Tires have been a tricky and decisive component of Formula One for several seasons now. Tire degradation and graining have been unpredictable and disruptive, with teams struggling to understand the performance drop-off in order to set optimal race strategy.
Seems like the same thing is in store for 2013. According to Pirelli, the sport’s official tire supplier, changes to tire construction will make F1 racing faster with more overtaking this year. The new look tires include softer compounds and new designs that could lower lap times by up to 0.5s, the company says. Of course, that’s the same thing they predicted for last season. La plus ca change.
Formula One racing’s 11 teams are gearing up for the final, four-day, pre-season test which takes place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona from Thursday. It’s not only the final opportunity the teams will have to develop their cars on-track before the season-opening Grand Prix in Australia on March 15-17, but — crucially — it’s the last chance they’ll have to assess the performance characteristics of Pirelli’s new-for-2013 tires.