Formula 1 - Drivers hint at more pitstops in 2013

Leading Formula 1 drivers are predicting the 2013 season will start with higher tyre degradation and more pitstops than the early races of 2012.

Rapid tyre degradation was a feature of the first day of Barcelona testing on Tuesday.

Pacesetter Nico Rosberg said the tyres went off very rapidly.

"There is a lot of degradation. It's massive for everybody," he said.

"I don't know if it's because of the temperature and it being very cold. Hopefully so, because otherwise there are going to be a lot of pitstops in Melbourne."

World champion Sebastian Vettel agreed that the degradation was extreme, but warned against judging the tyres on the basis of this test.

"We saw today the tyres were going off pretty quickly, they didn't last a few laps," he said.

"But you have to be careful because it is too cold, as simple as that. We still want to understand the tyres but in these conditions it's tricky, everyone is suffering the same problems."

Fernando Alonso suggested that the current level of degradation was disruptive for teams' testing programmes.

"It's maybe not the best option to test in the winter when you have a tyre that does one lap," he said, "because we have so much stuff to test and so many new things that we need to have clear and good information on.

"And we only have only one lap to understand the car because then you are four to six seconds off the pace."

But Rosberg emphasised that while the tyres' behaviour caused some inconvenience, he fully backed Pirelli's strategy.

"We've seen the Pirellis are great for racing and for excitement, and that's the main priority - to make it exciting for the fans," said the Mercedes driver.

"We just have to handle it. It's important that it's good racing and we know that this sort of degradation profile creates the most exciting races."