Pirelli to strengthen tyre construction from British GP
By Ian Parkes
Friday 12th May, 2023 - 10:18pm
F1 tyre supplier Pirelli is set to introduce a new construction from the British Grand Prix onwards in response to the remarkable increase in downforce on the cars and lap times this season, Speedcafe can confirm.
The move is a pre-emptive one from the Italian manufacturer rather than being applied on safety grounds to ensure it avoids any potential future issues.
Three years ago, the spotlight was on Pirelli after a British GP in which there were three dramatic failures due to what it described at the time, following an in-depth investigation, as “the biggest forces ever seen on tyres”.
For that race, lap times were a second quicker than the previous year’s event.
Pirelli has decided to react on this occasion as teams are applying more load and discovering more lap time under the current aerodynamics regulations that were introduced at the start of last season.
The weekend’s Miami Grand Prix underlined the gains being made as Sergio Perez’s pole position lap was two seconds faster than that of Charles Leclerc 12 months previously, partly attributable to a new smoother track surface.
In Azerbaijan the week previously, however, the difference was 1.1s between the comparable lap times, with the conditions in 2022 more optimal given qualifying was on a Saturday afternoon in mid-June compared to Friday evening in early May this season.
With the teams continually applying development to their cars this term, it is likely that by the time of the British GP in early July, last year’s pole time of one minute 40.983s from Carlos Sainz will be shattered.
Pirelli, therefore, feels it prudent to adopt changes now to prevent any potential repeat of what occurred in 2020.
Pirelli’s head of motorsport, Mario Isola, confirmed: “We’ve seen how much more performance the 2023 cars have compared to last year throughout the opening races of this season, and that is thanks to the extraordinary pace of development shown by all 10 of the teams.
“In Miami, for example, the pole time was nearly two seconds faster than last year, but the same sort of progress has been seen during races as well.
“Pirelli’s simulation work has always been aimed at not only supplying a product that hits the performance targets specified by stakeholders but also anticipating any potential problems and reacting to them quickly.
“The new specification contains materials that we have already developed for 2024, which will make the tyres more resistant without affecting any of the other technical parameters or their behaviour on track.
“To allow all the teams to test the new construction on a level playing field, Pirelli will supply two extra tyre sets per car to be used during FP1 and FP2 at the Spanish Grand Prix.”
The only hurdle is that under the technical regulations, if changes are not being made on safety grounds, approval is required by the F1 Commission, which will require eight of the 10 teams to agree to the new construction.
Given the circumstances, however, this is expected to be a formality.
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