Despite abandoning plans to introduce its development tyre for the entire British Grand Prix weekend, Pirelli will continue to evaluate it during Friday's two practice sessions at Silverstone.
Originally slated to debut in Canada, the new tyre only ran for a limited time on the opening day because of rain, having already had its race appearance canned in the wake of the 'testgate' affair, but plans for a full roll-out in the UK were subsequently postponed when the eleven F1 teams failed to reach the necessary agreement on its introduction
As well as the scheduled hard and medium tyres, Pirelli will now provide each car with two sets of the same prototype hard tyre seen in Spain, which will be available for use in Friday's two free practice sessions only.
Silverstone's rapid circuit layout means that plenty of energy is put through the tyres, with a consequent effect on wear and degradation. In the past, teams have used strategy to their advantage on this track, resulting in some close finishes even with different tactics being employed.
Last year, a variety of strategies were seen following a wet qualifying session, which meant that the drivers could start on whichever slick compound they chose. Red Bull's Mark Webber won the race from second on the grid, having started on the soft tyre before completing two stints on the hard. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was on pole but finished second after running the opposite strategy, with two initial stints on the hard tyre, then one on the soft.
“Silverstone, with its very high average speeds and flowing series of corners, presents an extreme contrast to Canada three weeks ago – which was much more stop and start,” Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery commented, “Like Canada, it's a circuit that takes a lot out of the tyres, but for very different reasons.
“We've brought the two hardest compounds to the British Grand Prix because of that, with a new bonding process connecting the tread to the steel belt, which is designed to eliminate the isolated delamination issues.
“During free practice at Silverstone, however, we will have the same prototype hard seen earlier this season. The actual construction of the tyre won't change, but it is aimed at even greater durability than our current hard. This is in order to give the teams the chance to test this new compound on a different track to collect more data.
“Of course, another important factor at Silverstone is the notoriously variable British weather - it would be no big surprise to see the Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet brought into play at some point. For that reason, it's quite hard to predict the number of pit-stops on race day. Last year, we saw a two-stop strategy in dry conditions after two wet days but, this year, the compounds are softer so, if it stays dry, we could have between three and four stops. We should be in a position to make a more precise forecast after free practice.”