• Spanish Grand Prix

Pirelli to use new hard tyre in Spain

ESPNF1 Staff
May 17, 2011 « Sutil faces assault charge | »
Pirelli will bring a new version of its hard tyres to the Spanish Grand Prix © Sutton Images

Pirelli has confirmed it will bring a new version of its hard compound tyre to the Spanish Grand Prix in order to reduce levels of degradation.

Pirelli has been working on the 'super hard' tyre at private tests for some time and it was sampled by the teams during Friday practice at the Malaysian and Turkish Grands Prix. It has been designed to add three to four laps of extra life to the existing hard compound and will increase the gap in performance between prime and option tyres, which has been a crucial factor in making races more exciting this season.

"We said from the start of the year that we would introduce evolutions of the tyres if we believed that they would benefit the sport and Barcelona marks the first occasion that we have done this," Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said. "The new tyre - which we have tested extensively - reduces degradation and improves tyre wear. It's not a huge step over the original hard tyre but it does mean that there is a bigger gap between the soft and the hard tyre, which will definitely make things even more interesting on race day and give teams the opportunity to use more creative strategies."

The optimum strategy at the last grand prix in Turkey was a four stopper, which drew some criticism - most notably from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo - because it made the race hard to follow. Hembery expects the Spanish Grand Prix will be a three-stop race for most drivers, as the time it takes to make a pit stop is longer at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"In Barcelona, based on the data we have seen in testing, we're probably expecting around three pit stops per car," he said. "It takes a lot longer to enter and leave the pits in Barcelona than it did in Turkey, and this is another factor that will have a definite influence on strategy."