Here’s how the new tire regulations will work in 2016

Maybe it’s early in the morning, maybe I’m not the sharpest tack on the cork board. I’m struggling a bit to understand all the nuances to these new tire rules and I have to assume that other may be too.

Effectively, teams will be told which three of the five compounds will be brought to the race weekend. The teams will elect two of the three compounds they would like to run for the race. Pirelli says that it could be different elections even within a team between the drivers although I’m not quite sure why that would be unless they were setting up different strategies for the drivers.

The teams will tell the FIA which compounds they have chosen and then Pirelli will be given notice so they know how many to make for the race. The team’s selections will be announced two weeks prior to the race.

Here is Pirelli’s official word on the new tire regulations for 2016:


  • The new regulations will apply only to the slick tyres. The rules regarding intermediate and wet tyres remain unchanged.
  • With the introduction of the new ultrasoft compound (which uses purple markings) the total number of slick compounds rises to five.


  • 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.


  • 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.

The top 10 at the end of qualifying will still have to give back the set of the softer compound nominated for Q3, and start the race on the tyres with which they set their fastest time in Q2 (the same rule as is the case currently). All other drivers will be able to use the set that is saved for Q3 during the race.

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The Captain

“The teams will make their choices within a deadline set by Pirelli.” Soooo they’re just guessing based on last years data then. Funny how I was really excited by the idea of the teams getting to use different rubber of their choice, testing it on Friday and finding what works best for them. I liked that. Right up until F1 decides to implement it in the worst way possible! The original great idea just turns into some random spice up the show crap. Hope ya guess right. And this new random spice up the show crap even come with a… Read more »

Joe Mama

After taking a couple hours to get over my disbelief, I have decided that F1 is doomed. Genuinely innovative and sport-enhancing ideas are tossed aside constantly while random crap like this makes the show. Purple markings and what is effectively a tire-lottery system. Really?!?

I think I’ll focus on WEC next year.

Patrick Chapman

I’m not the sharpest tack either, all I can say about this is “What a dogs breakfast”

Paul KieferJr

Wait, I’m a tad confused. One part of this says:

“Pirelli will nominate two mandatory race sets for each car.”

….and yet another part of it says:

“The teams will make their choices within a deadline set by Pirelli.”

This seems a bit contradictory. Who’s doing the choosing here? o_O?


Frustrating to see these decisions. It’s an attempt to make F1 more interesting, but will anybody be able to keep track of the tyre situation anymore? Heavens, just stick the drivers into fast cars without telemetry and Playstation steering wheels, give them some (any!) sets of tyres and let them drive, so that a normal person can still understand what’s going on.


So the purple tyres are old school qualifying specials. Being only available for Q3 they will never have to be used during the race. This will just open the apparent gap between pole and the back of the grid. If Pirelli nominate the soft and medium tyres for use in the race, could a driver choose to run the entire race on the soft tyre (if that was used to set his best time in Q2), or the medium tyre (if he failed to get into Q3). This would open up genuine differences in strategy, think what Vettel could have… Read more »

Andreas Möller

I’ve read elsewhere that the drivers still have to run on two different compounds, one of which must be nominated by Pirelli. So let’s say Pirelli makes the soft, medium and hard available for a weekend, and nominate the soft and medium tyres for the race. The drivers then have to use either the softs or mediums at least once in the race, and can then use the others as they please. But they must use at least two different compounds, so whatever happens, there will be at least one pit stop. The softest tyre in the range made available… Read more »

Andreas Möller

A late correction: both the Pirelli nominated tyres must be used in the race. I initially read that the teams had to use at least one of those sets, but the regulations clearly say that both need to be run. In the case of Australia 2016, Pirelli has made medium, soft and super soft available, with medium and soft as the nominated race tyres. That means that if you run a one-stop race, you will be running medium and soft. If you make more stops, you can also run the super soft (assuming you have sets left of those).


Here’s a new one for you FIA.
Tyre rules 2016:

Tyres must be round.


This is just stupid. I have no words.

Andreas Möller

I have read the various descriptions (from FIA as well as other places) a bunch of times, and it will still take some time before I grasp it fully (if ever). But then again, if we skip the practice tyres and times they need to be given back etc (after all, who here knew those rules by heart this year?), things get slightly less complicated. I’ve probably mucked this up, but if I’ve understood it right, here goes: * Three (instead of two) compounds are made available for each race. * The teams gets to choose how many sets of… Read more »


I’m also confused. I thought I read somewhere that with these new tyre rules, the teams still need to settle on using a min and max of 2 out of 3 compounds per car per race / race weekend, but that Pirelli can prescribe which one out of those three they *have* to use at least once in a dry race. But after reading your summary of Pirelli’s press release I’m thinking … are teams free to theoretically use *three* different dry compounds even in the race alone? Or did I miss something? Pffffff … it’s as if they want… Read more »

Andreas Möller

Yes, they can use all three compounds in the race, if they like. They have to use two different compounds – one of the two sets Pirelli designated for the race, and (at least) one of the remaining two compounds.

In theory, we could see a race where most of them run a one-stop strategy (soft and medium tyres) while some pre-select and save enough super softs to do four or five stops (one medium set + the rest on super softs)… not very likely :-), but it could be done.

Junipero Mariano

All this talk of Softs, Super-Softs, and Ultra-Softs are making me think of something to wipe my butt with.

Jason Smith

Could someone please explain that to me in English? Seriously, that is about as coherent as tax law…