2013 is the third season of Pirelli being the sole tyre supplier in the sport as they come to the end of a three year contract.
“The defining characteristic of the 2013 Pirelli Formula One tyres is softer compounds all round, which will allow them to reach peak operating temperature faster and deliver lap times that are around 0.5 seconds faster than last year,” read a Pirelli statement.
“Swift evolution of Pirelli’s tyre technology has allowed the new hard tyre – the PZero Orange – to be roughly equivalent to last year’s medium compound.The tyre sidewalls are softer this year, but the shoulders are stronger. The effect of this is faster thermal degradation while the tyre’s peak performance window is extended. Traction is also improved, which translates into faster lap times, especially on the exit of corners and in combined traction areas, from braking to acceleration and vice versa.”
“The performance gap between the different compounds is now in excess of 0.5 seconds per lap, as opposed to last year when the difference was often smaller: particularly in the latter half of the season. Faster thermal degradation and a bigger performance gap between the compounds will encourage overtaking throughout each race,” concluded the statement.
“More uncertainty and more performance. Teams have to use the tyres properly. In 2012 the first five or six races they were not using them properly, in the end they were too good. This mix of uncertainty relating to technology is what the teams are asking us to do,” said Marco Tronchetti Provera, Chairman and CEO of Pirelli.
Provera also indicated that the company wants to continue in the sport in 2014 and is ‘confident’ of a deal being struck.
Provera dismissed worries that tyres that wore quickly presented a bad image of Pirelli.
“Everyone in this business knows making lasting tyres is the easiest job. At the end of the day we show in any race in F2, F3 throughout the decades that we have tyres that last. It is not an issue. Making safe tyres lasting 20, 30 laps? This is the challenge. When you have differences between one race and the other due to the drivers and the temperatures, this is much more difficult than tyres that can last 100 laps, 200 laps.”
For TV audiences, the hard compound tyres will feature an orange coloured sidewall in 2013 as fans struggled to tell the difference between the white medium and silver hard tyres in 2012. All of the other compound tyres will keep the same colours as in 2012: Super-Soft (red), Soft (yellow), Medium (white), Intermediate (green) and Wet (blue).
“The 2013 season continues the philosophy adopted by Pirelli last year in evolving the original 2011 range of Formula One tyres,” commented Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery. “The goal is to continuously set new challenges for the drivers and to ensure that all the teams start the new season on a level playing field when it comes to the tyres. Through accumulating more information with each grand prix last year, the teams eventually fully understood the tyres, after a spectacular start with seven winners from the first seven races. The result at the end of the year was races with less competition and sometimes only one pit stop. This phenomenon was also observed in 2011, disappointing many fans and prompting some of the teams to ask us to continue developing our tyres further this year, in order to provide a fresh challenge with something different. Our 2013 range of tyres mixes up the cards once more to help overtaking and ensure two to three pit stops per race.”
The 2013 GP2 champion will also be given a day of testing in a Formula One car by Pirelli.
Former F1 driver Jean Alesi has been named as an official ambassador for Pirelli, while Hembrey suggests that Lucas di Grassi and Jaime Alguersuari will continue as Pirelli’s test drivers. The Renault R30 will continue to be the test car.