Drivers’ tyre selections for first race announced

2016 F1 season

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Pirelli has confirmed which tyres each driver has chosen for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne next week.

Drivers were given a choice of the medium, soft and super-soft compounds for the first race of the year at Albert Park in Melbourne. The super-soft tyre must be used in Q3 and drivers must have a set of soft and medium tyres available for the race, at least one of which must be used.

Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have all chosen the same allocation including six super-soft and five soft sets. However Lewis Hamilton has taken an extra set of soft tyres leaving him with just a single set of mediums.

Red Bull, Williams, Renault, Toro Rosso, Sauber and Haas have all gone more aggressive with their choices, selecting seven sets of super-soft tyres for each of their drivers.

Manor has departed most significantly from its rivals teams, selecting four sets of mediums while no one else has more than two.

Last year every driver had seven sets of medium and six sets of soft tyres for the race weekend. The average selection this year is 1.7 sets of medium tyres, 4.7 sets of softs and 6.45 sets of super-softs.

Lewis HamiltonMercedes
Nico RosbergMercedes
Sebastian VettelFerrari
Kimi RaikkonenFerrari
Valtteri BottasWilliams
Felipe MassaWilliams
Daniel RicciardoRed Bull
Daniil KvyatRed Bull
Kevin MagnussenRenault
Jolyon PalmerRenault
Nico HulkenbergForce India
Sergio PerezForce India
Max VerstappenToro Rosso
Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso
Fernando AlonsoMcLaren
Jenson ButtonMcLaren
Marcus EricssonSauber
Felipe NasrSauber
Pascal WehrleinManor
Rio HaryantoManor
Romain GrosjeanHaas
Esteban GutierrezHaas

2016 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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135 comments on “Drivers’ tyre selections for first race announced”

  1. i think 2 sets of mediums is a good choice. strange that hamilton only chose one, as mercedes havent hardly tested much on softs, and when he drove on them he complained that more setup work was needed.

    1. Didn’t they have to make their choice BEFORE then even tried out the tires? I suspect if that is the case, the teams/drivers may regret some of their choices now they know what the tires are like!

    2. can HAM use the medium only in practise and go for supersoft and soft in the race or must he use the medium in the race?

      1. Hasthika Gunaratne
        8th March 2016, 17:07

        He can only use that medium if he chooses to do so in the race.

  2. confused, but are we still going to get a 1 stop race? :/

    1. @sato113 With the top ten drivers starting on super-softs, almost certainly not.

      1. @keithcollantine So the drivers are now starting on their Q3 tyres again as opposed to their Q2 ones as we have seen over the last few years?

        This new qualifying system is made even more complicated by the silly tyre regulations.

        1. @craig-o I’m assuming that they’ll need to use super-softs to get through Q2 which is why everyone’s chosen so many of them. (And shaking my head at the unnecessary complexity of it all.)

          1. Absolutely! Complex system but predictable result – everyone’s using the same tyres. Like it was said before the season… no-one has the ability to choose and risk with ultrasoft for an example.

          2. @f1lauri To be fair not everyone chooses the same tires. in 3 teams even the choice of the 2 drivers off the same team differs slightly. Many teams have chosen different options from other teams which will probably see a mix up of strategies

            I also disagree with your implication that any tire should be available for any team at any track. 3 options instead of 2 is enough because of track characteristics especially the asphalt abrasiveness variations. To go with your example only a complete fool would choose to go with the ultrasoft in Melbourne as it wouldn’t last 1 lap even, and F1 teams are anything but fools so no one would choose it anyway. Same with the hard compound. You probably could run the whole race on the hards in Albert Park without pitstops but what’s the point if everyone can stop twice but still be ahead of you? No defensive driving artistry will help you if you’re 3sec/lap slower than everyone. Again no one would choose it here. Unless you specify in the rules that all drivers must run at least one “stupid” compound in the race but that would be pure lunacy and not F1

          3. Complex enough? Not really. F1 technoruleacrats had a perfect oppourtunity to deliver a double dose of impenetrable complexity and stopped short of the pitbox. If only they had tied the Elimination qualifying into an Elimination Tire combo, they could have stymied everyone including the best and brightest F1 strategists.

