How have Pirelli 18 inch tyres performed over 3 Rounds- breakdown of stats Round One- article 1 of 3

How have Pirelli 18 inch tyres performed over 3 Rounds- breakdown of stats Round One- article 1 of 3

How have Pirelli 18 inch tyres performed over first 3 Rounds in the new era of Formula One racing? The new P Zero compounds for 2022 F1 season have prompted new approaches to selection of tyres for optimum driver and Team results, with all decisions relative to the new aerodynamic cars, track circuit and temperature of day/night racing.

F1 Bahrain Grand Prix FP1 and FP2 data Image: Pirelli

Specifically, Pirelli’s 5 compounds ranging from C1 Hard, with white trim, to C3 medium with yellow trim, to C4 soft with red trim displace the known factor of tyre degradation which has accompanied decades of formula racing.

Data collected from track times on Friday’s Free Practice sessions, to Saturday’s FP3 session and Qualifying, through to Sunday’s Race provide information for analysis on performance of tyres selected inclusive of: performance gap between compounds, lap times, and durability.

Taken into consideration the complexity of factors which influence the outcome of racing with the deployment of Safety Car and Virtual Safety Car the most unknown factor, stints on tyres have equal chance of going to plan, then interrupted with ‘free pit stop’ or giving up time/track position to make pit stop for change of tyres.

Adding in fact that temperature of tyre blankets has been reduced to 70 degrees with F1 set to ban their use from 2024, Pirelli’s research and development into levelling the window of tyre performance across all compounds while at the same time widening the optimum time of tyre performance will undoubtedly be tested again in the near future.

F1 Bahrain Grand Prix, data on Saturday’s FP3 and Q Image: Pirelli

The following break-down of statistics provided by Pirelli post track-time enables a broader view on any trends developing on tyre performance relative to driver/s and their respective Team results over course of F1 Bahrain Grand Prix, F1 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix and F1 Australian Grand Prix. For ease of sharing information, analysis will take place over course of 3 articles.

Opening Round of 2022 Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix placed tyre selection as key for Free Practice 1, 2 and 3 prior to Qualifying on Saturday evening, 6.00pm, local time. FP2 times and data- closest window of track-time to Qualifying the next day- placed Soft C3 tyre in top 3 spots by: Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) at 1.31.936 followed by Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) on 1.32.023, with Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) at 1.32.520.

Performance gap between Hard C1 and Medium C2 compound came in at 1.31 with difference between Medium C2 and Soft C3 at 1.18. Interestingly, analysis on the durability between tyre compounds, taking total kms driven on Friday relative to sets used produced the following data: Hard C1 total 660kms divided by 16 sets used equals 41.25 kms per set. Medium C2 total 1910kms divided by 28 sets used equals 68.21kms per set. And, Soft C3 total 2099kms divided by 38 sets used equals 55.23kms per set. The expectation that Hard C1 would provide greater wear over distance has, for Bahrain GP been replaced by Medium C2 tyre.

F1 Bahrain Grand Prix Race pit stops Image: Pirelli

Qualifying results for all top 10 drivers were on Soft C3 tyres, which left race strategy on which tyre to start on the grid, how many pit-stops and which changes would take place to final chequered flag- all 57 laps later. All drivers barring Mick Schumacher opted for 3 stop strategy taking advantage of pitting when Safety Car was deployed 11 laps to go. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took Race win starting on Soft C3 New, switching to C3 Used on Lap 15, changing to Medium C2 on Lap 31, then back on Soft C3 Used on Lap 46 to end of race.

Hard C1  tyres were used by 7 drivers only, with Mercedes drivers- Lewis Hamilton and George Russell switching to C1 Hard at first pit stop on lap/s 11 and 15 respectively, with all drivers completing final leg of race on Soft C3’s. Fastest lap time was set by Charles Leclerc- shortly before end of Race, on Soft C3 tyres.

Next up: Article 2- How have Pirelli 18 inch tyres performed over 3 Rounds: F1 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. Header photo credit: Pirelli.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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