Pirelli won’t be overly aggressive with this year’s tyre options, adamant that actually slows the drivers’ pace.
Ahead of this year’s championship, Pirelli have once again tweaked their rubber although not dramatically.
This led Sebastian Vettel to declare: “The more interesting question is the tyre selection for next year – what tyres Pirelli will take to what tracks.”
The Italian tyre manufacturer has already revealed the selection for the opening four races of 2019.
For Australia, China and Azerbaijan, drivers will use the middle of the range compounds in the C2, C3 and C4 – last year’s medium, soft and ultrasoft.
For Bahrain, the hardest range – the C1, C2 and C3 compounds – will be used.
“We obviously have to collect some data at the beginning of the season – as we do every year, because we design a new tyre – but then data coming from races is the most reliable,” Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola told RACER.
“So we collect data from the races, and we understand which is the right direction.
“We made quite an interesting analysis comparing 2017 to 2018.
“You’ll remember in 2017 in general, everyone was saying ‘Pirelli, you have been too conservative with your approach’. We had the new cars and everything, but the reality is, we weren’t more aggressive in all the races in 2018.
“For example, in Spa in 2017 we decided on an aggressive selection, and in 2018 it was similar. We tried to make a calculation on the pace management during the race, and it’s comparable between 2017 and 2018.”
Isola, though, has ruled out going super aggressive, saying it in fact forces drivers to go slower as they have to manage pace versus tyre wear.
He added: “In the races where we were one step softer, the level of pace management was slightly higher.
“If you consider races where we were two steps softer – like Sochi or Monaco – the pace management was huge. It was double compared to 2017.
“So at this point we said we cannot oblige teams to have a different strategy, because obviously they make a calculation and say ‘OK if I consider race pace, traffic, fuel, set-up, etc. then the quickest strategy is this one’.
“We can’t tell them ‘No, you have to adopt a different strategy that is slower just for the show’.
“So if this is the reality, it’s much better to accept the reality and try to think about something that is really improving the show.”