For so long as automobiles have raced one another for grand prix wins, tyres have performed an important function in securing victory. As the one contact factors between the automobile and the highway, via which each and every piece of engineering wizardry should finally be channeled, that’s logical sufficient.
And though the expertise has progressed in keeping with all the things else in Components 1, the basic problem round tyres has remained just about unchanged for the reason that very first world championship occasion in 1950. How do you get essentially the most grip (and thus nook velocity) out of your rubber – with out sporting it out too quick or too quickly?
What are the tyre compounds utilized in Components 1?
Tyre compounds discuss with how arduous or comfortable the rubber is on a selected kind of tyre – they usually introduce a important variable to the Components 1 tyre equation.
On any given weekend, drivers can select from comfortable, medium and arduous compounds for dry climate situations. These ‘slicks’ are marked purple, yellow and white respectively. There’s additionally a full moist compound (marked blue) for racing in critical rain, together with an intermediate (marked inexperienced) for a humid, in-between monitor floor.
All of those are equipped by Italian producer Pirelli. Whereas there have been durations of ‘tyre warfare’ competitors up to now, and a minimum of 9 producers have shod automobiles in world championship races, Pirelli has taken unique care of F1’s rubber wants since 2011.
Pirelli tyres in blankets
Picture by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Pictures
What’s the distinction between a comfortable, medium and arduous tyre?
As we talked about up high, the important problem with tyres is to get as a lot road-holding efficiency (grip) as doable – and preserve it for an affordable size of time. If tyres present wonderful dealing with however put on out after a lap or two, that’s not going to be a lot good for successful races. As a result of as soon as tyres are worn, dealing with deteriorates and the hazard of a blowout will increase. Which in flip means pitstops turn into essential sooner reasonably than later. And also you don’t need to lose time making too lots of these, regardless of how briskly your automotive is when the tyres are recent.
So, tyres are at all times a compromise between efficiency and endurance. In Components 1, the completely different tyre compounds imply groups have the selection of which manner they need to shift this compromise. In principle – which doesn’t at all times match follow! – a softer tyre is quicker however wears out sooner. A tougher compound lasts longer, however doesn’t present one of the best efficiency.
· Smooth tyres – These characterize the quickest rubber, however are seemingly to wear down earlier than the tougher compounds do.
· Medium tyres – That is the compromise compound. It’s normally slower than the softs however sooner than hards. And it ought to last more than the softs, however not so long as hards!
· Exhausting tyres – These present the least grip, however are supposed to stay in working order the longest.
Pirelli tyres, from left to proper: comfortable (purple), medium (yellow), arduous (white), intermediate (inexperienced), moist (blue)
Picture by: Erik Junius
What number of tyres can a driver use over an F1 weekend?
The tyre plot thickens when you think about that assets are restricted by the principles. For a begin, every driver can use a most of 13 units of dry-weather tyres for the complete three-day weekend. The allocation of slicks is damaged down by compound, so every driver will get two arduous units, three medium units and eight comfortable units.
Even earlier than you take into account further wet-weather tyre allocations and the marginally completely different numbers governing weekends with the dash format, there are additional twists. Drivers should return two units following every of the three follow periods, leaving solely seven for qualifying and the race. And so they must maintain a minimum of one set of soppy tyres for doable participation within the Q3 session. Those that make it that far must return this set after qualifying, while those that don’t get to maintain theirs for the race.
If that’s not sufficient to think about when planning the weekend, drivers are additionally required to make use of a minimum of two completely different slick compounds throughout a totally dry race. Which means a minimum of one pitstop will probably be essential on raceday. Drivers are additionally free to alter tyres greater than as soon as in the event that they really feel it is sensible strategically – and have saved sufficient units throughout follow and qualifying.
To cowl moist climate, every driver can even draw from an allocation of 4 units of intermediates and three units of wets.
Lastly, dash race weekends see the variety of dry units for the weekend decreased to 12. Drivers are additionally obliged to make use of the comfortable tyres all through qualifying. After the dash race, drivers should return the set with which they accomplished essentially the most laps on this quick race.
Alpine F1 mechanics with tyres
Picture by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Pictures
Can drivers share tyres?
The tyre allocations talked about above are strictly on a per-driver foundation. If one among a crew’s drivers drops out of the race – and even has to tug out of the race weekend at an earlier stage – that doesn’t imply his team-mate might help himself to an additional few units of tyres. Tyres are strictly marked in line with their allocation, so policing that is simple.
This rule affords no sympathy for mix-ups both. George Russell was mistakenly given Valtteri Bottas’s tyres when the Mercedes drivers pitted one after the opposite on the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix – and the crew picked up a €20,000 positive.
Can drivers use completely different compounds on the identical time?
Followers of different classes or types of motorsport are used to seeing opponents hit the monitor with a mixture of completely different tyre compounds on their autos. In MotoGP, for instance, it’s common for a rider run a comfortable entrance and a tough rear, for instance. Components 1 doesn’t permit for this. It’s a must to run the identical compound on all 4 wheels always.
What does scrubbed, blistering and graining imply for F1 tyres?
