Pirelli expects fewer pitstops during the 2017 Formula 1 season

Pirelli expects fewer pitstops during the 2017 Formula 1 season

the new Pirelli tyres / Source: Pirelli

Pirelli expects fewer pitstops during the 2017 Formula 1 season. Motorsport director Paul Hembery explained during the Autosport show in Birmingham that the tyre degradation and wear levels will be reduced substantially compared to past seasons.

“And the gap between the (tyre) compound levels will be much reduced… So I think the strategy elements that we’ve seen in the last seasons will be greatly reduced – fewer pitstops, following a trend that we’ve seen actually over the last two years. I’m quite sure we’ll see a lot more one-stop races”, Hembery explained for the Reuters agency.

The 2017 F1 Pirelli tyres are wider. Specialists expect 25% more grip from them, more thermal stability and higher durability

All these factors should lead to fewer pitstops. The F1 drivers made 2 stop (average) per race in 2016. In China that number rose to three.

Hembery explained further that the first tested prototypes were so conservative that they could last for 3 consecutive grands prix.

He also said recognised there was still a risk that the new tyres would be criticised as much as the old.

“We’ll be sat here and you’ll be saying ‘How does Pirelli feel now that the racing is boring, there’s no overtaking and no pitstops’”, Pirelli’s motorsport chief added.

“We’ve already written that script I think. But for six years we did what we were asked to do. We’ve been given a different challenge and we’re trying to meet that.”

There is no guarantee that the real results with 2017 cars would be the same as the simulation ones. According to Hembery a clearer picture might emerge around the Bahrain Grand prix (round three). He added that if the new aerodynamics reduced turbulence for cars behind, that would help improve the racing and allow more potential overtaking. But more corners will be taken flat out, making it harder to get close enough to try a move.

Pirelli are happy with the amount of tyre testing they can carry out after years of calling for more.

“Every photo we’ve released, if you read the comments people make, there’s not one negative. Everybody loves it and they are saying it looks aggressive, it looks dramatic… it looks sportier, more aggressive as a product”, said Hembery.

“Visually, this is one of the steps Formula One has made that is absolutely in the right direction. Just need to add a bit of noise.”