MARCH 3, 2016
Heat on Pirelli as tyre pressures rise
The heat is back on Pirelli as a new F1 season looms.
For the sake of the racing, the official supplier has added a new layer to its compounds for 2016 to limit the tyres' effective lives and force pitstops.
The rules have also been tweaked so that three compounds instead of two can be used by drivers every weekend, and the new 'ultra soft' has been turning heads in Barcelona.
Still, world champion Lewis Hamilton sounded unimpressed on Wednesday.
"These tyres are not particularly good," said the Mercedes driver.
"Actually I wish we had last year's tyres because these aren't as good," he added.
Auto Motor und Sport, the specialist German source, thinks it knows why.
In the third year of stable regulations, the 2016 generation of cars have more power and downforce, and yet laptimes are no faster compared to a year ago.
"The reason is the high pressures prescribed by Pirelli," reported correspondent Michael Schmidt.
Following some tyre blowouts mid last year, Pirelli got the FIA's support in mandating high minimum tyres pressures that the teams must obey.
For 2016, it is believed the pressures are on average 5 PSI higher than at the same time last year.
"It's like driving on eggshells," one unnamed driver is quoted as saying.