Motorsport fans could be greeted by the unusual sight of a back-of-the-grid Hispania Racing F110 legitimately overtaking a Red Bull Racing RB7 in F1 2011, muses Kamui Kobayashi, as the Sauber ace predicts some distinctly topsy-turvy race situations ahead with the advent of Pirelli rubber.
In testing thus far, the degradation and drop-off in performance once the super-soft compound has passed its peak – in some cases, after just a single lap – has proven to be as extreme as ten seconds per lap, meaning a driver on worn tyres with a rival on fresher rubber coming up behind him will effectively be a sitting duck and helpless to defend. Kobayashi reckons that could just provide some 'funny moments' over the coming grands prix.
“Maybe we will see a Red Bull being overtaken by a Hispania,” the 24-year-old told German magazine Auto Motor und Sport
. “If they're on older hard tyres and Hispania have a brand new set of super-softs, it could happen. For the spectators, it would certainly be a little confusing.”
Meanwhile, following a meeting between the sport's teams and FIA chief technical delegate Charlie Whiting in Barcelona this week, the latter reportedly assured competitors that under normal conditions and circumstances, there will be no need to make any more than three pit-stops during grands prix this season, although a race simulation for Scuderia Toro Rosso's Sébastien Buemi around the Circuit de Catalunya required four.
Pirelli is understood to be working on the production of a fifth, 'extra-hard' compound for the fifth round of the F1 2011 World Championship in Turkey in May, to complement the hard, medium, soft and super-soft compounds already in existence.
The new tyre is being designed in order to cope with the additional demands of the Istanbul Park Circuit's famously demanding Turn Eight, with teams to have the opportunity to test it for the first time during Friday practice for the next month's Malaysian Grand Prix. The compounds for the opening four grands prix of the campaign have already been confirmed [see separate story – click here