The tire selection for the first four grands prix has been made with some interesting combinations. Particularly interesting is the first race of the season in Australia. Pirelli is keeping the teams on their back foot by skipping a step from Medium to Super Soft in order to throw a big enough laptime delta in the equation as to add a real challenge. The teams will not have learned everything they can know about the new tires as of the first race so this will keep them guessing a little while longer as to the strategy they deploy for a Medium/Soft combination typically used. Here is Pirelli’s logic on their choices:
In Australia, the P Zero White medium and P Zero Red supersoft tyres will be nominated: the first time that Pirelli has nominated the softest compound in the range for Melbourne. The full step in the compound choice should ensure a performance gap between the cars that allows strategy to come into play.
The choice of the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium for Malaysia – the two hardest tyres in the range – will cater for the high temperatures and abrasive surface that is a well-known characteristic of the Far Eastern track.
The P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres are nominated for China: the best choice for the comparatively high degradation expected as a result of the demanding track layout, which leads to close racing.
Like Australia, Bahrain has a brand new nomination this year compared to last year: P Zero Orange hard and P Zero Yellow soft. This is designed to ensure plenty of speed in qualifying coupled with the durability needed for the race, which is again often held in high temperatures.
The rules stipulate that under normal circumstances each team will receive six sets of the harder compound and five sets of the softer compound for the race weekend. Pirelli will also bring its Cinturato Green intermediate tyre for damp track conditions (four sets per driver) as well as the Cinturato Blue rain tyre (three sets per driver) to each race.
Australia – Supersoft and Medium
Malaysia – Medium and Hard
China – Soft and Medium
Bahrain – Soft and Hard