Pirelli is open to the idea of making its softer tire more aggressive later this year if the compound does not deliver the high levels of degradation it is hoping for.
After its experiences so far of testing the new-for-2012 compounds, Pirelli is happy with the performance differential between its compounds – which it estimates being between 0.4-0.5sec – but fears that its soft tire may not degrade as much as it had hoped for.
Although data from testing can sometimes be misleading, and the true race situations in warmer conditions may provide a different picture, Pirelli is ready to look at different options.
When asked about the degradation levels of the tires, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery, said: "I think we would probably like to see more on the softer compound, much more aggressive degradation, but ask me the same question after we have been in 50 degrees in Malaysia on a hot circuit. I think you have to be careful about drawing too many conclusions and I think it will be better when we have some race data."
Last year, the softer tire proved so consistent and quick that it became the default option at every race. That is why Pirelli wants it to degrade more – because then it forces teams to be more risky with their strategy.
Hembery said a change in compounds would not happen until after the Monaco Grand Prix in May, although testing of a revised tire, if it proved necessary, would take place at Mugello earlier that month.
"I don't see anything happening for six races – we always leave open the possibility to make changes, but equally you don't want to be pushing off in a direction where you create more problems than you solve," he said.
Looking at the way the various cars have been performing, Hembery believes the field is much closer now than it was 12 months ago.
"We have got this year a greater number of cars that have got performance closer together, whereas last year there was one car in front and then a little group of two, then a couple on their own again and a group of four. It looks like performance is closing up between the top six or seven cars."