Damon Hill is among the voices that would support mandating all three dry tyre compounds to be run during a race, to add an element of extra “drama” to proceedings in F1.
The regulations currently force the drivers to run two of the three slick compounds during a dry race, meaning they can complete races on one pitstop if necessary, but running all three compounds would force a second stop in dry conditions.
With tyre management a key topic of conversation throughout races, how they are used is critical for how drivers’ weekends often pan out.
Running three dry tyres would add ‘challenge’ to F1 races
A trial took place in Hungary whereby the allocation of tyres drivers received went down from 13 sets each to 11, as Formula 1 looks for ways to improve its sustainability credentials.
The teams opted to keep heated blankets for 2024 however, with Pirelli having developed tyres with the aim of not needing blankets for warm-up, but the tyres and regulations around them are often evolving.
Speaking in a Q&A on the F1 Nation podcast, the panellists were asked if running a mandatory third compound would help the action in Formula 1, and it received widespread support.
“I think definitely there’s an argument to say that if you’re going to look for excitement and a little bit more of a challenge, then why not?” Hill said.
“I think that’s a good idea. I have heard it put before, but it would increase the number of pitstops, so you’d get less of the one stop factor.
“I mean, it’s quite interesting that we’ve got to the stage now Max [Verstappen] has built a gap and in the last race we had in Belgium, where Lewis [Hamilton] built a gap, enough to be able to come in for a new set of tyres and do the fastest lap and get one point.
“That’s a bit of drama that at first was thought to be a bit of a gimmick, but actually now teams are deciding that’s really important to have that we want to have that scalp, and so they come in and do the one-lap stop.
“But there’s a bit of drama at the end of the race, and so having to use all three compounds would throw in another challenge in there. So yeah, I think it’s possibly a good thing.”
Co-host and F1 press conference host Tom Clarkson added: “Teams don’t like being prescribed things, do they? Like when the alternative tyre allocation came in, in Hungary.
“In Hungary, you had to use the hard tyre in Q1, the medium tyre in Q2 and the soft tyre in Q3, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we got a really jumbled up grid.
“Because the good teams weren’t able to use Q1 and Q2 to perfect their cars on the soft tyre because they were being forced to use the hard tyre and the medium tyre, and it just meant that there wasn’t quite the level of perfection in Q3 that we’re used to.
“And as a result, we saw a different guy on pole, Lewis Hamilton, we saw two Alfa Romeos in Q3, and it led to a load of excitement in qualifying. So why not introduce it for the race? I’d love it.”
Natalie Pinkham agreed with the idea, though added there may be one slight drawback from the point of view of the teams.
“I’m in full agreement with you both, I think. Why not? I mean, the only thing when we were talking to Christian Horner after the Belgian Grand Prix, Tom, it really struck me just how much the teams are put through on a race weekend and the sprint format more than ever.
“If you add in another factor to this already complicated puzzle that they’re trying to unpick, it may be a bit unfair.”