By Alex Kapadia
Pirelli’s new Formula One tyres fulfilled their objective of providing a greater variety of race strategies by decreasing the performance gaps between the compounds at the opening Grand Prix of the season 2012 today
The new versions of the P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero White medium tyres were nominated for the eagerly anticipated Australian Grand Prix.
The top finishers adopted a two-stop strategy for the race, as was the case last year, but with the pace of the medium and the soft compound only differing by around 0.5 seconds per lap, the way in which they used the tyres was different – with some drivers favouring two stints on the soft tyre and others preferring two stints on the medium.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director, said: “The Australian Grand Prix certainly lived up to expectations, and we fulfilled our objective of providing scope for more strategies by reducing the performance gaps between the compounds and extending the window of peak performance.
“An interesting element was that there were many pit stops that were not for wear level but instead for degradation, confirming what we wanted to achieve strategy-wise.
“We also saw more use of the medium tyre than the soft tyre, contrary to last year.
“Despite this range of strategies there were some very tight battles all the way down the field right up to a dramatic final lap, with one driver crashing out and eighth, ninth and 10th places crossing the finish line practically together!
“The wear and degradation of the tyres was around 0.1 seconds per lap on the soft tyre – with the frontrunners choosing to pit twice, despite the rapid pace at the front of the field.
“Many congratulations to Jenson Button and McLaren for a stylish victory and also to Mark Webber, who scores his best-ever finish on home territory.”