New F1 ‘hyper-soft’ compound is “quite fragile” says Valtteri Bottas

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Valtteri Bottas says that Pirelli‘s new for 2018 ‘hyper-soft’ tyre compound is only a suitable tyre for a select number of tracks on the Formula 1 calendar due to it’s “fragile” nature.

Speaking at the icy Silverstone International Circuit launch of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport W09 EQ Power+, Bottas revealed his thoughts on the new, faster 2018 tyre selection, three months after initially trying them in Abu Dhabi at the official end of season test.

“Definitely, the very softest compound was quite fragile,” said Bottas to The Checkered Flag.

“It could take one or two hard laps, then it was very fragile – even in Abu Dhabi, which is quite a smooth circuit.

“So it’s not a tyre for all the tracks. We’ll see how it behaves at tracks like Monaco, for example, it can be a bit weird.”

The Finn, who is fighting for his future at Mercedes beyond 2018, also said that despite the softer nature of the tyres, there was little difference in tyre durability in comparison to 2017 – outside of the pink walled ‘hyper-soft’. Additionally, despite Pirelli Motorsport boss Mario Isola being certain that most races will warrant more than one pitstop, Bottas does not entirely share that vision.

“There was no big difference in the compound durability,” he stated.

“I think the difference between each compound was a bit smaller than the previous year.

“I don’t think we’re going to see dramatic changes in terms of strategies; maybe some places can be one stop more, so I’m fine with the change and have no issues with that.”

“We’ll continue to learn in Barcelona”

Bottas concluded by saying that he and Mercedes are still learning about the characteristics of the new compounds, and will look to further their knowledge at the two official winter tests at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, starting next week.

“It was an interesting tyre test we had because you could definitely feel the differences in the new tyres – they were behaving a bit differently and we’ll continue to learn about those in Barcelona.”