When it comes to Formula 1 racing, the tires are the only part of the car that touches the track, making them an essential aspect of every race. As a beginner, understanding the tires can seem daunting, but fear not; we've got you covered with everything you need to know about these highly advanced black rubber circles. Who Supplies F1 Teams with Tires?
Since 2011, Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli has been the sole and exclusive supplier of tires for F1 teams. Although Pirelli was one of several companies to provide tires at the start of the World Championship in 1950, tire technology has advanced rapidly since then.
What's the Current Specification of F1 Tyres?
As part of sweeping changes to the technical regulations, Pirelli produced all-new 18-inch tires for 2022, spanning the profile, structure, and various compounds. Pirelli spent more than 10,000 hours of indoor testing and 5,000 hours of simulation and developed 30 different specifications, which were then tested by teams across more than 20,000 kilometers.
In 2023, Pirelli introduced some compound tweaks after conducting tests during practice for last year's Mexico City and Sao Paulo Grands Prix and in the Abu Dhabi post-season. The 18-inch tires are more in line with the products used by motorists every day, making the transfer of technology easier, and the road industry benefits from the sport's year-on-year innovation.
What About the Compounds Used at Each Track?
Pirelli's range of 18-inch tires for 2023 includes six slick compounds, along with intermediates and full wets to account for inclement weather conditions. From the C0-C5 slick range, Pirelli picks three compounds to be used at each Grand Prix, taking into account track characteristics and climates. The hardest trio is chosen for venues where the tires are generally subjected to greater demands and vice versa.
The soft compound offers the most grip for a short period, making them ideal for qualifying runs. The medium and hard compounds are likely more favorable options over a race distance.
How Many Tires Can F1 Teams Use?
On a standard weekend, drivers are given 13 sets of dry weather tires, four sets of intermediates, and three sets of full wets. An extra set of softs is reserved for those who reach Q3, while all drivers must use at least two different slick compounds in the race, providing the track is dry.
Any Other Tire Rules to Remember in 2023?
During the 2023 season, up to two events will feature a ‘Revised Qualifying Format’ (RQF) “for the purpose of evaluating whether the revisions are suitable for subsequent championships.” Tire compounds will be mandated for each stage of F1’s usual three-part qualifying session: hard tires only in Q1, medium tires only in Q2, and soft tires only in Q3. Intermediates and wets will be allowed if the RQF sessions are declared wet.
At RQF events, each driver may use no more than 11 sets of dry-weather tires, four sets of intermediate tires, and three sets of wet-weather tires.
Tires are an essential element of F1 racing. With Pirelli as the sole and exclusive supplier of tires, the company is always pushing the boundaries of tire technology to provide the best products possible for F1 teams. From the compounds used at each track to the rules to remember in 2023, we hope this guide has helped you understand the world of F1 tires better.
For more information about Pirelli’s F1 tires, visit pirelli.com. Sources: