Pirelli outline 2023 tyre test plans for Austin and Suzuka

Thomas Maher
Pirelli tyres lined up at the 2021 Abu Dhabi tyre test. Yas Marina, December 2021.

Pirelli tyres lined up at the 2021 Abu Dhabi tyre test. Yas Marina, December 2021.

Pirelli’s Mario Isola has explained the plans for the 2023 tyre compound tests that have been scheduled for free practice at two of the remaining races this year.

As the 2022 season enters its final stages, attention is slowly but surely turning towards 2023. With this year being the first for the new 18-inch wheels, tweaks to Pirelli’s 2023 tyre range are expected to be made.

In order for that to happen, Pirelli have to carry out real-world testing on the new generation of Formula 1 cars and with such a busy calendar of racing, the intention is to carry out tyre testing during practice for the United States and Japanese Grands Prix over the coming weeks.

Isola explained the plans as he spoke to media during the Italian Grand Prix, as he revealed the intention of the 2023 compounds is to help reduce understeer as a characteristic.

The second practice sessions at Austin and Suzuka will be extended to 90 minutes to allow for the tyre testing, with the teams set to roll out on unmarked compounds that only Pirelli will know.

“The plan is to test mainly compounds,” Isola explained.

“We have the opportunity to use FP2 that will be 90 minutes and not 60 – all the 20 cars running different plans. As usual, they are blind so teams will not know what they are testing.

“But that’s really important for us. It’s important to find new opportunities of testing because with such a busy calendar, with 24 races next year, it will be…I don’t want to say almost impossible to find the space to test but the European season is shorter.

“To stay on track Tuesday and Wednesday after the race is difficult, so we need to find new opportunities. The teams were very collaborative with us in finding solutions and one solution is to test during free practice.

“I know it’s a big effort from them because they are fighting for the championship and they will lose one session, but it’s really important for us to provide a product next year that is even better compared to what we have this year.

“We are happy with the current product but we know teams are developing the cars and performance is increasing. We need to reduce a little bit the understeer, we need to fine-tune a couple of compounds and we need the final validation on track to be sure we are going in the right direction to have even a better championship next year.”

Given the extended practice session has the unintended consequence of adding to the team’s engine mileage, Isola said the intention is to keep practice mileage to within their usual range.

“We are planning to give them run plans with a mileage similar to what they have during a normal FP2,” he said.

“All the teams will run the same number of laps with blind prototypes, as I said. We are trying not to change too much the construction during this test because they set up the car for the race weekend, so it’s important we don’t have a completely different construction and oblige them to change too much the car’s set-up.

“So, working with the teams, we are trying to find clever solutions in order to give us the possibility to test and not to disrupt too much the weekend for them.”