McLaren’s chief technical officer Tim Goss predicts an uneven performance jump between Pirelli’s new Formula 1 tyre compound options in 2018.

While the bulk of the technical regulations remain largely untouched from last year, except for the Halo's debut, banning of shark fin engine covers and T-wings plus the reduced power unit component numbers, Pirelli has introduced two new tyres for 2018 while revising its compound constructions.

With the new Superhard and Hypersoft boosting dry tyre numbers to seven different compounds – while all tyres are predicted to be a step softer compared to last year – McLaren’s Goss has been encouraged by the early signs with Pirelli’s new tyres which were officially debuted at the post-season Abu Dhabi test last November.

Goss agrees with the rough estimation of half a second to a full one second lap time improvement coming directly from the new tyres and the increase of two pit stop races due to higher degradation rates but says with limited running data it is tough to predict the exact performance gains between each compound.

“The gaps in terms of compound performance aren’t necessarily all even,” Goss said. “There’s sort of a bit of a bigger gap and then two tyres that are closer together, that’s certainly what we’ve found. But I think Pirelli have done a great job at listening and moving in the right direction.

“I think our opinion is that there will be an increase in tyre grip that could be half a second to a second a lap, something like that, and there will be more bias to two-stop races than previously. We still think it will be a mix of one and two-stop races but biased more to two-stop races, so I think moving sensibly in the right direction.

“We’ve got to learn about the tyres. We obviously tested them in Abu Dhabi so it’s one circuit in fairly hot conditions, we’ve got to learn more about those tyres at different circuits.”

Goss’s comments have echoed Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles who is confident Pirelli’s 2018 tyres will open up F1 races by providing more overtaking opportunities.

 

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