Tire selection for Bahrain, is this new tire thing working?

Heading into the 2016 Formula 1 season, there were a couple of things I was very concerned about. First, the new qualifying format (which seems to have been a legit concern and remedied).

The second was the new tire regulations with three compounds on offer and split strategy options per driver. I was worried that we may not be able to follow the logistics and details from our vantage point on the sofa. How would be able to follow 22 cars and the number of compounds available and what condition those compounds are in?

As we mentioned in our Australian GP review podcast, I think the new tire regulations started off with a good result and it has added an element of tactical challenge for the teams. What I am not completely sold on yet is the ability for F1 or local broadcasts to accurately convey the logistical burden of tracking 22 cars and 13 sets each.

It used to be relatively easy with the conventional allotment at 7 sets of Primes and 6 sets of Options however this has changed with the advent of a third compound choice. Hopefully we’ll start to see simple graphics that FOM could produce for the world feed that would make this slightly more digestible because some of the sets are scrubs and others new. It’s a big ask but it does bring us closer to the strategies at play.

Regardless, here is what Pirelli have released for the next race in Bahrain and here is tire selections for each team:

DriverMedium tyresSoft tyresSupersoft tyres
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton166
Mercedes: Nico Rosberg166
Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel346
Ferrari: Kimi Raikkonen346
Williams: Felipe Massa337
Williams: Valtteri Bottas337
Red Bull: Daniel Ricciardo256
Red Bull: Daniil Kvyat256
Force India: Sergio Perez256
Force India: Nico Hulkenberg256
Renault: Kevin Magnussen157
Renault: Jolyon Palmer157
Toro Rosso: Max Verstappen175
Toro Rosso: Carlos Sainz265
McLaren: Fernando Alonso346
McLaren: Jenson Button346
Sauber: Marcus Ericsson355
Sauber: Felipe Nasr445
Manor: Pascal Wehrlein454
Manor: Rio Haryanto454
Haas: Romain Grosjean247
Haas: Esteban Gutierrez157
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Yes the new regs are complex – and honestly I’m not going to make any effort trying to track what teams have available for tires at any point in the race. But if Australia is any indication – I do like the impact the new regs have had on strategy. The fact that there has been a lot of questioning on Ferrari’s gamble and what they had available and when says to me that the teams had options, and that the permutations had an actual impact on the results. I think that a rule change that allows – even encourages… Read more »

Negative Camber

As someone pointe out on our FB page, there was a difference in font color for the compounds. The thought was that this signifies new or used set and to be honest, I have never noticed that. If it’s a forgone conclusion this is what it is, I am ashamed to admit that I never noticed that or was aware of that. What a dullard I am!


I assume you’re talking about the graphics that FIA was showing for tires during the race… Some had a filled in icon, and some had a hollowed out icon. Don’t feel bad about missing it – the two adults watching the race in our house didn’t notice it either, it was the 12 year old who did and asked why there was a difference… We assumed that it had to do with new and used tires, but weren’t sure and there didn’t seem to be an explanation. Most of the graphics on screen are pretty self explanatory – but not… Read more »


I don’t recall seeing the graphics used like that in previous years. I did notice it, certainly after the red flag, but didn’t know what it signified, so thanks for pointing it out. Now which is the new and which is the worn tyre?

Prakhar Mehrotra

Sky pointed it out in their commentary. The filled in tire is new and the outline tire is used. This graphic is helpful in qualifying but in the race it doesn’t make a difference after the firstfew laps of a stint and just adds to the confusion. They should only have it for quali and simplify that for the race to make for some other graphics.


Neg Cham, First I want to say that your post are great. The European press and F1 web sites are so anti US, that I really can understand why we aren’t wowed by Bernie’s circus. I’ve followed F1 since the early 60’s an always thought it was the pinnacle of Open Wheel racing. But since Bernie bought the rights to everything F1 from Maxie the Naughty boy, F1 though was more Whizbang for quite a long time, the Aging Troll under the bridge has been ruining the SPORT through his greed. I first saw this when he demanded Laguna Seca… Read more »

Negative Camber

Hi Barry, thanks for the compliment. Now, to the latter part of your comment…I understand your frustration, I really do. IF you’ve watched for that long, you’ve no doubt seen a lot of changes. Some have been good, some not so good. You may be surprised to find that I do not lay all of the blame at Mr. E’s feet. He’s made some good choices and some that he himself might call questionable. It’s an infinitely complex sport to run and get it right every time. There are three elements in F1 that all have sway, pull and political… Read more »


Dear Neg, First I want to thank you for being so civil. But my biggest complaint regarding Bernie ( and I do want to say he was a great leader of F1 for years, but I think he dropped the ball when he sold out to the present owners. I feel that he left the people that made Fi what it was in the dust of corporate don’t give a damn. The fans and the promoters are the ones that made the sport great. I think fom and the present owners are running the sport into the ground. How are… Read more »


I could be of course wrong, but I am under impression that your post contains an error. Introducing hybrids into F1 was actually a brain-child of one Mr. MM, who last year admitted to it, adding, after automobile companies latched on that idea, cost got somewhat out of hand. Today on any performance parameter hybrids matching previous engines, including speed potential. Cost is the only problem Tier 2 teams are complaining about. It is true that Renault became first big proponent of this technology, and today all automobile companies really want it. There is a lot positives about it, not… Read more »