Pirelli balance degradation with pace


Drivers will find that this year’s Pirelli tyres will show a noted difference in performance depending on the number of laps they have covered.

While last season’s Pirellis degraded, but at times not by much, this year Mario Isola says the number of laps will create a noted difference in performance, which, he hopes, will increase overtaking.

Pirelli, though, haven’t gone to the extremes with the motorsport boss confident that the drivers will still be able to push.

“Overtaking is a different story, because [with] overtaking we know how difficult it is with the current aerodynamics and the effect when you follow another car,” Isola told RACER.

“Braking is very late, so it’s also difficult because of this. Increasing speed means that the ideal line becomes narrower, so we are trying to have a bit of a better situation in terms of overtaking with more degradation of the tyres.

“So cars on tyres with a different number of laps should create a differential in performance, but we don’t want to go too much on the high side of degradation because then you make drivers unhappy because they want to push. Especially when they are attacking, when they are trying to overtake another car, if they lose performance too much it’s not good for them and it’s not good for the show.

“It’s a balance and a compromise that is very difficult to achieve, but we are working on compounds with a bit higher degradation, but thermal degradation, not surface overheating.

“Surface overheating is what the drivers hate because they push on the tyre and they lose the performance. Thermal degradation is linear: as long as you use the tyre, you lose the performance. So it’s something that they know and they manage. Surface overheating is a different story.

“You cannot increase thermal degradation and decrease surface overheating. OK, we try to, but it’s very, very, very difficult.”