Explained: Beginners Guide to F1 Tyres
Formula One tyres are rather different from your everyday car tyres. While the latter has a long lifespan, F1 tyres are only built to last for a short period of time - such as one race distance.
For nearly the past ten years, Pirelli has supplied the tyres for Formula One. With previous suppliers ranging from Dunlop to Goodyear.
For the 2021 season, our old friend Pirelli is the tyre supplier, with seven different types of tyre compounds available.
Two of which are wet weather tyres, one is named intermediate (recognisable by the green sidewall colour) which is used for light water conditions and the other is named wet (blue) for heavy wet weather conditions. Both of these tyre types are available at all races.
Carlos Sainz Jr with full wet tyres equipped on the McLaren, 2020.
The other five tyre compounds are for dry weather conditions, all named C1 to C5. C1 is considered the hardest tyre, meaning they will last the longest but have the least amount of grip.
C5 is the softest, meaning they will last a short amount of time but have the best grip. Thus, these five different compounds range on a scale depending on their grip and longevity.
However, of these five tyre compounds, Pirelli will choose three types to be used for each Grand Prix. The hardest tyre chosen will be named the hard tyre for that weekend and will be designated the white sidewall colour. In turn, the softest tyre is named the soft tyre for the weekend and is recognisable by its red colour sidewall. Finally, the third tyre type is named the medium tyre for the weekend and is given the yellow sidewall colour.
During the race, drivers are required to use two of the dry weather tyres unless a wet race occurs. So, selecting the right tyres during the right time is crucial and takes lots of skill and strategic planning.
On race day, if you can't tell by looking at the tyres immediately what type they are, the Formula One app is an excellent way to check and find out. Furthermore, we are also told what tyre types are being used during the pre-race shows.