Pirelli have been talking about what kind of results we can expect from the significant tyre width increase that’s coming for next year. The tyres will deliver much more mechanical grip, meaning we’ll probably see a higher physical toll for the drivers as they experience greater G-forces when taking corners at higher speeds.
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Where tyre degradation has played its part in recent years, opening up a spectrum of strategic outcomes for each race, the 2017 tyres are set to be sturdier. Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said,
“If you are cornering with that much grip, and if it’s to be believed up to five or six seconds a lap quicker, that clearly is going to be felt by the drivers in a dramatic fashion.
It could be driving on rails at that point. It could be so high, the feeling is the car has such grip, that it’s more driving on rails rather than driving on the limit.
We won’t know until they get to the limits on track to understand where those limits actually are. But with that improvement in performance it’s like going into another category of racing. It will be like jumping from GP2 into F1, so it’ll be almost like a Formula 1-plus compared to where we are now.
Sometimes something like this can bring out differences in drivers. I’m sure the top guys will say it is what they want, that they want to be challenged more.”
– Paul Hembery
The new tyres are a throwback to the nineties and Pirelli have fulfilled their role in doing what has been asked of them. But tyre degradation and tyre management shouldn’t be the main talking point every weekend. Drivers should be given tyres that allow them to push on the limit non-stop, and Pirelli seem optimistic that they can yet again fulfil what is asked of them.