Pirelli: tyre degradation is not excessive
12 April 2013 – Pirelli has responded to the array of negative comments over its tyre compound allocation for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit, insisting that degradation did not reach extreme levels during Friday practice.
Although many drivers struggled to make the softer of the two compounds survive in this afternoon's second 90 minute session, the Italian manufacturer's Motorsport Director, Paul Hembery, expects a maximum of three pit-stops on race day, setting a target of 10 to 11 laps per stint for the Option rubber and 18 laps for the Medium tyre.
"Degradation has not been excessive on the Medium compound, which at 0.2 seconds per lap is in line with our expectations," said Hembery. "Rosberg’s fastest time in FP1, for example, was set on an old set of Medium tyres that had already covered 10 laps and Massa also completed quite a long run on the Soft tyres in FP2. In total, we’d expect the Soft tyre to last between 11 to 12 laps in the race and the Medium tyre for about 18 laps. This would suggest a maximum of three pit stops but it’s also possible that we’ll see two stops if the track keeps on evolving at this rate."
Although degradation levels have been high, Hembery believes the situation will improve as the weekend progresses and the track surface generates more grip.
"We experienced some graining on the front left, particularly with the Soft tyre, which has resulted in higher levels of degradation than we would like although we are confident that this will come down as the weekend goes on," Hembery explained.
"The performance gap between the two tyre compounds is around 1.5 seconds, which is a little higher than we initially expected but it’s still early days here."