Pirelli: Wear rate is according to plan
|By Glenn Freeman and Matt Beer
||Sunday, February 13th 2011, 15:47 GMT
Pirelli says the high levels of tyre wear experienced in testing at Jerez this week are exactly what it was aiming for with its 2011 rubber, as it tries to ensure exciting racing and strategic variety in Formula 1.
Drivers have noticed that the Pirellis fade quicker than last year's Bridgestones, but Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery said teams will have to get used to tyre management being a bigger factor in 2011 grands prix.
"The teams are going from a situation where they could probably do 50-60 laps on one set of tyres. But if we did that we wouldn't have any strategy," Hembery said.
"We are trying to find the fine balance between longevity and forcing teams to make tyre changes."
He added: "It's in line with what we were planning. It's actually a very complex thing to do. If you make a tyre that lasts too long, the teams will do one tyre change, which is what they have done in the past.
"To get away from that, you've got to almost force them to a point where the main choice of tyre can last around 100-110km in a race, considering that most races are between 300-320km."
Hembery dismissed suggestions that drivers might end up pitting as many as four times per race, saying he expected two-stop races to become standard.
Asked if he anticipated four-stop strategies, Hembery replied: "Not from the data we've seen, I'd question why anyone would be doing four. There might be three, but there is differences between teams.
"I still envisage two, and in the worst case maybe someone will have to do three, but four doesn't match the data that we've seen, that would be very strange."
He pointed out that Jerez was among the harder tracks on tyres, and not the sort of venue where Pirelli would select the super-softs as a race choice. The current pace difference between the super-softs and hards is currently around three seconds per lap, according to Pirelli.
Hembery believes drivers' tyre-management skills will now become crucial.
"The one thing we have noticed is that drivers that look after their tyres for the first four to five laps, it can have quite a significant impact on the longevity of the product," said Hembery.
The Pirelli chief also explained that there would be an adjustment to the super-soft compound for the next test at Barcelona, but that this had always been part of the company's development schedule.
He remained open to the possibility of adjusting the tyres during the season.
"We've always said that we are humble enough to know we can't possibly know everything after six months of testing on our own," said Hembery.
"But if there is a case, we will decide with the FIA. It will be with the FIA, not the teams, because you risk giving favouritism."