Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pirelli change tyre options for Bahrain

After coming under immense pressure from most teams after the high degradation of their soft tyres, F1 tyre suppliers, Pirelli have changed the tyre compounds on offer for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Pirelli had announced the original allocation of tyres for the first four races in early February, before the start of preseason testing. The tyre options available for 2012 were softs and mediums, while this year they have been revised to mediums and hards. Considering the tyre options this year are softer than last year's, it is safe to assume that this years mediums are very similar to last years softs and this years hards are similar to last years mediums.

Bahrain has a very smooth track surface but the desert sand blowing across the track keeps changing the characteristics of the asphalt. The changing grip levels result in medium to high tyre degradation which would be comparable to the levels seen in Malaysia. A spokeswoman from Pirelli said that it was decided to change the soft to the medium compound after seeing the levels of degradation in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

In their preview to the Bahrain Grand Prix, Pirelli said, “The expected lifespan of the hard tyre, when it comes to wear, should be 15-17 laps, whereas the medium tyre should last for approximately 13 to 15 laps.”

The original allocation for Bahrain was decided in December, long before the start of winter testing. Soft and medium were used last year, with drivers having to use at least one of each during the race.

Bahrain is a fast-flowing layout made more abrasive by the sand blowing in from the nearby desert. Tyre degradation is expected to be reasonably high.

“It’s one of the most demanding tracks of the year for the tyres, mostly because of the high ambient and track temperatures. We expect about three stops per car,” said Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery in a race preview.

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