Formula Official tyre supplier Pirelli has revealed the estimated laptime differences between the new 2018 compounds in pre-season testing at Barcelona. Poor weather limited the 10 teams’ running in the first week at the Spanish Grand Prix venue, but better conditions in week two have allowed Pirelli to gather crucial data on its new six-tyre range.
Pirelli estimates a performance step of 0.8 seconds to the new soft tyre from the medium, which was called the soft compound last season but is the only one that is not a new specification for this year. From the soft tyre to the supersoft Pirelli reported a more modest 0.4s difference, while the gap from the supersoft to the ultrasoft was “roughly 0.6s”.
Pirelli’s new tyre for 2018, the hypersoft, has been “0.7s to 0.8s” faster than the ultrasoft, according sporting director Mario Isola.
Pirelli’s tyre gap estimation
Mediums to softs: 0.8s
Softs to supersofts: 0.4s
Supersofts to ultrasofts: 0.6s
Ultrasofts to Hypersofts: 0.7/0.8s
He said Pirelli has not made an estimate for the hard tyre, which is effectively an emergency compound for 2018, because “we don’t have a lot of data because it was used just yesterday by Mercedes and Sauber”. Mario Isola explained that the above numbers, which are specific to the Barcelona circuit, have been determined by “an average made from different teams” and the performance of the hypersoft is similar to last year’s post-season test in Abu Dhabi.