F1 Pirelli Tyre Compounds Summary - 2018 Season
Are there too many tyre compounds?
In Formula 1, there are different tyre compounds that are used for different conditions. The tyre compounds allow team-based strategies to be carried out during a race.
A variety of tyre compounds have always been in the sport; however, in 2018, there was a total of nine different tyre compounds that could be used throughout the season.
All of the tyre compounds are different from one another, and they all have their own specific characteristics. Some of these compounds are a softer-based rubber while some are a harder-based rubber—which is used will depend on the circuit.
With Formula 1 races ranging from 50 to 70 laps depending on the circuit, the tyres have to be changed due to degradation the tyre suffers during the race. Since the drivers want the best possible performance when on track, they will heat up their tyres to ensure they are at peak performance. When the tyres get heated up, they become sticky, allowing the car to stick to the circuit and take the corners efficiently and quickly.
With that being said, there are other specialised tyre compounds that are used during wet-based conditions. On the other hand, the tyres used during the Q2 session are used for the start of the race. That means that there is also an aspect of strategy placed in qualifying sessions. The most worn set of tyres in the practice sessions are given back to Pirelli.
There are a large variety of tyre options.
Pink | Hypersoft Tyre: This tyre is known as the softest tyre out of the Pirelli compounds. It is the ideal tyre chosen for the circuits that require a high level of mechanical grip. Even though it is the softest tyre, it is also the fastest tyre available.
The tyre has a low lifespan, meaning that this tyre is more likely to disintegrate quicker when compared to all of the other Pirelli tyres available. This allows the teams to use the hypersoft tyres to be integrated into a strategy.
Purple | Ultrasoft Tyre: This tyre is known as the second softest tyre—the supersoft tyre is just above it. This tyre has a limited lifespan that will allow the strategy to be played out during a race.
The ultrasoft tyre is not really known as a qualifying tyre, but it can be used in qualifying when a strategy is in mind. With that being said, the teams are also taking a risk with these tires because they might not be able to get out of Q2. Failure to get out of Q2 would end their qualifying early.
Red | Supersoft Tyre: The supersoft tyre is known as the third softest tyre out of all of the Pirelli compounds. The supersoft tyre has a very quick heat up time which allows the tyre to be perfect for qualifying.
On the other hand, this tyre is perfect when there is a need for maximum mechanical grip for a circuit. The drawback, however, is that the tyre does degrade quite quickly. It is known as a low working range compound.
Yellow | Soft Tyre: The soft tyre is known for its balance between the durability and the performance. Unlike the other soft-based tyre compounds, this tyre allows the driver to use the tyre for longer while still being able to gain performance.
It is one of the most frequently used tyres out of all of the Pirelli compounds available. This tyre is known as a long range-based tyre, which allows drivers to have an advantage in the race. The soft tyre allows drivers to have long stints to give them an edge.
White | Medium Tyre: The medium tyre is probably known as the most complete tyre when durability and performance are considered. This tyre is known as a low range tyre.
This tyre is also known as a very versatile tyre compound. This tyre really shines when circuits feature energy loadings, extreme temperatures, and high speeds.
Once this tyre does get to the perfect temperature, it will allow the driver to get the best out of the performance.
Blue | Hard Tyre: This tyre is known as the second hardest compound out of all of the Pirelli tyres. This tyre works efficiently when used on circuits, which features fast corners, high energy loadings through the tyres, and abrasive surfaces.
Although this tyre takes a long period of time to heat up, it offers the driver the maximum amount of durability possible. This tyre allows teams to take into account the large amount of time it takes for the tyre to degrade for any possible strategies.
Orange | Superhard Tyre: The superhard tyre is known as the hardest compound out of all of the tyres within the Pirelli tyre collection.
The plan for this tyre was for it to not be used at all, but it to only be used as an insurance policy in case the 2018-based cars didn't match the performance expectation.
This tyre is visually represented with an orange-based marking that allows it to be instantly recognised by everyone.
Green | Intermediate Tyre: The intermediate tyre is the tyre used when there is not a major amount of rain on a track. It is known as the most versatile-based tyre for a track that has some water on the track and when the track is drying up.
The intermediate compound disperses roughly a total of 25 litres of water per second when a Formula 1 car is travelling at full speed. It is not used for a large amount of rain; however, the wet tyre is known for that purpose.
Blue | Wet Tyre: The wet tyre is used when there is heavy rain on the track. It isn't known as the fastest tyre, for obvious reasons, but it allows the driver to drive in heavy rain conditions.
The wet tyre is known to disperse a total of 65 litres of water per second when a Formula 1 car is travelling at full speed. Just like the intermediate tyre, it allows the driver to be able to travel on a track that is drying and has a lot of water on the track.
2018 Pirelli Tyre Compound Summary
I personally believe that the tyres used throughout the 2018 season made the strategies fun and sometimes unpredictable. As a fan of the sport, the variety of tyre compounds mixed with the strategy added some excitement to the viewing of the races. The number of pit stops and the length of the stints allowed the races to become unpredictable when watching the races.
With that being said there are a total of nine different compounds which can be annoying as a fan to remember all of the types of compounds. The colours on the tyre walls do help when differentiating the different types of compounds. However, if a Red Bull qualifies on an ultrasoft tyre and a Mercedes qualifies on a hypersoft tyre, the fact that the hypersoft is a quicker tyre, but the ultrasoft will last longer, is exciting as a fan of the sport.
As a result in 2019, there is a change leaving there only a total of three compounds not including the wet variants. There will be a soft, medium and hard, making it easier for fans and teams to recognise the tyre differences.
All content here is purely based on my opinions and no official sources have published this content. @h4mm3r_h34d