            Imagine the entertainment value of the Q2 Elimination Festival of Clocks, that just when it seemed Vettel was going to be eliminated, but was saved because he was running the safe tire, but Hamilton, even tho he was fastest at the strike of the elimination clock, gets eliminated because he was on the elimination tire. And with much glee, Whiting would only announce which tire the elimination tire would be 10 seconds before the elimination clock triggers the alarm. Media pundits go nuts over talking about stuff they don’t know about, like the future, so the tension would be as palatable as any faux-drama on TV.

            Sure, I’ve over-simplified the implementation for the sake of internet sanity, but nothing entertains fans of motosport’s pinnacle of speed than spending days staring blankly at the latest obtuse FIA missive on the intricacies of new areas of rule tweaking that no one had ever considered to tweak, while sober.

            Disappointed in you, FIA. Again. You’ve created some more complex regulations designed to entertain, because you care about entertaining fans, but within weeks a bunch of internet posters (and all the teams) have them figured out. Pfft.

        2. @craig-o I believe they still start with their Q2 tyres. I assume that Keith meant they will need to use SS anyway thus starting on SS.

        3. They start on Q2. So yes, it is possible someone can start on softs if he will be quick enough on this compound to get through to Q3.

      2. Keith, I have a question, regarding new Qualy rules

        Are the drivers allowed to finish their running lap when the clock resets or are they taken out to the pit if they weren’t fast enough at the moment the clock was on “zero”

        1. With the caveat that the definitive regulations haven’t been published yet, I would take the phrase ‘slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds‘ to mean that the cut-off happens when the clock runs out. If drivers were allowed to complete the lap they were on it would get very confusing. Not that the system isn’t already unnecessarily complex.

          1. @keithcollantine Thanks for your insight, we’ll see what happens (i am more a reader than a poster, but keep up the good work – especially with reacting on the forum)

      3. Hmmm. Unless they start on SS and after 10-15 laps change to a set of mediums for the rest of the race. We’ve seen before how teams are able to make these tyres last for ages now.

        Anyway, I don’t care about these rules as long as we don’t have 1 stop races, which have proven to be boring.

  3. does each driver HAVE to use a set of mediums AND HAVE to use a set of soft in the race? or just one of those?

    1. We don’t know which tyres Pirelli nominated for the race. I think they went for one set of soft and one set of mediums. They nominate two sets out of 13 and the drivers have to use at least one of the two of them during the race. Also they are required to use at least two different compounds during the race. So hypothetically, Hamilton can’t do medium + medium (1-stop race).

      1. Hamilton can’t do that because he only has one mediums. Hahahahaha

        1. Yeah, I confused him with Rosberg ;) Also I read now they can actually run a mandatory Pirelli tyre during FPs.

        2. Well assuming he gets through all the rounds of qualifying he’ll start on SS, then move onto the softs for the remaining stints. So he’ll comply with the rules.

          1. @Man United_vettel

            It was a team decision and not the drivers. Also you laugh, have you considered that he could go SS-S-M or SS-M-S in the race, which is pretty much the same option for ROS. So what exactly is so funny about the choice made?

          2. @kgn11 have you thought that SS and S tyres with the car still heavy will last nothing specially on the merc

        3. @Kgn11 I’m laughing not because of the team’s choice but Michal’s example which cannot be possible

    2. No. and it appears from the tire selections, that some teams are planning on running Softs and Super-softs the entire weekend. The Mediums are just there to fulfill the regulations.

  4. Wondering why the tyre choices by the Merc drivers are different (Ham has one more soft, but one less medium). Since Merc always insists for both of them to use the same strategy I would have thought they order the same tires for their drivers as well.

    1. Maybe not this season.

    2. My only thought is that Rosberg will run the extra mediums in practice. and then give them back. This will give Mercedes some information on them , should they need to be used in the race. Hamilton will give an extra set of softs back during practice, then they’ll both have the same tire allotment for the rest of the weekend.

      1. Yep, that’s what Merc have said (

      2. That makes a lot of sense yeah.

    3. Paul Heppler
      8th March 2016, 17:00

      Toto said that it was a team decision to cover more bases.

