Pirelli Motorsport will bring compounds of tyre with a reduced tread depth to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend, the first of three venues where they will do this, to try and counter the risk of the tyres overheating.
Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing, says drivers will not notice any kind of performance or stint length difference with the change, which has been made due to the new asphalt that has been laid down this season.
Although teams have run at the circuit during pre-season testing, temperatures are set to be considerably hotter this weekend, which is why Pirelli has gone this way with the tyre tread depth, something that will be repeated at the Circuit Paul Ricard and Silverstone later this year.
“This year, Barcelona isn’t exactly like going to a new circuit for the teams: but the changes to the surface are still significant enough to alter some of the track’s fundamental characteristics,” said Isola.
“We too have made a change by reducing the tread depth on the slick tyres to reduce the risk of overheating, as we will also do for Paul Ricard and Silverstone, but it’s not a change that any of the drivers will notice in terms of performance or stint length.
“The teams already have some knowledge of the new asphalt from pre-season testing, but the weather is now much warmer, the cars considerably faster and there will also be some ageing of the surface.”
Isola also feels the teams will have their work cut out during the Free Practice sessions this weekend in order to learn how to manage the softer compounds Pirelli are bringing to the circuit than in 2017.
“This year, we bring the Supersoft to the Spanish Grand Prix – effectively, two steps softer than the softest nomination in 2017, as all the compounds are a step softer anyway – so the homework done in free practice will be particularly important,” said Isola.