Bruno Senna, Williams, Jerez, 2012

Pirelli choose softer tyres for first three races

2012 F1 season

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Bruno Senna, Williams, Jerez, 2012
Bruno Senna tests Pirelli's 2012 tyres in Jerez

Pirelli have announced the tyre compounds which will be available at the first three races of the 2012 season.

F1’s official tyre supplier will bring softer selections from their range for the opening races, compared to those which were used last year.

Pirelli have previously announced their 2012 soft, medium and hard compounds are softer than those used last year.

The tyre choices for the first three races are as follows:

Race2012 tyre compounds2011 tyre compounds
Australian Grand PrixSoft/mediumSoft/hard
Malaysian Grand PrixMedium/hardSoft/hard
Chinese Grand PrixSoft/mediumSoft/hard

2012 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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50 comments on “Pirelli choose softer tyres for first three races”

  1. Meduim hard? How’s that going to work?

    1. @lewiswdc11 I don’t follow – what makes you think it won’t work?

      1. I don’t understand why Pirelli would take 2 harder compound tyres to a race weekend? Malaysia isn’t really a track like Hungary where the degradation is off the roof, so hence my comment hows it going to work for the teams in particular, I know they’ve made last years soft tyre this years medium tyre but surely couldn’t they use the Softer compound to make the race more interesting and exciting to spice it up a bit.

        1. Hungary isn’t a particularly tough track for tyres, hence they used the softest possible tyre combination there last year. Whereas Sepang is very hot and has a lot of long, quick corners. I believe the surface is more abrasive too.

          Given that we haven’t seen the new tyres in action yet, I wouldn’t leap to the conclusion that they need to “use the softer compound to make the race more interesting and exciting to spice it up a bit”.

        2. Andy G (@toothpickbandit)
          15th February 2012, 16:13

          ?? Malaysia degradation was crazy last year if I recall?

          1. Yes, drivers were stopping three or four times last year.

          2. And it caught out McLaren with Hamilton having to use 3 sets of Primes because he used up an extra set of the Options in Qualifying,one of them which he flatspotted

        3. But if we take in account, that the tyres this year are softer, It would meant that especially for Malaysia, Pirelli bring more or less the same hardness of compounds they did last year lewiswdc11, don’t they?

          To me the bigger change is, that for this year they are trying to bring two compounds that might both work with the track instead of having one type everyone wants and the other one just because its mandatory.

        4. I believe the reason why Pirelli took Softer compounds for Hungary last year is the lack of rubber on the tarmac, which is mainly due to the lack of Motorsport venues held there during the year. Yes there’s GP2 & GP3 but obviously they’re held on the same weekend as F1

      2. They have know shortened the gap between tyres but they are also shortening the gap between chosen compounds, Pirelli is also confident that the tyres will degrade less and they have removed the oversteering tendency therefore they are becoming just like Bridgestone which can only mean that this upcoming season will be just like 2010 no overtaking!

        1. Pirelli have stated that the tyre wear will be more aggressive than at the end of last year.

          They are a long way from becoming like the Bridgestone tyres.

        2. We didn’t have DRS or KERS in 2010 though.

        3. @UKFan the reason as to why there were’nt many overtakes in 2010 was not due to the bridgestones as much as it was due to the aerodynamic regs and the wake of dirty air they leave behind, hence why the DRS was brought in (and the front wing adjuster before it).

          The problem with the bridgestones in my view was the fact you could get almost 90% out of one set of the softer compound. Thus meaning you literally pitted because you had to

  2. Medium and Hard will be hard to tell apart in Malaysia, not that it’ll matter, I probably wont be watching that race

    1. @georgedaviesf1 The markings on the tyres this year are much more prominent than they were last year, I doubt it’ll be a problem.

      See here:

      1. @keithcollantine

        I remember seeing “orange tyres” still on some cars at the Jerez test for installation laps. Where did those go? Were they last year’s spec?

    2. I would say that in Malaysia we are pretty likely to be treated to the blue and green tyres!

  3. They should have waited until after pre-season testing before announcing which tyres they were going to use – try and keep teams guessing. Although I’m sure they’d have done extensive testing on all tyres anyway, I feel it would have given an extra twist.

    1. I’m not sure the teams are getting race spec tyres for testing anyway.

  4. Good choices – tyres next to each other in degradation/speed, instead of one inbetween. With tyres already closer to each other it should, hopefully, make for some different strategies.

    1. I hope for the same.

  5. Medium/Hard for Malaysia is harder than last year keith!

    1. ok nevermind. I see you’re taking in to account the new tyres are softer than last year.

