Australian Grand Prix – Pirelli believe that the implementation of softer tyre compounds will create more pit strategy variation compared to last year’s race in Melbourne.
The introduction of higher-downforce Formula One cars in 2017 meant that Pirelli opted to create harder compounds for the 2017 season, which at times resulted in one-stop races, reducing the chances of strategy variation.
However, with one season of the new regulations complete, Formula One’s sole tyre manufacturer have chosen to make softer tyres available, including a new hypersoft compound.
The same compounds have been selected for this year’s Australian Grand Prix – soft, super soft and ultra soft – but Pirelli believe that the reduced hardnesses should give the teams an added strategy dilemma, creating either a one or two-stop race.
“Barcelona testing already provided an indication of the step forward in performance taken by the 2018 cars and compounds, and we should see this carried through to the very different conditions in Australia,” said Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing, Mario Isola.
“Exactly what those conditions could be is yet to be seen: the weather at this time of year in Melbourne can vary from cold and wet to very warm.
“From what we can see so far, this year’s softer compounds should open up the possibility for either one or two pit stops this year, as opposed to one for the majority of drivers last year.
“As usual at the first grand prix of the season, there are still a number of questions to be answered, but we hope to see an exciting race with tyre strategy playing a key role.”
The anticipated strategy variation has caused teams to diverge slightly on their compound allocations, with Ferrari taking a higher quantity of the soft tyre and Mercedes electing for more ultra soft tyres.