Pirelli to reduce tread depth at three races to combat overheating

Pirelli has confirmed it will reduce the tread depth of its tyres by 0.4 millimetres at three races this season, starting with the Spanish Grand Prix, due to concerns about overheating.

Barcelona, Paul Ricard and Silverstone have all been resurfaced for the 2018 season, which is expected to produce quicker lap times. But the new surface also means more grip and therefore less wear, causing the tyres surface to heat up more quickly.

Pirelli says reducing the tread depth will resolve the problem and it has been given the green light by the FIA to do so at the three aforementioned races.

"In agreement with the FIA, Pirelli has decided to reduce the tread depth on its slick tyres by 0.4 millimetres at three races this year: Barcelona, Paul Ricard and Silverstone," the tyre supplier confirmed.

"These three tracks all feature brand new asphalt, which produces more grip and generates less tyre wear. As a result, more rubber stays on the tyre, which can lead to surface overheating. By reducing the tread depth slightly there is less rubber to heat up, and the potential problem is minimised."

Mario Isola, head of car racing at Pirelli, commented: “This was a recommendation that we ourselves brought to the FIA — as we have done in the past at some races — because it is less disruptive than nominating harder compounds, which was the alternative.

"Apart from making a set of tyres weigh around one kilogram less, there is no appreciable difference in performance; so in effect this is an ‘invisible’ change. It only applies to the three races in Spain, France and Britain: there is no alteration to the tyre specification planned for any other events."