    4. I was saying the same thing a few months. I’m surprised as well.

  5. Looks complicated but also shows Pirelli was really conservative last year with softs + mediums.

  6. Good to see Hamilton and Rosberg on different strategies. Will be interesting to see how this pans out in Melbourne. Hamilton has definitely gone against the grain on what I’m going to call 1/6/6. Almost everyone else on 1 Medium has gone 1/5/7, except for Alonso. I think this means Hamilton feels he can make the tyres last. We’ll have to see.

    1. @keeleyobsessed Nope, they are simply doing it so they can gain as much information as possible, Rosberg will run an extra set of mediums, so can test on FP and hamilton will do the reverse on the soft during FP, that means that during qually and the race they will have the same amount of each compound just with the added information of both compounds. So if they find in FP that mediums are the tyres for the race then both ROS and HAM will have a set and if they find the softs are the way to go then they will both have the same number of sets of softs, seeing as they will simply give the extra set of the compound back, Softs in the case of Hamilton and Medium for Rosberg. Nothing to do with putting them on separate strategies, which is obviously something they aren’t going to do at the first race of the season with tyres choices they needed to make before they even went testing.

      1. @ Woody91 – Thanks for the breakdown. It was doing my head in but that explains it nicely. :-)

  7. “The super-soft tyre must be used in Q3 and the soft and medium tyres are the mandatory compounds for the race.”
    It’s a bit ambiguous since they have to run only one of those two, however I agree that it would be difficult to be clear without being longer than rules themselves.

    That’s great if Pirelli publishes tyre choice for every race, that adds to the insight for fans. Not much difference except for Manor and RedBull which doesn’t seem to fancy softs that much, but it can be argue that they can race the same distance on every compound (more or less) with such picks.

    Will see at Melbourne if that really comes into play during the race.

  8. As the medium is mandatory for the race, does having one set only mean not driving it in free practice?

    1. @crammond
      They can’t drive on a mandatory Pirelli tyre during FP.

      1. They can run the “race-tires” in FPs, but they can’t give them back before the race.

        The only set they are not allowed to run in FPs is the set for Q3.

    2. They just have to have a set of mediums available for the race, doesn’t mean they have to use them. If Mercedes has no intention of running Hamilton on Mediums then there is no point in getting extra sets for practice.

      1. Paul Heppler
        8th March 2016, 16:54

        Hamilton can still run the Mediums in the first 40 minutes of FP2 , swap them with Pirelli, and still save them for a back-up set in the race.

        1. Paul Heppler
          8th March 2016, 20:45

          Sorry, I meant run the Mediums for a five-lap set up run then switch to one of the others to give back to Pirelli.

  9. First impression: There’s going to be a lot less running during practice this year.

    1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
      8th March 2016, 15:18

      Good. Less practice, less data, less meticulous planning of the race.

      Bad for spectators I guess but they will overlook it if the racing is more mixed up.

      1. They have driven at these circuits so often and have so much information on the tyres as it is, not to mention the simulator works that goes on, I don’t think less practice makes all that much difference to the outcome.

    2. Which can make the race less predictable like COTA last year.

      1. @illusive I get the logic but I think the wet track at the start helped more.

      2. @illusive, as Keith says, the reason why that race was so variable was because the track conditions evolved so rapidly across the course of the race. Unless the weather conditions are similarly variable in Melbourne or we see a repeat of the unusually high rate of attrition that occurred in 2015, I wouldn’t expect there to be wild variations in the race.

    3. Actually @keithcollantine it seems there would be lot of running since teams will still have to give back tyres according to a certain schedule, but they can decide which tyres to give back at the following times, 1 set after the first 40 minutes of FP1, 1 set at the end of FP1, 2 sets at the end of FP2, 2 sets at the end of FP3.

      Apparently this is done to encourage teams running in practice sessions. Well if teams still decide not to run is a different question altogether, like @woodyd91 mentioned they have so much tyre data.

      1. @illusive Off the top of my head those deadlines for returning tyres are very similar to what was in place last year. The more important difference is teams have much softer tyres so they aren’t going to be able to run on them for as long in practice.

  10. What tyres do they have to give back and when in practice?

    1. They have to keep one medium (race), one soft (race) and one super soft (Q3).

      Of the remaining 10 sets it’s their choice which of those they want to give back at any fixed time:

      One set after 40 Minutes of FP1 (actually handed back AFTER FP1, but can’t be used after 40min)
      One set after FP1
      Two sets after FP2
      Two sets after FP3

      If a driver gets to Q3, he will have to give back his Q3-tire, too. If a driver fails to make Q3, he can keep that set for the race.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        8th March 2016, 22:36

        crystal clear. I wish I could bookmark this comment, @lheela.

