises next year," Hembery said. "We're researching new compounds that could improve lap times by as much as 1.2s per lap, but that's too much. We're looking for a maximum improvement of 0.6s to 0.8s per lap and to meet that we've designed a new rear tyre. There's also going to be a new rain tyre, so the changes for next year aren't really going to be visible from the outside. We're also thinking about changing the colour of the tyres to increase visibility."