Pirelli has confirmed that it will take hard and soft compound tyres to the opening four races of the 2011 season.
In a press release the Italian manufacturer announced that:“Following an extensive campaign of private testing – which took in more than 18,000 kilometres in Europe and the Middle East – plus three group tests to date, Pirelli has nominated the hard and soft dry tyre compounds for the first four rounds of the 2011 Formula One World Championship: Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia and China.”
“This decision has been made in accordance with the track characteristics in the Middle and Far East, which offer high grip and a wide variety of speeds and corners, as well as ambient and track temperatures that are likely to be high,” said the company in a statement.
Last season the Bridgestone tyres on offer were so durable that single stop races were almost guaranteed as being the norm. For this season it is much more likely that races will be broken up into three stints and drivers will be forced to deal with a much higher degree of tyre degradation.
In the opening tests of the season teams have seen their drivers experience a huge drop-off in performance if tyres are not managed correctly in the early laps of a stint. A prime example of this was Rubens Barrichello topping the time sheets on the final day of the Jerez test. The Brazilian set his fast lap on the opening tour of an eight lap stint but by the end of his run he was over three seconds adrift of his earlier time.
If such an event occurs in races drivers could find themselves as easy prey to their rivals due to the use of the adjustable rear wing and KERS.