Pirelli will again try to spice up the F1 show in 2013, promising to be more 'aggressive' with its tyre selection policy in a bid to make the teams and drivers think more about strategy.
Motorsport director Paul Hembery confirmed that the Italian manufacturer would build upon the data it has gained over its two seasons back in the top flight, and hope to bring a 'surprise or two' to the grid for the coming season, after admitting that it could have been more radical with its policy towards the end of last year's championship.
"We've had a good look at what we did last year and what worked,” Hembery told Sky Sports
during the Autosport International
exhibition, “Maybe towards the end of the season we were a little bit too conservative, [so] we are hoping we can give a challenge."
"At the end of the season last year, we could have used [the supersoft tyres] in the last four races - that is the stage it had got to because the teams are very good at their jobs. They have the best engineers in the world, the best drivers and they really found a way of not degrading the tyres, not graining them. [Now] we hope we can give them another push in that direction to maybe create two or three pit-stops. I'm not saying we are always going to use the super-soft, but we can make more aggressive choices for sure."
Pirelli is scheduled to introduce another generation of the P-Zero rubber in 2013, but Hembery is quick to point out that, with little else changing in F1 this season, it is tricky to predict the influence tyres can have on the pecking order.
"[The situation] probably won't be the same as 2012, because the cars aren't changing a great deal,” he noted, “The platform the teams are working with is very similar, so they will understand their vehicle a lot [better], which means they will be able to get the maximum out of the tyres a lot quicker than what they did in 2012.
"Having said that, we will
be taking a more aggressive approach, [with] more aggressive compounds, and we hope we can create some element of surprise."
The teams have already indicated that they will not need to make too many alterations to their designs to cater for the new tyres, having had a chance to sample them during opening practice for last year's Brazilian Grand Prix.
"We are pleased the teams didn't feel that huge changes needed to be made - they will alter the aerodynamics a bit but, with major changes coming in 2014, the teams will be glad they don't have a major challenge in mastering the tyres this year,” Hembery said, "We will see how winter testing goes, [but that] can be a bit strange as conditions are abnormal. Apart from in Austin, where we saw temperatures of seven degrees on one morning session, we'd usually have 15 degrees plus and the winter testing tends to be below 15, which can give you rather strange results in terms of compound performance."
Pre-season testing is due to kick-off in Jerez, in southern Spain, in the first week of February.