With just over a week gone since the 2015 F1 season finale, the teams are already in full swing getting ready for 2015. One matter they must urgently consider is which tyres they wish to run in Melbourne.
Article 24.2 of the latest version of the sporting regulations now states: “Competitors must… inform the FIA, no less than eight weeks before the start of each event held in Europe and 14 weeks before the start of each event held outside Europe, which specifications of dry-weather tyres they wish to use for each of their drivers at the event.”
This means the teams have around a week to inform Pirelli of their choice. The Italian tyre manufacturer will secretly reveal this week to the teams which three compounds it will be offering from which two can be chosen. In previous years Pirelli have taken the medium and soft compound to Albert Park, so it is almost certain they will add to these the super-soft tyre as the third option, given the whole point of this exercise is to increase the number of pit stops and strategy options.
Pirelli will choose two sets of tyres that must be retained for the race – these may be two different compounds. They also a compound for which one set must be saved for Q3.
There is a lottery element to all this and teams may try and second guess which two tyre compounds Pirelli will recommend. If a team can choose a different compound from Pirelli, then they could possibility run three different compounds during the race.
Pirelli require 14 weeks to manufacture and ship the tyres by sea to the far flung corners of the earth. Airfreight is so much more expensive. Hembery explains, “For Australia, we would always have shipped early January to get the tyres there for March to avoid airfreight in any case. But now with the new rules, and the teams deciding, it means things have to be done that much earlier to give us time to produce.”
The teams will only select tyre compounds which they have any knowledge of and have already tested on their cars – for the first European race of the season in May.