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Pirelli expecting dramatic fall in lap times in 2018

Written by  Jan 13, 2018

Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola believes lap times in Formula 1 will be around 1.5 seconds faster than those set in 2017 as rapid development continues in the second season of the current regulations.

Last year the sport saw the sharpest reduction in lap times in quite some years as two decades of slowing the cars down was reversed with higher downforce and wider tyres all designed to produce more grip.

Lap records were broken at every circuit except Monza, due to a wet qualifying session, but Isola believes they won't last as long as their predecessors with some dating back to the V10 era.

"We will have faster lap times this year because we should consider the development of the car that is probably roughly one second per lap as an average," he said at the Autosport International show.

“Plus the fact that especially at the beginning of the season we are planning to use softer compounds [compared to 2017], so in my expectation, we should be quicker compared to last year by 1.5s per lap by average, it’s a lot, it’s another big step.”

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Though the cars should be quicker, Pirelli is actually going more aggressive with their tyres after the initial product created last year was too conservative and resulted in one-stop races at almost every event.

A new hypersoft compound will also be introduced, though its use is likely to be limited to just the slowest and/ or least grippy circuits after initial testing was done in Abu Dhabi.

“The Hypersoft was one second quicker than the Ultrasoft so it’s quite an extreme compound," Isola claimed, comparing lap times around the Yas Marina Circuit.

"Monaco is probably the race where we’re going to use it for the first time. The performance is great but also the degradation will be high, it’s the normal trade-off between performance, degradation and wear.

"It’s accepted as it’s a very soft compound and that’s why we are taking three compounds to each event.”

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