        1. You can, by first clicking on the comment’s timestamp.

          What a farce all these rules have become.

          1. @estesark

            +1. I used to like getting to know the weird little rules and trying to work out clever loopholes teams could exploit (i am a cricket fan so that’s natural to me) but this is just wearing me down. it’s so uninteresting because once they shake the bag a bit, all the heavy pieces fall to the bottom and the teams have calculated the best strategies April. hence, everyone will run the same tyres, give or take a few failed gambles.

  11. Oh god knows how the Sky team are going to give the viewers any idea of what strategy each driver will or could be running during the race I don’t know, they struggle now. Combine these new tyre rules with qually and my head already hurts, and judging by reaction online I’m not the only one.

    1. Paul Heppler
      8th March 2016, 20:36

      Better Yet … switch C4 and watch Eddie Jordan’s head spin.

      1. Oh god no thanks, his shirts give me a headache as it is, not to mention trying to listen to him explain the system.

        1. Paul Heppler
          8th March 2016, 21:49

          I can’t wait. I must remember to go pee first, though.

  12. So a few can’t run mediums in practice at all.
    Also manor, seems to not have been able pick their choice of allocation, instead, being given the dafaults by fia which is 4/4/5

    1. It probably means, they won’t be using it for the race either.

      1. they have to use one set of mediums in the race @illusive (unless its a wet race). So that means that @siegfreyco is right – the drivers who have only one set of mediums ordered will not get to run them in practice.

        1. @bascb they only have to use one of the reserve tyres provided by Pirelli during the race which would be either Soft or Medium. So if Hamilton assuming posts his Q2 time in SS, then in the race he wouldn’t need to use Mediums unless the strategy dictates otherwise since he would have started his race using the SS Q2 tyres and pit to change to soft to use one of the allocated tyres by Pirelli.

          @keithcollantine mentions this in the 2nd para of this article “drivers must have a set of soft and medium tyres available for the race, at least one of which must be used”.

          1. true @illusive, but that still means that Hamilton cannot run the medium in FP session, as then he would not have it available for the race anymore.

          2. “as then he would not have it available for the race anymore”.

            @bascb While you are right about hamilton not running mediums in practice, but your above conclusion is wrong. Here’s why…

            He cannot run the mediums in practice because they are reserved by Pirelli for race. Remember, 3 sets of tyres (in this race 1Med, 1Soft, 1SS) are reserved by Pirelli out of the 13 sets given in a weekend.

            2 for the race and 1 softest compound for Q3. Drivers choose 10 sets of their choice of any of these 3 compound . So here we have only 1 medium set available for Hamilton which means its Pirelli’s reserve tyre for the race since Hamilton didn’t pick medium tyres compounds in his 10 allocated sets.

          3. well, isn’t that what I mentioned, that Hamilton cannot use that set during FP (because it HAS to be available for the race) @illusive.

    2. Are they using last year’s data…?

      1. I think Manor wants their drivers practicing as much as possible before the race! It will also help them to set the new car.
        I’m actually surprised that Haas have not followed the same route!!

    3. @siegfreyco They did it on purpose. They will use them to get as much info as possible in the FP. They will go for an one stop race, they have the pace for haas and sauber. They will jump the mclarens when they first stop and ruin their race because they have an engine. At the start a couple of drivers won’t pass the first corner (betting on Palmer). A Renault or a TagHeur engine will blow up and a STR driver will get a penalty.

      They will fit a softer tyre for the second and last stint and Wherlein (is this spelled correctly?) scores a point

      If anyone asks you read it here first

      1. Forgot the error of the Williams team. Still one point, don’t want to sound too abituous

    4. Paul Heppler
      8th March 2016, 21:40

      Drivers can run “Scuffed” tires in the race. So they will probably do 5 laps for set-up and not give them back then run them for the second or last race stint if they need to.

  13. Didn’t Pat Symonds say during testing that had they known what they do know they would of choosen different tyres for Melbourne?

  14. @keithcollantine
    The graph shows Force India having 6 sets of super softs, while the article says 7.

