New improved Pirelli tyres could be the key to a successful Formula 1 campaign this year, according to Paul Hembery.
The Pirelli motorsport boss told Autosport that the Italian manufacturer had changed the compounds and structures of its tyres for the 2013 season in the hope of having a better start to this latest campaign than the unpredictable beginning of 2012.
This saw seven different winners in the first seven races, making it one of the most unusual starts ever seen in the sport.
Racers first tasted the 2013 tyres at the Brazilian Grand Prix last year, giving them a good chance to practice with the new rubber before the start of this season.
Hembery told the motoring publication that by making a few small amendments to the tyres Pirelli hoped to encourage an even harder-fought battle between the top teams.
"Because the cars are staying relatively stable, the teams are coming from a pretty solid platform in understanding what they are working with," he explained.
"We are changing the structure of the tyres, changing all the four compounds and being more aggressive, and that will possibly create some challenges initially.
"But we don’t foresee the issues that they had in 2012, when the car changes were so dramatic," Hembery went on to say.
He admitted that people were right to criticise Pirelli's conservative nature in some of the latter 2012 races, however he is confident that this will not be the case in 2013.
"The rules haven't changed, so we are not going to follow exactly the same format. We are trying to be more aggressive this season. There were some races where we were criticised – probably correctly, actually – that we were a little bit too conservative," he said.
However, he added that this does not help the Q2 teams, as they can lack a little downforce.
The new tyres, which were trialled successfully in Brazil, have not been modified for the start of the new season this spring but the manufacturer is hoping to build upon initial positive feedback.
Towards the end of 2012 Pirelli's chief technical officer Maurizio Boicchi described to Autosport how the new tyres would build on the lessons learned throughout the season and offer a more consistent performance.
"During 2012, more or less all the teams learned much better how to use our tyres. One of the key criteria that improved their consistency was the fact that we have seen and measured much less [wheel] spinning from them – which means they have learned how to manage this phenomenon," he explained.
Boicchi went on to claim that the 2013 tyres would be far faster, even in hotter weather conditions.
He also urged teams to pay attention to their tyre choice more in future as they are often focused solely on car development and "worry more about the aerodynamics than the tyres", when really a holistic approach should be taken.
This would see fewer surprises once teams make it to the track.
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Posted by Danielle Barge