Pirelli Formula 1 racing manager Mario Isola has admitted that increasing the number of tyre compounds to six is a possibility ahead of the 2018 F1 season. The tyre manufacturer has until September 1 to submit their plans for the next championship, but they have another three months to decide on the specific compounds available to teams for next year.
Including a test with Scuderia Ferrari at the Circuit de Catalunya this week, Pirelli will have a total of eight days of tyre testing between now and December’s deadline day.
There are currently five compounds (hard, medium, soft, supersoft and ultrasoft) made for the 2017 Formula One season, but Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola reckons there is space for one more: “Depending on the results, we will decide the number of compounds. My opinion is to go up to six, which is possible. If I look at the regulations the number of compounds is our proposal to the FIA, and usually the FIA accepts, because there is no reason to refuse. In fact this year we homologated 10 compounds – we had the five base compounds, and five back-up compounds. We don’t need the agreement of the teams. In Abu Dhabi after the race we have two days of testing with all the cars, and all the teams, which is supposed to be for validation of the new product, to give the teams the opportunity to test it in advance. So end of November we need to be ready with the final version of our 2018 tyres.” – Pirelli Formula 1 racing manager Mario Isola explained, as reported on Saturday by Italian national sports newspaper based in Rome Corriere dello Sport.
The introduction of a sixth compound option would come following a year in which Pirelli has been criticised for being too conservative in their tyre compound nominations for each venue, as the vast majority of races have been one-stop affairs, due to the harder construction of the 2017 tyres. Pirelli seemingly overestimated the effect that the increased speeds and size of the tyre contact patch would have on the rubber’s wear. Regardless, Mario Isola stated that the construction of next year’s tyres will not undergo an overhaul versus this season’s iteration. “It will not be a revolution compared to this year, because we think we have a good product.” – Pirelli’s Formula 1 racing manager concluded, as reported by the Italian media.