In an interview with the media early this morning, Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembrey has revealed that the 2014 tyres will be more durable and will cause less marbles. All the Formula One teams spent four days putting in the laps at the Sakhir circuit in much warmer conditions than the previous outing in Jerez.
With most of the teams having ironed out some of their reliability gremlins, there was more run and therefore more data coming through for Pirelli and their tyres. From the runs the data showed is that the new tyres for this year are more durable which will lead to less marbles and Pirelli must be hoping fewer complaints.
Hembrey said the following:-
‘The teams were able to learn more about tyres over the four days in Bahrain than they could in Jerez two weeks ago, thanks to increased running time and optimal weather conditions. Although the teams are still at a comparatively early point on the development curve with their new cars, testing data so far indicates that the 2014 tyres are more consistent and durable than their predecessors. As a result, we are also seeing fewer ‘marbles’ on the circuit: one of our objectives at the start of this season.’
Despite all the problems with the Pirelli tyres last season, I do believe that the tyre manufacturer has learnt its lessons from last year within the sport (where they suffered four significant tyre blowouts throughout the British Grand Prix). The signs so far are looking promising for the tyre manufacturer despite the teams and the drivers currently getting to grips with the new technical regulations that have been introduced in the sport for this year.
In the same interview, Hembery also expects the massive time difference between compounds to decrease later this week and continue to do so as the teams adjust to the new rubber. Hembrey said the following to the media:-
‘Teams are likely to improve their performance and understanding of the car-tyre package still further in the test to come, which means that the lap time differences we have been seeing between the compounds are likely to come down: especially when the teams discover more downforce as the season goes on.
‘We’ve collected plenty of useful data from this test, but of course we are still ready and able to change the specification of the tyres for the start of the season if this is shown to be necessary.’
Hembrey has a valid point. Throughout the 2014 season, all the teams and their drivers will be making sure that they take every opportunity available to them in order to get the best out of their packages. At this current time, the 2014 Pirelli tyres seem to be sounding and performing in the right direction.
As I have stated in previous Jones on F1 posts regarding Pirelli, I do feel that this year alongside the new regulation changes that the tyres will also play an important factor. This season will no doubt be more demanding, challenging and more open to possibilities than in previous seasons.
This year Pirelli need to make sure that old issues do not resurface and they have produced tyres that will provide us with the racing that we crave but also peace of mind and providing teams and drivers with the element of safety. And at the moment, the signs are looking very promising for the tyre manufacturer.
Pirelli already stating that they are more than willing to change the tyres in order to reflect the needs of the teams and drivers is an encouraging sign. However, they would need to make sure if any changes are made to the 2014 tyres during the season take every team into consideration in order to stop a repeat of the previous season.
But the data that Pirelli have collected so far will l only give the tyre manufacturer the data that they need in order to keep progressing with the 2014 tyres and their compound structures. Do I think it is a good idea that Pirelli have had a successful running so far this year? Yes, I really do as it shows that they have learnt their lessons from the previous season.
Do I feel that Pirelli will get the data at Bahrain this week that they need to keep on developing for the most exciting and uncertain season opening Grand Prix in recent years? I absolutely believe they will. The sooner Pirelli get to Bahrain for the final test, the better for them.