Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola is confident that lap times in Formula 1 should reduce by 1.5 seconds in 2018, as a result of the rate of car development and the move to softer compounds ahead of the next season. Pirelli, the sport’s sole supplier since 2011, adopted a relatively conservative stance in 2017, amid Formula 1’s widespread regulation changes, which featured wider tyres and higher downforce levels, leading to faster cars.
As a reaction to a spate of one-stop races through 2017, Pirelli has made its compounds one step softer, and also introduced a new pink-banded Hypersoft tyre, which is set to debut in Monaco: “The Hypersoft in Abu Dhabi was one second quicker than the Ultrasoft so it’s quite an extreme compound.” – said Mario Isola, speaking at the Autosport Show – “I don’t like to call it a qualifying compound as it was developed to be used also on some street circuits or low severity circuits. I would like to see the Hypersoft in some races this year, Monaco is probably the race where we’re going to use it for the first time. In terms of lap times, we will have faster lap times this year, because we should consider the development of the car that is probably roughly one second per lap as an average. Plus the fact that especially at the beginning of the season we are planning to use softer compounds [compared to 2017], so in my expectation we should be quicker compared to last year by 1.5s per lap by average, it’s a lot, it’s another big step.” – he added.
Expanding more on the new-for-2018 Hypersoft, Mario Isola explained: “The performance is great but also the degradation will be high, it is the normal trade-off between performance, degradation and wear. The degradation in Abu Dhabi was quite high, it’s accepted as it’s a very soft compound and that’s why we are taking three compounds to each event.” – Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola concluded.