F1 to use ‘Wild Card’ tire choice program

Amongst one of the myriad changes being considered for Formula 1 in 2016 and 2017 is the notion of a “Wild Card” tire program that allows teams to have up to four wild cards to play at any four of 15 races where Pirelli will allow for free choice.

Circuits where safety simply wouldn’t allow for such aggressive tires compounds, such as Monza, would have no wild card option.

The FIA have confirmed that the teams will have greater choice with the tire compounds but the details are still being worked out. As for Pirellis, Paul Hembery said:


“It’s around that area,” Hembery told Adam Cooper. “The idea is to have certain wild card events and certain block-out events where it just wouldn’t be advisable due to safety reasons.

“I don’t think we’ve got the final situation yet, but we’re getting closer to a solution that the teams are looking for, gives the sport what it needs, and allows us to maintain a level of safety on the choices that are made.”

“There are a couple of proposals being refined. A lot of it has been chopped and changed and consolidated. We’ve got a bit of time yet, it probably needs to be September time before we refine it. A couple of new ideas have come out in the last 24 hours that are even more interesting.

“But it’s all going in the same direction, to give the idea of some choice, and to allow flexibility for the teams while giving a guarantee that the race can be run because they’ve got a product that can do the race distance.”

As part of the change Pirelli wants to have an extra tyre in the range, known variously as an ‘ultra soft’ or ‘super super soft.’

“One little step next year might be a super super soft,’ technically speaking a supersoft for the Monaco or possibly Singapore that goes one step further than what we have at the moment.”


Is this a good idea? Would it suffice for the much-desired multi-=supplier format that fans seem overwhelmingly in favor of? Formula 1 itself doesn’t seem too keen for a return to the tire war era and favor a sole-supplier but could the wild card option provide similar impact without getting the lopsided tire war performance gains we saw in the early 2,000’s?

On the other side of the coin, is this yet another construct or gimmick that fans can barely keep track of who has what and which tire compound is better where? Keeping track of the details of F1 can be difficult already with which team has how many engine components left before taking penalties and now we’d have to mentally track who has a wild card left etc.

What do you think? Thumbs up or down?

Hat Tip: Adam Cooper

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Patrick Chapman

The wild card system is just another confusing irrelevant F1 rule. I don’t see the point. Either the teams can choose their tyre compounds or they can’t. If they choose super soft then they may have to do 3 stops, If they choose hard then they may get away with 1 stop, the F1 teams are staffed by professional people so I am sure that they will work out which are the best compounds to use for which circuits and I am sure that they won’t use a tyre to destruction so I really don’t understand why Hembrey is going… Read more »


Well said Patrick; I do understand that after 2013 troubles Pirellis is a bit hesistant, but the simple solution would be for Pirelli to have a safety veto on tyre choices when they are made, and otherwise leave teams free. As you say, take ample time to sort the logistics, and about the same number of compounds, and it seems quite manageable.

Alianora La Canta

This is a more gimmicky and less effective version of the free-choice tyre option Force India suggested a while back. It makes me think that despite the many, many messages, the powers-that-be still don’t get it.


If they can’t do it for every round it should be done at zero of the rounds.

“This just in. DRS only allowed at select rounds, fuel flow rates changed depending on circuit length, grid reversals drawn from a briefcase, kers availability limited to the following circuits… and much more! Tune in to the next race to find out what we did (or didn’t) choose. A new Formula every week!”

Paul KieferJr

So, how would this “wild card” work? Is it just swapping out one tire nomination for another choice or just adding to the nominations in a race?

Frank Edgar

More bs stupid crappy rules by a bunch of idiots determined to force the fans to have a degree to understand what the hell is going on in a bloody race.

Formula Future

Makes no sense. Rule makers need to think simple and get back to the roots with an eye to the future. Bring back the flat out racing with super fast cars, that’s all fans want. Enough with managing tires, fuel, limiting designer’s creativity and so on…wake up please!

Will Irwin

I think the “different per-circuit” rules can be justified if they are on grounds of safety. For example at Silverstone a few years back there was some very dangerous stuff going on, caused by teams messing with extreme camber angles, mounting left tyres on the right wheel and vice versa, and generally ignoring Pirelli’s advice about use of the tyres. The point is that teams, trying for every possible tenth of lap time, will make some unsafe choices if there are no rules to prevent it. We need more varied strategies but we don’t need badly chosen tyres exploding on… Read more »


Either have it for all, or have it for none.