Components 1 has a jargon all of its personal. And loads of that has to do with tyres. Right here’s a short glossary overlaying among the phrases you’ll hear when watching F1.
· Scrubbed: Typically utilizing a brand-new tyre is difficult because it heats up for the primary time in its life. When that is the case, groups typically ‘scrub in’ a set of tyres by working them for a few laps in follow. Which means they’re able to hit the bottom working on raceday.
· Slicks: Utterly easy tyres with no grooves. Designed for dry-weather use.
· Compound: How arduous or comfortable the rubber on a selected tyre is. More durable tyres last more, however softer tyres grip the highway higher.
· Blistering: When the inside a part of the tyre overheats in relation to the outer half, making a minor explosion from the within and damaging the floor.
· Graining: When the outer floor is hotter than the within of the tyre, it results in the surface rubber flexing, breaking off and sticking on high of the tyre floor.
· Flat spot: Because the title suggests, it is a patch the place the floor of the tyre loses its curvature. Usually occurs when a driver ‘locks up’ by braking too late for a nook, inflicting the wheel to momentarily cease turning and the tyre to scrape alongside the bottom.
· Deg: Brief for ‘degradation’, this refers to a gradual lack of tyre efficiency as a result of put on.
McLaren Google Chrome tyre element
Picture by: Erik Junius
How do groups resolve on a tyre technique?
Whereas the principles governing tyre technique are framed when it comes to drivers, the tyre plan for the weekend is a crew resolution. Groups normally use the primary follow day to strive completely different compounds and get a really feel for one of the best tyre technique for the race.
This resolution is mostly a combination between info offered by Pirelli, degradation noticed over a ‘future’ simulating a big chunk of the race, the character of the circuit and the climate forecast for Sunday. If rain is anticipated later within the weekend, there’s much less of a squeeze on dry tyre assets as a result of drivers can then draw from their wet-weather allocation and maintain their dry allocations intact.
Conversely, if sizzling climate (which normally interprets to increased tyre put on) is on the playing cards for the race, groups must be sure that they’ve sufficient rubber to cowl loads of tyre adjustments.
The monitor format’s function in tyre technique performs out on a few ranges. If overtaking is hard and getting caught behind one other automotive is very seemingly in a race, a crew might err on the aspect of extra pitstops as a result of that’s a useful technique to get their driver working on a ‘clear’ monitor reasonably than shedding time behind a slower rival.
Additionally, if it’s a monitor the place the partitions are shut and a security automotive is thus extra seemingly within the occasion of an incident, groups might plan for extra stops as a result of altering tyres prices comparatively little time when your opponents are required to drive across the monitor slowly.
As soon as the goal assets for Sunday have been labored out, groups can then plan their tyre use for the remainder of follow and qualifying accordingly. In a really perfect world, they’d all throw comfortable tyres on their automotive for all three elements of qualifying, since nailing a lap time is generally about efficiency reasonably than endurance.
However the guidelines name for compromises whose penalties – when it comes to out there tyres – may solely turn into obvious on the again finish of the race the next day.
Purple bull Racing pitwall
Picture by: Erik Junius
What do the C1 – C5 scorings imply?
As we’ve already seen, every weekend sees Pirelli convey comfortable, medium and arduous compounds to the monitor for dry-weather use.
Nevertheless, the vary of these tyres will be tailor-made to the circuit’s traits. That’s why the tyre provider truly manufactures 5 dry compounds for the season.
They’re coded C1 (the toughest) to C5 (the softest). It could actually then nominate three of these compounds for every specific Grand Prix weekend.
For instance, Pirelli might resolve a tougher vary of tyres are known as for as a result of an abrasive monitor and/or excessive temperatures. This can be a security and advertising resolution as a lot as something, as a result of blowouts are harmful and tyre failures ensuing from extreme put on don’t make for good publicity. On this instance, it could most likely convey the C1, C2 and C3 tyres.
On this manner, compounds in the course of the dimensions can truly get a distinct marking on completely different weekends. The place C3 can be the comfortable, red-marked tyre within the instance above, it might equally be
the arduous, white-marked tyre on a weekend when Pirelli decides to convey the softest doable vary, C3-C5.
The wet-weather tyres don’t range when it comes to their softness or hardness, and easily carry the designated colors outlined above.
Why do some tyres have grooves and others don’t?
The first function of grooves on a tyre is to disperse water from a moist highway floor. That’s the rationale on a regular basis shopper automobiles all have grooved tyres: they should work safely in all situations!
However grooves truly additionally compromise dry-weather dealing with to a level, as a result of having them reduces the quantity of rubber touching the highway. This isn’t important in a highway automotive, however within the shut and aggressive world of Components 1, a totally ‘slick’ tyre is fascinating for getting round corners as quick as doable in dry climate. For race followers, a slick tyre is synonymous with final efficiency.
Components 1 automobiles ran grooved tyres within the early a long time of the world championship, however slicks began appearing within the early Seventies. These caught on quick.
Nevertheless, groups had been as soon as once more compelled to run grooves from 1998 till the tip of 2008. This measure was launched in an try to sluggish the automobiles down – however few look again on that period’s tyres with fondness.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes, leads Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari F2008
Picture by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Pictures