Pirelli are aiming for at least two pit stops at every race this coming season
Hard compound tyre to feature orange, rather than silver, stripe
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 25/01/13 11:03am
Pirelli have unveiled their range of tyres for 2013, with fresh changes made to the rubber as they aim to instigate more pitstops during the upcoming new F1 season.
At a launch ceremony in Milan, the supplier also unveiled an orange stripe for the hardest of its four dry-weather compounds - a more visible marking than last year's silver band.
According to Pirelli, each compound will be softer this coming season, with a more flexible construction. They are hoping to ensure at least two pitstops per race and open up more strategic options for teams.
Speaking at the event, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said the impetus had come from both teams and fans for a "fresh challenge" this year.
Teams certainly found last year's tyres a struggle to understand, with their narrow performance window a talking point of the season.
Their level of understanding improved as the season wore on, but only at the expense of fewer pitstops and strategy choices.
"The goal is to continuously set new challenges for the drivers and to ensure that all the teams start the new season on a level playing field when it comes to the tyres," Hembery explained.
"Through accumulating more information with each grand prix last year, the teams eventually fully understood the tyres, after a spectacular start with seven winners from the first seven races. The result at the end of the year was races with less competition and sometimes only one pitstop.
"This phenomenon was also observed in 2011, disappointing many fans and prompting some of the teams to ask us to continue developing our tyres further this year, in order to provide a fresh challenge with something different.
"Our 2013 range of tyres mixes up the cards once more to help overtaking and ensure two to three pitstops per race."
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Teams were given the chance to sample the new hard tyre during free practice in Brazil last November, but the debut for the complete new range will come at the first official Formula 1 test in Jerez in February.
Pirelli said that softer tyres - this year's hard compound is roughly equivalent to last year's medium - will allow them to reach their operating temperature faster and deliver lap times around 0.5 seconds faster than in 2012.
Construction-wise, softer sidewalls and stronger shoulders should mean faster thermal degradation while Pirelli hope the performance window will be widened.
They have also targeted a larger performance gap - more than 0.5s per lap - between compounds, the hope being that this, in conjunction with faster thermal degradation, will enourage overtaking.
Hembery also added that he expects Pirelli's current test drivers, Jaime Alguersuari and Lucas di Grassi, to stay on, even though they had both yet to sign new contracts.