Pirelli goes even more conservative with its tyre choices

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Race event, Le Mans 24 hours, Circuit de la Sarthefr

Formula One’s sole tyre manufacturer Pirelli opted for rather conservative tyre selections for the last three of the four July events, using its hard compound during the British Grand Prix for the first time this season.

Pirelli extended its tyre range for the 2018 Formula One World Championship from the previous five to seven compounds, introducing a new softest compound named hypersoft and a new hardest compound baptized superhard. It also announced that its superhard compound would only serve as a back-up tyre if the newest generation of cars produces unexpectedly high loads.

Most of the races have been completed with one-stop strategy so far this season after tyres showed a high degree of durability. This came as a surprise after Pirelli intended to increase the number of pit stops to two for 2018.

“We realised that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative. The tyres we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races,” said Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing, Mario Isola.

Despite to strategically dull races, Pirelli opted to nominate the trio of hard-medium-soft compounds for the British Grand Prix which takes place between 6 and 8 July.

For the returning German Grand Prix and the Hungarian Grand Prix, Pirelli will supply the team with the same trio of tyres: medium, soft and ultrasoft. This selection features a leap in the range since the supersoft compound was left out. The appearance of the medium compound at those event is, however, curious as both the Hockenheimring and the Hungaroring feature very smooth asphalt surface and the layout usually does not induce high wear. It is possible that the medium compound will not be used during the qualifying or the race which could lead to a two-compound event.

This conservative selection for the forthcoming British, German and Hungarian Grand Prix follows the introduction of special tyres with thinner surface which are used at selected events. These modified tyres, featuring a 0.4mm thinner surface, were developed for the Spanish, French and British Grand Prix after some teams, mainly the world champion team Mercedes, experienced overheating issues during winter testing.