Formula One cars will be up to 1.5 seconds faster in the 2018 Formula 1 season with more aggressive tyres and radical car development over the winter break, F1’s tyre supplier Pirelli has revealed.
The 2017 F1 season saw lap records broken on almost every track that saw a dry qualifying session, however it is no secret that Pirelli were rather conservative with their tyre choices through the 2017 season, given the lack of predictability, and the Italian tyre maker revealed their large set of tyre line-up late last year.
Pirelli claims it was most conservative with its tyre choices during the first half of the 2017 F1 season, therefore the Italian manufacturer predict that the first half of the 2018 season will see the highest lap-time deltas from 2017.
In addition to bringing new tyre compounds for the 2018 season, Pirelli say that each compound is a step softer than it previously was last year, which would make for higher tyre degradation, which could potentially spice up the action through the season.
“If you talk about performance there is the natural development of the cars using the plastic repair kit because there are big changes in terms of technical regulations,” Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola told RACER.
“The estimates from the teams are roughly one second per lap as an average from the end of last season to the beginning of this season.
“On top of that you should consider we are going softer to most of the events I believe. Probably more in the first half of the season than in the second half because last year we changed the approach from Silverstone onwards. Spa was already aggressive, Suzuka was an aggressive choice, but in the first half of the season we will probably have the biggest difference compared to last year.
“In terms of performance I believe 1 or 1.5 seconds is a reasonable number.”
Whilst Pirelli are indeed going aggressive with the tyre choices this season, Isola admits that Pirelli will still be very cautious with the softest ever compound: the hypersoft Pirelli tyres, which is understood to be two steps softer than 2017’s most extreme soft tyre.
It was revealed that Pirelli will not bring the hypersoft to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, however it is likely to make its debut during the Monaco Grand Prix in May.
“The biggest changes are the compounds. Last year we were quite conservative, we moved all the compounds one step softer and we added the hypersoft. The hypersoft is really, really soft. It’s a bit extreme but we wanted to have a compound like that.
“We are now trying to understand where to use it. We would need a bit more data on this. Probably Monaco will be the first race where we consider the hypersoft.”