No ultra-soft tyre for Russian Grand Prix

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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Pirelli’s new ultra-soft tyre will not have its debut at the Russian Grand Prix.

F1’s official tyre supplier has confirmed the same selection of tyres for the fourth round of the championship as the opening three events. Medium and soft compounds will be mandatory for the race and super-soft tyres must be used during Q3.

The new ultra-soft tyre was intended for use on low-grip and temporary circuits. Pirelli brought its softest selection of tyres for last year’s race at Sochi, where most drivers made a single pit stop and several covered more than half the race distance on the super-soft tyre.

Having declined to bring the new tyre, identified by purple markings, to Sochi, the ultra-soft is likely to make its debut at the Monaco Grand Prix.

This year’s Russian Grand Prix is being held in early May instead of October, but despite the date change similar conditions are expected.

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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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52 comments on “No ultra-soft tyre for Russian Grand Prix”

  1. To quote a certain British music group: “I wonder why…”

    Although I’d wager this line might hold the key:

    Having declined to bring the ultra-soft tyre to Sochi, the new purple option is likely to make its debut in the Monaco Grand Prix.

    Are we really seeing F1 making performance-related decisions based on sensationalism and bias? (I. e. to make the press proclaim from the Mediterranean house tops that the – otherwise usually dull – ‘marquee event’ Monaco GP was the first one where the new tyre type was used and also to make a mockery of Russia by denying them a more exciting GP even when the tool to do so is now in place.)

    The conspiracy theorist in me senses an uneasy parallel with the latest revision on the 2017 aero rules. If we cannot increase downforce as much as we wanted to (due to Pirelli concerns) then from where to detract the necessary amount? Not from the front and rear wings, no, the public is already familiar with the shape and they would consider a difference another major hectic rule change. No, let’s cut back on the diffuser size instead – that’s the most harmful way overtaking-wise, but no problem if the change can now be marginalised.

  2. If it isn’t going to be used at Sochi they might aswell just stop production of it.

    1. Yeah, what’s the point really. I hope the new tyre rules are scrapped for 2017. It was an interesting idea but it’s implementation is so poor that it will end up being worse than before.

      1. It hasn’t helped that they’ve kept the legacy regulations from the Bridgestone era. If the use both compounds and starting on qualifying tyre rules were scrapped it would be considerably better imo.

        1. I still think they should’ve simply said the teams can pick two compounds of the three nominated. That may lead to softest available for qualifying and hardest for race at every event but at least that would be pure (and alternative selections would be a proper gamble).

    2. still also dont get why Soichi isnt a soft and super soft race (let alone ulta soft)

  3. It will be exciting to debut it at Monaco. Maybe lap records will be broken, and maybe some unexpected teams might understand the tyres better resulting in some surprise grid positions after quali. It might liven up a race that is expected to be boring

    1. the Monaco layout was changes slightly last year, so the lap record is currently the fastest lap from the 2015 race (Dan Ricciardo 1:18.063).
      being that the changes were very slight for overall comparison the lap record on the previous layout (2003 – 2014) was Michael Schumacher with a 1:14.439 in 2004. i cant see the Ultra Soft gaining that amount of time for them – 3.624 seconds.
      worth a note though is the pole record – Jarno Trulli took pole in 2004 with a 1:13.985, compared to Lewis Hamilton last season with a 1:15.098. so if the ultra soft finds 1.113 seconds the qualifying record would go.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      14th January 2016, 13:59

      @todfod– It’s going to rain isn’t it……

  4. So they are obviously saving it for Monaco I was a fan of this new tyre rule at first because I thought it was going to be pirelli give the teams one set they have to pick e.g Medium and then the teams can choose if they want Super Soft or Soft, but this new rule kind of sucks and seems unnecessary especially since now we have no one racing the Super Soft because why would you, those who can use these for the race still have to use both soft and medium

  5. Pirelli probably isn’t confident their new tire lasts round the roundabout at Sochi. What an absolute joke. I didn’t mind their conservatism in 2015 until SPA. But the issues never stop arising, not only are the drivers forced to media silence about the issue. Pirelli themselves do not seem to believe in their own product.

    1. Or they simply decided not to use the ultra at Sochi.

  6. Still don’t fully understand the tyre rules.

    Using Sochi as the example then, the only 3 types of tyre we’ll see are S, M and SS? Nobody’s allowed to bring what they want? But they only have to run one of the mandatory tyres in the race, so they have the choice of SS or S for the other set? Or…..?

