New slick tyre extends Pirelli F1 range, 3 compounds available per race weekend
The FIA World Motor Sport Council has formally approved new 2016 tyre regulations for Formula One, including an extended slick range and the availability of three compounds per race weekend, at its meeting in Paris. Exclusive tyre supplier Pirelli will introduce a new slick compound, the P Zero Purple ultrasoft, which was tested in Abu Dhabi following the conclusion of the 2015 season. It takes its place as the softest compound, with the existing designations retained. Rules regarding intermediate and wet tyres remain unchanged.
The new slick compound regulations will affect several aspects of the Formula One race weekend.
- Pirelli, in consultation with the FIA, will still decide in advance which compounds can be used at each race, communicating this information to the teams. However, 2016 will see three choices available at every weekend. The complex rules about how and when teams can use the available compounds are detailed below.
- The total number of sets that can be used during practice, qualifying and racing remains the same as it is currently: 13.
- Pirelli will nominate two mandatory race sets for each car. Furthermore, one set of the softer compound will have to be kept for use in Q3 only.
- The two mandatory sets chosen by Pirelli can be of two different compounds, from the three that have been nominated for the race weekend. These sets will obviously be identical for each team.
- The remaining 10 sets can be chosen by each team, from the three compounds nominated for the race weekend.
- The teams will make their choices within a deadline set by Pirelli. They will communicate their choices to the FIA, which will in turn tell Pirelli how many tyres to produce. The choices for each car will remain secret until 2 weeks before the race. If a team does not meet the deadline, the choice will be made by the FIA.
- Once the choices for each car have been made, the FIA will continue to assign the tyres randomly via a barcode, as is the case currently.
- The choices made by each team can vary for each of its cars: so each driver within a team can have a different allocation.
- The tyres will be distinguished by different coloured markings on the sidewalls, as is currently the case.
While the choice of tyres has been extended, teams must give back tyres according to a certain schedule, though they can decide which tyres to give back at the following times:
- One set after the first 40 minutes of FP1
- One set at the end of FP1
- Two sets at the end of FP2
- Two sets at the end of FP3
Two mandatory sets nominated by Pirelli cannot be given back during practice and must be available for use in the race. At least one of these two sets must be used during the race – but the teams can decide which one.
The top 10 at the end of qualifying will still have to give back the set of the softer compound nominated for Q3, and start the race on the tyres with which they set their fastest time in Q2 (the same rule as is the case currently). All other drivers will be able to use the set that is saved for Q3 during the race.