    1. @rojov123 Sorry it should have said Renault in the article. Corrected.

  15. Why can’t they just refer top the tyre as soft medium and hard?

    1. There is a hard compound tyre but it’s not been made available for this race.

      1. Paul Heppler
        8th March 2016, 21:45

        So the new tire terms are Prime, Option and Last-Chance ?

      2. I meant as a way to make it a bit more understandable for fans, whichever compound they bring whether it be ultra soft, super soft, hard etc., there will be three differing compounds which, to make it a bit more palatable, could be just referred to as ‘Soft, Medium and Hard’

        1. In that scenario the same tyre could be called ‘medium’ at one race and ‘hard’ at another, for example. I don’t agree that would be less confusing.

  16. Never thought I’d need a slide rule and super computer to figure out qualifying.

  17. Mercedes have let Rosberg and Hamilton decide their own tyre choices. I think that is an ominous sign. They must be confident that they are so far ahead of Ferrari that they are letting their drivers fight it out.

    1. Or spreading their bets in case one strategy is much better than the other and they feel they need everything they can get.

      1. No, as already explained by a few people all they have done is ensure one driver runs a soft and one a medium during practice, so then they both have the same tyre choices left over for the race and the team gets good data on both the tyres during practice.

  18. Personally, I think this means that Hamilton doesn’t think he will need Mediums for the race. He is likely to run only S/SS through the entire weekend, but must have a set of mediums for the race.

    I would suggest he will only use the mediums if he finds he absolutely needs them during the race, and is taking the gamble that he won’t (as he will have no data on them from practice).

    Those having 2/5/6 are likely to use a set of Ms in practise to get some data, but also expect not to need them in the race. It’s the same strategy but with a little more caution.

    1. (note: this is just guesswork, of course, but seems to fit)

      1. It may be guesswork, but that’s the way I see it panning out too.

        1. I wish it was their choice. This was a team decision from what i understand. Which in turn will have them the same tyres for the race

          As @woodyd91 put it nicely:
          Nope, they are simply doing it so they can gain as much information as possible, Rosberg will run an extra set of mediums, so can test on FP and hamilton will do the reverse on the soft during FP, that means that during qually and the race they will have the same amount of each compound just with the added information of both compounds. So if they find in FP that mediums are the tyres for the race then both ROS and HAM will have a set and if they find the softs are the way to go then they will both have the same number of sets of softs, seeing as they will simply give the extra set of the compound back, Softs in the case of Hamilton and Medium for Rosberg. Nothing to do with putting them on separate strategies, which is obviously something they aren’t going to do at the first race of the season with tyres choices they needed to make before they even went testing.

      2. Don’t forget that for the first 30 (or 40) minutes of FP1, they all get an extra Prime tire (Medium in this case) to run and to then give back. So Hamilton can and will run this tire in FP1 and still have that other Medium for the race, if necessary.

  19. My head hurts already and that’s before Qualifying starts.

    Will the teams still get a set of the softest tyre for P1 that has to be handed back after the first 30 minutes? If not we won’t be seeing too much action.

    Is there a “mandatory” tyre that must be used during the race or do teams just have to use two different compounds?

    Will my head explode before the race actually starts :)

    1. Every driver has to hand back one set of tires after 40 minutes of FP1. What tire they give back is their choice, as long as they have one soft, one medium (both for the race) AND one super soft (for Q3) left.

      In the race each driver has to use either a set of softs OR mediums (they CAN ofc run both, be they need to run just one of them). Also each driver HAS to use two different compounds.

  20. “The super-soft tyre must be used in Q3 and drivers must have a set of soft and medium tyres available for the race, at least one of which must be used.”

    Keith, one clarification on this. Does it mean 1) either one of the soft set or the medium set must be a “used” set
    or does it mean 2) either one of soft or mediums must necessarily be ‘used’ in the race
    1 or 2?

    1. It’s Option 2

    2. @sumedhvidwans ‘Used’ as in ‘put on the car during the race’, not ‘used’ as in ‘has been on the car before the race’. Hope that’s clear!

