Pirelli forced to change 2015 F1 tyre selection policy



Since the monumental fuss created over the initial 2013 tyre compounds, Pirelli have tended to err on the side of caution when selecting tyre compounds for races. In fact, there are those who would suggest the past two F1 seasons have seen Pirelli more conservative than Margaret Thatcher.

Given that Pirelli announced the various new dry tyre compounds for 2015 would in effect be half a step ‘more robust’ than those from last year, TJ13 has been following the Italian manufacturer’s race weekend tyre selections carefully.

TJ13 analysis based on the 2015 Australian GP – which was unusually a one stop race for the vast majority of the field – it became clear were Pirelli continued to mirror their 2014 tyre compound selections at each race this year then they would completely miss their brief. This is that they should produce and select tyres that force the teams to stop each car 2-3 times in a race for new rubber.

Despite early warnings that there was a problem, Pirelli have this year to date brought the same tyre to each race as they did in 2014.

  • Australia – soft, medium
  • Malaysia – medium, hard
  • China – soft, medium
  • Bahrain – soft, medium
  • Spain – medium, hard
  • Monaco – supersoft, soft
  • Canada – supersoft, soft
  • Austria – supersoft, soft

Whilst we await the official announcement, Pirelli have informed the teams of the next batch of race/tyre selections

  • Britain – medium, hard
  • Hungary – soft, medium
  • Belgium – soft medium
  • Italy – soft, medium

These choices are the same as in 2014, with the exception of the Italian GP.

In 2014, Pirelli decided to change the tyre selection for the Belgium GP from the medium/hard compounds they had used in Spa for 2012/2013. This resulted in almost the entire field two stopping to tyres in the race. They have retained this selection for 2014.

Since TJ13’s criticism of Pirelli following the first race of the 2015, others have realised Pirelli’s choices are simply too conservative.

Following the recent Canadian GP, Christian Horner observed: “One-stop races aren’t good for Formula 1. You need to have two to three stops, and that’s important. Unfortunately, the tyres we have now are just a bit too conservative”.

Here is the 2015 tyre strategy which dominated each of the races so far.

  • Australia – 1 stop race
  • Malaysia – 2 stop race
  • China – 2 stop race
  • Bahrain – 2 stop race
  • Spain – 2 stop race
  • Monaco – 1 stop race
  • Canada – 1 stop race

In 2014 Austria was predominantly a two stop race. However, with the 2015 more resilient tyres and cooler temperatures forecast for this weekend we may again be forced to watch a race dominated by cars just stopping for a change of tyres once.

There is little Pirelli can do about the races in Monaco, Canada and Austria, because their 2014 selections were already the softest choice they could make.

However, Silverstone is a different matter. Pirelli could have opted to make a change up from 2014, but they have refused to do so.

The chances are the British GP will also be a one stop race this year, based on the 2014 Pirelli tyre performances.

Last year the race was red flagged on the first lap after Kimi Raikkonen’s over enthusiastic return from an off track excursion caused carnage. The teams on the softer tyre from qualifying immediately switched to the hard compound and then one stopped over the remainder of the race once restarted.

With the tyre compounds locked in for each season and little opportunities to test, Pirelli are somewhat up against it. However, their recent suggestion that for 2016 they wish to create sub-categories for each of the four dry weather tyres is beginning to look favourable.

This would mean there would be three super soft tyres for Pirelli to choose from – each with different characteristics. The same would be the case for the soft, medium and hard compounds.

Currently the teams have agreed to retain the four Pirelli dry tyre compounds for 2016, but they will have a degree of freedom as to the tyres they choose to run at each race weekend.

It is good to see Pirelli being less conservative over their tyre selection for this year’s Italian GP. But by then we could have already been forced to observe 5 one stop and 6 two stop races with the season well into the Autumn.

Whether we like it or not, Formula One has decreed that tyres will be an important factor on how race strategy is planned and affects enormously the spectacle on track. Given this is the status quo, then Pirelli must do better than deliver 3 one stop races and 4 two stop races from the first seven of the current season.

This was not their brief.

10 responses to “Pirelli forced to change 2015 F1 tyre selection policy

  1. why can’t they just make one compound of tyres that last 30mins at 100% effort and 40mins at 90% effort? one compound for the entire season for everyone. 3 sets per session. all chosen with serial number at a pre session lottery. also add three sets of wet and three sets of inters, also all equal compound and also all chosen in lottery.

    dry races usually last 1hr 35mins – 1hr 45min. divide that by three. voila

    • also by my math this would be more “green” with purely having to manufacture and transport only 198 dry sets for a weekend versus the current 242.

  2. I wish they just got rid of the silly tyre rules that dictate that both compounds must be used and that the qualifying tyre needs to be started on, because it just forces everyone to do the exact same thing.

  3. Just saw on Twitter that Pirelli will be going with the soft and medium tires for Monza and nominations for the British, Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix are the same as last year.

    The soft and medium will be available for the Hungary and Belgium, while the hard and medium will be used in Britain at the start of next month.

  4. Dogs with their bones, tj13 with racing on bubble gum tyres and dozens of pit stops per GP.

    Each to his own, I guess. Some people must love to watch drivers cruising to determined pitwall deltas designed to manage tyres, fuel, brakes and PU components for two over thirds of a GP.

    • I think you should read the article properly – it said “If this is Pirelli’s brief” then….

      There’s only one dog with a bone and that is you… TJ13 is simply calling Pirelli to account on the fulfilment of their brief…

      And Nico Hulkenberg today said in the FIA drivers press conference – there was an equal level of fuel saving at Le Mans… so much for flat out racing in WEC???

      The problem for some people is they can’t connect the dots. Flat out racing = no overtaking and very little change in the pecking order at each race from first to last, which is apparently not what the fans want

  5. i really don’t think that pirelli should be making the decisions as to what the race tyres are for each and every race. they are a third party supplier and they should not be able to wield the power to make such decisions. i rather like the idea that the teams make their own choice of what compound to use at what circuit. logistically it would be no problem with teams having to make their decisions known to pirelli three months out. this would also add another element of surprise with teams not knowing what the tyre strategy of each team is until FP1 at each and every race. they may all choose the same but then again different strategies may come out of this which would be more competitive. for example some may choose to do a one stop and others three. better than this prescriptive method used now when we all know that no two teams employ the exact same set up at each and every race. also they should do away with this ridiculous rule re the top ten starting on Q2 tyres. that is simply a nonsense. the only element that should carry over from quali is the grid positions

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