Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

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

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°

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.