Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery has confirmed that the tyre manufacturer intends to make major changes to its line-up of compounds available to F1 teams in 2013.
“I am quite sure that we'll be changing all of the compounds for next year," revealed Hembery. "Probably the intermediate is the only one which will actually stay the same."
One of the targets for the new range of compounds will be to address criticism from teams that the tyres have too narrow a range of optimum set-up to make them work at their best. Teams have been frustrated by the hit-and-miss nature of the tyres in 2012, with one team nailing the set-up one week only to find itself back at square one the next.
"We'll try and make it a bit easier for the teams to have a working range," agreed Hembery.
Pirelli are also concerned that the current range of tyres are proving to be a little too durable than they should be.
"This year, in general we have averaged one pit-stop less per car," he said. "If that trend carries on then we would soon be back to one stop at every race, so we need to do something to give it that extra challenge," he added, saying that next year Pirelli would likely offer some more "aggressive compounds" to the teams to try out.
“We want to change the dynamic properties of the tyres, so one area we've been looking into is combined traction – that's the transition you have when you go from the braking phase to putting the power back out," he explained. "Overall, next year the teams will know how to adjust their cars to get what they want out of the tyre package; from that point of view, it will still be a cause of learning tyres."
Pirelli isn't twiddling its thumbs for the rest of 2012 in the meantime, either. For Suzuka, the company selected hard prime tyres and soft compound options for the option in order to deliver both performance and durability at the fast and challenging circuit.
That led to a big difference of grip and pace between the two compounds during qualifying for the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Japan on Saturday, with teams being forced to change onto the option tyres early in the proceedings in order to stay in the running.
"The pace was so strong and evenly-matched during qualifying that more teams than usual went onto the soft tyres during the first session," agreed Hembery. "The drivers who saved a set of the soft tyres are hoping to gain an advantage in the race, where two stops is likely to be the most widely favoured option.
"Already we have seen an intriguing mix of strategies that is sure to lead to a very fast and tactical race tomorrow," he added.