Posted on January 19, 2014


This week the FIA announced a three-year contract extension for Pirelli as the sole tyre supplier to Formula One and as part of the deal the Italian company has managed to enshrine in the new sporting regulations plenty of protections, to avoid a repeat of the embarrassments of the last year. The contract extension, which will see the Italian company act as sole supplier until the end of 2016, was a long time in the making as Pirelli insisted on changes to the sport’s testing regulations in order to provide more on-track data and to have adequate means to develop More…

Posted on September 28, 2013


One of the secondary notes from the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting yesterday in Dubrovnik, was the announcement that Pirelli will continue to supply tyres to Formula 1 in 2014, but for how much longer than that remains unclear. The FIA statement said that in future the choice of tyre and fuel suppliers will be FIA business and that the commercial rights holder will have the opportunity to do a commercial deal with them for track signage etc only once the selection process has been completed. We will deal in another post with the suggestion that F1 may move More…

Posted on July 25, 2013


Pirelli’s new generation F1 tyres will make their debut this weekend in Hungary and today the company released details of which compounds it will bring to the next three races. As last year for the hugely demanding circuits Spa and Monza the medium and hard tyres will be brought, while in Singapore the supersoft and medium will be used. Last year it was supersoft and soft, but as this year’s medium is essentially last year’s soft compound, the change isn’t as significant as it appears. More significant is the double step between compounds, which will possibly make the strategy interesting, More…

Posted on May 29, 2013


It has emerged that the new specification Pirelli tyres which were promised for the Canadian Grand Prix will now only be tested there during practice and will be used for competition only from Silverstone onwards. The move means that teams will have two sets of the tyres which will feature a new construction, aimed at reducing the risk of delaminations, to try out before Pirelli make the harder compound versions for use in competition at Silverstone. This means that there is a risk during the Canadian Grand Prix of a repeat of the delaminations seen in Spain and Bahrain, but More…

Posted on May 14, 2013


The sudden announcement by Pirelli that they are to change the tyre specifications from the seventh round of the world championship onwards will inevitably raise many questions: who will it favour, what are the implications for the racing? With no testing available – a significant part of the reason why Pirelli has struggled to get the tyres right this year – they will have to use a construction solution that has been proven to work in the past, rather than try something new. JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan was chief operations engineer at Williams until the end of More…

Posted on April 25, 2013


After weeks of speculation, Pirelli has today announced that it is changing one of the F1 tyres in its range from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards. The hard tyre will be changed to be closer in specification to the 2012 tyre, which would make it more durable. It will likely have a larger working range, so will be more versatile. It was the preferred race tyre in Bahrain at the weekend for most teams. This is a surprise change in some ways, as there was speculation that the soft tyre would be the one to face changes. It proved troublesome More…

Posted on May 10, 2012


Michael Schumacher said today that he is very pleased to have launched a debate on F1 about what kind of sport we want it to be; one where the drivers push to the limits or one where they have to manage the tyres. And in the paddock today the other F1 drivers have been giving their views on the discussion. The younger ones, who by and large have limited or no experience of racing on the Bridgestones used up to the end of 2010, say that they are quite happy to race on the current tyres. Others have mixed views More…

Posted on April 27, 2012


Pirelli boss Paul Hembery has responded to criticism from fans and drivers that the tyres are too big a talking point in F1 at the moment, saying that the situation will resolve itself soon and the tyres will become less significant. This week has seen a flood of comment on this site and elsewhere following Michael Schumacher’s criticisms of the tyres in Bahrain. The 7 times champion said that drivers were unable to push to the limit on the 2012 tyres and added, “I just question whether the tyres should play such a big importance, or whether they should last More…

Posted on January 25, 2012


Pirelli has launched the 2012 range of F1 tyres promising that they will create more exciting racing and more variation in race strategies. Although still targeting a minimum of two stops per race, Pirelli says the tyres will be more consistent in the way they degrade and be slightly more durable than last season’s, which led to four pit stops at some races. One of the objectives for Pirelli this year is to achieve a crossover point, where the performance of the harder tyre is close enough to the soft that it’s extra durability makes it worth using, rather than More…

Posted on May 7, 2011


Pirelli’s impact on F1 has been impressive this season. Despite negative noises from drivers during winter testing, where at times it looked like F1 could be more about pit stops than about racing, the first three races have provided real variety in strategy and the feeling after the Chinese Grand Prix is that the balance was about right. What is really exciting for me about this season is that F1 has done something that it has always found it hard to do and that is unlearn something that it’s learned. In aerodynamics, electronics and all areas of F1 car performance More…

Posted on March 18, 2011


This season the performance of the Pirelli tyres is going to be a real talking point and absolutely central to the outcome of races. In order to help the fans, journalists and TV commentators identify which tyre is which they have colour coded the tyres for quick and easy identification. This will be useful in qualifying, to see whether anyone feels they can get through Q1 on a set of hard tyres (the difference is said to be as much as 1.5 secs on a lap between soft and hard) and in the race to see what tyres a driver More…

Posted on March 8, 2011


Further to my post the other day about the action on track being more limited this season due to the wear rates on the Pirelli tyres and the limited tyre allocations, the FIA World Motor Sport Council has today adapted the Sporting Regulations to generate more track action and to give Pirelli a chance to evaluate new tyres. They have also said that a decision on whether the Bahrain GP can be rescheduled will not be made before May 1, on which date the Bahrainis need to let the FIA know whether a race can be run in 2011. With More…

Posted on February 22, 2011


We’ve heard a lot recently about the Pirelli tyres not lasting long and how this will affect race strategy this season, with three and even four stops a possibility at some races, based on current wear rates. I’m grateful to my old friend and colleague Kaz Kawai from Japanese Fuji TV, who has patrolled the pit lane with me for over 20 years, for sending me some graphs illustrating the difference in the way the Bridgestone and Pirelli tyres function. We had all got used to the dependability of the Bridgestones and in fact they had gone too far to More…

Posted on February 16, 2011


Pirelli has announced that it will supply the hard and soft tyres from its range for the opening four rounds of the 2011 season. It has made the announcement now, with two official tests still to come, in order for the teams to work on dialling their cars in to the selected tyres. However what they did not mention in their statement today is that the soft tyre for the next test in Barcelona and the opening races, will be different from the one that the teams have tested with so far. This keeps the teams guessing a bit as More…

Posted on November 22, 2010


There is a general feeling of satisfaction with last weekend’s first Pirelli F1 test in Abu Dhabi, with teams reporting that the tyres are at a good level already and Pirelli themselves saying that the data and feedback from teams correlates well with the learnings from the test programme using the 2009 Toyota. It’s impressive to think that they only started testing in August this year. A common theme from teams is that the fronts are stronger relative to the rears than the last generation of Bridgestone tyres. Normally this would lead designers to look at a forward weight distribution, More…



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