Australian Grand Prix 2013 Tyres - 2013 range - Photo - Pirelli
The Pirelli 2013 tyre range – Credit: Pirelli Media

We’re nearly there, you can almost smell the shrimps roasting on the barbie. F1 2013 is go in under a week from now so to continue our warm up for the Australian Grand Prix, here is a new regular column cluing you in on what compounds of tyres the teams will have available for the forthcoming race. Throughout testing there has been disquiet up and down the paddock about how quickly the 2013 Pirelli tyres have been ‘going off’ so it will be interesting to see how the teams cope with them in this, the first run out in anger.

Without further ado, the two tyre compounds available for the teams in Melbourne will be…

Australian Grand Prix 2013 Tyres - Supersoft - Photo - Pirelli

Option 

Compound – Supersoft

Colour – Red

These have the red writing on the sides and are the softest, grippiest tyres in the Pirelli range.

This is a change from last season where the option tyre in Melbourne was the harder, ‘soft’ version. This, combined with all of the compounds becoming ‘softer’ this year, should lead to some quick qualifying and some early pit stops as the front runners (who of course have to start on the same set of boots they qualify with) have to nip into the pits for a new set of rubber.

Australian Grand Prix 2013 Tyres - Medium - Photo - Pirelli

Prime

Compound – Medium

Colour – White

The prime tyre for Melbourne will be the medium, which is two steps up from the supersoft in the 2013 range. This larger gap in the compounds compared to last season is sure to create a bigger lap-time differential between the prime and option tyres, and should make for some interesting tactical options for the teams.

So, how many stops are we expecting?

Quite a few – at least two and maybe many more. Remember one thing that stays the same as last year is that (unless it rains) the teams must use both of the available compounds at some point in the race. If the supersofts ‘go off’ as quickly as some of the teams are fearing, then that could make for some nervous feet jiggling from the team principles on the pit wall as they try to figure out the best pit stop strategy.

Are we going to see a 4-stop plus race? Paul Hembery of Pirelli doesn’t think so;

“Cold weather conditions during pre-season testing meant that we weren’t able to showcase them to the best of their abilities, but we are expecting a different story in Albert Park, with two to three pit stops per car.”

“All the compounds and constructions have changed for 2013, and the drivers should notice a wider working range and a bigger window of peak performance. The performance gaps between the compounds are also larger, which means that teams have a greater opportunity to use strategy to their advantage by exploiting the consequent speed differentials.”

Sounds like it could be interesting out there, as always races can be won and lost in the pits and the team who comes up with the best plan, combined with the quickest and most trouble free stops is most likely to come out on top. Sub three-second pit stop anyone?

Update!

Bonus footage of Pirelli’s awesomely accented Mario Isola talking about their choices complete with expensive looking CGI gubbins.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1tWUsECQ_M&w=560&h=315]