Pirelli to introduce ‘super hard’ tyre in Barcelona

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

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Paul di Resta, Force India, Barcelona, 2011

Pirelli will race their new development tyre for the first time in the Spanish Grand Prix.

The tyre is supposed to last three to four laps longer than the current hard tyre, which should reduce the number of pit stops drivers have to make.

However the tyre manufacturer has not confirmed whether it will be used for any further races. The new tyre will take the place of the current ‘hard’ tyre and use the same silver colouring.

A Pirelli spokesperson told F1 Fanatic they decided against giving the tyre a different name as they wanted to keep the same names linked to the same colours.

Pirelli also announced their tyre allocations for the Canadian, European and British Grands Prix.

In Canada the teams will use Pirelli’s softest two compounds, as they also will in Monaco. Pirelli said the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve “has similar characteristics to Monaco in terms of grip and traction, which is why the same nominations of soft and super soft have been made.”

The medium tyre will be used for the first time in the European Grand Prix. After Spain, the hard tyre will be used next in Silverstone, though Pirelli have not decided whether to take the original or new hard tyre.

Race Prime Option
Australian Grand Prix Hard Soft
Malaysian Grand Prix Hard Soft
Chinese Grand Prix Hard Soft
Turkish Grand Prix Hard Soft
Spanish Grand Prix Hard* Soft
Monaco Grand Prix Soft Super soft
Canadian Grand Prix Soft Super soft
European Grand Prix Medium Super soft
British Grand Prix Hard Soft

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

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    Image © Pirelli

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    Keith Collantine
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    42 comments on “Pirelli to introduce ‘super hard’ tyre in Barcelona”

    1. I wonder …

      If Pirelli could develop a tyre that could last for much longer stints, but offer considerably less grip and make it available at every event this year, perhaps the FIA could amend the rules so that drivers have to run two of the three compounds on offer (one of them being that which they qualified on). The idea would be to make one- or two-stop strategies possible, but would seriously compromise a driver’s position (grip and tyre life should be inversely proportional) to keep the field closer together so that anything from a two- to a four-stop strategy would be feasible.

      1. I don’t like the idea of giving less importance to qualifying. The racing should be to achieve pole and win, not sacrificing one or the other.

        1. On the contrary, the race has always been the important thing. As the teams keep reiterating: points are won on Sunday. Qualifying has always been important simply because of track position. And as we’ve seen, race pace CAN differ from pure, hotlap speed. Achieving pole position is great, but not the ultimate goal.

    2. But given Montreal’s track (huhuhuhuh) record, wouldn’t it be better to bring a more durable tyre?

      Obviously these guys know more about it than I do, but just a thought.

      1. Soft and Super softs at Canada?!? I’m expecting a 6 pitstop race

        1. Or 7 or 8!

          1. But having that said, they only have 6 sets of tyres to use, so 5 would be the maximum. What’ll happen if they’ll run out of tyres?

            1. They can use inters and wets. lol!!

          2. My thoughts here: https://www.racefans.net/forum/topic.php?id=1660#post-29348

            Just because we had a mad race in Canada last year it doesn’t mean we’ll have one* this year. The Pirellis aren’t dying quickly because they’re an inferior product, but because they have the tyre construction equivalent of a time-bomb in them. We’ve had four very different races so far and the tyre wear has been pretty much the same in terms of the number of laps.

            *I originally said “won”. Oh, the shame…

        2. Hope Lewis pays attention to the pitlane traffic lights this year then. ;)

          1. What pitlane traffic light?

            1. light at the end of pit lane.

            2. Mark Hitchcock
              12th May 2011, 16:01

              That’s what Hamilton must have said :P

      2. I think the characteristics that cause the Bridgestones to grain at Canada are not the same characteristics that cause the Pirellis to shed rubber. Apart from the track surface, Canada should be easy on the tyres.

        However this is total guesswork aside from the fact that Pirelli should know what they’re doing.

    3. I have felt that the only thing missing from the races was a tyre compound that allowed you to make one less stop, so hopefully we’ll see this now.

      I wonder if Pirelli might replace the medium with the hard and keep the new super-hard compound. Given how little difference there is between the hard and soft tyres’ degradation it would make sense, especially as both medium and soft compounds are going to be used in Valencia.

      1. That’s what’s been rumoured – I put it to them but they’re not saying.

        1. It does seem a sensible idea to do that. Just mark them differently and paired with the super softs they will be fine.

          But its good to see Pirelli try to balance these tyres a bit more to get the best effects of strategy in. If only they dropped the two compound rule now.

      2. Agreed here, before the season, that’s what I hoped would come from Pirelli.

    4. So at Monaco and Canada, we’ll have yellow and red tyres. How wonderfully colourful, especially in the Cote d’Azur sunshine!

      1. I’m actually hoping for a wet Monaco. We haven’t had one for a few years. :D

        1. Only three years!

        2. How about a wet/dry Monaco? Yellow, Red, Blue, and Orange tyres!

          1. They need a green and a purple compound too to make a whole tire rainbow…

    5. the current hard compound does need a tweak. Right now it’s like it wears out at almost the same rate as the softs, but is a second a lap slower. Increasing the hards’ lifespan by a few laps could lead to even more interesting strategies.

