Following a disappointing wet test session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Thursday, Pirelli are hoping there is enough time to evaluate revised wet tyres at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Pirelli were tasked with improving the tyres, but it was a challenge made all the more difficult by the wider profile through the changing regulations.
An initial testing was conducted in cooperation with Scuderia Ferrari in January before the Barcelona circuit was artificially wetted on March 2 during pre-season testing. And despite a few drivers finding positives with the enhanced rubber, Pirelli themselves are aware that further improvements are still needed and stated that work was already underway to remedy the situation.
They hope to have a better sample ready to test in China this April, though the tyres wouldn’t be used in actual racing until later in the year.
“We have to change the working range of the compounds,” Paul Hembery, motorsport director of Pirelli, said. “We were going to do that on the full rain tyre, anyway.
“It was something we had been working on, particularly knowing we have got the standing start [after safety cars]. Plus some of the comments from last season were that the drivers can’t switch them on when they come through.
“We have been working on that and what we saw today was that the intermediate was also struggling. That is an effect of the width of the tyre, because the inter was the one the drivers said, ‘don’t touch, don’t change because we’re very happy with it’. Now we know we probably need to alter as well to match it.”
Hembery also suggested the possibility of having two distinct versions of the wet tyre: one to satisfy wet conditions in warmer climes and another aimed at the Silverstone/Spa races that tend to be colder.
“There is probably a situation where you almost want to have two types of wet compounds – one for the warmer wet conditions and one for the Silverstone/Spa condition that is a lot cooler,” he added.
“I believe we will have something ready for the China in terms of the first compound change here, and what we have been developing will go to the final result as something we can introduce.”