LONDON (Reuters) - Pirelli have agreed to tweak their hard-compound Formula One tyres from next month’s Spanish Grand Prix while resisting more substantial changes sought by world champions Red Bull.
Motorsport director Paul Hembery said in a statement on Thursday that the decision was taken in consultation with all 11 teams after evaluating performance data from the first four long-haul races of the season.
“We took the decision...to change the hard compound from Spain onwards, as we did in Barcelona two years ago when we also introduced a new hard tyre for the rest of the season,” he said.
The ‘hard’ will be slightly harder as a result and should perform better in a wider temperature range for the start of the European season.
“This latest version of the hard compound is much closer to the 2012 tyre, with the aim of giving the teams more opportunity to run a wider range of strategies in combination with the other compounds, which remain unchanged,” said Hembery.
Teams will be given an allocation of hard and medium tyres, the hardest in Pirelli’s range, to cope with the high-energy demands of the May 12 Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Formula One teams tested in Barcelona pre-season and the change will throw a variable into the mix since much of the data was acquired with the old compound and in colder conditions.
For the subsequent race in Monaco, the teams will use soft and super-soft tyres, while Canada will see the use of medium and super-soft.
Hembery told Reuters in an interview at the weekend that the ‘vast majority’ of teams did not want any substantial change to the tyres, which have new softer compounds this year to encourage overtaking and ensure more pitstops.
Pirelli said before the start of the season that they expected the hard tyres to be generally comparable to last year’s medium.
Champions Red Bull, who felt the tyres were too soft and had a negative effect on their car’s performance despite winning two of the four races so far, had wanted the Italian company to make the tyres more durable.
There was no word on plans to give drivers an extra set of tyres to be used in the first half-hour of Friday first practice in a move to get more cars on track for television viewers.
A Pirelli spokeswoman said the matter was awaiting the approval of the governing body.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Patrick Johnston and Clare Fallon