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.


It’s too much. Like others have already said, just simplify the damn thing. Hard, Medium, Soft, with a big difference between them and with no rules about having to use each type or whatever the system is. Hard lasts all race, medium half the distance, and softs last a third of the distance. If a driver wants to race on softs for the whole race, then they’ll need to pit twice.

We need something that really challengers the drivers (do I go crazy flat out on softs to build enough time to pit twice or go with hards and have to defend all race?) and that is easy to grasp for the audience.


I wouldn’t mind seeing more than one tyre manufacturer.


And see the complaints if one manufacturer starts to dominate. It did not really work last time.


That’s because last time Michelin made tyres for everybody, Bridgestone made tyres for Schumi.


There could be some safe guards against that. teams could test and choose each race. The tyre manufactures would have to compete against each other.
I think it would defiantly add to the competition.


So testing allowed all season or is Friday practice now for tyre choosing? I can see where you are coming from but the problem is that eventually one tyre is manufactured to suite one car. For example a tyre that warms up quickly on a Ferrari may not on a Mercedes. Cars get designed to optimise one manufacturer over the other. Last time round the tyre war resulted in some very one sided seasons and nearly killed off F1 in the USA.


Throwing more tyre variables into the mix does not improve the on track racing. Car A is catching Car B because his team guessed the track conditions better when they had to choose tyres. Please I want Car A to Catch and overtake Car B because it’s driver is quicker, braver, more cunning.


A few hours agi i listened to Isola’s explanation of the new compounds andthe reasoning behind it. TBH he lost me in the first minute or so! Why all this rush to further complexity? Just like the Hybrids….Does anyone really care? Does he, or anyone else for that matter, think that the spectators would be even remotely interested in the colour bands on the tyres? What possible benefit would it make to see the colors and then try to deduce any sort of strategy relative to the various teams? It is simply too ridiculous to be taken seriously. IMO they need to simply supply Hard/Medium /Soft/Extrasoft and leave it at that. What i would like to see though is the teams having the choice to run two different compounds at the same time between front and rear. That would be more interesting and performance oriented than this messy range of tyres being mooted for next year.


In short that’s two additional, softer, compounds. So more scope for Pirelli to tune their selections during the year,and that’s good.

But the compound names have gone from silly to genuinely ridiculous. I strongly agree with Karun Chandhok – call the compounds whatever you like behind the scenes, but at each race just refer to the three available as Hard, Medium & Soft. Don’t require viewers to remember that Hyper is more than Ultra etc.

(at the very least get a dictionary and look up “Medium”)

When there were 4 compounds I understood that Hard & Soft worked best at higher temperatures than Medium & Supersoft. But even the commentators seem to have long since given up trying to understand that side of the tyres.


Where was it confirmed that there two softer compounds, or are you just assuming so?


Pirelli said that all compounds will be softer than this year’s.

“It means there will be seven, rather than the current five, slick tyre compounds, all of which are a step softer than this year, making them the fastest tyres in Formula 1 history.”


Ah, I was looking some sort of confirmation like that. Thanks.


It’s two because they’re going a step softer on each compound, and introducing the HyperSoft. So both the HyperSoft and 2018 UltraSoft will be softer than the 2017 UltraSoft.


How exciting…


Too complicated!!!
Let the drivers push as much as they can.
Let the spectators see drivers’ battles with same “tools” please!


Stick your same “tools”. I want to see the Engineers battle too.


So complicated for existing viewers, let alone trying to explain to new viewers.


Too complicated!!!


It is the only direction F1 knows.

More rules.
More complexity.

They’ve never heard of KISS principal.


Bureaucracy mate.


2 options, Hard and soft. Make it a big spread between tyres compounds to help keep it simple to know who is on a faster tyre and who is on a slower tyre. Really who came up with this current BS tyre situation…


Just one medium variation.

No Super, Ultra, Hyper variations like with soft and hard.


This is too many.
I preferred the old days.
You had 4 tyre choices.
A b c d
A was hardest and d softest.
Get rid of this ridiculous rule that you have to pit and change tyres. If someone wants to try doing the whole race on hard tyres like Perez let him. More variation .
The same goes with camber and weight distribution.
Also do away with the fuel flow. Give them 150 litres of fuel for the race and let engineers and drivers decide how they use it.
All this interfering is fake and rubbish.


Thank you. Somebody who actually understands that the rule book is too thick & we don’t want open wheel NASCAR.


Also set the rules so they have to start the race with full tanks, so no fuel saving


I don’t mind having 10 or 20 types of tyres for all races, but it would be much simpler if on every race they paint them red, yellow and white and call them soft, medium and hard.
With these rainbow of colors and names, I honestly don’t bother to understand anymore…


F1 fans now need a Dulux colour chart to decode race strategy.


James, I was under the impression that Pirelli were developing one new tyre. So why is there now two?

Is the Superhard this year’s hard?

Which would potentially mean that the new Hypersofts will be two steps softer than the current Ultrasofts. While the new Ultrasofts will still be a new compound and a step softer than the current Ultras.


Shalan – My understanding is exactly as you’ve said, based on British Sky commentary. All of this year’s tyres are rebranded as one step harder (so old hard = new superhard, old ultrasoft = new supersoft) and they’re developing two new softest compunds (new ultrasoft and new hypersoft).


Shalan, the superhard is s backup tyre, unlikely to be used in any races, just filming days and demos.


I hope next years Superhard is actually this years Hard. Otherwise, looking at team preference to use Hard in the races this year, Superhard will be used only for installation laps in FP1. They will be as useful as extracted tooth. They should have removed Hard and added HyperUltraSofts below Hypersofts IMO.


soft medium hard, 3 colours at every race. all they need to do is select three from the collection and label them hard medium soft..


Right, but that doesn’t answer my question in the slightest.


didn’t realise you asked a question. what was your question?


Hyper soft………..sounds like something out of Doctor Who……

If the Portuguese GP returns it will be at the fantastic new Portiamo circuit down in the Algarve. Thing is though, the hottest temperatures ever recorded on the Algarve during the summer are air temps of 50c, and road temps of nearly 70c. How long would hyper sorts last in that furnace of Portugal? A couple of hundred yards?????

What is the hyper soft made from? Marshmallows?


Marshmallows will be introduced in 2019 – they will be called “LudicrousSofts”…


Marshmallows and heat are a very nice combination. Delicious results possible 😉


The answer is YES to your two last questions.
And as a result the F1 organization will also introduce two pits on the race lap, as this opens up for doubling their pit pass and paddock club revenue streams!

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