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F1 tyres : Types and Strategy

Updated: Jul 25


When we talk about F1, our discussions mostly revolve around teams, drivers, car liveries and technical specifications. But, most of us never discuss the most integral part of the F1 car and also one of the primitive man’s early invention “the tires!” They all might look the same as black in color. But, do you know there 2 categories of tires and each category has 5 and 2 types of tires respectively! To know more read on!


Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


Generally, F1 tires are classified into “Slick Tires” and “Wet Tires”. Slick tires are not just any ordinary tires, they do not have any grooves that cut into thread. They give the car maximum contact patch to the road and also maximize traction during braking. And when completed with tires with grooves, slick tires are faster by almost 6 seconds!


Wet tires as the name suggests are used in wet and rainy conditions. These have enough threads which help the car to gain enough support to move forward. There are 2 types of wet tires in operation in F1. The “Intermediate Green” and “Wet Blue”. The intermediate green is used when there is no standing water on the track and the track is drying. According to Pirelli the official tire manufacturer for F1, the greens can evacuate 30 liters of water per second per tire at a speed of 300kph! By now you might have guessed that wet blue is used when it is raining heavily on race day. These tires can evacuate 85 liters of water per second per tire at 300 kph!


Now, slicks, as we discussed, are the fastest and there are 5 types of slicks. This year Pirelli have changed the naming convention to numeric code instead of the color code used previously. They also have reduced the number of colors from 5 to 3. Now, white will be hard, yellow will be medium and red will denote soft tires. And the naming convention will be as C1 to C5 with C1 being the hardest and C5 being the softest tire.

  • C1 stands for Compound 1, these are the hardest tyre range in 2020. These tires are used on circuits with high ambient temperatures and abrasive surface. These C1 tires take a lot of time to warm up. But, offers maximum durability.

  • C2 stands for Compound 2, these are the medium range tyre in 2020. These tires are used on circuits tend to higher speeds, higher temperature.

  • C3 stands for Compound 3, these are the soft range tyre in 2020. These bring the perfect balance between performance and durability. These are the kind of tires that are used frequently in races. Also known as the ‘sprint’ tire this will yield good results when used at the start or during the ending laps of the race as it is more inclined to performance than longevity!

  • C4 stands for Compound 4, these are the ultrasoft range tyre in 2020. These have very rapid warm-up and mostly used on circuits that are tight and which have twisty turns. Used on circuits which have a cold temperature to gain maximum mechanical grip. But, these tires degrade very quickly when compared to others.

  • C5 stands for Compound 5, these are hypersoft range tyre in 2020. And Pirelli claims that this is the fastest compound it has ever made. These tires are suitable for all circuits which demand high mechanical grip. But, the downside Is similar to that of C4, shorter lifespan of tires.

Uff, yeah that was a long article! Which tires would you race on?!

About the Author

The post is written by Himanth. He is an alum of IIMV ,a potter head, considers cricket his religion and sachin his god.


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