There’s always a certain amount of fuss associated with new season tyre testing and the brand-new racing rubber supplied to teams. Teams will get their first look at next year’s compounds in just over two weeks, after the FIA agreed to allow Pirelli three extra days of running at Barcelona. There’s no more ‘tyre war’ and it means we’ll all have plenty to talk about for the second half of 2016…but how did we get here? We’ve seen some significant trends develop this year and we’ll take a quick rundown of what you need to know ahead of next season.
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All change: Pirelli’s development programme has led them away from their usual black-sidewall tyres
If you only picked up a newspaper or watched a news channel in the past couple of weeks, you’d have seen that there’s been a bit of a controversy over tyres. Two teams may have to change their tyre selection strategies after being found to have used tyres which were outside the acceptable temperature range at two races this year. They’re said to have broken Article 23.13 of the Sporting Regulations , which says: “Tyres must be used at all times during an Event with no exceptions other than as permitted by the supplier…In particular, no tyre heating devices will be allowed in Free Practice.”
30 Degrees (Min):
Tyres Bold supplied by Pirelli shall be used in the following working range: i) From 15º to 30ºC inclusive; and ii) From 10º above ambient temperature to a maximum of 50 ºC. 60 Degrees (Max): The difference between the maximum and minimum working ranges for any tyre shall not exceed 30 ºC .
Tuesday: A new rule comes into force that states teams must run the tyre fitted on the inside of the car during FP1 and FP2…however they can choose which side runs outwards from each round of stops …currently this applies only to Barcelona!
Wednesday: This means there’s a window of opportunity on Thursdays when the teams can select their tyres for Fridays – but they’ll be limited to one set of softer rubber instead of the usual two.
Pirelli went public with their tyre choices for 2016 in Monza – something that they’ll use again next year to keep us all on our toes! With a little bit of planning and plenty of strategy, it’s been an exciting year when you consider what we had back in 2015…can’t wait until 2022?
Here are some big trends in tyres so far…
1. Tyre wars over:
Pirelli say there’ll be no more than three dry weather compounds available to teams at any race next season, which means only four sets will be available to each driver over the weekend (if it’s wet, drivers can refer back to what they used Friday practice)
2. Fewer tyres:
Pirelli will bring three compounds to each race next year, down from five in 2016. That’s around a 20% reduction in the number of dry-weather tyres available.
3. More choice:
Pirelli have already said that they’ll give drivers more choice over what rubber they use at every event next season – it’ll be four sets per driver over the weekend for one compound, six sets for another and seven sets for the softer compound…that means there’s no ‘prime’ tyre anymore!
4. One step harder again?
New rules could see even harder Tyres Bold used by Formula 1 teams during 2017 after an agreement between Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA was ratified recently . There are potential knock-on effects with kerb heights too…
5. Perfect tyres ?
Drivers are set to have more freedom over race tyre selections next year after all the top three parties recently agreed on new rules at a meeting in Paris. As it stands, Pirelli will still name its compounds for each round of the world championship, but they’ll be given free reign to spice up the show by introducing several different choices that could even cover both sides of the garages!
6. New rules:
Some big changes are coming into effect from 2017 – and most of them revolve around tyres. Teams were previously limited to four sets per driver during Friday practice (two ‘options’ and two ‘primes’), but these will now be separate from ones used in qualifying and race day come 2017.
7. Wet weather tyres:
Formula 1’s Tyres Bold supplier has already revealed that it will bring wet-weather rubber to next year’s championship in a bid to spice up races after drivers struggled to get the intermediate and full wets working across the board throughout 2016. 8. Longer lasting tyres ? Pirelli have confirmed there are no plans for bigger tyres in their foreseeable future, despite rumours suggesting otherwise…
8. No more durability targets :
As soon as Pirelli started doing its thing back in 2011, Bernie Ecclestone was heard moaning about how many pit stops should be expected in each race (nine he reckoned). However, teams agreed at Monza that there would no longer be any hard targets in this department.
9. The ‘cliff’:
Pirelli had to remove the 150-degrees C soft Car Tyres St Helens from its roster after just one race this year, citing safety reasons . A new purple-striped tyre called the hypersoft was then introduced at Monaco and will also appear in 2017 – but only at several races next year…
With Pirelli having taken over control of tyre selection this year, it’s fair to say that some people got bored! There was some controversy along the way this season, with Mercedes struggling to get more than four laps out of any new compound during testing in Barcelona . But there were bright points to…our very own Paul Hembery saw his stock rise after telling us all about red-walled ‘qualifying’ tyres at last year’s Italian GP , while he had plenty to say about wet weather tyres which, bizarrely, has been one of the key talking points this year.