The 2023 Formula One season will see the official supplier Pirelli add a new tyre to its 5 dry weather compounds available. The compounds were listed as C1-C5 with C1 being the mist durable but the slowest and C5 being the softest and quickest.
However, Pirelli and the teams felt during the inaugural season of the 18 inch wheels the gap between the C1 and C2 tyre was too great and as Ferrari famously discovered in at the Hungarian GP.
LeClerc lost the Hungarian GP one the C1
Race leader Charles LeClerc was given the hard tyre for his second stint and slowly slipped down through the field finishing a distant P6.
Pirelli have sought to bridge the gap between the C1 and C2 this season by introducing a compound that sits between the two. The C1 now becomes the C0 and the new compound will come the new C1.
Following the turn test in Abu Dhabi, Pirelli’s Mario Isola explained.
New Pirelli F1 compound between C1 and C2
“We have introduced a new C1 compound and have decided to homologate for next year six compounds, not five.”
“The current C1 that worked quite well at, for example, Zandvoort and Silverstone, [so] we didn’t want to eliminate [it].”
Silverstone and Zandvoort work the tyres particularly harshly and so the extra durability of the old C1 for circuits of that nature works well. Further, because the tyres are worked harder the grip improves together with the lap time.
“We decided to introduce a new C1 with more grip compared to the old C1, so the old C1 is now the C0 to avoid renaming all the others,” Isola continued.
Pirelli may use non consecutive compounds
“We have the new C1 and then the C2, C3, C4 and C5 are the same as this year.
“The new C1 is much closer to the C2. I would say the only target we didn’t achieve was a new C3 more in the centre between C2 and C4.”
Traditionally Pirelli have selected consecutive compounds for a race weekend, eg C2 C3 C4, or C3 C4 C5. However the Pirelli boss believes with a range of slick tyres across 6 compounds they may choose non consecutive tyres during the 2023 season.
“In some cases we can [now] have a step between the compounds we want to select but not always,” said Isola. “It’s an option we have in our pocket that we keep.
Pirelli to asses compounds over forst 3 grand prix
“I believe we have an idea of what we want to allocate for next season. We want to keep the flexibility to change, or to fine-tune, this allocation according to the result of the pre-season test in Bahrain and the first races.
“We will define soon the compounds for the first three or four races, obviously because we need to manufacture and sea-freight the tyres. But then we want to keep a bit of flexibility to decide for the second part of the championship.
Pirelli has announced the tyres they will be bringing to the first grand prix of the season.
Pirelli compounds selected for F1’s first three races
For Bahrain and Saudi Arabia the compounds chosen are the C1-C3 while for Australia it will be the C2-C4.
The FIA and Pirelli have not yet confirmed at which race weekends the new qualifying format will be tested. From the Italian rubber manufacturers press release it would appear this will not occur at the opening three events of the season.
The new format on trial will see all cars use the hard compound only for Quaky 1, the medium for Quaky 2, and the soft tyre only in the final qualifying shootout.