20 Nov 2013
Pirelli have come in for plenty of criticism over the last few seasons, as their remit to produce rubber that degrades quickly and spice up the racing has irritated some fans and teams alike.
2014 provides the backdrop to perhaps the largest regulation change in the sports history. and so Pirelli are eager to get mileage on the '14' rubber.
Some of the teams made errors in their principle designs for 2013, even though they had an early indication of the compounds the Italian manufacturer were to use in '13' at the last round of the 2012 Championship at Interlagos.
The tyres given to the teams during last seasons Interlagos free practice sessions however did not represent the construction we saw early on in 2013. This is where the time on the tyres during the free practice sessions this time around will be critical, not only for Pirelli but moreover the teams.
I suspect we will see plenty of pitot tube arrays and flo viz applied to the cars to assess what the impact of the tyres will have. The tyres for 2014 will of course been re-inforced to cope with the additional torque demands of the new powerplants and so it will also be good for the teams to see how the tyres dynamically behave.
I half suspect that Lotus may have packed their Kistler Roadyns with this in mind.
The teams will be given 2 sets of Medium compound development tyres per driver for use throughout FP1&2.
Pirelli are going somewhat blind into 2014 so this early look at the construction, profile and compounds will enable the teams to give some feedback too. The teams are of course a long way into their design phase for the 2014 cars but an eye on the new tyres could make them take nuance alterations in their approach.
Part of the issue for the teams that got it wrong at the start of 2013 was the scale model tyres given to the teams by Pirelli. With this in mind the teams will pour over the data they collate this weekend.
Will the tyres be as big a decider next year? Well there will be much more to talk about so they'll likely take a back seat BUT mark my words, getting the aero and mechanical aspects of them right will still be essential.