New Tyre Regulations – A guide from Pirelli

The new, somewhat complicated tyre regulations this year have divided opinion amongst the drivers. Some think it might bring in some scope for different strategies and the possibility for some surprise results, at least until the teams have worked out the optimum strategies for the new rules. For your perusal, we have provided a handy guide to the new rules for 2016, courtesy of Pirelli.




In consultation with the FIA, Pirelli will decide in advance which three compounds can be used at each race, and communicate this information to the teams.

The total number of sets that can be used during practice, qualifying and racing remains the same as it is currently: 13.
Pirelli will nominate two mandatory race sets for each car. Furthermore, one set of the softer compound will have to be kept for use in Q3 only.

The two mandatory sets chosen by Pirelli can be of two different compounds, from the three that have been nominated for the race weekend. These sets will obviously be identical for each team.
The remaining 10 sets can be chosen by each team, from the three compounds nominated for the race weekend.

The teams will make their choices within a deadline set by Pirelli. They will communicate their choices to the FIA, which will in turn tell Pirelli how many
tyres to produce. The choices for each car will remain secret until 2 weeks before the race. If a team does not meet the deadline, the choice will be made by the FIA.

Once the choices for each car have been made, the FIA will continue to assign the tyres randomly via a barcode, as is the case currently.

The choices made by each team can vary for each of its cars: so each driver within a team can have a different allocation.

The tyres will be distinguished by different coloured markings on the sidewalls, as is currently the case.



Teams will still have to give back tyres according to a certain schedule, but they can decide which tyres to give back at the following times:

– One set after the first 40 minutes of FP1
– One set at the end of FP1
– Two sets at the end of FP2
– Two sets at the end of FP3

The two mandatory sets nominated by Pirelli cannot be given back during practice and must be available for use in the race. At least one of these two sets must be used during the race – but the teams can decide which one.

The top 10 at the end of qualifying will still have to give back the set of the softer compound nominated for Q3, and start the race on the tyres with which they set
their fastest time in Q2 (the same rule as is the case currently). All other drivers will be able to use the set that is saved for Q3 during the race.


We at TJ13 shall provide you with the tyre allocation choices in the circuit profile article before each race and try to decifer some sort of sense from the chaos that ensues. First up – Australia and there are already some interesting differences… Even at the top… Stay tuned.

22 responses to “New Tyre Regulations – A guide from Pirelli

  1. I wonder how much of an effect the 2016 tyre rules will have on the new qualifying format. If the teams had to submit their choices weeks ago (i.e. prior to the qualy rules changes), then we are seeing yet another example of the pure fukkery by the powers that govern F1.

  2. I thought top ten were starting the race on the tires they’ve set their times in Q3?
    And the rest were free to choose out of the 2 available.
    Now all of a sudden top ten starting a race on Q2 tires?
    I’m confused (and by saying that I consider myself as close follover since late ’70’s). How am I going to explan this to anyone asking? 🙂

  3. “Pirelli will nominate two mandatory race sets for each car. Furthermore, one set of the softer compound will have to be kept for use in Q3 only.”

    So no softer compound is allowed to be used in the race? Or there’s a catch? 🙂

    • One of the two nominated race compounds must be used in the race. Two different compounds must be used in the race. All three compounds may be used in the race.

      • Split tyre strategy was a team decision, but who’s decision was it as to which of the two strategies the drivers will use?

        • Well they haven’t really decided which strategy each driver will use, giving they haven’t even ran practice as yet.

          • Mercedes has said that a split tyre strategy was a team decision, but did not say if their drivers had a say/chosen between the two. while you was shut-down the press was saying it was the drivers tyre chose.

          • That was the press’s first assertion that it was the drivers who made the decision, hence Mercedes making the following statement,

            “Mercedes said that split tyre strategy was simply a team decision to help it evaluate all options on Friday.

            “For tyre compounds, we’re just covering all our bases in terms of our Friday programme, to properly evaluate the available compounds,” a team spokesman said.

            So clearly driver strategy will be decided after. It is more thank likely Lewis will be doing his work on either the soft or super soft and Nico on the mediums. Which would leave them both with a fresh set of mediums for either qualifying or the race if needed.

            What the tire choices does highlight, is that there’ll probably very limited running.

      • Yes well I’m viewing it through the lens of the FIA probably getting it’s way on limiting the information drivers can get from the teams over the radio aka make the driver make the crucial decisions rather than being coached through a race (FIA might relent on Pit stops). With that in mind I suspect Lewis and Nico both had a small amount of input on the tyre choices. Looking at the tyre choices Mercedes have made more widely, it looks like it’s aimed at having the ability to get Lewis to chase down the Ferrari’s if they spoil the party and the ability for Rosberg to fend them off if he’s leading the race. Lewis is the gamble, Rosberg is the safe choice. There is also an element of Mercedes having to play catch up to the other teams given it barely used the soft compound tyres during testing, instead pounding around the track on mediums gaining high mileage data.

  4. Three comments, from what I presume are informed fans, and nothing but confusion.
    If F1 wants to attract more casual fans a tyre rule as confusing as this will do the opposite.

  5. Forget tire allocations and sudden death qualifying, the important consideration for the brain trust of F1 is…now that there are five tire compounds, shouldn’t the soft become the medium and the medium the semi-hard?
    This has got to be F1 breathing it’s last breath, doesn’t it? Were down to tire compounds and fooling with the qualifying trying to keep people interested, it’s ridiculous. Fix the turbulent air and balance the spending and the qualifying/racing will get better.

  6. I predict that each Q-session will be a chaotic panic to set a time in the first few minutes then the usual front runners will head to the pits and the usual back runners coast around until a panic lap is needed.

  7. Too-com-pli-ca-ted. Formula 1 needs to stop fiddling with stupid regulations that nobody understands nor wants to understand.

    • Why not go str8-2-d-point and say “the commercial rights holder should stop interfering/meddling with F1 rules and regulations, after all, this is something he is not supposed to be doing. (Read Lauda) Bernie walked in and said!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  8. With just about half of all tyres selected for Australia being super softs, I wonder what that will mean for the race. Can’t wait to see if different race strategies are finally possible or if the durability of the different compounds will sooner or later mean the same from all teams again, within the next few races.

    By the way, I understand the need to choose tyres early enough for logistical reasons, but it’s a bad decision for sporting reasons to make these choices weeks before the next event and available to the public no less. I’d much rather be surprised by what happens on a racing weekend and also, that other teams wouldn’t be able to plan for their competitors even more than they do now.

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