2018 Pirelli tyres

No hyper-soft tyres for first three races

2018 F1 season

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Pirelli’s new hyper-soft compound does not feature among its tyre selections for the first three races of the 2018 F1 season.

F1’s official tyre supplier has nominated the soft, super-soft and ultra-soft for the Australian Grand Prix. The medium, soft and super-soft will appear at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

For the Chinese Grand Prix Pirelli has nominated the medium, soft and ultra-soft, skipping the super-soft compound.

2018 F1 tyre nominations

2018 tyres2017 tyres
MelbourneSoftSuper-softUltra-softSoftSuper-softUltra-soft
BahrainMediumSoftSuper-softMediumSoftSuper-soft
ShanghaiMediumSoftUltra-softMediumSoftSuper-soft

2018 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
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  • 33 comments on “No hyper-soft tyres for first three races”

    1. I like it when a compound is skipped at the softer end of the spectrum, leaving a gap in the tyre choices. While it means the softest compound after the gap is the de-facto qualifying tyre, it also tends to bring in interesting permutations to the mix, in terms of race strategy.

      I’d also like Pirelli to opt for softer compounds for races in general, forcing more pit stops, because that opens up the option of allowing someone to do an extra stop.

      For example, if a race requires 2 pit stops, then it is still a reasonable option for someone to opt for an extra pit stop, as the time lost is proportionally diminished (e.g. in a 1-stop race, doing a second stop effectively doubles the time lost in the pitlane, but in a 2-stop race, doing a third stop is only a 50% loss, making a 3-stopper in a 2-stopper race more practical). Likewise, if the default is a 3-stop race, a fourth stop loses proportionally lesser time.

      Or if you really want to shake things up and give teams more headaches, let Pirelli allocate something like 20 sets of hard, 50 of mediums, 100 each of the various softs per team for an entire season. Let the teams use what they want in a weekend, limited to 10 sets of each compound. And once a set is used in a race weekend, its no longer available after that weekend.

      1. Or if you really want to shake things up and give teams more headaches, let Pirelli allocate something like 20 sets of hard, 50 of mediums, 100 each of the various softs per team for an entire season. Let the teams use what they want in a weekend, limited to 10 sets of each compound. And once a set is used in a race weekend, its no longer available after that weekend.

        I love this!!

        1. @phylyp Good observations but I think your last idea is a bit of a stretch, sure it might bring something but it’s one of those “artificial” measures.

          Or if you really want to shake things up and give teams more headaches, let Pirelli allocate something like 20 sets of hard, 50 of mediums, 100 each of the various softs per team for an entire season. Let the teams use what they want in a weekend, limited to 10 sets of each compound. And once a set is used in a race weekend, its no longer available after that weekend.

          First of all, it would further enhance top team dominance as top teams use less tyres and more effectively. Secondly such measure could impact GP in a similar way to engine penalties, with carry over handicaps.

          1. Quite true, @peartree, in some ways this idea of mine ends up being similar to Pirelli’s designed to degrade tyres.

      2. I think that Pirelli doesn’t offer ultra and hypersofts at some races due to safety reasons.

      3. Would be quote boring. Everyone would just chose the fastest tyres all the time and save them for the race.

        1. How do “chose the fastest all the time” and “save them for the race” coexist? I don’t understand what you mean.

      4. @phylyp It’s actually the opposite. You lose a net 20 seconds for every pitstop but you have more chance to claw it back from one stop as the one you are chasing needs to make his compound last for around 150% longer than yours. For 3 stop vs 2 stop you only need each compound to last 133% longer and so on

        1. Very interesting, I didn’t think of it that way @siegfreyco , that makes a lot of sense.

      5. The simplest rule would be to let the team choose their tyre allocation completely freely. That would allow them to choose the tyre which fit their car best and it might not be the same for every car giving specific characteristics which could give interesting races.
        In addition, if only 3 compounds are used by the team, then Pirelli don’t have to bother producing the rest of them and can focus on developing those (or rain tyres which are desperately needed)

      6. With all 2018 tyres a step below their 2017 predecessors hardness, these are more aggressive tyre choices than 2017 from Pirelli. I hope we see an increased number of two-stop races and drivers using the tyre life over fewer laps.

      7. For example, if a race requires 2 pit stops, then it is still a reasonable option for someone to opt for an extra pit stop, as the time lost is proportionally diminished (e.g. in a 1-stop race, doing a second stop effectively doubles the time lost in the pitlane, but in a 2-stop race, doing a third stop is only a 50% loss, making a 3-stopper in a 2-stopper race more practical). Likewise, if the default is a 3-stop race, a fourth stop loses proportionally lesser time.

        As noted before, it’s not about the relative pitlane losses, but the absolute losses. Pitstops actually have diminishing returns, but the feasibility of each strategy depends on tire wear. Given that drivers have to make at least one stop no matter the durability of the tires, higher tire wear is likely going to increase strategic variation, which I think is a good thing.

    2. LOVE the gap for the Chinese GP. Hope to see some interesting strategies, with some opting for a worse quali but better race by completely avoiding the ultra. Could see all 3 compunds play a role. Or, Pirelli is it usual self, and the ultra will last for way to long. But there is promise for some tyre-tactics fun.

      1. Been asking for this gap for 2 seasons now. Please its finally come about.
        If you ask me each team should also have one set of hyper soft each weekend even if it’s not one of the allocated three to go ahead and do whatever they like to. Bit of a wild card that might allow a backmarker to jump into Q2.

