Pirelli will be taking a more aggressive approach to their Formula One tyres this season and are confident the racing will be more exciting, motorsport director Paul Hembery said on Wednesday.
Teams will still be supplied with four compounds over the course of the championship but the gap in performance between them has been significantly reduced. 'We have had to make changes and the objective of those changes is to make the racing closer,' Hembery told reporters at a launch event in Abu Dhabi.
'There is a smaller gap in performance between the compounds. Last year the teams were making choices based on tyres that had a 1.5 seconds difference - we have tried to get that down below one second and the aim is to have it at around 0.8 seconds.'
The super soft compound is essentially unchanged from last year, Pirelli's return to the sport as sole supplier after the withdrawal of Bridgestone, but the three other compounds have been made softer.
Pirelli president Marco Tronchetti Provera said: 'These changes will provide more opportunity for passes, and help make a better show. Our tyres will be a bit softer which will add speed and show.'
Hembery hoped that closing the performance gap would make tyre strategy more of a factor in races than it became last season as teams got used to the new rubber.
'We were going through races where teams would maximise use of the sets of the higher performing compound, which were soft in 2011, and minimising use of the hard or medium,' he said.
'From that point of view, the second compound would not come into the strategy. 'We want a lower gap between compounds, with the slower tyre degrading slightly less. Then teams will have to make a decision on which tyre to go with,' added Hembery.
'Last year we made it too easy for the teams by using soft compounds at each weekend, so they based their weekends around that. This year we want to mix it up more.'
Pirelli is also confident that the different types of compound will be more obvious.
The sidewalls will be coloured as usual - red (super soft), yellow (soft), white (medium) and silver (hard) - but the design of the markings and lettering will be larger. Pirelli's wet weather tyres will take the Cinturato branding that the Italian tyre company has used since the 1950s and have blue sidewalls, while the intermediates will be green.