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Pirelli targets multiple-stop races throughout 2013

ESPN Staff
January 23, 2013 « Massa will 'try everything' to beat Alonso in 2013 | Too early to talk about future plans in DTM - Kubica »
Pirelli is targeting multiple pit stops at races in 2013 © Getty Images

Pirelli is aiming to create two or three pit stops per driver per race with the 2013 F1 tyres it launched in Milan on Wednesday.

This year's tyres feature a new structure and softer compounds with the aim of increasing levels of degradation compared to the final few races of last year. Early in 2012 the teams struggled with the tyres and often adopted multiple-stop strategies, but as the season progressed the teams learned how to make the tyres last resulting in one-stop races in India, Abu Dhabi and the USA.

However, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery is confident the 2013 tyres will offer more pit stops per race and has vowed to be more "aggressive" with compound selections towards the end of the year to ensure races remain exciting.

"It's still between two and three [stops], that's what we are aiming for," Hembery told ESPN. "We felt towards the end of the season that we'd maybe been slightly conservative with our choices, but we make our choices a few months out because the tyres are shipped in advance to the long-haul races at the end of the year. Once we made the decision we didn't really feel we could, with the championship still to play for, move from what we'd taken as a decision.

"We would hope that we have an interesting start to the year again as the teams understand the challenge that we've given them and then evolve, as we've seen over the last two seasons, towards a point where they've understood the application of the new compounds and a different structure. Then it moves into a different phase where maybe we need to be a little bit more aggressive [with our compound choices] towards the end of the year."

However, Hembery believes the teams will have a slightly easier time understanding the tyres at the start of this year as they will not have to contend with technical changes, such as the ban on exhaust-blown diffusers last year that had a knock-on effect for tyre management.

"It was a very significant change to the cars last year that meant the teams were struggling to get a good temperature balance from the front to the rear of the car," he said. "We don't envisage that happening because the cars are so much more closely related to the previous year's cars. Taking that out of the equation will certainly assist the teams, but they will have to get used to a little bit more degradation than they were at the end of last year."

Hembery also confirmed Pirelli's 2013 hard compounds will feature an orange sidewall to help viewers pick it out on TV.

"The hard tyre is now going to have an orange branding on it. We tried to make it clear last year when we were using medium and hard that if you could see the white marking on it then you knew it was medium and if you couldn't see it you knew, by default, it was hard. But that didn't work really, or if it did work it made our branding look poor. So we're going with orange and that should be very clear to see."

To read ESPN's interview with Paul Hembery in full, click here