Pirelli launched their expanded 2018 F1 tyre range in Abu Dhabi on Friday, including two extra compounds and colours for next year – the pink hypersoft and orange superhard.
It means there will be seven, rather than the current five, slick tyre compounds, all of which are a step softer than this year, making them the fastest tyres in Formula 1 history.
Brand new for 2018 is a tyre that sits below the ultrasoft: an even softer compound called hypersoft, which is coloured pink and is the softest F1 tyre Pirelli has ever made. This new compound will be suitable for circuits where maximum mechanical grip is required, such as Monaco.
Also new for 2018 is the ice blue colour of the hard compound. This frees up orange to be used on the new superhard compound, denoting it as the very hardest choice available in Pirelli’s range.
“We realised that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative,” said Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing, Mario Isola. “The tyres we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.
“However, the fundamental design concept of the tyres hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint. The new range consists of faster tyres that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”
Compounds and constructions have been redesigned for each tyre, in keeping with Pirelli’s philosophy of renewing the range every year since the Italian firm returned to Formula 1 in 2011.
There are new working ranges across the entire family as well, which together with the increased number of compounds, will allow tyre nominations that are more specifically suited to each race next year.
For Pirelli and the teams, this also means that there can be more flexibility and variation in the tyre choices, leading to extra opportunities when it comes to formulating creative race strategies.
The F1 teams and drivers will get their first chance to sample the new range at next week’s post-race test in Abu Dhabi, which takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday.