Following on from the two-day test in Abu Dhabi after the final race, it is a first look at how the Italian manufacturer will look to use what is an expanded range of tyres for next year with the introduction of a new pink-striped HyperSoft and a SuperHard, though the latter is considered more of a backup tyre should the cars exceed the expected level of development.
Neither will be seen at the first trio of races, however, with Pirelli choosing the same UltraSoft, SuperSoft and Soft compounds as used last year around the streets of Albert Park for the season opener.
This choice isn’t too surprising given running has still been limited on the new HyperSoft and it would be bold to choose it for a layout which, despite being low grip, does feature some high-speed corners.
Also with the rubber itself being a step softer for 2018, this means the compounds are more representative of 2016, where the same three tyres were used Down Under.
In Bahrain, the SuperSoft, Soft and Medium will be brought, which is also a repeat of the 2017 choices. The circuit in Sakhir is one of the hardest races of the year on the rear tyres with multiple traction zones, warm temperatures even at night and an abrasive surface.
Finally, for Shanghai, Pirelli has again chosen the Medium and Soft for the harder tyres but, in a first since the three-compound rule was introduced, will skip the SuperSoft and has chosen the UltraSoft instead.
This is an aggressive choice around another traditionally high-degradation circuit, due to several long-radius corners and high-speed sweeps. If the purple-striped tyre works well there it could start a trend for the rest of the season.