    The average fan is going to love all this.

    1. They have to run both the S and the M in the race. Given its a one stop race, nobody will use the SS during the race.

      1. @paeschli possibly true, however given the lack of tyre wear at Sochi and Melbourne as shown from last year, there could be a chance more so at Sochi that one of the cars that didn’t make the top 10 could risk doing a SS stint rather than just soft and medium because think about it the SS will be much faster than the medium plus when you put the medium tyre on it will be newer than the drivers who are forced into just having Soft and Medium (those who qualified in the top 10) so it could actually be quicker. It’s pretty confusing though

        1. @bezza695

          The way I understand it, every team has to run both the S and the M no matter what. Only the SS is optional.

          Would like to have someone confirm this though, these rules are a mess.

          1. @paeschli I thought it was the top 10 get SS for Q3 but not the race and the rest get given a set for the race and its optional as to if they use it.

            Surely Pirelli saying okay this is your prime tyre and for the option tyre you can use either the SS or the Soft would have been much easier to follow

          2. Article 24.4(h)

            Unless he has used intermediate or wet-weather tyres during the race, each driver must use at least two different specifications of dry-weather tyres during the race, at least one of which must be a mandatory dry-weather race tyre specification as defined in Article 24.2(b).

          3. Every driver gets one set of both soft and medium, which have to be kept for the race (these sets can not be returned before qualy).
            In the race, at least one of those sets has to be used, and in total a driver has to use two different compounds.
            So every combination of tires is possible, as long as at least one of the sets used is a “race-set” allocated by pirelli.

            At least thats my understanding of the rules.

          4. … and in total a driver has to use AT LEAST two different compounds… we need an edit button.

          5. Once again it shows how ridiculous the rule is. They bother to write something like

            Article 24.4(h)

            Unless he has used intermediate or wet-weather tyres during the race, each driver must use at least two different specifications of dry-weather tyres during the race, at least one of which must be a mandatory dry-weather race tyre specification as defined in Article 24.2(b).

            If you have to pick 2 amongst 3 choices (teams), you will necessarily have an overlap with any 2 picks (Pirelli) which can be made. Why did they have to mention it except to try (and succeed) to confuse anyone ?

            Teams have to use 2 dry tyre race specs per dry race, period. And they should use a mandatory spec for Q3.

            As simple as that, it really shows how overly complicated F1 is right now. This is the first ‘no rule’ of F1.

          6. at least one of which must be a mandatory dry-weather race tyre 

            But can’t Pirelli make two types of tyres mandatory?

            With my limited knowledge of the English language, I’m struggling a bit with that part of the sentence.

            I interpret it as: Pirelli will mandate at least one tyre, but can also mandate to types of tyred.

      2. @paeschli Nope.

        It’s a common misconception – appallingly, even Autosport reports it consistently wrong.

        They only have to use one of the mandatory compounds.

        1. “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.”

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          14th January 2016, 14:06

          If Autosport and most on here can’t understand the new rules, I think it’s fair to say the “average fan” doesn’t stand a chance.

          I honestly don’t have a clue what the new rules are but it appears that it’s just going to be the same as last year with the exception being that if someone is forced to make an extra pitstop, they have the chance to do something different?

          1. @petebaldwin Good point in your first paragraph.

          2. @petebaldwin we already know 1h40 of commenting for the 10 first races of the season (I’m sure it will be mentioned for at least 10 minutes at each of the 10 first races).

      3. Regardless, it’s still a one-stop race, even with super-softs and softs, as we’ve seen last season, so… It’s hopeless.

        1. Thanks all – ultimately it sounds like we’d all be much happier if nobody had any reason to mention tyres for the next 10 years or so.

          Still haven’t bought a set of Pirelli since that Silverstone and not likely to change any time soon. Just make tyres that can cope with the cars being flat out, take your trackside signage and be happy. You are not the reason we follow the sport. No-one gives a toss about Magneti Marelli, Brembo or Bilstein winning or losing and you shouldn’t be any different.

          1. Just want to point out that Pirelli is asked to create degrading tyres by FIA and Bernie, and that this latest tyre rule adjustment is their response to public demand to allow greater tyre freedom. Everything they’ve done with tyres has been asked for in some way or another.

            That said, barring Sochi, I actually think the new tyre rules can actually make a difference in race strategies.

          2. They were asked to design tyres supporting a 5s lap time improvement and said no. They could have said as a legitimate safety concern they wouldn’t make tyres that became dangerous after a certain number of laps through chemical degradation rather than visually obvious wear.

