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Pirelli's plan to spice up the 2013 F1 season // F1's tyre supplier adds some orange and aims for more pit stops

Published by Christine Blachford

Formula One's tyre supplier Pirelli have revealed their new lineup of tyres for the 2013 season, with revised sidewall markings and softer rubber.

The tyre manufacturer held a press launch in Milan today to discuss their plans for the coming season in all manner of different motorsport series, but naturally, our attention fell to the changes that affect Formula One.

New rubber for F1 in 2013
Credit: Pirelli S.p.A.
Orange makes a welcome return in 2013
Credit: Pirelli S.p.A.
A sexy looking Pirelli
Credit: Pirelli S.p.A.
A brand new set of Pirelli
Credit: Pirelli S.p.A.

The most obvious change is the brand new orange sidewall, that will feature on the hard compound. Over the past two seasons, since Pirelli stepped in to supply F1 cars with tyres, we have seen the hard compound denoted with a silver sidewall. It was almost impossible to distinguish with the medium compound that heralded a white stripe, and although initially we were told this wouldn't be a problem because the two would never be seen in the same place at the same time, it did manage to cause confusion.

F1 tyre options for 2013
CompoundColourWorking range
SupersoftRed85° - 110°
SoftYellow105° - 125°
MediumWhite90° - 115°
HardOrange110° - 135°
IntermediateGreen
WetBlue

That is a thing of the past, however, as Pirelli have moved on from their silver days and have painted the hard tyres orange. We've seen orange in use before - it was originally deployed on the wet tyres back in 2011, but they were tweaked to blue last year - and now orange is back in fashion for 2013 on slicks instead.

Killing them softly

The Italian rubber company hasn't just been mixing up the paint pots, they've also taken a closer look at the technical side of tyres too. The compounds have been adjusted, and the structure of the tyres has also been looked at. They've made the contact patch between the rubber and the ground more even, in the hopes that temperature distribution will be improved and blistering reduced.

The tyres have also been redesigned to offer better grip and traction, with the intention to reduce oversteer on corner exit.

Crucially, Pirelli claim to have more evenly staggered the gaps between the compounds, so that we won't end up seeing the softer and harder compound working exactly the same during a race. Pirelli want to ensure there are at least two pit stops per race, and that the tyres behave differently so as to increase the capacity for race strategy.

It's almost a fresh start for Pirelli, but as motorsport director Paul Hembery explains, that was the plan, particularly considering the rollercoaster ride that was 2012.

Through accumulating more information with each grand prix last year, the teams eventually fully understood the tyres, after a spectacular start with seven winners from the first seven races. The result at the end of the year was races with less competition and sometimes only one pit stop.

- Paul Hembery

The aim is to level the playing field once more, so I suppose for 2013 we are hoping to see eight different winners in eight different races. Stranger things have happened!

Get fresh for the weekend

All of this was made possible by Pirelli's continuous testing throughout the year. They have retained the services of ex-F1 driver's Lucas di Grassi and Jaime Alguersuari for the coming season, so will no doubt be pushing hard to keep evolving as the year progresses.

I'm happy to see the changes Pirelli have made - of all the companies and brands involved in Formula One, this is the one that really seem to be listening to what fans, teams and the drivers have to say. Keeping the racing fresh and exciting is never to be frowned upon, although I don't honestly believe we can see a repeat of the 2012 early season madness.

Encouraging overtaking, and differentiating between the colours is all I really ask, and thus it is so far, so good for Pirelli in 2013.




  • They've made the contact patch between the rubber and the ground more even

    What does that actually mean? Do they mean that they are aking the contact patches on the front and rear tyres more even? Or does the change in structure result in the 'tread' of the tyre being flatter so that the edges of the contact patch are not lifting off the road and therefore you have a zone that is not gripping properly?

    The replacement of silver with orange is a great move. However it means someone has to come up with something as equally clever as the knife, bread, butter, jam method of remembering the hard to soft sequence. I am sure someone in the comments will come up with something at least as good for orange, white, yellow, red.

