Following tests in Japan, Pirelli has decided to shelve the prototype of the C2 compound which was intended for the 2024 Formula 1 campaign. The aim of the new compound was to make it slightly softer to bring its performance closer to the C3. However, on-track results didn’t meet expectations. Instead, in Mexico, Pirelli will test a new C4 with the goal of reducing graining and ensuring better mechanical durability.
2023 has been a demanding season for Pirelli, focusing on two major areas. Firstly, an extensive testing program aimed at introducing tires that do not require pre-heating blankets from 2024 onwards, and secondly, developing new compounds for the upcoming championship.
After the F1 Commission decided last month to postpone the introduction of tires that don’t require pre-heating blankets for another year, the Milan-based company had to return to a more conventional prototype closer to the ones currently in use.
One of the goals was to reposition the C2 and C4 compounds and modify some of their characteristics. Besides the private tests after race weekends, Pirelli had two additional free practice sessions during race weekends, offering all teams the opportunity to test them simultaneously. The first test took place in Japan, where the tire supplier chose to try a slightly softer C2.
This was because the C2 compound had proven to be quite close in terms of performance to the C1, the new compound introduced in 2023, but it was somewhat distant from the C3. Therefore, a slight adjustment could help make the gap between the compounds more equitable. However, the initial results from using the modified C2 showed that it didn’t deliver the expected performance. This suggests that Pirelli will likely stick with the current C2 for next year, even though it has until December to make further changes before homologation.
When asked about the conclusion of the test in Japan, Mario Isola stated, “Looking at the data, and considering the track evolution, I believe the prototype doesn’t have the grip we were looking for. So, we’ll probably stay with the current C2 for next year. Without a clear improvement in grip, there’s no reason to change and introduce a new compound when we have the current C2, which works well. It’s just a bit too close to C1 and a bit too far from C3, which is why we wanted to test the prototype.”
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Pirelli mentioned that the test of the revised C2 was a one-time event, so no further evaluation is planned before making a decision.
At this month’s Mexican Grand Prix, Pirelli will also test a revised C4 prototype, which they hope can enhance its characteristics. “We want to test the C4 in Mexico with the same approach, so no dedicated FP2 for us, just two sets of prototypes [for the drivers]. The aim isn’t to change the position of the C4 [compound] because it’s in a good place. But the C4 has shown some degree of graining during the season. So, we want to improve mechanical durability and expand the operating window.”
In addition to the C4 prototype test planned for Mexico, Pirelli has also announced that they will bring softer compounds to the Grand Prix compared to last year. The compounds will be hard (C3), medium (C4), and soft (C5).