Amid the backdrop of teams having started to unlock dramatic gains in downforce with the 2023 cars, Pirelli feels it makes sense to intervene and introduce stronger tyres in time for the Silverstone race in July.
The move is not being made because of safety concerns but more as a bid to guarantee no problems further down the line. The compounds of the new tyres will be identical to what is currently being used.
Pirelli has been mindful for a few weeks about the gains teams have been making with their cars, with sources suggesting that downforce levels being produced now are on par with what was anticipated for the end of the current season.
Furthermore, the dramatic improvement in lap time at last weekend’s Miami Grand Prix has highlighted that, as teams prepare to bring even more upgrades over the next few races, cars are only going to get quicker.
Following discussions with the FIA, Pirelli has decided that as F1 prepares for some of its most challenging tracks over the summer – such as Silverstone, Spa and Zandvoort – it is logical to take action to avoid the risk of any tyre troubles.
Pirelli has therefore proposed to the FIA to be allowed to introduce a new construction of tyre from the British Grand Prix on 9 July.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, receives his Pirelli Pole Position Award from Mario Isola, Racing Manager, Pirelli Motorsport
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Under F1’s Technical Regulations, any in-season change of construction needs to go through a formal process – to either be approved by the teams or forced through on safety grounds.
Article 10.8.3 states that once the specification of tyres is set for the season it: “will not be changed without the agreement of the Formula One Commission. Notwithstanding the above, the FIA may decide to change the specification during the Championship season for safety reasons without notice or delay.”
For approval by the F1 Commission for this year, it will need the support of eight out of 10 teams.
Should the British GP plan be put in place, then the next question will be when teams will get to test them, with Pirelli eager to ensure they are tried out beforehand.
The next race in Imola is already operating to a different tyre rule set as part of a sustainability evaluation, while Monaco is not a logical place to evaluate rubber.
The Spanish Grand Prix in early June could make sense, as would the following race in Canada. After that, the Austrian GP is a sprint race…