Friday, 08 July 2011 23:23

Pirelli Announces Tire Compounds

Pirelli has revealed its tyre selections up until the Hungarian Grand Prix and confirmed it is sticking with its original plan to run the soft and hard compounds at next weekend's British Grand Prix.

At the German Grand Prix Pirelli will pair the medium and soft compounds, with the softs and super-softs lined up for the tight and twisty Hungaroring.

After using the medium compound in race conditions for the first time at the European Grand Prix last weekend, there was some speculation it might reappear in Silverstone. But Pirelli's motor director Paul Hembery said the hards - which were revised ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix last month - and the softs formed the best overall combination.

"There has been a lot of comment in the last few weeks about the choice for Silverstone," Hembery told journalists via a telephone conference. "We obviously have 12 teams that we work with, and having introduced the hard compound in Barcelona we wanted to take the opportunity to see the new medium compound in race conditions. We tested it in Montreal and then it was used last weekend in Valencia. That was really to give the teams an opportunity to understand and for ourselves to understand better the performance of that new compound in race conditions.

"Silverstone is one of the hard circuits in the season, it has a very aggressive surface, it has an unknown factor because the surface has been changed due to the new building work, and in terms of the tyre maker's point of view it is probably one of the hardest circuits that we face during the year - together with Istanbul, Malaysia and going forward something like Spa and Monza for the high speeds and then Suzuka.

"Also, being in England, it's very variable in terms of weather. This week they were having 30C, today I believe it's down to about 15C. So again, from a tyre maker's point of view, making a tyre work in that wide variety of conditions is a big challenge, hence the reason that we felt also offering the soft compound would allow us to operate in cooler conditions."

When the new hard compound was first introduced at Barcelona several teams reported problems getting the tyres up to temperature. Red Bull and McLaren appeared to be fine with the tyres, but Ferrari kicked up a fuss and vowed to improve its car to suit the tyres in Silverstone. Hembery, who has consistently pointed out that Pirelli will not favour any team over the others, said that the hard tyre was the safest bet for the British Grand Prix.

"I've heard some comments that working with the hard compounds maybe favours some teams with a lot more downforce," he said. "That may or may not be true, but all I can say is that as a tyre company we also have to look after our interests and that means that in severe conditions, such as Silverstone, the hard compound gives us a back-up so that we don't end up in difficulties with the product."

Hembery expects three-stop strategies to be the norm at Silverstone, but reckons there is a chance some teams could opt for a four-stopper as they did at the Turkish Grand Prix.

"Since Istanbul we have developed the new harder compound and that will assist obviously in terms of ware rate," he added. "It remains to be seen how teams operate the soft compound. The strategy plans we've seen from the teams indicate a three-stop, possibly four-stop - we'll probably be in and around that area."

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