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Pirelli clarify new 'free choice' tyre regulations

03 Dec 2015

Hot on the heels of the FIA World Motor Sport Council formally approving Formula One racing’s 2016 tyre regulations, Pirelli have released more details about how the new system will work.

The key change from 2015 is that the teams will be given a greater amount of choice over which tyre compounds they can use over a race weekend. Unlike this season when Pirelli nominated two of their four slick tyre compounds for each event, the Italian company - who have added a fifth, ultrasoft tyre to their range for 2016 - will now make three compounds available per race.

The total number of sets that can be used during practice, qualifying and racing remains at 13 (with teams handing back tyres according to a specific schedule), with Pirelli now nominating two mandatory race sets for each car, with a further set of the softest compound tyres at each event kept for use in Q3 only. However, in a new move, the remaining 10 sets can be chosen by each team.

Teams will also be able to vary the selection between its drivers too.

Here’s how it will work:

PRE-RACE TYRE NOMINATIONS AND PREPARATIONS

  • 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.

DURING THE RACE

  • 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.