Tyres and wheels in F1
What the sporting regulations say:
- A single tyre supplier, Pirelli, provides all of the teams with identical rubber.
- Pirelli produce seven specifications of dry-weather tyre, each with a distinguishing sidewall colour – hypersoft (pink), ultrasoft (purple), supersoft (red), soft (yellow), medium (white), hard (blue), superhard (orange).
- At each race the teams have access to three specifications (or compounds) of these dry-weather tyres.
- Each car’s full race weekend allocation consists of 13 sets of dry-weather tyres, four sets of intermediate tyres and three sets of wet tyres.
- No less than nine weeks before the start of each event in Europe, and 15 weeks before the start of each event held outside Europe, Pirelli (in consultation with the FIA) will inform the team which three compounds can be used at each race.
- Pirelli nominate two mandatory sets for each car for the race (which can be of different compounds) and one further set of whichever is the softest compound that can only be used in the Q3 segment of qualifying, but the teams are free to choose the remaining 10 sets.
- 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 teams must inform the FIA of their nominations no less than eight weeks before the start of each European race and fourteen weeks before the start of each event held outside Europe, meaning they effectively have a week in which to decide on their allocation after hearing which compounds will be made available at each race.
- If a team does not meet the deadline, the choice will be made by the FIA.
- The choices for each car will remain secret until two weeks before the race.
- Over the course of a race weekend the teams have to hand back tyres according to a certain schedule, though 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
* Unless both FP1 and FP2 are either declared wet or cancelled, in which case one of these sets may be retained by each driver but must be returned before the start of the qualifying.
- The two mandatory sets nominated by Pirelli cannot be given back during practice and must be available for use in the race.
- Unless wet or intermediate tyres are used during the race, all drivers must use at least two different specifications of dry-weather tyres in the race, at least one of which must be one of the two mandatory sets nominated by Pirelli, though the teams are free to decide which one.
- Drivers who make it through to Q3 must hand back the set of the softer compound tyres nominated for Q3, and start the race on the tyres with which they set their fastest time in Q2. All other drivers will be able to use the set that is saved for Q3 during the race.
- Teams are free to use wet tyres as they see fit during qualifying and the race. However, during the preceding practice sessions, they may only be used if the track has been declared wet by the race director.
- If a race is started behind the safety car due to heavy rain, the use of wet tyres is compulsory.
- All tyres are given a bar code at the start of the weekend so that the FIA can closely monitor their use and ensure that no team is breaking regulations.
- Any driver who uses a set of tyres of differing specifications during the race may not complete more than three laps on this set before changing them for a set of tyres of the same specification. A penalty will be imposed on any driver who does not change tyres within three laps.