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Pirelli admits F1 tyre degradation below FIA target

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Pirelli admits F1 tyre degradation below FIA target
By:
Mar 24, 2017, 5:58 PM

Pirelli believes the ultrasoft will be the most popular tyre compound in the Australian Grand Prix, after saying degradation on Friday was below the target set by the FIA for 2017.

Sparks fly from the rear of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
A Pirelli engineer records some tyre data
The Pirelli F1 team speak to the media
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Pirelli tyres
The Pirelli F1 team speak to the media
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Mario Isola, Pirelli Racing Manager

However, the Italian firm is confident that as the season goes on, and aero development puts extra loads on the tyres, one-stop races will become less frequent.

Friday practice pace-setter Lewis Hamilton managed a 25-lap run on the ultrasoft tyres in the afternoon session.

"We have to consider the improvements of the cars," said Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola. "So more stress on the tyres means more degradation. If I look at the number of degradation now, we are below the [FIA] target letter.

"Looking at the expected degradation for the ultrasoft here, we should lose two seconds in nine laps, and we are not losing two seconds in nine laps, so we are below this number.

"But of course with the performance improvement of the cars, we will have a higher degradation."

He added: "Here some teams this afternoon used the soft and the ultra, and some teams the supersoft and the ultrasoft. It is clear that the ultrasoft is a compound for the race."

One-stop race concerns

Some observers have expressed concern a succession of one-stop races will not be entertaining enough, and offer limited strategic variety.

Isola remains confident that the drivers will be able to race hard, even in one-stop races.

"What is good is that the overheating is very limited, and this is an important factor which gives the drivers the ability to push on the tyres," he said.

"This is what we were looking for, we want to confirm, and we are happy that we have this feedback. Today was positive in general, and the numbers we collected so far are in line with expectations.

"We were having no comments of overheating, the level of grip seems to be quite good, because the laptime is saying that the performance improvement is very big.

"Last year FP2 was very wet, so we cannot compare the laptime in FP2, but we can compare the laptime in FP1. This morning we were five seconds a lap quicker compared to last year.

"The target was to be five seconds per lap quicker compared to 2015, so I think that the target is achieved.

"We know that tomorrow in qualifying if it is dry they will improve again, the delta laptime will be again quicker, but how much quicker, it's difficult to predict at the moment."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Australian GP
Location Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
Author Adam Cooper