Official tyre supplier Pirelli has decided to let a gap in their tyre compound choices for the third round of the 2018 Formula One season, the Chinese Grand Prix, electing to skip the supersoft tyre and bring the quicker ultrasoft tyre instead. The Italian manufacturer introduced three tyre compounds per event back in 2016, with the tyre selections usually being sequential. For example, for the last race in Bahrain Pirelli brought the medium, soft and supersoft tyres to the event.
However, at the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix, Pirelli have decided to skip a compound in their tyre selections. This weekend, drivers will use medium, soft and ultrasoft tyres. The supersoft tyres have been missed out. Speaking ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, Pirelli Racing Director Mario Isola said that the closeness of the softer-compound tyres meant that a more aggressive soft tyre could be allocated: “The new wider range of 2018 P Zero compounds have allowed us to come up with some nominations this year where there is a gap in the tyres selected: in the case of China, alongside the medium, we jump from soft to ultrasoft, leaving out the supersoft. There’s quite a big gap from medium to the softer compounds, which are quite close together (with the exception of the hypersoft).” – the Pirelli racing manager added.
Mario Isola also confirmed that the wider performance gap between the soft and the ultrasoft tyres would help to create a strategical headache for the teams: “So, by missing out the supersoft in China, we end up with three choices that are quite evenly spaced out, which in turn opens up several different possibilities for strategy. These strategy calculations have of course already begun, with teams selecting different quantities of the ultrasoft heading into the race, and we could also see some different approaches to qualifying as well. With China being an unpredictable race anyway, thanks to a number of different overtaking opportunities and notoriously variable weather, this tyre nomination introduces another parameter, which should hopefully contribute to an even better spectacle.” – Mario Isola concluded.