Formula One's official tyre supplier Pirelli has confirmed teams will be given freedom to choose the tyres they use at each Grand Prix while also introducing the ultrasoft tyre compound for next year.
After its meeting in Paris, yesterday, the FIA World Motor Sport Council formally approved the new 2016 Tyre Regulations for Formula One.
The new regulations are the result of attempt to spice things up, allowing teams and even individual drivers to choose the tyre compounds of their liking, possibly creating less predictable races.
With the introduction of the new ultrasoft compound (which uses purple markings) the total number of slick compounds rises to five. The regulation for the intermediateand wet tyres however remain unchanged.
Pre-race tyre nominations and preparations
- In consultation with the FIA, Pirelli will decide in advance which three compounds can be used at each race, and communicate this information to the teams.
- 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.
During the race
As is currently also the case, teams have to return tyres according to a certain schedule, but in 2016 they can choose for themselves which tyres to return. This again gives more freedom to teams compared to the rules that specified which compound set to return.
As of 2016, one set after the first 40 minutes of FP1, one set at the end of FP1, two further sets at the end of FP2 and again two more sets at the end of FP3.
The 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.