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Motor racing: Pirelli hope for more overtaking and pitstops

By Ian Gordon

MILAN (Reuters) - Pirelli presented its 2013 range of color-coded Formula One tires on Wednesday with the hope that fans would see more overtaking and an end to one-stop races.

The sole tire supplier also said it was in talks with Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone to extend its deal beyond this season.

"We are obviously willing to continue this adventure," president and CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera told reporters at the Italian company's headquarters.

"The teams are satisfied and the partnership we have with F1 is a successful one, a win-win co-operation. That is why I am confident we will have a new agreement from next year, but there is nothing new for the time being."

The Italian company's range of tires has undergone a revolution with new structures and new compounds aimed at producing more exciting racing and ensuring at least two stops per driver in every race.

Last season started with an unprecedented seven different winners in the first seven grands prix but the racing became more predictable as teams understood the tires better.

Pirelli's Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said it would be wishful thinking to expect a repeat of last year's first seven races but looked forward to an interesting season with new challenges for teams and drivers.

"The result at the end of the year was races with less competition and sometimes only one pit stop," he said.

"This phenomenon was also observed in 2011, disappointing many fans and prompting some of the teams to ask us to continue developing our tires further this year in order to provide a fresh challenge with something different.

"Our 2013 range of tires mixes up the cards once more to help overtaking and ensure two to three pit stops per race," said Hembery.

The P Zero range of dry weather tires are faster by up to 0.5 seconds a lap and the performance gap between the compounds is also at least half a second in order to enhance race strategy and differences in speeds during the race.

The sidewalls will have new markings, with orange now denoting the hardest compound instead of the silver that was used last year.

Pirelli said the new hard tire would be roughly equivalent to last year's medium compound, with softer sidewalls but stronger shoulders.

Improved traction, especially on the exit of corners, should translate into faster lap times.

The tires are made at a factory in Turkey and sent to a logistics hub in Britain before being shipped to the various circuits. Each car will have 11 sets available per race weekend, made up of six sets of the harder compound and five of the softer.

Pirelli will take some 1,800 tires to every race of the Formula One season, which begins in Melbourne on March 17.

(Editing by Alan Baldwin)

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