Pirelli believes its tires are on course to deliver more exciting racing in 2012, following some encouraging results from this week's test at Jerez in Spain.
Formula 1's tire supplier has aimed to close the lap time difference between its compounds this year, so as to throw up more strategy options for teams balancing tire degradation against the number of pit stops they need to make.
Although the cool temperatures at Jerez, allied to the nature of the circuit, make it hard to say for sure what the situation will be at the hotter opening races, Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery is upbeat about the early evidence.
"From the afternoon running this week, when we have got into 68 degrees plus [track temperature], we have good indications certainly between the soft and the medium that 0.6sec appears to be the performance differential," he explained. "For a 2-1/2-mile long track, that is what we were hoping for.
"We also know the warm-up is better on the medium and the hard tires, which was a criticism we had last year – getting the tires into the right temperature, particularly for some of the cars in the mid grid who had less downforce and were struggling to get them up to temperature. So, that is another positive comment we have had back.
"The drivers are all generally talking about having the cars well balanced, and I think part of that is the fact that they have been able to understand the tires better and design the cars around them better for this season. The overall feedback has been very positive."
When asked if the lap time differences and degradation data put in into the window Pirelli was after to make the racing exciting, Hembery said, "Absolutely. That is what we want to do, and even the initial indications are that that will happen.
"A team will make a decision, to make one pit stop less and stay out longer on a medium/hard tire. Last year everyone pushed the maximum performance out of the soft tire as there was no advantage elsewhere because the gap was so big. Teams could not overcome the 1.5sec through degradation."