Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola says F1’s tyre supplier did not nominate its ultrasoft compound for the inaugural grand prix in Azerbaijan because it did not want to take any risk with too little data.
Pirelli has introduced the new purple-marked tyre as part of revamped regulations that aimed at giving teams greater freedom and scope in their strategy.
While the ultrasoft rubber has been specifically designed for low-grip street circuits like Baku City Circuit, the Italian company announced last week that it would bring its medium, soft, and supersoft tyre to Azerbaijan.
Given the lack of data available, Pirelli went for a conservative approach similar to how it had proceed ahead of the maiden Russian Grand Prix in Sochi for instance.
“We did not have an opportunity to measure the tarmac [in Baku] and the tarmac roughness is an important parameter to define the choices,” Isola explained.
“Probably soft, supersoft, and ultrasoft is the best choice for Azerbaijan but we can only rely on some simulations from the teams and the track layout. This is all what we have on our hand so we cannot take a risk in selecting the ultrasoft without additional information.”
Several teams sampled the ultrasoft compound during pre-season testing in Barcelona, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen clocking the fastest time overall on the purple-walled rubber.
However, Isola admits the Spanish Grand Prix venue, where mediums and hards are the go-to tyres – is not the best circuit to trial the latest product in Pirelli’s P-Zero range.
“Keep in mind that [Barcelona] is not a circuit for ultrasoft and supersoft,” he said. “We need to pay attention when considering the data from the lap times because we should have tested the ultrasoft, supersoft, and soft in Abu Dhabi, Singapore, and Monte Carlo, not in Barcelona.”
The ultrasoft has already been nominated for the Canadian Grand Prix but will actually debut in Monaco although selections for the European races have yet to be made.
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