While the FIA is yet to confirm who will be the sole tyre manufacturer from 2017-2020, Pirelli has announced that it is considering introducing extra variations within its current tyre compound range in a bid to improve the show.
As reported in Autosport, the Italian manufacturer would retain its current range of dry tyre compounds – super-soft, soft, medium and hard – but would introduce options between each, perhaps as many as three.
This would enable the tyre manufacturer to tailor selections to suit the individual characteristics of each circuit, as Pirelli motorsport chief, Paul Hembery, commented: “It’s something very hard to do, but if we are to remain in the sport for 20017 we could really look at doing something like this.”
“If we were able to choose from a wider range then we’d have more certainty to deliver the two-to-three-stop races. As far as the public is concerned it would be a hard and medium tyre, let’s say, at a certain type of race, but we would be able to choose from three versions of the hard and three versions of the medium.”
“Or to be more current, the super-soft we’ve just seen in Monaco and Canada would be quite different to the super-soft you would see in Singapore.
Refuelling and free choice
Hembery also stated that a return of refuelling would also provide new opportunities for Pirelli, despite the recent announcement that the teams have no interest in its reintroduction: “If we go to refuelling, which is another topic going around and has been discussed a few times, again we could also take a different approach.”
“We could be very aggressive if you know someone is going to be doing a fixed number of laps every time.”
Contrary to Pirelli’s approach, the F1 Strategy Group has proposed that teams are given free choice of tyre compound at each race in 2016. This is a proposal that Pirelli is against.
Of course introducing a greater tyre range would need to be carefully controlled to avoid escalating costs. According to Pirelli’s excellent infographics, the Italian manufacturer provided a total of 31,800 tyres for the 2012 season alone. With an increased cost on the environmental impact of the sport and cutting costs, the timing may not be right for such a move.
The tender for F1’s tyre suppliers for 2017-2020 closes on Wednesday 17th June, with an announcement on the successful candidate expected later this season.