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FIA agrees to different Pirelli spec for three races

The FIA has agreed to a request from Pirelli to run a slightly modified tyre at the Spanish, French and British Formula 1 races, which take place on newly resurfaced tracks.

Pirelli tyres
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41
A scenic view of the Barcelona paddock, pit building and pit straight grandstand
Paul Ricard atmosphere

For those events, Pirelli will use tyres with a slightly thinner tread in an effort to combat potential overheating issues, in the light of information learned in Barcelona testing.

The tread for the three races will be 0.4mm thinner, but Pirelli is confident that it won’t impact performance.

There is also a weight reduction of around 1kg per set, which teams will have to take into account when they ballast their cars.

“We made a request to the FIA to have a slightly different tread thickness for three races,” said Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola. “That’s Barcelona, Silverstone and Paul Ricard.

"The reason for this request is that in general the new tarmac has a lot of grip, low wear, and low degradation.

“With a lot of grip, the lap time is improving a lot. We saw the lap times in Barcelona during the pre-season test was three seconds quicker than last year.

"But the point is that we keep a lot of rubber on the tyre, because with low wear, the tread is there, we are not wearing the tyre. And this means we have high temperatures in the compound.

“So to try to reduce a little bit the temperature we asked for a small reduction in the tread thickness to reduce a little bit the temperature. We tested the solution already last year, and in terms of performance or other consequences, they are almost transparent.

“Obviously the reason we stayed on the standard tyre for this year was in normal circumstances you wear the tyre, and if you don’t have enough thickness, you wear the tyre too quickly.”

Such changes for specific events are unusual, but not unprecedented. Pirelli requested a thinner tread for Spa and Monza in both 2011 and 2012.

Force India tyre test cancelled

The Force India 2019 tyre test provisionally scheduled in Shanghai immediately after the Chinese Grand Prix has been cancelled for logistical reasons.

Force India has been allocated an extra day of tyre testing at the post-race session in Barcelona in May, where it will now run two cars – one for standard 2018 running, and one for 2019 development.

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