• United States Grand Prix

With hindsight Pirelli would have brought softer tyres

ESPN Staff
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Pirelli has brought its hardest compound tyres to Austin © Getty Images
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Pirelli says it could have brought soft and super-soft tyres to this weekend's United States Grand Prix, but at the time it made its decision it opted for mediums and hards so as not to risk influencing the title race.

Cool temperatures and a slippery track surface resulted in drivers struggling for grip on Friday, but degradation and wear levels were low meaning one-stop strategies are most likely play out on Sunday. Pirelli made its decision on compounds two months ago, but said the teams' advances in tyre management meant that in hindsight it could have brought its softest tyres to the final four races of the season.

"For all four we would have gone soft, super-soft," Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said. "It should be different again next year because we are being more aggressive again and changing our range of compounds. But with this year's range it would have been soft and super-soft.

"But there are lot of factors involved and clearly the team's use and management of the product creates a bit of a moving target from that point of view. If you think next year the cars are going to be derived from this year's vehicles and the rules aren't changing much, then they're only going to get better in that regard. So if we want to try and create some additional challenges then we will have to be more aggressive in our approach [in 2013]."

Hembery is in little doubt that the teams will opt for one-stop strategies this weekend.

"There's certainly no degradation. There is a risk of overheating if they get in to wheelspin, but that's something they've been managing through the season and have got better at. We wondered if that could be a factor here but we haven't seen that.

"It's going to be shoulder wear as we've seen at recent tracks. The rest of the tyre could probably last the entire weekend, but there's going to be wear on that left-front shoulder. But a one-stopper, yes."

Pirelli intends to bring a softer range of compounds next year, but Hembery said that his company does not want to start influencing the results of races.

"You've also got bear in mind that we are at the business end of the season and we've got to make decisions two months before the races," he said. "If there was something that we were unsure about, should we continue to be aggressive going towards the deciding-end of the season? We didn't want journalists coming here and saying Pirelli is deciding the championship, so it has to be a delicate balance.

"I think we were correct [with the decisions we made], given the knowledge that we had. Going forward for next season, we now know these circuits very, very well and we know where the cars are going, because we won't have the changes to the cars that we had last year, so I think we can be more aggressive."