RACE DEBRIEF

    It’s not just the cars that are changing for 2022, but the tyres too, with Formula 1 suppliers Pirelli – who today celebrate their 150th anniversary – implementing larger 18-inch rubber for the season. What won’t change this year, however, is the ability to choose compounds for the weekend.

    In 2019, teams were able to choose how many of each compound their drivers would receive over a weekend. For example, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton both took one set of hard compounds, four mediums and eight softs apiece for the 2019 German Grand Prix, while Sebastian Vettel had one set of hards, three mediums and nine softs.

    When the global pandemic hit in 2020, teams agreed that Pirelli would set the allocations for them instead, meaning every driver had the same number of each compound. The suppliers’ Head of F1 and Car Racing, Mario Isola, explained why that rule didn’t change for 2021.

    READ MORE: 2022 18-inch tyres a ‘huge achievement’ says Pirelli boss as he reveals test findings

    He said: “We had to find this solution [of fixed tyre allocation] for the pandemic – to [have] a quicker reaction – but then the teams came back to us saying ‘actually this system is quite good, we want to keep it for the future.’

    “It was not our decision at the end to continue with this fixed allocation; the teams told us if they have a fixed allocation and it is the same for everybody – so there is no advantage for one or the other – they can start planning on this fixed allocation.

    “Instead of spending time and the resources and people to think about one set more of the mediums or one set less of the soft, they have that allocation, they have to work around this, and so in 2020 they said: ‘We want to continue for 2021.’”

    Formula 1 2021: Abu Dhabi November testing
    A closer view of the new-for-2022 18-inch tyres

    Isola concluded that Pirelli will therefore continue deciding the allocation for teams in 2022 – with 18-inch tyres in play this season – but there is scope to change the rule next season.

    “In 2021, with a new product for 2022, nobody was confident for deciding the compounds breakdown, and so they wanted to continue. I don’t know if in 2023 they want to change but, for the moment, this is the answer,” concluded Isola.

    READ MORE: 8 reasons the pecking order could be shaken up in 2022

    Isola recently took the wheel of a Kimera EVO37 during shakedown at the Monte Carlo Rally in the build-up to Pirelli’s 150th anniversary, while on Friday the suppliers released a graphic novel, a new logo, and a special online retrospective to celebrate ahead of an event at Milan's Piccolo Teatro.

    And soon, 18-inch tyres will make their debut on the new breed of F1 machines – with car launches just around the corner.

    For more information about Pirelli's Formula 1 tyres, visit pirelli.com – and head to pirelli.com/150anni for more on Pirelli's 150th anniversary.