Tyre rule tweaks approved, free choice for the top 10

Michelle Foster
18-inch Pirelli Formula 1 tyres in Abu Dhabi. December 2021.

A mechanic puts in place the 18-inch Pirelli tyres to be used in Formula 1 from 2022. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

Formula 1 is set to do away with the Q2 tyre rule, that one that stipulates that those making it into the final part of qualifying must start with the tyre they ran in Q2.

Instead the top 10 on the grid, along with the rest of the field, will have freedom to choose what compound they want to run.

Back in 2014 Formula 1 introduced a new rule that stated that “with the exception of any cars that are required to start the race from the pit lane, at the start of the race each car which qualified for Q3 must be fitted with the tyres with which the driver set his fastest time during Q2.

“This will only be necessary for these cars if dry-weather tyres were used to set the fastest time in Q2 and if dry-weather tyres are used at the start of the race.”

It was thought that this would give those starting outside the top 10 a strategic advantage, especially those willing to risk one-stopping and running a long first stint.

And it while it has done that to some extent, it has had very little impact on the sharp end of the grid and the podium results.

This led to discussions last year about axing the rule and allowing the entire field the freedom of choice from this season onwards.

According to the Italian edition of Motorsport.com, that has been now given the go-ahead.

George Russell tests the Pirelli 18-inch tyres in a Mercedes mule car. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

“In the last session of the Strategy Advisory Committee, an important regulatory change was discussed and approved: the top ten drivers on the grid will no longer be forced to line up at the start with the set of tyres used to set the time in Q2,” read the report.

“Teams will be free to choose the most suitable compound for the start.”

The publication added that the rule will now “enter the new sporting regulations to be in force at the start of the 2022 season.”

This is good news for McLaren with their team boss Andreas Seidl telling The Race last year that he was not a fan of the Q2 rule.

“From our point of view, we were always pushing to get rid of this rule,” he said at the time of the discussions. “It’s the right thing from a sporting perspective.”

F1 managing director Ross Brawn supported the call.

“One of the unfortunate things about the Q2 race tyre is it gives those who are really quick even more of an advantage because they can easily choose whichever tyre they want for Q2,” said the former Ferrari and Mercedes man.

“It’s had a slightly contrary effect, I would argue. I don’t think removing it is a big issue.

 

“It’s certainly something we are looking at for the future, whether that Q2 race tyre is still something that overall is better or worse for the race.”

 

PlanetF1 Verdict

 

F1 Strategy Committee abolishes Q2 tyre rule

The Q2 tyre rule is changing to allow all drivers free tyre choice.