Pirelli Adds Two New Tire Compounds
When it comes to choosing which compound to use for each track, Pirelli will have a bigger selection in 2018 as they’ve added two more compounds for a total of seven. There will be a new pink-marked hypersoft, as well as an orange detonated superhard available.
The new tire will see a change in the color line-up as ice blue will now be for the hard compound, to therefore make the orange usable as noted above. The range will includes hypersoft (pink), ultrasoft (purple), supersoft (red), soft (yellow), medium (white), hard (blue), and superhard (orange). Initial data shows the hypersoft being a second per lap quicker.
In previous years, F1 teams had their choice of just two compounds per race. However, Pirelli and FIA switched to three sets for 2016, with the requirement that each team must use two of the three during the event. For each of these races, the hardest two compounds at each race are the required compound.
Qualifying regulations, which went into effect in 2016, state that the softest tire compound for the weekend is designated as the compound for the final session.
For the first two qualifying sessions, teams can use whichever compound they prefer, except for the dedicated Q3 tire. The top eight drivers will use the Q3 tire set in the third sector of qualifying and give it back to Pirelli afterward, while the remaining drivers may keep their set for the race. They can either start the race with the softest compound or choose another.
Outside of those regulations, teams may select their remaining 10 sets for the weekend, using whichever combination they select. Their choices also must be submitted 15 weeks in advance for long-haul events, and eight weeks in advance of European races. The deadline for decisions was implemented to reduce transportation costs. If a team does not give their choices to the FIA before the deadline, the FIA will choose which tires the team can use.
For the first five events of the season, though, all 13 sets for each driver are identical and defined in the regulations: seven sets of the softest of the three nominated compounds, four sets of the middle compound and two of the hardest compound nominated.
So far, the compounds have been unveiled for three races in 2018. The tire manufacture announced in December they will bring the purple-marked ultrasoft compound, red-marked supersoft, and the yellow-marked soft compound for the Australian Grand Prix which takes place on March 25. Additionally, they elected for the yellow and red, alongside the white-marked medium tires for the Bahrain Grand Prix on April 8. The third event revealed will see the white, yellow, and purple compounds for the Chinese Grand Prix on April 15.
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