More variation in the racing the goal as Pirelli explains new F1 tyre range
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Nov 2017   |  9:25 am GMT  |  69 comments

Next season’s racing should feature greater variation in strategy and a wider range of options for how teams tackle the race weekend, after tyre supplier Pirelli unveiled it new range.

And according to Pirelli’s motorsport chief Mario Isola, there will be no repeat of the problems experienced this season where the harder of the three compounds has barely featured in the races, restricting the strategies and the variation in the racing.

Next year, with a wider range of options to choose from, Pirelli can bring three tyre options that all have a strategic advantage and let the teams decide which ones to use which work best with their car, their drivers and their objectives.

“With a wider range we can have the right compounds at each race,” said Isola on Friday night in Abu Dhabi.

“This year was a bit tricky because with the hard compound, which was a bit too conservative and the other four compounds available, we have to race on twenty circuits with only limited movement across the compounds so the idea is absolutely not to generate more confusion, it is to keep the same philosophy, different colours immediately recognisable by spectators who also decided the name of the pink (tyre) but all the three compounds useable at each race so different strategies: one stop, two stop or even more.”

Isola noted that this year the cornering speeds have been dramatically higher than in previous years, thanks to the higher downforce cars and wider more grippy tyres,

“In some famous corners like turn three in Barcelona or Copse at Silverstone or at Spa, we had an increase in speed of 30-40kmh on these kind of corners so all of the lap time improvement was in cornering and not, for sure, on the straights where the additional drag from the wider tyre is limiting the top speed.”

After a few difficult seasons early on when Pirelli was criticised by drivers, suffered some high profile failures and argued with teams about tyre pressures and camber angles, the success of this year’s programme seems to have brought a renewed confidence from the Italian manufacturer.

Hence the move to a step softer on all the compound titles, the introduction of the hyper soft, which will be used at street tracks and possibly places like Hungary.

Reaction from the team strategists has been a cautious welcome; until they run the tyres in the test next week and next year it is hard to draw too many conclusions.

The target will be to introduce effective degradation that makes the strategic advantages of each tyre clear; what will not be ideal is if all the degradation is thermal and that requires more ‘management’. The risk there, with a parallel reduction to only three engines per driver for the whole F1 season, is that there is too much ‘management’ and not enough of drivers pushing flat out. We have had more of that this year, with the new 2017 specification cars and tyres.

What do you think of the latest development on tyres in F1? How have you felt it has worked this season? Leave your comments in the section below

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this is farcical


That’s quite a range of tyres, and an useless one.
I’d be happy if they removed some of the compounds or, at least, if they didn’t choose successive tyres for each race but left a gap in between, like:
– HyperSoft, SuperSoft, Medium.
– UltraSoft, Soft, Hard.
– SuperSoft, Medium, SuperHard.

This way there could be some “adapting” to track conditions and also a significant variation between strategies.


I fail to see why any driver would choose a Superhard, unless A: Sauber are going for a zero stop race, or B: they are trying to drive from Vladivostok to Pretoria on one set.
Therefore, why?


…mega soft, tera soft, peta soft, more-soft-than-soft, softest-soft, incredibly-amazingly-soft, more-softer-than-the -previous-soft … you know what softly-soft soft for soft’s sake I’m talking about…soft.


Super hard is orange, hard is blue. If we run these tyres, we’ll DNQ.


This is just making things too complicated. It’s all to help overtaking due to the fact the cars cannot follow each other, so they have t6o have artificial was to spice the racing up.


why not have gone with hard, super hard, ultra hard and hyper hard and same for medium? Anyways, I guess more variations some cars will find what is more suited for it but I have a feeling it will be the same strategy across the board regardless.


Like I’ve said before and others here are saying: Hard, Medium, Soft.
Perhaps teams should draw out tire allocation at random for each race, like a horse racing barrier draw (and remove the rule forcing you to use at least two compounds)
Or maybe they should just barrier draw the grid, but still have a fastest lap shoot out on Saturday for points/cash/glory.


I think the naming is starting to get a bit ridiculous to be honest.

The extra compound available has been a good idea, but with the cars having to use two compounds and with many races being one stop it hasn’t introduced as much excitement as I hoped.

As for the reduction to three engines, I am really concerned that Qualifying in the last half of the season won’t mean a lot to how the grid actually looks on Sunday arvo.


