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Pirelli: 2018 tyres could confuse teams in early races

Written by  Mar 20, 2018

Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola believes the almost all-new selection of tyre compounds created for the 2018 Formula 1 season could perplex teams in the early races.

The Italian supplier moved more conservative with their rubber last year, mostly due to the new car designs but also after drivers had asked for the ability to push harder for longer following the high degradation philosophy used since 2011.

Many felt the tyres went too far the other way, however, and that has caused Pirelli to go more aggressive with each compound a step softer than before as well as the introduction of two new compounds.

"I am sure there are some details we do not know because the compounds are more or less all new, except for the Medium," Isola said ahead of the first Grand Prix in Australia.

"We already designed the Soft, Supersoft, Ultrasoft and the Hypersoft is completely new. We had a test last year in Abu Dhabi, we had a test here but you cannot say that you know any detail of any compound with two tests."

The topic of tyres could be key in the battle at the front too, with Mercedes thought to be struggling more with the softer compounds than their rivals and the Ultrasoft, Supersoft and Soft will be used in Melbourne.

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Though that selection is the same as 12 months ago, the method to reach that decision has altered slightly with Pirelli using new simulator technology.

"We have now a very good tool, software that we created this winter to make all the combinations with three different compounds," Isola explained.

"The software is returning the number of strategies in a certain interval of race time. So we always pick up the three compounds that have the highest number of strategies.

"Usually, the target is two stops but it's not only two stops, we are taking the combination which on paper is giving us the higher number of strategies, to try to have more action on track."

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