• Tyre news

Pirelli wants to be more aggressive

ESPNF1 Staff
March 1, 2012 « Kovalainen sees himself staying at Caterham | Barrichello confirms IndyCar deal »
Paul Hembery: "We'd probably like to see a bit more (degradation) on the softer compound, much more aggressive degradation" © Sutton Images
Related Links

Paul Hembery says that Pirelli could look to be even more aggressive with its soft tyre compound after feeling it doesn't degrade quickly enough.

Pirelli is already being more aggressive with its 2012 tyres having closed the performance difference between the compounds in order to continue encouraging exciting racing. Having confirmed that it was on target with a gap of 0.4-0.5 seconds in performance between the tyres, Hembery admitted that the soft compound could be one that it looks to change.

"I think we'd probably like to see a bit more (degradation) on the softer compound, much more aggressive degradation," Hembery said. "But ask me the same question after we've been in 50 degrees in Malaysia on a hot circuit. So, I think you've got to be careful about drawing too many conclusions and I think it will be better when we have some race data. So at the moment everything's positive, and if we've got one small doubt it's that maybe we need a little bit more degradation out of the softer compound."

When asked how early Pirelli could look to make the change, Hembery said he didn't foresee any tweaks in the early part of the season but could use the mid-season test in Mugello to try any alternatives.

"You risk going too far off in another direction. We do have Malaysia, which is - from a tyre maker's point of view - a very good benchmark of where you are in terms of performance, degradation and tyre life. I think after Malaysia we'll have a very clear indication. I don't foresee anything happening for the first six races. We always leave open the possibility to make changes, but equally we don't want to be pushing off in a direction where you create more problems than you solve.

"[Mugello] would probably be the time when - if we were going to introduce something - we would bring them along and test them."

Having said that the better balance of the 2012 cars has lead to the teams in general using their tyres better, Hembery added that a more condensed grid could see tyre strategy playing a bigger role.

"It also looks like this year we've got a greater number of cars that have got performance that is closer together. Whereas last year there was one car in front, then a little group of two, then a couple on their own again and then a group of four. It looks like the performance is closing up between all of the top six or seven cars.

"Last year the most exciting tyre battles were actually in the midfield. If you're looking at what happened with Force India, Sauber, Toro Rosso, that area there, there was a lot of tyre strategy going on that was very delicately balanced."

With Pirelli close to securing a test car, Hembery also said that an Italian driver would be the ideal candidate to be test driver, with Jarno Trulli and Tonio Liuzzi having lost seats over the winter.

"From a driving point of view our interest is having someone who has experience because we are doing development work and we would like to propose to the sport some interesting ideas for 2013; to do that you want someone with experience ... the names you can all imagine, it's quite obvious ... as an Italian company it's obviously a great disappointment that we haven't got an Italian driver in Formula One.

"Ideally (it would be a driver who raced in 2011), that's ideally because they've got a benchmark and the baseline. But ideally is one thing, it doesn't mean it has to be like that."