Tyres, Yas Marina, 2021

Pirelli chooses hardest tyres for first race and splits selection for Melbourne

2022 F1 season

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Pirelli will bring its hardest combination of tyre compounds for the Bahrain Grand Prix, the first race being run under Formula 1’s new technical rules.

The series’ official tyre supplier confirmed its tyre nominations for the opening three grands prix, the first races using the new 18-inch wheels introduced this season.

The season opener in Bahrain will use the hardest combination of C1, C2 and C3 tyres, a step harder than the compounds Pirelli brought to the circuit for the first race of the 2021 season.

At the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, teams will again have access to the C2, C3 and C4 compounds – the same combination that was used during the inaugural race weekend at the new track in December.

With the return of the Australian Grand Prix at the heavily revised Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Pirelli will provide teams with both the C2 and the C3 compounds. However, the soft tyre for the weekend will be the C5 compound, the softest tyre available. It marks the first time since 2018 that Pirelli has chosen anything other than consecutive compounds for a race weekend.

The second pre-season test will take place at Bahrain this week, with a three day test at the Bahrain International Circuit. The season will begin the following week with the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday 20th March.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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12 comments on “Pirelli chooses hardest tyres for first race and splits selection for Melbourne”

  1. I think 2 adjacent compounds and another a couple of steps away is the way to “spice” things up a little for the race… avoids those eeking out a softer compound for too long! :-)

    1. My initial thought but thinking about it, no team would choose the softest compound then. But they could bring C1, C4, C5 to some events. And could hold their hands: “You had the chance to use C1, we told you C4 lasts 10 laps, why didn’t you listen.”

      The hardest compounds for Bahrain makes no sense. Apart from Pirelli still not comfortable with what they are doing tyre structure wise.

      1. @f1mre
        Going for the hardest combination is understandable, given Bahrain GP is a debut for an unfamiliar wheel rim size.

        1. They have been testing 18″ tyres for 2 years now in F2. Different loads but still…

          1. They need a reallife test to varify their data in F1 so that is probaly why they select C1-3.

        2. These tyres are unknown so means nothing to us at this point. No idea if this is a good idea, have to wait and see.

  2. I suppose they play it safe for the 1st race of the season, even though the last years only one team constantly had benefit from harder tyres.

  3. An understandable choice for the opening round, while an interesting one for the AusGP.
    Skipping a step for the first time in four seasons is good for a change.

  4. So the AUS GP has qualifying tyres that don’t have to be used in the race.


    1. someone or something
      7th March 2022, 23:17

      Yep. To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed when I realised the rule change will likely result in fewer strategic options for the Australian GP than three adjacent compounds.
      Back in 2019 (difficult comparison due to the new wheels), the C4 was a decent race tyre, capable of doing 20-30 laps. Not as good as the C3, and some backmarkers had more success on a C3-C2 strategy, but definitely not a tyre to avoid at all cost.
      Well, this year, the C4 is conspicuously missing. Therefore, the softest compound could indeed end up being a pure qualifying/late-race fastest lap tyre choice, but useless under normal race conditions.
      Unless, of course, the C5 turns out to be much more durable than its 13-inch predecessor.

  5. RandomMallard
    8th March 2022, 0:06

    Interesting selection.

    Quite conservative selection for Bahrain. Understandable why they’ve gone harder for the first race of a new era of tyre dimensions, albeit a bit disappointing, because I’ve enjoyed the two stop strategies that have often made Bahrain quite a fun watch in recent years, particularly 2018 and 2021.

    No comments on the Jeddah selection, no surprises at all there.

    Interesting to see them skip a step in Aus. It often used to have quite a soft range if I remember correctly, so I can understand why they might want to go for a C5 compound. Will be great for quali, but I don’t know what effect it will have on tge racing – bearing in mind I think the pitlane has been widened so it will hopefully have a higher speed limit and thus a lower pit delta, but not having a soft tyre that could last more than a few laps could limit strategic options.

  6. Seann Sheriland
    8th March 2022, 1:14

    Would love to see something that might spice up the competition.
    Maybe bring back Michelin as a supplier also.
    Sets up competition in the tire compounds and construction.
    Just a thought.

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