Tyres, Hockenheimring, 2018

Teams could pick any tyres if Q3 rule was scrapped – Pirelli

2018 F1 season

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Formula 1 could give teams total freedom in their tyre selections if the Q3 tyre rule was scrapped, according to Pirelli.

Currently teams have to make their selections from three compounds nominated by the sport’s official tyre supplier. Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer is among those who has argued in favour of opening up the nominations to create greater diversity between strategies.

“We should have free tyre choice from any [compound],” said Szafnauer at Suzuka. “I still think that’s a good idea, not this limited thing that we have now.

“If you want a variety of strategies, make a free tyre choice. Any two compounds you want as opposed to they give you a range of compounds you can pick from.

“Why not leave it up to you? Then for sure you’ll get different [strategies]. Some people will say ‘I really want to qualify high here I don’t care what happens in the race at least I have my Saturday night’. Especially if there’s a race where overtaking’s difficult.

“I doubt we will all come to the same conclusion because if you have disparity in performance and you have disparity in tyres other people might gamble in a different way.”

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Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola said the idea is feasible with one caveat: The requirement that drivers who reach Q3 must start the race on the tyres they used in Q2 would also have to be lifted.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2018
F1 wants more variety between teams’ strategies
Giving teams freedom in their tyre choices was “discussed in the past” said Isola. “It’s not a new idea.”

“Some teams came up with some simulation showing that if we give the freedom to the teams to choose any of the compounds it’s an additional advantage to the top teams because the midfield has to push more for qualifying with a more aggressive selection and then they have to start the race with those tyres selected for quali.

“So I believe it is feasible, provided we also change some of the sporting regulations like not obliging to start on the tyres they qualified on in Q2 or something like that to make something that makes sense.”

Next year Pirelli’s three nominated compounds will be referred to using the same name at each race. The final details of the arrangement are yet to be confirmed.

“Hard, medium and soft is the terminology for next year” said Isola. “We will make an official release, announcement with also the colours because we are still defining the colours. So when the colours are defined, we will release colours and name together.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 17 comments on “Teams could pick any tyres if Q3 rule was scrapped – Pirelli”

    1. It’s interesting that Isola mentions having to change the rule about using Q2 tyres as a disadvantage; I guess it is from the point of being something else to amend the rules, but to me it’s an advantage – that rule has stopped giving us much good in the race, it hurts the last half of the Q3 group, and thus makes it often easier for the top guys to get a pit-gap for their sole pitstop.

      1. Exactly! when I read that my reaction was “bring it on”!

    2. Good, scrap another one of these idiotic tire rules. Next let them race without mandatory pit stops and allow them to use two of the same compound on a race.

      1. +1 imagine VER wouldn‘t have had to pit in Sochi —> proper racing for victory.

        1. But then everyone would’ve been on the softs from the start and no one would’ve had to pit —> same result

          1. I had the impression they genuinely surprised how well the tyres were holding up.
            I don‘t think anyone would go for a planned non-stopper.

    3. Lets say this goes forward, and some teams start to choose softer tyres compared to what would be the norm for a given circuit, if those tyre get destroyed (and I mean proper punctures), who is at fault? The teams because they don’t know how to choose them, or Pirelli because they don’t know how to make them?

      1. if those tyre get destroyed

        That can happen today, @johnmilk.
        Teams seem to be smart enough to pit before that happens; we shouldn’t expect them to lose their senses when given more freedom.

    4. This is a bad idea. It would guarantee one stop races (assuming you’d still need to use at least two during a race). You’d pick the tyres which minimise the time lost in a pit stop every time. Why would a Force India select a hypersoft at Silverstone to get pole, then have to pit on the third lap? To put on what? super hard?

      Hamilton may have got close to the solution. Thinner gauge tyres (to reduce thermal blistering and speed up loss of performance from tyre wear), and Pirelli go aggressive on the compounds (e.g. hypersoft everywhere plus two others – the hardest of which can only go 20-25 laps), so that a one stop strategy by nursing the tyres is so slow no one would go for it (apart from a back market hoping for three safety cars!)

    5. You mean ‘Q2 rule’ to be precise. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be against scrapping the rule that drivers who reach Q3 must start the races on the set used on their fastest Q2 lap to proceed to the final phase of qualifying although, in general, I haven’t had a problem with this approach.

    6. This year we have had 3 winners who stopped twice (in all three cases China, Ajerbaijan and Britain a safety car was involved) and 14 winners on 1 stop strategies.
      Overall I would say we have had a good year of racing, changing fortunes for the top two teams, and the midfield has been very close (even if almost on a different planet to the top three).
      I quite like chaotic races where there are multiple strategies going on, but definitely not every race.
      But if there is something that needs to be fixed more, it is the difficulty to follow a car in front, for which there is already a plan for next year. I would leave the general tyre situation and qualifying well alone for the moment – they aren’t the problem.

    7. Gavin Campbell
      12th October 2018, 12:34

      At least they’ve finally got the notion of calling every tyre a different name is pointless.

      So last weeks softest tyre the red soft is now this weeks hardest tyre. Erm what? Every other series calls them soft/hard every week. The compounds actually change to suit the circuit.

      But the main issue is that this year with these cars the dirty air wake is awful. Puts everyone on a one stop – the rubber has to be hard to cope with the loads going on. Aero grip is completely king.

    8. The starting tire rule doesn’t change much honestly. If you have a wet qualifying but a dry start, so everyone has free choice of starting tires, most will choose the softest to get track position right at the start. Look at Spa and Hungary this year.
      The rule puts an unnecessary restriction on strategies when most start on the softest tire available.

    9. Formula 1 seems now addicted to ‘niptucking’. Any of these little changes will probably never really fix any of the real problems there are. I think the biggest real problem is that the top teams are all running number 1 and number 2 drivers. In the current guise of F1, it would still have been entertaining if the top teams always hire two best possible and equally good drivers. Maybe think of a points system/financial-reward system that encourages that? I know it’s easier said than done regarding that. But it’s a human management decision fix and could be done in no time.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        13th October 2018, 22:19

        @KG A bit of perspective is necessary I feel! After watching their two “Equal” drivers hammer it out against each other in 2014 2015 and 2016, Merc needed a rest! Vettel and Le Clerc next year? Verstappen and Ricciardo?

    10. Get four types of tyre: Hard, soft, wet, and inter. Give each team a big truckload of tyres at the start of the season and just let them work it out from there. Did Stirling Moss have to worry about seven different grades of softness? These are racecars not pillows.

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