After a rather tumultuous start to the 2013 F1 season, with the new Pirelli tires coming in for some criticism over their endurance, and with de-lamination problems suffered in recent races, the Italian company's quick-fix has failed and new tires will be produced.
The new range with a revised construction will be available from the Canadian Grand Prix onwards, following last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, which saw drivers taking up to four pit stops per driver to make the best of the available tires.
The new construction is said to combine elements from the 2012 and 2013 tires, with last year's lasting longer, but the stronger, heavier tires for 2013 providing better corner exit speeds.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motorsport director said: "As a company, we have always moved quickly to make improvements where we see them to be necessary. After evaluating data from the first few races this year, we've decided to introduce a further evolution as it became clear at the Spanish Grand Prix that the number of pit stops was too high. The Spanish Grand Prix was won with four pit stops, which has only happened once before in our history. These changes will also mean that the tires are not worked quite as hard, reducing the number of pit stops.
"With limited testing time, it's clear now that our original 2013 tire range was probably too performance-orientated for the current regulations. However, having identified this issue, we're determined to rapidly resolve it. It's worth underlining that the current regulations for winter tests limit the opportunity to test the tires under the same conditions as the race season because of the lower temperature and restricted time. The Teams are of the same opinion as we are in wanting longer testing times and different locations for the next tests. We developed the 2013 tires on the basis of careful simulations that were, however, not sufficient, taking into account the improved speed of cars (up to 3sec per lap).
"We've also taken this step to avoid the de-lamination that was caused by track debris. It's important to point out that these de-laminations, which occur when the tread comes off, do not compromise the safety of the tires as the core structure of the tire is not affected in any way, helping drivers to complete the lap and to change the damaged tires safely. The de-laminations were due to damage from debris that overheated the tread."
While the tire problems have played out on a very public stage, Pirelli's desire to fix them quickly is a very positive response, ensuring F1 continues to provide a high-speed spectacle.