  • Hopefully this brings a bit more degredation again, fair play to Pirelli for trying to opt towards that more than Bridgestone did.

    Disappointed they didn't aim to up the pit stops from one a race to at least 3 pit stops a lap :)

  • What does that actually mean?

    It's to do with distributing heat across the tyres in a more uniform way (apparently).

  • Can Paul Hembery run F1? Under his leadership Pirelli have shown themselves to be open to change and constantly pushing themselves in order to improve. They have made mistakes, but have accepted criticism and moved forward. Over the past three years of Pirelli being the sole supplier of tyres they have done more to better the sport than the FIA, FOM and teams combined. Without refuelling, the tyres are the only strategy change left, and Pirelli have done more than enough to keep the races interesting on their part.

    In my opinion, Pirelli, and Hembery in particular, have gone uncredited for the way they have improved the sport.

  • From the press release: "Temperatures are more evenly distributed across the whole surface of the tyre, meaning that there is no localised heat build-up that can lead to blistering."

  • Disappointed they didn't aim to up the pit stops from one a race to at least 3 pit stops a lap :)

    Dude! FBFBing is hard enough!!

  • Disappointed they didn't aim to up the pit stops from one a race to at least 3 pit stops a lap :)

    Dude! FBFBing is hard enough!!

    And when refuelling was around, the majority of races were two-stoppers. For a 1.5hr race, three half-hour segments seems about right.

  • Disappointed they didn't aim to up the pit stops from one a race to at least 3 pit stops a lap :)

    How do you manage 3 pit stops per lap with only one pit?

  • How do you manage 3 pit stops per lap with only one pit?

    Clever TV editing!

  • Dude! FBFBing is hard enough!!

    13:21: "Maldonado pits on the softs and puts on the super so... oh he's on the super sof... wait, is this is 19th stop? or his 20th? They... uh... oh god."

    13:21: "People are generally doing stuff with tyres"

  • From the press release: "Temperatures are more evenly distributed across the whole surface of the tyre, meaning that there is no localised heat build-up that can lead to blistering."

    Thanks. That makes more sense than any of my theories.

    Disappointed they didn't aim to up the pit stops from one a race to at least 3 pit stops a lap :)

    There is not a lot of point in having two drivers in a team if you do that because whichever one is leading when he enters the pits 25 seconds into the race is going to finish first. He is going to leave every stop 6 seconds behind his team mate and unless he can make that gap up and pass him in the 25 seconds befpre the next stop he has to queue behind him again. You could have a driver who is 5 seconds a lap faster than his team mate and still never get near him.

    Of course it could be that after 15 cars have been given unsafe release penalties after the first stop things could get interesting

  • 13:21: "People are generally doing stuff with tyres"

    That sounds like me :)

  • How do you manage 3 pit stops per lap with only one pit?

    abu dhabi has two sets of pits. missed opportunity!

  • abu dhabi has two sets of pits. missed opportunity!

    Korea too!! BERNIIEEEEE!

    (Note to self - sitcom idea. "Berniieee!!")

  • abu dhabi has two sets of pits. missed opportunity!

    Silverstone got a new set of pits a couple of years ago so it has two too.

    OMG Lukeh has figured out Bernie's next move

  • This would make far more sense if they'd slotted orange in between red and yellow, the way everyone on the planet knows it does.

    Red - orange - yellow - white

    I mean that's obvious isn't it?

  • I mean that's obvious isn't it?

    well... now you say it!

  • I mean that's obvious isn't it?

    You could not be more right. They did the same sort of thing with the wet tyres. In their first year the inters were blue because Pirelli sponsored Inter Milan. THey even used the blue Inter wear on their shirts. Then they made the wets blue. Madness

  • now my wrist bands are out of date. how dare they.

  • now my wrist bands are out of date. how dare they.

    *Rushes out to buy an orange marker pen*

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