  21. I would love it if the medium was the tyre to be on, say 10 seconds a lap faster, and Manor won the race.

  22. I think that the only two teams who will do a bit of a different strategy are Red Bull and Toro Rosso. Four sets of soft tyres are not a lot, so maybe they will use more super softs.
    As for the rest.. well I can’t see a lot of differences (except Manor, but I think that they didn’t have the time to choose their allocation properly). Hopefully in other tracks we will have more variety.

  23. Love the way the rules insist a certain tyre ( medium for this race ) has to be shipped half way round the world and yet can still be left in the truck for the entire weekend.

    1. The logistics behind F1 is a big exercise in being pointless.

    2. Yeah all this ‘Fuel Efficiency/Fuel Saving/Hybrid blah’ but no one thinks about how much fuel is used transporting all these extra tyres etc around to every event.

      1. Shipping 100 or so tyres around the world is nothing compared to the benefits these engines will have on road cars. Of course I have no evidence for this claim, but I presume some of the tech is finding its way down the line.

      2. EF1: You could say exactly the same about any sporting event. In fact a lot of activities.

        Why transport 16(?) teams, let alone all their fans, half way around the world for the football World Cup?

        Why manufacture things in China then transport them to the UK, US, EU etc?

        At the company I work for, why transport a huge quantity of stock plus about 20-30 staff to London, just to exhibit at a trade show?

    3. My understanding….. is that the Medium will be used by everyone for the first 40 mins of FP1. This set of mediums is additional to the allocations listed. As usual I stand corrected.

  24. well i believe there maybe 2 likely strategies:

    Strategy 1) Super-soft – Soft – Soft
    Strategy 2) Super-soft – Medium – Super-soft

    hopefully we some variety in the race. (We may even get someone like ‘Sergio Perez’ trying a 1-stop *Soft – Medium*) – as he may not make it through to Q3, he would have “Free Starting Tyre Choice”

    I predict a HAMILTON vs VETTEL Curtain Raiser.

    Expect to see a lot more variation in allocation say at Bahrain or China, were degradation is high?

  25. Seems teams are treating the nominated Option tire as their Prime tire and the faster free choice tire as the Option. Then it’s just a matter of how conservative the teams wanted to be with the nominated Prime tires. I imagine and extra set of Mediums will come in handy for doing some additional testing in FP1, and getting a sense of the tire if they needed it for the race.

    Those with an extra set of SS (7 instead of 6) would be able to run one in FP2. That may give us insight into teams that may try a SS-SS-S/M strategy during the race. With the elimination format, I can’t see any team using anything but the SS in Qualifying, except maybe Mercedes.

    Do teams still get one extra set of Prime tires in the first 30 minutes of FP1? Do all the teams start qualifying with 6 or 7 total tires for to be used in qualifying and the race? Do they need to give back specific sets of tires after each FP?

  26. It has been interesting reading through these comments and those on the Autosport forum.

    It says something for the complexity of these rules that even hard core F1 fans are confused as to how this all works.

  27. It may look complicated but i like that pirelli has gone agressive with the tyre options, meaning that last year the SS was not available and there were thrice as much set of mediums for last race in Melbourne.

  28. Keith….. please, please, please design a ‘Tire Tracking/Qualifying Following’ app. for the likes of me.

    Either its getting way too complex, or I’m getting way too old :(

    1. Maybe you’re just a little tired?

    2. @stubbornswiss I’ve swapped emails with Pirelli about potentially getting some more information during race weekends which will help make things clearer. If we come up with something it’ll probably appear within the usual analysis articles on Friday and/or Saturday.

      1. (@keithcollantine Ok great. Thank you.

  29. Testing: Though efforts to reduce costs in F1 has lead us to what appears to be a meager sum of test days across a season, just how many miles of testing (on average) were done by the teams before the current limitations and of those miles how many were deemed truly useful to enhancing performance? Quantity does not necessarily breed quality and though I did enjoy randomness of test days across the entirety of the season, how many actually produced quantifiable improvements?

  30. I long for the days without multiple compounds. It’s done nothing to spice up the racing in the long term. Teams adapt to these silly additions quickly, and then everyone does basically the same thing all season. The only real exception I can think of is dinner of Kimi’s races in the Lotus, which was very easy on the rubber. I also don’t understand limiting how many sets they have. It’s one of the reasons we don’t see more running in practice and qualifying. They should be allowed to use as many sets as they want. I have no problem following the different compounds if I have my timing app running, but I’m a long time, fanatical spectator. I think it must be extraordinarily confusing for a casual fan, and incomprehensible for someone new to watching F1. I think it is probably doing more harm than good.