    2. That, and when writing titles it’s had to explain all the nitty gritty in just a few words.

      1. @Mike I’m glad at least one person gets that!

  6. Pirelli chose softer tyres for the first and third race.

    1. Read paragraph three (and see similar comment below).

  7. I just hope the degredation isn’t as bad as it was last year & the differences between worn tyres/new tyres not as big.

    There were many situations in 2011 where the difference in compounds/wear made passing too easy & left the car on the older tyres totally defenceless, Not exciting to watch!

  8. It seems malaysia is actually getting harder tires, or is that a typo in the article

    1. No, because this year’s tyres are softer than last year’s (it does say in the article). More here:

      Pirelli reveal softer compounds and new tyre colours for 2012

  9. So I guess the 2012 Malaysian GP will be the first race without Pirelli’s yellow tyre?

    1. @Fixy That’s right – the soft tyre was used at every race last year.

    2. @Fixy Well spotted.

  10. I’m quite looking forward to it.

    I think Pirelli’s biggest concern should be keeping a high amount of wear but at the same time trying to reduce the amount of marbles that spear off the tyre.

  11. Looking at the selection for the Malaysian GP, I thought there had to be two “steps” between the tire compounds. Medium/Hard is just one step.

    Rather than be a rule as such, was this just a suggestion from the FIA to Bridgestone/Pirelli? Or am I getting completely mixed up with something different here?

    1. there doesn’t have to be two steps between compounds. don’t forget last year we had softs and supersofts at a few races.

    2. @spud They’re all just one step apart, and as @sato113 rightly says there has never been a rule against that.

      1. I’m confusing it with something else then. (I can’t think what though). :P I stand corrected so.

  12. Im quite keen to see which compounds Pirelli bring to Bahrain(if it’s even given the green light) for the first time, probably Medium/Soft or Super-soft(highly doubt it) if a bit ambitious/brave given the environment & track traditionally a bit dusty

  13. In this autosport article, I also read that Pirelli are bringing five sets of the softer, and six sets of the harder compound to a race weekend. Does anyone have further information on this, e.g. does this mean 2 sets of the softer compound for qualy and race?

    1. Er..sorry, it’s the same as last year, of course. When I read the article I inexplicably leaped to the conclusion that Pirelli were bringing one set of softs less to a race weekend.

      1. @adrianmorse Afraid so, no change there!

      2. I thought they were going to bring less primes to weekends because no one used them as much?

  14. All I want from Pirelli are a Super-Soft/Medium Canadian GP if it is dry.

  15. Interestingly, a completely different strategy to last year. The performance difference between the compounds should be much smaller this year (0.5-0.6s I heard) and that coupled with the first 3 races only having 1 step between the compounds as opposed to 2 last year AND softer tyres should address the fact that most teams managed to figure out last years Pirelli’s and make them last quite well.

  16. Has Hard and Medium ever been a combo before since 2 compound rule was introduced in 2007? Off top of my head, I’m saying no…

  17. I may be on the minority side but I feel that Pirelli made F1 less intresting last year.

    I know that most will point to the high passing figures & point out how Pirelli played a big role in that but in my opinion much of what Pirelli brought to F1 was artificial nonsence.

    Watching cars simply cruising past other cars because of the difference in compounds or because of differing wear rates was just as bad as watching someone cruise easily past another car because of DRS.

    The Pirelli’s didn’t create better racing just like DRS didn’t produce better racing, All both did was generate overly easy passing at the expence of actual racing.

    Both the tyres & DRS severely devalued overtaking last year & in many cases made the “pass” predictable, Not what good racing is!

    Jook at Mark Webber’s comments post Shanghai about how the passing he did wasn’t very fun because the cars he was driving by had nothing to defend with, I for one did not find that sort of “Racing” fun to watch.

    Give me a real, close racing battle with a legit overtake over the garbage DRS/Pirelli led pass-fest we had through 2011 anyday!

    1. I do agree with you to a certain extent. I agree with your point about the Pirelli’s being no better or worse than DRS. I think tyres tend to be forgiven as they’re seen as a fundamental part of the car (obviously) whereas aero is a relative and still not completely understood newcomer. Both tyres and aero carry heavy burdens for the car and both have been engineered to perform a certain way.

  18. Weren’t it suppose to be there a big gap between the two tyre compounds that is choose in each weekend? Like Soft & Hard together & Super-Soft & Medium together? Don’t understand why they took Hard in Malaysia??

  19. Well the more softer the tyres the better for ferrari. they should get the most out of the tyres this year.. Thanks Pirelli.. Thats what i want too see, ferrari & Mclaren back on top. None of this RedBull Buy our drink And be a sheep ********.

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