x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Formula One: Pirelli compound their stance

Minor change to hard tyres is aimed at giving teams 'more opportunity to run a wider range of strategies'.

Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel have had trouble with the Pirelli tyres this season, despite winning two races.
Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel have had trouble with the Pirelli tyres this season, despite winning two races.

Pirelli has agreed to tweak one of their tyre compounds following a turbulent start to the new Formula One season.

The Italian company's range of rubber for this year has dominated the sport, with the likes of Red Bull Racing particularly outspoken, despite two wins from the opening four races for the world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Even following Vettel's victory in Bahrain on Sunday, team principal Christian Horner still described the tyres as "too on an edge" and "very complex".

Red Bull have been seen as having a car that has been one of the hardest on their tyres during a race, meaning they have been unable to capitalise on their single lap pace that saw them take pole positions in the opening two races of the season in Australia and Malaysia last month.

As a consequence of the high degradation it has been the teams that have been most able to preserve their tyres that have done well in F1 thus far, with Kimi Raikkonen's victory in Australia and his second-place finish in Bahrain last weekend were achieved thanks to his ability to make one less pit stop in his Lotus than his principal rivals.

Such was the challenge on the tyres at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday that Nico Rosberg, the Mercedes-GP driver who had qualified on pole position, and Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion, both had to make four stops during the race.

That was in comparison to Raikkonen and Force India's Paul di Resta, who were both able to make it through the 57-lap race with only two stops, to demonstrate the difference in how some drivers and teams were able to handle the compounds compared to other cars.

But Pirelli, after evaluating tyre performance over the balance of the first four races, have only decided to alter the hard compound for the remainder of the season.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: "In consultation with all the teams we have taken the decision to change the hard compound from Spain (May 10-12) onwards.

"That was as we did in Barcelona two years ago when we also introduced a new hard tyre for the rest of the season.

"This latest version of the hard compound is much closer to the 2012 tyre, with the aim of giving the teams more opportunity to run a wider range of strategies in combination with the other compounds, which remain unchanged."

At Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya the teams will use the hard and medium compounds, which is the same as the options available to the teams in Bahrain.

In Monaco they will have the soft and supersoft available, while in Canada it will be the medium and supersoft.

* Press Association