  31. The super-soft tyre must be used in Q3 and drivers must have a set of soft and medium tyres available for the race, at least one of which must be used.

    I wish they could just get rid of all these tyre regulations, then I could fully support these new rules.

    I also think that practice tyres should have no link to qualifying and the race.

  32. I still don’t understand how this works or how it will ‘improve’ anything… Same with the qualifying.

  33. 25th year of watching F1 and for the first time I’am close to being completely mind boggled as to how these tyre rules work. Have I guessed right in thinking that each driver may have a guaranteed 3 brand new sets of Tyres for the race fp1 13 + 1 = 14 then – 1 = 13. FP2 13-2= 11. FP3 11-2 = 9. Qualy 9- around 4= 5 ????? :/

  34. Manor frustrates me.

    Haas has come in, emulating the successful teams, both in design and sporting decisions. Surely it’s time Manor stepped up. Don’t just do your own thing, time to actually compete. Even if it still gets them last.

    When their choice is so separated from everyone else, I really doubt that it’s the most effective solution.

    1. I think someone said above that they missed the deadline for nominating their tyre choices, which left them with the default.

      Not sure whether this is accurate…

  35. My actual job title is “Data Manager”.

    But I can not get my head around these tyres rules at all. Granted I’m not putting much effort into understanding this, but come on this is meant to be a sport.

    People are complaining about the elimination qualifying – but these tyre rules have to be the most overcomplicated, unnecessary, contrived rules ever in the history of sport itself.

  36. So can we predict which tyres will be used when? I guess we need to reverse engineer it somehow-

    I’ll assume SS-SS-S as the preferred race compounds. I’ll only look at Top 10 qualifiers

    For the race: So this is one SS from Q2, and you want to have the S and SS as new if possible. You are also required to have the M available for the race (but you won’t use it), and you probably also want one SS and one S as backup in case of puncture or to have additional strategic options. Those will realistically be lightly used ones from qualifying.

    So the 6 compounds for the race are SS-SS-SS-S-S-M.

    For qualifying, you have the additional Q3 SS tyre, which you need to hand back.

    So you go into qualifying with SS-SS-SS-SS-S-S-M. One SS and one S you want to keep new for the race, so in qualifying you will use SS-SS-SS-S with the M just sitting there unused.

    For qualifying, as a top team, you will try to use S for Q1 (but may need SS, especially for crazy elimination qualifying). M is probably out of the question even for the best team. In Q2 you can then reuse SS from Q1 for the first run, and then have your quickest run on a new SS (your race-starting set). For Q3, you use two sets of SS, one of which you have to hand back.

    So in ideal world you can use new tyres for all your runs:

    Q1: S (new)
    Q2: SS (new)
    Q3: SS (new) and SS (new)

    More realistically:

    Q1: S (new) and SS (new)
    Q2: SS (used) and SS (new)
    Q3: SS (used) and SS (new)

    So as mentioned before qualifying you need SS-SS-SS-SS-S-S-M.

    So, this will leave the remainder for practice. Everybody except Manor should be easily be covered here with at least 2 spare sets of SS, 2 spare sets of S, and 0 or 1 set of medium. In fact some may use their only M from the race in practice already if they know they will not need it.

    1. I think that the top teams will only do one run in each qualifying, which will be a new set of SS for each run. There will not be time for a second run, if the first run was not good enough.
      1st Run;
      Out lap -> Qualifying lap -> In lap
      In Garage;
      Fit new tyres, add fuel, adjust settings
      2nd Run;
      Out lap -> Qualifying lap -> In lap
      The drivers will not be able to complete the second qualifying lap before the elimination process starts. This will be especially true on circuits like SPA with high lap times.
      I can see them instead, fuelling the cars for multiple qualifying laps on the same set of tyres.
      So come the end of Q3, I don’t expect any cars to be running. In this case, I can see a big stink coming from the crowd at the circuit.

  37. “Drivers were given a choice of the medium, soft and super-soft compounds for the first race of the year at Albert Park in Melbourne. The super-soft tyre must be used in Q3 and drivers must have a set of soft and medium tyres available for the race, at least one of which must be used.”

