They say there’s and easy way and a ridiculously complex and unnecessary way to do things and it appears the decision makers in Formula One always opt for the latter approach. In fact it is rumoured in the hallowed portals of the Place de Concorde that Jean Todt thinks Occam is a competitor of Gillette.
One of the most useful proposals coming from the F1 strategy group in 2015 was from Force India who suggested that teams be allowed a freedom of dry tyre choice for each race, rather than the current system which sees Pirelli select two compounds from it’s range of four.
Pirelli weren’t all that happy about this and the old ‘safety’ chestnut was quickly on the agenda. However, the strategy group agreed on the Force India proposal, which forced Pirelli to play ball.
Pirelli’s concern about allowing the teams complete freedom was based upon the possibility that a midfield team would select the super soft tyre as one of their compounds at a circuit where the optimum choice would be maybe the medium and the hard – thus destroying the tyres in a matter of minutes. The reason a midfield team may take this apparently nonsensical course of action would be to have a glory run in Q3 in Saturday’s qualifying, but be ill equipped for the race on Sunday.
This also concerned those who place a lot of weight on the history of Formula One records because the thought of Sauber’s and Manor cars topping the time sheets would devalue the achievement of claiming pole position.
Soon after the strategy group agreement on the teams being allowed this freedom, the Italian tyre manufacturer began letting it be known, they were working on an extreme soft compound to add to their range of four dry weather tyres. To be fair to Pirelli, this kind of compound would spice up certain races where even the super soft and soft compounds are only delivering one-stop race strategies.
The teams tested various prototypes of this tyre in Abu Dhabi this week, though as yet there is no word from Pirelli as to how successful the test was from their perspective.
Following the meeting of the WMSC this week, we now have the details of how exactly the tyre selection process will be managed for 2016.
Sit back and concentrate.
During a race weekend, the teams have been awarded 13 sets of tyres per car and this will not change in 2013. Pirelli will select three compounds from their range of extreme soft, super soft, soft, medium and hard compounds and the team will get to choose some weeks in advance which two they wish to run. Interestingly, the teams can opt for different selections for each driver. On hearing this news, it is highly probable that Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe began drinking heavily.
Pirelli will nominate from its three compounds, 2 sets for each car for use only in the race. The two sets may be different compounds and at least one of these two sets MUST be used in the race. If they are different compounds, the teams can then chose which one they run.
Further, the teams must also take one more set of the softer of the two race compounds nominated by Pirelli and use it should they make it through to Q3. This leaves them freedom to choose two compounds form the three on offer from the remaining 10 sets they require for the weekend.
The teams will be given a deadline by Pirelli by when they must nominate the tyre selections they are making. Pirelli will manufacture the tyres to order and any team failing to inform Pirelli of their decision by the deadline will be allocated tyres decided on by Pirelli.
Pirelli will reveal to the world, the teams’ selection two weeks before the race weekend where they will be deployed.
During the weekend, the teams must return tyres to Pirelli according to the following schedule.
- One set after 40 minutes (up from 30 minutes this year) of FP1
- One set at the end of FP1
- Two sets at the end of FP2
- Two sets at the end of FP3
- For teams making it into Q3, they will return the Pirelli nominated tyre for this session.
- For the teams not making it to Q3, they can keep the Pirelli Q3 nominated tyre and use it if they wish in the race.
Cars will start on the tyre they set their quickest time in Q2 – as happens now.
What was a beautiful idea from Force India has now become…. Well – you decide.
This does mean if the team/driver does not select the same two compounds as Pirelli nominate for Sunday, they could end up using three different compounds during the race.
The tangled web we weave eh Jean?