Pirelli introduces tougher F1 tyres for British GP
Written by Hugh Waring
Pirelli, the official tyre supplier for Formula 1, has announced its plans to introduce tougher tyre construction starting from the British Grand Prix. The decision comes in response to the rapid increase in car performance seen in the 2023 season, with teams unlocking significant gains in downforce.
The new tyre construction, set to debut at the Silverstone race in July, aims to ensure the tyres can withstand the escalating levels of performance without encountering any issues. While the tyre compounds will remain unchanged, the stronger construction will provide greater durability and resistance.
Pirelli has been closely monitoring the remarkable progress made by teams in terms of downforce levels. Sources indicate that the current downforce levels are already on par with what was initially anticipated for the end of the season. The recent Miami Grand Prix showcased a substantial improvement in lap times, signalling that cars will continue to get faster as teams introduce further upgrades in the upcoming races.
After consulting with the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile), Pirelli concluded that taking preemptive action before the demanding races at circuits like Silverstone, Spa, and Zandvoort was necessary to mitigate any potential tyre troubles. The proposal to introduce a new construction of tyres from the British Grand Prix has been approved by the FIA.
According to F1's Technical Regulations, any mid-season changes to tyre construction must go through a formal process, either requiring approval from the teams or being enforced on safety grounds. Pirelli's request to introduce the new tyre construction has received the necessary approval, and teams will have the opportunity to test the new tyres during the Spanish Grand Prix next month.
Mario Isola, Pirelli's head of car racing and F1, highlighted the motivation behind the change, stating, "We've witnessed the remarkable performance gains of the 2023 cars compared to last year throughout the opening races of this season, thanks to the incredible development pace displayed by all 10 teams. The pole time in Miami was almost two seconds faster than last year, and similar progress has been observed during races."
Isola emphasized that Pirelli's simulation work has always aimed to provide a product that meets performance targets while anticipating and quickly addressing potential issues. The new tyre specification incorporates materials that were already developed for 2024, enhancing tyre resistance without affecting other technical parameters or on-track behaviour.
To ensure a level playing field for all teams, Pirelli will supply two additional sets of tyres per car for use during the first and second practice sessions (FP1 and FP2) at the Spanish Grand Prix, allowing teams to test the new construction under equal conditions.
As the 2023 F1 season unfolds, Pirelli's introduction of a tougher tyre construction demonstrates their commitment to adapting to the evolving demands of the sport and prioritising the safety and performance of all teams and drivers. The upcoming races, with the improved tyres, are expected to showcase even more thrilling performances as the competition intensifies.
Mario Isola’s full statement:
"We've seen how much more performance the 2023 cars have compared to last year throughout the opening races of this season, and that is thanks to the extraordinary pace of development shown by all 10 of the teams.
"In Miami, for example, the pole time was nearly two seconds faster than last year, but the same sort of progress has been seen during races as well.
"Pirelli's simulation work has always been aimed at not only supplying a product that hits the performance targets specified by stakeholders but also anticipating any potential problems and reacting to them quickly.
"The new specification contains materials that we have already developed for 2024, which will make the tyres more resistant without affecting any of the other technical parameters or their behaviour on track.
"To allow all the teams to test the new construction on a level playing field, Pirelli will supply two extra tyre sets per car to be used during FP1 and FP2 at the Spanish Grand Prix."