Pirelli surprised by scale of F1's strategy shake-up in 2016 rules

Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery has admitted he is surprised by just how big an effect the 2016 Formula 1 tyre rules shake-up has had

The switch to three compounds of rubber per grand prix weekend has provided a much-needed air of unpredictability to proceedings.

Although Mercedes has still won the first two GPs, there has been substantial strategic variety across its drivers and their main rivals at Ferrari at each race.

In last year's Australian GP the top three mirrored each other's stop patterns and compound choice, while the Mercedes did likewise in Bahrain 12 months ago.

The degree of variance has left Hembery pleasantly surprised.

"I expected a little bit of this, although maybe some of the changes are greater than I'd anticipated for these first two races - bearing in mind the tyres are all known to people," Hembery told Autosport.

"It's only the ultra-soft we haven't used yet and is new this year, so the teams will have had a lot of data.

"But talking to the strategists pre-season, which is something we wanted to do because we weren't going to be clever after the event, they all mentioned having the three performance parameters allowed them to come up with a multitude of in-race strategies depending on relative conditions.

"That may be something interesting going forward, certainly for 2017."

Suggested to Hembery there was the possibility of a convergence of strategies over the course of the season as teams understood the tyres and data more, he replied: "Let's see.

"We do hope there will continue to be a level of intrigue on the strategy front.

"Ultimately we do need the performance of the cars to be closer to get the really big battles.

"But we can't criticise people who have done a good job, of course. They've only picked the rules up and done a great job.

"They get full credit for that, and it's up to the others to go quicker."

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