2018: introduction of hypersofts… Finally some exciting racing to look forward to when the front runners go into hyperdrive!
And should they fail to add to the excitement then maybe for 2019 we can switch to the other end of the scale: microsoft tyres. The first digitally integrated compound! Wonder what battles they will bring us? Legal ones, presumably.


James, the article seems to bear no relation to the increased set of tires. Teams/drivers complained tires were too conservative (hard) this year, yet Pirelli releases a “super hard” tire? Why not keep the same name for the tires yet just make each one step softer so the “Hyper Soft” is still named the “Ultra Soft” while the hard tire is simply a rebranded medium. I really question the Pirelli folks sometimes.


Super hard is a back up tire to prevent a catastrophe similar to Indianapolis back in the day when Michelin messed up. If you imagine that Michelin had been the only supplier that day (like Pirelli is now) it may have prevented the race from starting completely…Basically they have a tire available (should all the data models fail to predict high wear rates) to avoid such a dilemma.


Hopefully this years supersoft will be next years hard.

Tyres were dire this year, too hard and durable, constant one stops, no overcutting someone on worn tyres to vary strategies, teammates always doing the same strategies…


Would it not be cheaper to let each car have 1 engine per race weekend. Least then they could push flat out . None of this endurance crap. Give them more fuel. Scrap fuel flow. Get rid of 50kg of weightfrom cars. Get rid of camber rules . Shark fins. Increase underbody aero and let them race. The cars in the 90s were 150kgs lighter.


Now *that* is a formula I’d be proud to watch


And how many laps will the hypersoft do? 20? 30?! The compounds were stiffened this year, and the one stop races are an inevitable consequence of that, hopefully more strategic options will be the result of these changes, but I tend not to believe Pirelli’s predictions anymore.


Sounds like a range you’d find at….


What colour will the wet weather tyre be? Also there is no intermediate tyre on the picture.


They’ll stay the same. Royal blue for the wet, and light green for the intermediate.


as for the tyres, why can’t just bring any 3 of the collection and call them hard medium and soft?


bottas won that race on merit. hamilton protected him from the ferraris hoping to attack later for victory but bottas soaked up the pressure all the way to the chequered flag..


Completely gimmicky.

You are still not getting any overtaking on track in races where you’d need it (e.g. Abu Dhabi).


7 dry tires are at least 3 too many. But if this is what we have, then the 3 that turn up at every race should have at least 2 steps between them.
e.g. Spain could be ultra, soft and hard. Need more variation in the compounds actually used in the race.

maybe, Make hypersoft the qualifying tire for all races.


I agree. If you don’t have two level offset, everyone will have almost same strategy and nothing will change. With 2 step tire offset, slower cars can prepare for harder tire setup and try one less pit stop to counter faster, more stopping cars. But again faster cars can do the same and….Any case, no tire should last more than half the race distance or we will have boring races again.


F1 needs a better balance between being an engineering competition and a driving competition. It’s a shame to make it any way interesting as a driving competition we need all these tyres, DRS, so many grid penalties, mandatory pit stops. Remove all of those and would anyone pass anyone? It’s laughable really that in a car race you cannot overtake.


Right. Might more variation would involve Michelin and Goodyear?

First F1 has to level everything out to make it fair. Then it is too boring. Then they have to contrive something to make it more competitive. However they slice it, F1 ought to open up competition, not twerk regulations with more regulation.

I continue to say, now that the cost caps and social/enviromental craps have leveled everything out again to where we are back to boring – ooppps it is not boring until people get tired of Mercedes winning! Lets get back to letting engineers design racing cars for speed and handling and reliability, and get the social engineers out of the game. The entertainment factor will follow.




And how is this going to make the racing more interesting?
Surprised we didn’t see the claim it also would help to preserve costs?
Zzz !


I just realized it was a long time since I last commented here. Hyper soft. Easy to explain to new fans, very simple and catchy. These are the tyres that Mr. Musk will use for his hyperloop project.


It’s not ideal, but we definitely need to get back to that 3rd tire offering a viable strategy option, which hasn’t been the case this year.

What I want is for Pirelli to improve the construction of their tires, such that they can reduce the ridiculous pressures they’ve mandated for the last few years. Right now they’re like balloons. Grippier surfaces, but more robust structures. Then we’ll have double the gain.

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