Pirelli have today presented their new 2013 Formula One tyres, confirming that it has redeveloped both the dry and the wet weather tyres according to the wishes of the teams and the latest rules from the motorsport's governing body, the FIA.
The most recent evolutions benefit the compounds, which have become softer, the structures, which are more flexible and the shoulders, which have been reinforced. The objective of all these innovations, which work closely together, is to improve performance and increase thermal degradation, to ensure at least two pit stops per race and open up more strategic options for all the teams.
Apart from the technical changes of the tyres, the hardest compound has also been given a new colour marking. Rather than a siler stripe, the hardest tyre will be named PZero Orange, reflecting its orange marking on the sidewall.
“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.”
Pirelli additionally noted that the development of the 2013 P Zero and Cinturato ranges included thousands of computer simulations carried out by Pirelli’s engineers throughout the 2012 season, using sophisticated predictive software. These simulations, which were backed up by laboratory tests on the compounds, have been integrated with data collected during grands prix and the seven thousand so kilometres covered during five private tests with the Renault R30. Pirelli’s test car was driven by Jaime Alguersuari and Lucas Di Grassi at Jerez, Spa, Barcelona (for two sessions) and Paul Ricard (for a wet weather test).
The teams were able to sample the new P Zero Orange hard tyre during free practice in Brazil last November, but the debut for the complete new range will come at the first official Formula One test in Jerez at the beginning of February.
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.
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.
Just like in previous years, the Formula One tyres are designed at the Pirelli laboratories in Milan and produced at a dedicated facility in Izmit, Turkey. Having passed quality control and other checks, the tyres are then sent to Pirelli’s logistics hub in Didcot (United Kingdom) from which they are shipped out to all the different circuits. Once more, each Formula One car will have 11 sets of tyres available for the weekend, made up of six sets of the harder and five sets of the softer compound. In total Pirelli takes about 1800 tyres to each race.
Tyres are allocated to each team at random, as per FIA regulations, through the use of bar codes. FIA officials allocate the tyres to the teams, with no involvement from Pirelli in this process. Each tyre has a barcode embedded into its sidewall even before the vulcanization process, which effectively acts as the tyre’s ‘passport’.
The on-track Pirelli team will once more be made up of around 55 people this year, including fitters, logistics personnel, hospitality staff, and engineers. As has always been the case, each team will have its own dedicated Pirelli engineer.