Pirelli must be ‘slightly careful’

Date published: January 25 2015 - Editor

With F1 cars expected to be even faster this season, Pirelli won't be making any massive changes to their tyres.

This year many are predicting that the teams will be able to get more pace out of their cars as they have adjusted to the new regulations introduced in 2015.

Pirelli's motorsport boss Paul Hembery says the tyre manufacturer has taken this into account when doing their planning of the new season.

He said in an interview with GPUpdate.net: "We're very much on track. Going into last year the cars were very, very different in the way that they worked. The way that they impacted with the tyre was quite different, and that was an unknown to a certain extent. But we gained a lot of information through the season. We knew the cars were getting quicker – that was very clear towards the end of the year.

"We anticipate that, with them having the ability to make some changes to the engines, there's going to be quite a jump across the field in terms of performances, and that means that we've got to be slightly careful. The target is a moving target, and we need to make sure that we don't underestimate what developments they could be."

Hembery, though, did reveal that Pirelli are making a few changes ahead of the 2015 Championship most notably with regards to the compounds of their Super Soft and Intermediate tyres.

"The changes we're making are quite limited for next season. We've worked on the rear tyre, on the footprint area, to try to even out the temperature build up and distribution," he said.

"We're changing the Super Soft compound, to get a little bit more performance in the hotter conditions. And we've changed the compound on the Intermediate tyre, which was something we had to do due to an ingredient change. So these are quite minor changes, although we might change the way that we choose the compounds for the races.

"If there was any comment last year, some people felt we were quite conservative – that's easy to say after the event of course. But we would say that we still aim to deliver a two to three pit-stop races. It did become more two-stop than three-stop last year, it has to be said. But the performance of the cars can change substantially and I think we need to understand the real impact of that before we make any dramatic changes."

As for the tyre manufacturer taking an aggressive approach this season, such as in 2012 when seven different drivers won the opening seven grands prix, Hembery says F1 does not need Pirelli to up the excitement.

"We don't want to be changing things mid-season, if we can avoid it. If you have to, you have to, that's part of the structure of the sport that we've got to deal with. But at the end of the day we saw some fantastic racing last year.

"When we were asked to be more aggressive, it was maybe when things had become a little bit static. That would have been too complicated if we'd done that last year, and probably still too complicated for this season as well.

"We've got a lot of teams anticipating some strong performance changes, and while we would still expect Mercedes to be strong, Renault and Ferrari have a year of experience of the new regulations, and there is the unknown of Honda. And they now have the ability to use these development gaps, which could change the whole makeup of the championship.

"It's one of those things; you can guess and anticipate, but the reality is it'll probably only be when we get to China that we start to have a good feeling of where we're at."