Pirelli, sole tyre supplier to the Formula One World Championship, is bringing three tyre compounds to this weekend’s penultimate round of the 2016 season at the Interlagos Circuit in Brazil and they are as follows:
P Zero Orange hard – less grip, less wear (used for long-race stints)
This is the toughest tire in Pirelli’s range. It is designed for circuits that put the highest energy loadings through the tires via fast corners and/or abrasive surfaces, and are often characterized by high ambient temperatures. This compound takes longer to warm up, but offers maximum durability, which frequently means that it plays a key role in race strategy. It is a high working-range compound.
P Zero White medium – more grip, medium wear (used for shorter-race stints and for initial portion of qualifying)
This is Pirelli’s most balanced tire, with an ideal compromise between performance and durability. It is extremely versatile, but it often comes into its own on circuits that tend toward high speeds, high temperatures and high-energy loadings. It is a low working-range compound.
P Zero Yellow soft – highest amount of grip, highest amount of wear (used for qualifying and select race situations)
This is one of the most frequently used tires in Pirelli’s range, as it strikes a balance between performance and durability, with the accent on performance. It is still geared toward speed rather than long distances, but it remains capable of providing teams with a competitive advantage at the beginning of the race where cars are carrying a full fuel load and at the end of the race where the fuel load is much lighter and the race effectively becomes a sprint. It is a high working-range compound.
Two of the three available compounds must be used during the race. Teams are able to decide when they want to run which compound, adding an element of strategy to the race. A driver can also use all three sets of Pirelli tires in the race, if they so desire. (If there are wet track conditions, the Cinturato Blue full wet tire and the Cinturato Green intermediate tire will be made available.)
Pirelli provides each driver 13 sets of dry tires for the race weekend. Of those 13 sets, drivers and their teams can choose the specifications of 10 of those sets from the three compounds Pirelli selected. The remaining three sets are defined by Pirelli – two mandatory tire specifications for the race (one set of P Zero Orange hards and one set of P Zero White mediums) and one mandatory specification for Q3 (one set of P Zero Yellow softs).