The characteristics of the tires requested by the teams for 2012 are in line with the expectations from last year, where the teams asked for tires that help to provide entertaining competition with at least two pit stops per race for a wide variety of strategies. The new design of Pirelli tires for 2012 takes into account the change in the rules from the FIA regarding blown exhausts.
The first big change for this year is the introduction of a new profile. The tires that will be used in 2012 have a squarer profile in order to improve the wear rate: particularly on the all-important shoulder. The new front and rear profiles have been designed to distribute the stresses more evenly across the contact patch. The new rubber has been designed to provide more grip at the rear, compensating for the reduction in aerodynamic downforce caused by the latest rule changes introduced by the FIA.
Pirelli will introduce some entirely new compounds for the 2012 championship, with the exception of the supersoft, where only the profile has changed. The objective is to reduce the performance gap between the different compounds. Generally speaking, the 2012 tires will be softer and less conservative than last year’s tires. The way that the teams rapidly understood how the compounds would perform and behave already paved the way for some more extreme solutions in the second half of 2011, which were capable of generating increased grip.
The innovations for 2012 include both some new names and new colors for the tires. The two wet weather compounds will adopt the Cinturato name and comprise the full wet tire, recognized by blue markings, and the intermediate tire, which is denoted by green markings. The four slick compounds, which will be continue to be called P Zero, maintain their colors from last year: silver for the hard, white for the medium, yellow for the soft and red for the supersoft. The tires from both the P Zero and Cinturato ranges will be more easily recognized by the public thanks to bigger markings on the sidewalls.