New Pirelli hard tyres unpopular in Spain

Worn Pirelli tyre. Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday 20 May 2011.

Worn Pirelli tyre

May 20 (GMM) Pirelli’s new evolution hard tyre was a sore point after Friday practice in Spain.

Lewis Hamilton described the performance of the ‘super hard’ compound as a “disaster” at Barcelona – too hard and slow.

“They have zero grip,” Force India test driver Nico Hulkenberg elaborated to Auto Motor und Sport after a stint on the tyres during the morning practice session.

Worried about extreme degradation at the Circuit de Catalunya, Pirelli introduced the new tyre that is significantly slower than the normal soft compound.

“We expect the hard tyres to last five laps longer than the soft,” said an official for the Italian tyre supplier.

The situation heats up the teams’ strategic approach to qualifying, with Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali predicting that “no one” will risk trying to get through Q1 without using a set of softs.

And in the race, the trick will be “getting rid of the hard tyres as quickly as possible”, added Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn.

“About these tyres, I’d rather not say anything,” smiled Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

“I hope someone tries them in Q1,” he added. “But it would be a very high risk.”

Sauber estimated the soft tyre as 2.4 seconds quicker than the new ‘super hard’ compound.