            They allowed teams to run tyres backwards in an environment of zero testing.

            I agree FOM shoulder some of the blame but Pirelli have dictated the style of the sport we watch for too long. How is the current situation helping their brand one bit? Every headline I read about how tyres are dictating the current regulation changes just makes me wish Michelin would come back and give everyone a fast, long-lasting tyre with broad operating ranges.

  7. Why hype what you won’t even use.

    Yet another own goal.

  8. It’s a shame it wasn’t brought to Sochi, but they probably were unable to due to how restrictive they lobbied to make the rules..

  9. Why not just make it a qualifying tyre that everyone who gets into Q3 gets 2 sets of?

    Under the current idea I don’t think we will see a great deal of this ultra soft tyre which kind of makes however much they spend developing/manufacturing it a bit of a waste.

    1. @gt-racer I think we will after it will be coincidentally brought to Monaco, which just happens to be F1’s biggest race I can see it being ran at Monaco, Canada, Austria, maybe even Hockenheim since they will use SS and S for the main amount of tyres, and Singapore so the chances are it will be used more often than the Hard tyres, I think they want to wait and unveil it at the biggest race of the year which makes sense

      1. @bezza695 Pirelli have already said that the ultra soft will only be used on street circuits.

  10. Kind of lame, it’s just a Monaco special then….

    1. And Singapore and Montreal, probably. Oh, and Baku.

      1. @raceprouk I suppose you’re right though I would question Canada, it really isn’t less demanding on tires than Russia…

        1. I guess. I was just going on the tracks that normally get the red-rimmed super soft.

      2. If Montreal is a street race is Australia also? Russia is also a street race as well if Montreal is?

  11. Will this make Monaco a 2 stop race?

    1. Maybe, just maybe. After all, the theoretical fastest race strategy isn’t worth much if you can’t be 100% sure that your pace advantage will be large enough to keep your one-stopping opponent out of the pit stop window by the time you make your second pit stop. Considering the risk of early safety cars (that would annihilate your advantage), this is a strategy that might be too likely to backfire if you’re one of those who actually have something to lose.

      1. yep, but atlest it opens up strategy. Imagine two ferrari’s taking the 2 stop option behind the mercs. Could be fun ;-)

        1. @maxv
          That’s true. My reservations concerned the front-runners (including the Ferraris), but behind behind those who have everything to lose with a strategic gamble, a lot of different strategies could start to converge by the end of the race, thus adding some excitement to the mid-field battles.

  12. Having declined to bring the new tyre, identified by purple markings, to Sochi, the ultra-soft is likely to make its debut at the Monaco Grand Prix.

    It sums up nicely the current state of F1. They say they want to improve racing by bringing in something new (ultrasoft tyres) or changing something (2017 changes) and go on to hype it up through the roof, only for it to come to a nought.

  13. It amazes me how F1 finds the most confusing way to do everything. First the confusion regarding engine tokens even before 2015 began, then the change tyre pressure and temperature limits for every race after Spa 2015, now these tyre rules…..

    Can someone here please explain me these tyre rules?

  14. So what I gather from this is. . . For Sochi, the top 10 shoot out guys will have to use the super soft but HAVE to start the race with the tyres they set their fastest time in Q2, right?

    My question is what happens to all the other teams except Merc and Ferrari and occasionally RBR who happen to use one of their Q3 sets in Q2 just to get through Q2? Do they have to do 2 stop in places like Sochi when the front runners will just 1 stop since they’ll run both compounds designated for the race in their 2 stints? Doesn’t that make the difference between the field leaders and the chasers larger?

    In the words of one famous Timon. . . ‘Hey, WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?’

  15. Ted Kravitz as usual with a great explanation to everything and making it more understandable and also doing a good job at showing how it can shake things up even more in qualifying

    1. Thank you for the link @bezza695, and Ted Kravitz

  16. So for the race that needed these new ultrasoft tyres the most, there not available??!! Unbelievable!!

  17. Last year Soft and SS this year they are going a step harder even though everyone thinks they need to go a step softer and have the tyre now to do so. Also the new rules are a bit like the emperors new clothes. They give the impression of choice when in this instance there is no choice and only serve to cause confusion to fans. Am I looking at this wrong or this is a stick on 1 stop race in which you must use Soft and Medium in the race but you could use Super Soft but that would mean a 2 stop race?

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