      2. Yes. Top teams(Mer, Fer) will likely use the soft tyres in Q2 and still might qualify for Q3, and might use only one pitstop to use Mediums and that will be all.

    3. Interesting to see them skip the supers in China and going for ultras. The top 10 will start the race on suboptimal tyres, quite clearly. P11 on the grid for China might be great.

      1. If they are suboptimal the top teams will try to get through Q2 on their preferred choice, and if those are indeed better they may well succeed doing so.

        1. But the issue is that the ultras might be so much faster than the softs that midfield teams in ultras may be faster than front running teams on softs.

    4. I wish we could just stop talking about tyres constantly.

      Let teams & drivers pick what compounds they want to run out of the range, Let them pit if they want & let them no stop if they want & just stop with this artificially generated degredation & stupid small operating windows so that we can just focus on the actual racing done on the track!

      Having to hear all this conversation about compounds, degredation, thermal nonsense, operating windows, forced stops & all that is just boring & a total turn off.

      It saddens me greatly that Indycar is going the same way this year with more artificial degredation :(

      1. PeterG I think the enthusiasm for tyres has come about because of the lack of overtaking potential in single seat racing period and the tyre selection does open up strategic choices, yes? Anyway ALL tyres degrade, some quicker than others but if you bolted on a tyre which could last an entire Grand Prix, I think you might end up with an ultra boring race tbh. Tyre choice has always been hit or miss in every championship. When I raced in British GT with a heavy American engined high horsepower car, I reckoned I needed a fairly hard compound, so I chose an Avon slick designed for Le Mans. What a schoolboy error! Could never get them warm even in 30 + laps! All my mates with lower power and sticky ‘high deg’ tyres came sailing past, middle digits raised. Point is, tyre choice = strategy so we’ve just got to suck it up I’m afraid..

        1. @baron The thing that really irks me more than anything is that there is no choice, There all forced to run sub-par tyres purely to create artificial entertainment aimed at the lowest common denominator (the low attention span kids).

          I hate these artificially created to degrade, forced stop nonsense that does nothing but result in drivers cruising around nowhere near the limits. This year has been so much better than past few years because drivers could push on the tyres harder than they have been able to since 2011, Going back to tyres that need to be constantly nursed, Tyres that are designed for show rather than racing is rubbish.

          Silly operating windows is just as bad, Never before in the 35 years i’ve been following this sport had i ever heard of teams and drivers struggling to get into a ‘window’ that is so small & so fiddly that even been outside by a tiny fraction results in them been nowhere with little idea on what there not doing to get tyres to work….. its stupid & i’m growing more & more fed up with this sillyness.

          They need to stop controlling these things artificially. Allow teams to pick there tyre supplier, Let them pick whatever compounds they run & lets go racing, Pure racing again!

          Too much focus on show, not enough on racing!

      2. Couldn’t agree more.

        Just let them use what they want and be done with it.

    5. Reckon the Hypers will just be used at circuits like Sochi and Monaco.

    6. Hopefully, the hyper-soft will be used in Sochi, Monaco, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi at least. Furthermore, I hope they’d finally have the courage to bring the ultra-soft to Baku and Monza as they did with Mexico despite the latter featuring similarly high top-speeds to the other two. The new softest compound should be okay for Melbourne as well, so I don’t really understand the decision not to choose it for the Australian GP. Also, if the ultra-soft is okay for the Shanghai International Circuit then why wouldn’t it be okay for Bahrain as well despite the latter sharing similar characteristics and degradation to the former?

      1. @jerejj I forgot to add: the ultra-soft should be okay for Hungaroring as well.

        1. @jerejj Bahrain have higher track temp and abrasiveness. Remember, it was one of the few races this year that saw two stops despite the hardness of the compounds. Next year all those three would be a step softer.

    7. I think if Ross wants the mid field teams to have a chance at race win occasionally, he should do four things:
      1) Force the Q3 qualifiers to start on a new set of the tyre on which they set their best time in Q3
      2) Allow free choice to those who exited Q2 and before
      3) Add gap between tyre compounds which increases the advantage for the 11th placed driver (already being done)
      4) Reduce Q3 to shootout to the top 6 or 8 drivers thereby bringing forward the guy with the advantage.

      Ross may need a couple of races to fine-tune this but it can work. You could occasionally reach a situation where Checo or Sainz are leading the race with a handful of laps left and it could be a thrilling end to a race.

    8. Oh yes, skipping a range of tyres, nothing improves racing better than artificial gimmicks and make half the grid start with a disadvantage.

      Might as well reverse it while we are at it.

      How hard can it be to make just racing tyres?

      1. True that. I am still hoping the tires will at least have a bigger operating temp window next season in an attempt to get cars able to follow each other a little closer for a little longer. Not sure if that is the plan or not. A gradual weaning off of these finicky tires and toward tread wear tires like they said they were going to do for 2017 but didn’t, would be great.

    9. Why are there so many tire choices? Why can’t there just be 3 tires: hard, soft and qually only compounds? Keep the tires simple no matter the track they visit and make the teams engineer around them. KISS all those extras away please (Keep It Simple, Stupid)…I suppose money has something to do with.

    10. Honestly it’s not fair that Pirelli chose not to bring the hyper for Melbourne, it’s a classic Pirelli thing, they go conservative early on but the fact is they are from the very start actively influencing the championship, to be fair the teams should be the ones to pick their 3 compounds for every weekend, and not just how many.

    11. Super, Ultra, Hyper…. what will come next?

      Super-Dooper-Trooper-Soft?

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