Pirelli has launched its 2013 F1 campaign by confirming that it wants to see more overtaking in the top flight after developing a new range of PZero tyres.
The Italian company will begin the 2013 season with a completely revolutionised range for all conditions, developed according to the wishes of the teams and the latest rules produced by the FIA. The most recent evolutions benefit the compounds, which have become softer, and the structures, which are more flexible and the shoulders, which have been reinforced.
According to Pirelli, the objective of the innovations, which work closely together, is to improve performance and increase thermal degradation, to ensure at least two pit-stops per race and open up more strategic options for all the teams.
“The 2013 season continues the philosophy adopted by Pirelli last year in evolving the original 2011 range of F1 tyres,” motorsport director Paul Hembery explained, “The goal is to continuously set new challenges for the drivers and to ensure that all the teams start the new season on a level playing field when it comes to the tyres.
“Through accumulating more information with each grand prix last year, the teams eventually fully understood the tyres, after a spectacular start with seven winners from the first seven races. The result at the end of the year was races with less competition, and sometimes only one pit-stop.
“This phenomenon was also observed in 2011, disappointing many fans and prompting some of the teams to ask us to continue developing our tyres further this year, in order to provide a fresh challenge with something different. Our 2013 range of tyres mixes up the cards once more to help overtaking and ensure two to three pit-stops per race.”
The defining characteristic of the 2013 tyres is the use of softer compounds all round, which will allow the rubber to reach peak operating temperatures faster and deliver lap times that are around 0.5secs faster than last year.
Swift evolution of Pirelli's tyre technology has allowed the new hard tyre to be roughly equivalent to last year's medium compound but, while the sidewalls are softer this year, the shoulders of the tyre are stronger. The effect of this is faster thermal degradation while the tyre's peak performance window is extended. Traction is also improved, which translates into faster lap times, especially on the exit of corners and in combined traction areas, from braking to acceleration and vice versa.
The performance gap between the different compounds is now in excess of 0.5secs per lap, as opposed to last year when the difference was often smaller, particularly in the latter half of the season. Faster thermal degradation and a bigger performance gap between the compounds will, the company hopes, encourage greater overtaking throughout each race.
The teams were able to sample the new hard compound tyre during free practice at last November's Brazilian Grand Prix, but the debut for the complete new range will not come until the first official pre-season test at Jerez at the beginning of February.
The colour scheme employed by Pirelli to convey the various compounds will also look different this season, with colours that are more immediately striking and a brand new orange marking replacing last year's hard-to-distinguish silver on the sidewalls of the hardest compound.