Pirelli surprised Formula 1 teams are testing ultra-softs early

Pirelli has admitted being initially surprised at Ferrari and Red Bull opting to run the new ultra-soft compound as early as the first Formula 1 pre-season test this week

Pirelli surprised Formula 1 teams are testing ultra-softs early

The ultra-soft has been introduced as part of Pirelli's commitment to help spice up the show, with the latest rubber to be introduced at venues such as Monaco, Canada and Singapore.

On Tuesday, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull both enjoyed a short run on the tyre, followed on Thursday by their team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat.

Asked whether he was surprised to see it on track so soon given teams often go for reliability over performance in the first week of testing, Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola said: "At the beginning, yes, honestly, yes.

"But then I also thought because of the nomination for Montreal they wanted some information in advance and to make some analysis with the data they are collecting.

"Considering we've had good weather, it has been the right time to test the ultra-soft.

"They were trying to understand the performance rather than the degradation. I expect big degradation on a circuit like Barcelona where we usually nominate the hard and the medium. It is not the right place.

"They ran for five or six laps and the tyres were still in a good shape, but the degradation was coming."

Under new regulations for this season teams have to nominate their choices of compound 14 weeks in advance for a fly-away event, with a decision for the Canadian Grand Prix due next Thursday.

Overall, Isola was happy with the performance of the ultra-soft, and data collected.

"Here we have the final version, and it seems it's working," he said.

"The feedback has been good, although this is not the best track on which to test it, but at least we have an indication."

As to potential improvement in laptime compared to the next tyre in the range, the super-soft, Isola said: "If you look at Ferrari the result was 0.8s per lap, but the feeling is that is a bit overestimated.

"In Abu Dhabi [when it was tested last year] we found a bit less. In my opinion the right window should be between 0.5-0.8s. That is more or less the target we had in mind."

Another new feature of this year's tyres is the under-tread layer designed to give a warning to the driver, via a feeling of a loss of grip, when he is reaching maximum wear.

To date the feedback has been positive from the drivers.

"It's not a cliff, it's quite gradual, a curve that is much more smooth, which is much better than having a complete and sudden loss of grip," said Isola.

"We will investigate better with some analysis over the next few days, but at the moment the signal appears to be good."

shares
comments
Toro Rosso clarifies it is running a 2016 F1 car in testing

Previous article

Toro Rosso clarifies it is running a 2016 F1 car in testing

Next article

Kimi Raikkonen tops final day of first 2016 Barcelona F1 test

Kimi Raikkonen tops final day of first 2016 Barcelona F1 test
Load comments
The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling Plus

The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling

The technical directive issued by Formula 1 to reduce levels of automation in pitstops has given teams an unwelcome period of adjustment. Although safety was the primary goal, it has already had a significant impact on the title race and puts extra pressure on teams to deliver as the season reaches the business end

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1 Plus

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1

Uncertainty over the shape of the calendar doesn’t just vex the fans and the commercial rights holder. MARK GALLAGHER explains at how race promoters have been pushed to the financial brink

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words Plus

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words

Some 18 drivers have finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to 100 wins. Three of those recall their battles with Formula 1’s centurion and give their personal insights into the seven-time world champion on his rise to unchartered territory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi Plus

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021