Pirelli confirm British GP tyre allocation change

Date published: July 12 2021 - Jon Wilde

Pirelli

Pirelli have confirmed drivers will have one fewer set of slicks available in clarifying the tyre rules for sprint qualifying’s debut at the British Grand Prix.

The new format will be trialled for the first time at Silverstone and our full guide to how it all works can be accessed here.

As with a normal race weekend, there will be five sessions when the cars run on track. The only difference in the duration of running time is that instead of one of the 60-minute free practice sessions, sprint qualifying takes place which is expected to last around 30 minutes.

Therefore, the usual allocation of 13 sets of slick tyres per driver has been reduced to 12. This will comprise six sets of the soft compound (C3), four medium (C2) and two hard (C1). Looking at the hot and sunny weather forecast, wets and intermediates are unlikely to be needed.

The compounds are the same as for last year’s British Grand Prix when a spate of punctures occurred on the final lap, including to winner Lewis Hamilton who limped across the finishing line with effectively three wheels on his Mercedes.

However, different tyres were introduced at the start of this year and new, more robust rears, which were tested during free practice in Austria recently, will make their competitive debut at Silverstone and be used until the end of the season.

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In terms of using the allocation, only soft tyres can be fitted for Friday evening’s one-hour qualifying session which takes place in the usual way and sets the grid for sprint qualifying.

But differently to normal, the top 10 in Q2 will not have to start the race on those same tyres, nor sprint qualifying for that matter.

For sprint qualifying, there will be a free choice of tyres and likewise for the race. Only in the grand prix, as usual, will be a pit-stop be mandatory for a different compound of rubber.

Mario Isola, Pirelli’s head of F1, said: “There are plenty of new things to look forward to during the Silverstone weekend.

“First and foremost, the introduction of sprint qualifying for the first of three races this year, which will completely alter the dynamic and rhythm of the weekend as well as having an important effect on how the tyres are used.

“The different ways in which the teams interpret these new regulations and make the most of them will be fascinating to watch.

“We are also introducing the new construction of rear tyre that was tested successfully in Austria with positive feedback.

“As for Silverstone itself, it remains one of the biggest tests of the year for tyres thanks to all its fast corners, meaning some degree of tyre management is always essential.”

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