Pirelli 2019 Formula 1 tyres – what’s new?
Pirelli’s ninth consecutive season as the exclusive tyre supplier to Formula 1 sees the manufacturer make several changes to its tyre range. This isn’t new – Pirelli has changed its tyres somewhat every season – but the changes to this year’s compounds, making their debut on the 2019 cars in Barcelona this week, offer a few more fundamental differences than we have recently come to expect.
There will be three, and only three, colours used to represent slick tyres at each 2019 race: white for the hardest compound of the weekend, yellow for the medium one, and red for the softest compound. In total, there will be five compounds available for the year: they are numbered from 1 to 5, going from hardest to softest. As all five compounds are on track at the pre-season test in Barcelona, the hardest (C1) and the softest (C5) compounds won’t carry the usual stripes during the test. Compounds C2, C3 and C4 will instead carry the usual branding with stripes: coloured white, yellow and red respectively. This will only happen during tests: for grand prix weekends there will be just three compounds at each race.
Some unmarked tyres will also be seen in Barcelona; these prototype tyres will be used during tests only to assess potential evolutions for the future. There is a bespoke test schedule currently being finalised for 2020, which will involve all the teams in a series of sessions this year. Pirelli said that details of this schedule will be released shortly.
This year the maximum temperature of the tyre blankets at the rear will be reduced to 80 degrees centigrade, while the front tyre blanket temperature will remain at the current 100 degrees centigrade. Pirelli says this will help front tyre warm-up, and also reduce the risk of graining: especially in low ambient temperatures. As a result, the starting pressures of the rear tyres have been reduced accordingly.
Thinner treads, wider operating ranges
Pirelli supplied a thinner tread at selected races where the asphalt was newer, last year. This succeeded in preventing overheating, and as a result, a similar tread reduction has been adopted for all 2019 tyres. The construction of the tyres will therefore be exactly the same at every race this year.
Pirelli adds that the working ranges for each compound are a bit wider in 2019; each compound has extended its top operational temperature in order to reduce the potential for overheating. From hardest to softest, the temperature ranges are:
- C1 110-140°C
- C2 110-135°C
- C3 105-135°C
- C4 90-120°C
- C5 85-115°C
New intermediate and wet tyres – the colours remain the same
Pirelli has introduced completely new intermediate and wet tyres for this year, the Cinturato Green and Blue tyres. The intermediate is designed to cover a wider range of conditions than its predecessor, meaning a more effective crossover point with both the slick and the full wet tyres. Pirelli adds that the tyre has improved performance in the wet. The full wet tyre is also entirely new, with a redesigned profile that offers greater resistance to aquaplaning and better driveability in heavy rain.
In 2018, two parallel ranges of wet and intermediate tyres were homologated: one for higher temperatures and one for lower temperatures. This year, there’s only one intermediate tyre and one full wet tyre for the whole year, as both tyres have been constructed to increase versatility.