    Why is this so “complicated” and “confusing”?

    I think it’s a great move, sure there’s no variety right now but the system has just been introduced, the teams don’t know which tyres their car runs better on… Why are people so quick to down-talk something they haven’t even seen run for a race yet, let alone a season? I can totally see room in the future for a team with a car that works well on it to run a race on mediums while the field uses super soft, awesome strategy variations and therefore a more exciting race are possible now.

    This mentality of constant complaint at the moment is giving me more of a headache than the rule changes themselves :(

  38. Personally, I’d like to see Manor use SS and get out of Q1. Then stick on Mediums and start race on those. If they are only 3 or 4 seconds behind leader, they will be well up in Top 6 perhaps after 1st stops. Then use one car for a one stop strat and put on a 2nd set of Ms and put SS on the other car and see what each can do.

    1. You’re assuming Haryanto can keep up with the others. His testing times suggested he was either struggling to operate the equipment, or sandbagging.

  39. I found this video quite helpful in explaining the rules.
    I am certain I will not be able to remember who has what/how many tyre compounds left during a race. I expect there will be some sort of information graphic made available by FOM to inform us.
    I don’t really want all my energies to be used up on possible tyre strategies during a race. I want to be able to focus on the action taking place on the track, assuming there is some.

    1. Yes, it is useful, but I think it has an error. If you don’t get into Q3, I think you can use the Q3 tyre in the race. The video said that you don’t get those tyres if you don’t get into Q3, which I think is wrong.


  40. @keithcollantine Article says F selected 7 sets of SS, but the chart shows 6, which one is correct?

  41. Add these ridiculously complex tyre rules to the 90 second elimination qualifying and we are left with a circus.

    No wonder the star drivers are saying the sport is broken and lacking direction

    1. What about the teams can bring as many tyres as they want of each compound to the race, but 1 set of mediums and super-softs must be included is so ridiculously complex?

      The one set of medium/softs used during the race is the equivalent of both sets having to be used as per previous years, but allows more freedom if they want to run all the way on mediums.

      1. 1st of all they cannot bring as many as they want, they’re allowed 13 sets. They need to bring one of each compound at least, because one (or two?) compounds are a compulsory tyre to be used during a race (which is nominated by Pirrelli), and the other one has been made compulsory to be used in Q3. So automatically they are forced to use all 3 compounds during that race weekend at some point of time. Let’s not even get started on returning a tyre after each FP session rule.

        Do you think all this rubbish is less complex than last year, when they got 2 tyre compounds with fixed allocations, and let the teams run them as they chose to? Or don’t you think it would just be simpler if they gave them 13 sets of 3 compounds, and let them use it as they chose to?

        I’m glad you understood it, but the fact of the matter is that I’ve been watching the sport for 20 years now, and I haven’t heard of anything as ridiculous as these tyre allocation and qualifying rules

        1. It’s actually not that hard. Before qualifying every driver has 7 sets of tyres left. Ideally any driver would want 3 sets of the softest compound to use in qualifying. Now, depending on strategy (how many race stints can you do on the softest tyre?), you’ll probably see all drivers end up with either 3 sets of the softest, 3 sets of the middle and 1 set of the hardest compound or 4 (soft) / 2 (middle) / 1 (hardest).

          The six additional sets are for practice only, so not that interesting to consider.

          Now there are a few complications I can think of. There can be only 1 mandatory race compound, or one of the mandatory race compounds is the same as the Q3 compound (the softest). In that case, teams don’t have to keep the single least-preferred tyre in their selection. Also a team can give up qualifying performance if the Q3 compound is really unsuitable for race conditions. That way they can add more of the other compounds to their (race) selection. There are a few more things you can come up with, but it won’t change much more than a set here and there.

          If the FIA/Pirelli tyre selection are straightforward, than driver tyre selection will not be that complicated.

  42. This will explain many things —-

  43. Mediums only purpose will be to cover a safety car incident during the race when the remaining race distance is 5-10 laps longer than a reasonable soft tyre stint.

  44. I find it really interesting that teams had selected so few mediums, the tires which most of them now drove most of the race. The drivers with just one mediums would have been in trouble had they damaged their set around the red flag period.

    And then Ferrari had selected two sets of mediums but didn’t run them at all..

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