Thinner Pirelli tread for tracks with new asphalt

Pirelli F1 chief Mario Isola has confirmed that Formula 1’s exclusive tyre supplier will be tweaking their tyres for the Spanish, French and British Grand Prix races as all three venues have newly laid track surfaces.

Pirelli engineers are requesting that the FIA allow that the tread be four millimetres thinner than normal. This will amount to about one-kilo weight reduction per set.

Isola explained, “We made a request to the FIA to have a slightly different tread thickness for three races. That’s Barcelona, Silverstone and Paul Ricard.”

“The reason for this request is that, in general, the new tarmac has a lot of grip, low wear, and low degradation. With a lot of grip, the lap time is improving a lot. We saw the lap times in Barcelona during the pre-season test was three seconds quicker than last year.”

“But the point is that we keep a lot of rubber on the tyre, because with low wear, the tread is there, we are not wearing the tyre. And this means we have high temperatures in the compound. So to try to reduce the temperature a little bit, we asked for a small reduction in the tread thickness.”

“We tested the solution last year, and in terms of performance or other consequences, they are almost transparent.”

“Obviously the reason we stayed on the standard tyre for this year was in normal circumstances you wear the tyre, and if you don’t have enough thickness, you wear the tyre too quickly,” concluded Isola.

In the past, 2011 and 2012 to be precise, Pirelli requested a thinner tread for Spa-Francorchamps and Monza.

Pirelli also announced that Force India’s 2019 tyre test, scheduled to take place immediately after the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, has been postponed for logistical reasons.