      1. Good point.

    6. Why oh why introduce these super hards at a circuit that has the least amount of overtaking on the calendar!! Are they seriously trying to keep the Spanish GP a complete bore fest??

      1. Showcasing its strengths, I expect, yes :)

        I guess they want to introduce the tyres as quickly as possible.

        Actually, maybe it will work out well. These new hard tyres will be a bit of an unknown, possibly causing some amount of unpredictability, something the race definitely can use!

        It seems that they base the choice of what compounds to take on slightly different parameters than what Bridgestone needed to do, and it seems unlikely even these hards will last for half a race or more.

    7. Maybe the superhards are good for something, the hards are quite useless. They have a lot less grip than the softs, and as a trade-off for their lack of grip they should last considerably longer, allowing for one less pitstop. But in fact they last pretty much the same, maybe 1-2 more laps, so the same number of pitstops is needed. The teams only use them because they are forced to.

      1. Regardless of how long they last, the teams only use either choice of tyres because they are forced to.

    8. Is there any need for two compounds anymore?

      I can’t see why it wouldn’t work just fine to have a single compound at each race that was capable of doing 15 to 20 laps. That would give the teams the option to do 2 or 3 stops.

      The reason for the ‘use both tyre types’ rule was to force a pitstop when the tyres were capable of lasting an entire race distance. The way the current tyres behave there is no need to have that rule, so maybe there is no need for 2 tyre compounds at all.

      The only strategies that have occurred with the tyres have been where faster cars can save sets of softer tyres in Q1 and Q2. That just gives the drivers of slower cars a further disadvantage.

      Many drivers outside the top 10 elect to start the race on soft tyres, so that rule doesn’t have much impact either.

      The leading teams pretty much mirror each others tactics on use of tyres, so it adds nothing strategically among the front-runners.

      Pirelli have said that costs are an issue with remaining in F1. They could save a lot of money if they brought just one compound to each race and only needed 2 compounds to cover the whole season.

      I think this change would have very little impact overall other than in 4 useful ways…
      1. Save on costs.
      2. End the unnecessary ‘use both compounds’ rule.
      3. Make 4 stop races unlikely.
      4. End disadvantage to slower cars that use up sets of softs to try to get into Q3.

      I don’t think that the prime/option tyre situation has contributed much to the great racing we have had this year. As long as Pirelli keep providing tyres that can’t go the distance, having a single compound should work just fine.

      1. Well said, I also don’t really see any reason to keep this rule.

      2. But with the wear rates roughly known, the development of the cars would then inevitably go to tyre-wear. If you can eke out an extra 4 or 5 laps compared to your competitors on the same tyre, that’ll save you one pit-stop, giving you an easy 20-ish seconds over the race.

        Just look at Sauber for what that means for your results. Now if a Ferrari, or McLaren, or Red Bull were able to consistently make one less stop than their immideate competitors, it would be game over.

    9. I feel sorry for the poor bloke with the broom after these races…..

      1. Lol, your not wrong there!! Off the racing line at turn 8 in turkey looked a right old mess :)

    10. Electrolite
      10th May 2011, 12:39

      Ha! Montreal’s gonna be a right laugh! It won’t even be a race! Can’t wait :D

      It could be a bad thing Spain is going to have the super hard tyre given how boring Catalunya is already. However it could go the other way as it’s a brand new tyre and people don’t know what to expect strategy-wise. Will be interesting.

      1. I think it will mix things up a bit strategy-wise.

    11. the hard tyre will be used next in Silverstone, though Pirelli have not decided whether to take the original or new hard tyre.

      i think there is no original hard anymore, the new hard has replaced it and is now the default ‘hard’. :D

      1. I asked them and they said they haven’t decided.

    12. Initially I thought Super-soft and Soft combination would be chaos. But Pirelli know what they’re doing more so than me! It’s not right to assume 2011 will be a 2010 repeat.

    13. JamieFranklinF1
      10th May 2011, 23:06

      Should be interesting to see how different the tyres actually are at least.

      Also, just to add. If Virgin and HRT think they have no hope of getting into Q2 (which, realistically, they don’t), why not just save all the soft tyres you can, go out on the hards, qualify last and then have a better strategy in the race? I mean, as long as they prove that they can do a quick lap in FP, then surely that would be the best idea?

      1. I don’t think they will manage the 107% rule on hards.
        So your theory would mean that they set a few quick laps in FP so that they would be allowed racing, even if they fail the 107% rule? That would work maybe 1 time. But if they try it again the next race, they will be banned from racing if they failed the 107% rule again. The other teams aren’t stupid and they eventually decide on this.
        Currently, Virgin and HRT are so far behind, that they need the softs only to remain within 107%
        But I agree that they should leave quali for what it is, aim to do a single lap on softs in Q1 to get within the 107% rule and then have 3 fresh sets of softs for the race. Should give them a little something extra to close the gap over a full race distance.

    14. I am not sure whether bringing the two soft compound for Canada is a good idea.

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