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Pirelli pleased with performance of HyperSoft after test debut

Written by  Dec 01, 2017

Pirelli left Abu Dhabi pleased with the performance of the new HyperSoft tyre and much of their 2018 range after the first two days of testing in Abu Dhabi this week.

The Italian supplier has gone more aggressive in their approach to next year's rubber after a conservative first season with the wider tyres and greater downforce on the cars resulted in one-stop strategies and most races.

All 10 Formula 1 teams were given 20 sets of the new tyres to use, as they gathered key data for their development as well as giving the drivers a feel for the warm-up and degradation of the new specification P-Zero's.

“The characteristics of the Yas Marina Circuit meant the test concentrated on the compounds from white Medium to the pink HyperSoft,” explained Pirelli's Motorsport Head Mario Isola. “The whole test and all the drivers gave us very positive feedback.

“The new pink HyperSoft meets our initial expectations, with times that are about a second per lap faster than the purple ultrasoft, but this obviously needs to be confirmed on other types of track as well.

“All the 2018 tyres are a step softer than this year’s equivalents, in line with what the teams asked for, with the Pink HyperSoft being two steps softer than the 2017 UltraSoft.”

Isola is confident the new compounds will result in a mixing up of the strategies in 2018, with some races this year reminiscent of Bridgestone's final season in 2010.

"We now have the option to go soft enough to target two stops," he said. "I believe that three stops are a bit too much because we know it can be a bit confusing to have too many stops.

"We will try to make the selection of having two stops or one of the fastest strategies a two-stop."

Though Pirelli has vowed not to return to the high degradation approach of previous years, their chief does think it will add another variable for teams to consider when designing their next car.

"With more compounds and a softer step, you give the teams the possibility to design the car that is more gentle on the tyres, so you can push the tyre towards the softer side," Isola claimed.

"This is an additional variable that is up to the teams, and we give to everybody the same opportunity."