Formula 1 teams will not have a clear understanding of Pirelli’s 2018 tyre range until midseason, according to Pirelli sporting director Mario Isola. 

Pirelli has expanded its tyre range with the addition of two extra compounds - the Superhard and Hypersoft - at either end of its 2018 spectrum. The move has effectively made this season’s F1 tyres two steps softer compared to last year, after the Italian manufacturer was accused of going too conservative with its previous compound constructions. 

The change should force teams away from the single mandatory pit stop seen in recent years and throw open strategy options, with the aim of improving the show by adding excitement and unpredictability. 

When asked if limited running might throw up surprises in early rounds, Isola replied: “I am sure there are some details we do not know because the compounds are more or less all new, except for the medium. That is the soft coming from last year. 

“We already designed the soft, supersoft, ultrasoft and the hypersoft is completely new. We have a test last year in Abu Dhabi, we have a test here but you cannot say that you know any detail of any compound with two tests. 

“The hyper soft is a compound that we need to understand where we use it. Also it was very important to confirm the delta lap time here because in Abu Dhabi we had completely different conditions, different circuit layout and different circuit roughness. 

“So we have to understand and collect more data. I think that we start to really know the compounds by mid-season, not before. Before mid-season the learning process is quite a step in curve.” 

Force India’s Sergio Perez is one of a number of drivers to suggest that gaining an early understanding of Pirelli’s new compounds could lead to teams earning a surprise result during the opening rounds of the season. 

“Clearly now the teams are back to their workshop and they will analyse all the data, they will try to understand,” Isola added. “They have to understand how the compounds are performing on their own cars and the drivers. 

“You have drivers with different driving styles. Some of them are pushing more. Some of them are lighter on their tyres. All this data is gold for them.”



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