F1 2023 performance gains prompt tougher Pirelli tyres from Silverstone

Jamie Woodhouse
Pirelli hard tyre in focus. Zandvoort September 2022.

Pirelli hard tyre in focus alongside other compounds. Zandvoort September 2022.

With teams finding performance ahead of Pirelli’s schedule, F1’s tyre supplier will introduce a sterner construction to come into effect as of the British GP.

It was back at F1 2023 launch season that Alpine’s Esteban Ocon described their 2022 challenger, the first designed to the new ground effect regulations, as a toy compared to their creation for the current season.

And such statements have been evidenced by the huge jump in performance across the grid between 2022 and 2023.

At the latest round in Miami for example, Sergio Perez’s 1:26.841 pole time was almost two seconds faster than Charles Leclerc’s effort which secured pole at the Miami International Autodrome a year ago.

It was a similar margin when comparing Max Verstappen’s fastest lap of the 2023 Miami GP with his 2022 benchmark.

Pirelli suggested that the speed and downforce gains have exceeded pre-season simulation data provided by the teams, and with the development war only just starting to take shape, the demand on the tyres is going to only increase further still.

So, to avoid any potential issues down the line, Pirelli proposed to the FIA that they introduce a new, tougher tyre construction, with the compound types staying the same, which would come into force as of the British Grand Prix in July.

And approval has been granted, which as per the Technical Regulations, must come either through agreement from the Formula One Commission or from an FIA decision on safety grounds.

This new construction will be tested by the teams at the Spanish Grand Prix, that race weekend running from June 2-4.

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Pirelli’s F1 chief Mario Isola commented: “We’ve seen how much more performance the 2023 cars have compared to last year throughout the opening races of this season, and that is thanks to the extraordinary pace of development shown by all 10 of the teams.

“In Miami, for example, the pole time was nearly two seconds faster than last year, but the same sort of progress has been seen during races as well.

“Pirelli’s simulation work has always been aimed at not only supplying a product that hits the performance targets specified by stakeholders, but also anticipating any potential problems and reacting to them quickly.

“The new specification contains materials that we have already developed for 2024, which will make the tyres more resistant without affecting any of the other technical parameters or their behaviour on track.

“To allow all the teams to test the new construction on a level playing field, Pirelli will supply two extra tyre sets per car to be used during FP1 and FP2 at the Spanish Grand Prix.”

Before the Spanish GP arrives, there are two prior stops on the 2023 calendar for the teams and drivers to negotiate, the first of these being a trip to Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix from May 19-21.