Monday, April 1, 2013


This year Pirelli has made huge changes to their tire range, making them all softer compared to last year. Basically, each tire range now has been moved down one step i.e. the Hard tire is like last years' Medium. So the Supersoft this year becomes.....bloody hell too soft. It could even be termed like a Qualifying Tire. So what is a qualifying tire?

In the old days of F1, qualifying tires were used to extract the maximum lap time but they lasted on a lap or two at optimum temp and pace. These tires were only good for 1 hot lap and teams used them just to qualify and never used them again in the race. They were banned from 1991 onwards.

So are the new Pirelli supersofts something like the olden qualifying tires? They seem to be as they seem to work on just one hot lap. But the teams have to use them in the race as the rule says that you have to use the tires you qualified with to start the race, well at least for the top 10. Pirelli motorsports director Paul Hembery said as much:

"It was pretty close to what we anticipated in terms of our pre-race simulation. Certainly after the winter test in Barcelona, which we felt was not representative at all of what is going to happen this season, we wanted the super-soft to be almost like a qualifying tire and we knew that would then force the teams into a two or maybe three stop strategy.
If we'd come with any other compound we probably would have had a one-stop race. It might sound bizarre why we brought the super-soft, but we knew it wouldn't last long enough to push people into a one-stop and would last such a small amount of time that they would question whether they would do two or three stops."
So far we've seen 2 races - Melbourne and Sepang. One was cold and wet, the other hot and wet. The supersofts doesn't last very long. One outlap, one hot lap and by the 3rd lap they were gone. In the race, teams were pitting around lap 4 or 5 to get rid of them and go on to the medium. So from here on in, it should be an interesting season with teams having shorter first stints that would jumble up their strategies as those outside the top 10 could start on the harder compound and do less stops or longer stints.

Pirelli has said that they will only review the tires after Bahrain. Hembery said:
"I think we have to be happy. The two leading teams clearly had issues between the drivers, that maybe took away from what would have been an interesting finale. As for wheel to wheel stuff... it is something we will have to review after four races. It is still very early days."
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