Date: 20th February 2013 at 9:03am
Written by:

Pirelli’s plans to generate more problems for teams with tyre degradation in 2013 appears set to become a reality.

During the 2012 Formula One World Championship the Pirelli tyres became a big talking point.

During the first half of the season they appeared to have an unpredictable nature about them, they operated under a very small and difficult to find sweet spot. Find it and your weekend would prove to be a success, but if you didn’t the weekend would be all about damage limitation and getting the best possible result without ever proving too competitive.

This was evident in the first seven races which was won by seven different drivers, the first time in the sports history that this had happened.

Cars would also suffer from high degradation, something that former seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher was highly critical of as he believed it prevented drivers from driving the cars as fast and as aggressive as possible, which was his definition of driving.

But by the end of the season, there were no complaints, the teams didn’t find the tyres unpredictable and one stop races proved to be the norm as teams didn’t burn their way through sets upon sets of tyres. In fact the tyres went from one extreme to the other and failed to create any real form of tyre strategies for the teams.

The 2013 brief was to create more tyre strategies with high tyre wear, but still providing drivers with a tyre that could be raced hard and from the first winter tests in Jerez and Barcelona they may have achieved their target.

‘There is a lot of degradation. It’s massive for everybody, I don’t know if it’s because of the temperature and it being very cold. Hopefully so, because otherwise there are going to be a lot of pitstops in Melbourne.’ Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg told Autosport Magazine.

He continued: ‘We’ve seen the Pirellis are great for racing and for excitement, and that’s the main priority – to make it exciting for the fans, We just have to handle it. It’s important that it’s good racing and we know that this sort of degradation profile creates the most exciting races.’

Former two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso was pretty damning in his report of the tyres as he tried to learn more about his new Ferrari.

It was the first time the Spaniard had experienced the tyres and the new 2013 car after leaving the first test in Jerez to team-mate Felipe Massa while he concentrated on his fitness: ‘It’s maybe not the best option to test in the winter when you have a tyre that does one lap, because we have so much stuff to test and so many new things that we need to have clear and good information on.

‘And we only have only one lap to understand the car because then you are four to six seconds off the pace.’


McLaren driver Sergio Perez had similar concerns: “It’s extreme. It’s very, very difficult the degradation – it’s a big surprise, Normally we see in winter testing a lot of degradation, but never this much. We are going to have sometimes cold races like here, so it’s a bit of a worry, but we are still learning about the tyres and once we go racing I hope things can change with the tyres.”

Reigning Three-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel decided to reserve judgement on the tyres due to the colder conditions: ‘We saw [Tuesday] the tyres were going off pretty quickly, they didn’t last a few laps, But you have to be careful because it is too cold, as simple as that. We still want to understand the tyres but in these conditions it’s tricky, everyone is suffering the same problems.’