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IndyCar plans higher-degradation tyres for 2018

IndyCar's tyre supplier Firestone is set to ensure a greater difference between its two compounds and increase degradation for 2018

Firestone brought the gap between the black and red compound tyres closer for 2017 and the change led to races in which the softer red tyres were able to last as long as the black-walled compound.

Juan Pablo Montoya has extensively tested the new universal aerokit and has said that Firestone must make the performance gaps more pronounced to improve racing.

IndyCar's president of competition and operations Jay Frye believes that Firestone can deliver more degradation next year.

"We've discussed the differences between alternate compound [red-sidewalled tyres] and primary compound [black-sidewall] because there were definitely times in the past where that gap wasn't big enough," he said.

"There has to be a penalty for being on reds too long - that was not the intent of those tyres, that they could last as long as the blacks.

"Degradation will be a factor, and now we're going through the process of discussing the details.

"How much fall off should there be from the start of a stint to the end? How much can be put in the drivers' hands whereby they can make a difference by making their tyres last longer?

"I think everyone accepts that degradation has to be a part of the racing, and dealing with it is one of the skills that drivers and race engineers should deal with."

Frye also praised Firestone's work over the off-season, with the tyre supplier working closely with IndyCar and Dallara to ensure a smooth transition to the radically different aerokit.

"Firestone has been phenomenal and been present at every test with the 2018 car," he said. "They've run control tyres, last year's tyres, new tyres and various combinations at different venues according to the demands of the new car.

"And in a couple of places they've found a new direction which they liked, we all liked.

"And after all the testing we'll have done by the time of the testing blackout [December 17], I'd say we and Firestone will have a very good understanding of what's needed."

While Frye has praised the cooperation between the series, teams and Firestone over the compounds, tyre allocations remain an area of contention.

Drivers outside of the championship's top 10 currently gain an extra set of tyres at each round, with Scott Dixon arguing the rule is wrong.

"I've been fighting that one for three years now," Dixon told Autosport.

"This isn't club racing; everybody is a professional here, so you shouldn't be handed advantages just because you suck. That's ridiculous."

Frye admits the rule needs work: "The rookie side of that deal is good, but the other side is debatable.

"If I'm 11th in points, but only 20 points behind someone in seventh, it doesn't seem fair that I get an extra set of tyres. I've never understood that.

"This overall review will give us a chance to fix that, I hope."

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