Formula 1 teams will be given an extra set of tires to use at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, with Pirelli deciding to bring into use more rubber for Friday practice.
Following a rule change agreed with the FIA earlier this month, at selected events throughout 2011 Pirelli can choose to give teams 12 sets of tires for a weekend, rather than the 11 sets that is laid down in the regulations. This tweak in the rules has been introduced to give Pirelli the chance to try out experimental tire developments throughout the campaign, and also at other events ensure that teams have enough sets of tires to complete plenty of running.
With the weather in Australia set to be warmer than was experienced throughout winter testing, Pirelli has decided that it makes sense for teams to get an extra set for the Melbourne weekend so they can more throughout practice. The 12th set of tires, which will be of the "prime" hard specification, can only be used in first and second practice and must be returned to the FIA, along with two others set of prime and one of option, before the start of third practice.
Amid much intrigue about the impact that Pirelli's tires will have on the race, the company's motorsport director Paul Hembery has said he is eager to get on with the action.
"We're aiming for between two and three pit stops in Australia, which in some ways is against our company DNA as our road car tires are designed to be as durable as possible," he said. "But Formula 1 is a very different case, because our instruction from the teams and promoter was to provide entertainment. With that in mind, we're just keen to get going now and it will be fascinating to see exactly how the drivers and teams are going to use our tires to employ different strategies during the race.
"We've noticed a few differences between the teams already in testing, and it's going to be very interesting to find out exactly how that translates into a race situation."