Mario Isola is expecting the step forward in performance shown during pre-season testing from all ten Formula 1 teams in 2018 to translate into a similar jump in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix this weekend.
Pirelli Motorsport are bringing the same three compounds – Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft – to the Albert Park track they did in 2017, but each compound is a step softer to what they were last season, and Isola, the head of car racing of Formula 1’s sole tyre manufacturer, says this opens up the options when it comes to strategy, whatever the weather conditions are this weekend.
“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 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.”
Isola knows there are still things to be learned by all teams on the grid with this years tyre range, but he hopes the introduction of softer compounds in Australia provides an exciting race.
“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,” said Isola.