Motor racing: Pirelli expect fewer pitstops in new-look F1
By Alan Baldwin
BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Formula One fans can expect to see fewer pitstops this year and faster, more aggressive-looking cars, according to tire supplier Pirelli's motorsport head Paul Hembery.
"The (tire) degradation (wear) levels will be reduced substantially compared to the past," he told Reuters at the Autosport International show on Thursday.
"And the gap between the (tire) compound levels will be much reduced...so I think the strategy elements that we've seen in the last seasons will be greatly reduced -- fewer pitstops, following a trend that we've seen actually over the last two years.
"I'm quite sure we'll see a lot more one-stop races."
The wider 2017 specification tyres are expected to have around 25 percent more grip, more thermal stability and last longer than their quick-wearing predecessors that forced drivers to pit as the performance tailed off.
The 22 drivers averaged two pitstops a race last year, with that number rising to three in China.
Hembery said some of the prototype 2017 tyres used early on in testing last year were so conservative they could have lasted three grands prix, unlike the softer 2016 compounds that often barely made it into double figures on the lap count.
While such poor durability was a step too far, the Briton recognized there was still a risk that the new tyres would be criticized as much as the old. Continued...