Since 2007., Formula 1 has a single tyre supplier (Bridgestone 2007 – 2010, Pirelli since 2011). Today, all teams must use identical Pirelli tyres.
FIA decided to introduce single tyre supplier to reduce costs, improve racing and to prevent tyre suppliers to favour big teams and make special tyres for their cars like Bridgestone did for Ferrari during tyre war era (2001. – 2006.).
Pirelli brings three tyre compounds to each Grand Prix which can be identified by the colour on their sidewalls: softest compound hypersoft is pink, ultrasoft is purple, super soft is red, soft is yellow, medium is white, hard is blue and superhard is orange coloured.
During the Grand Prix weekend, each driver has 13 sets of dry-weather tyres, four sets of intermediate tyres (less water on track) and three sets of wet tyres.
From 13 sets of dry-weather tyres Pirelli will choose two mandatory sets (one of which must be used in the dry race) and one mandatory set for Q3 only (softest of three avalaible compounds).
Drivers can choose remaining 10 sets of dry-weather tyres.
No less than nine weeks before the start of each Event held in Europe, and fifteen weeks before the start of each Event held outside Europe, the FIA will provide all competitors with the following information relevant to the Event in question :
- Which tyre specifications will be made available by the Supplier.
- The mandatory dry-weather race tyre specification(s) (up to two).
- The mandatory dry-weather Q3 tyre specification (which will always be the softest of the three specifications).
Competitors must then inform the FIA, no less than eight weeks before the start of each Event held in Europe and fourteen weeks before the start of each Event held outside Europe, which specifications of dry-weather tyres they wish to use for each of their drivers at the Event. From the thirteen sets of dry-weather tyres available to each driver:
- At least two sets must be of the mandatory race tyre specification(s). For the avoidance of doubt, if there are two mandatory race tyre specifications, one of each must be chosen.
- At least one set must be of the mandatory Q3 tyre specification.
- The remaining sets may be chosen from the available tyre specifications.
Once the FIA has been provided with this information by all competitors the Supplier will be informed. If a competitor fails to provide the above information before the deadline the FIA will allocate tyre specifications to any driver concerned as it deems appropriate.
For the first five Events of the 2017 Championship season only, the above selection procedure will not be used. For these Events the Supplier will allocate two sets of the hardest compound specification, four sets of the medium compound specification and seven sets of the softest compound specification to each driver.
From the ten remaining sets :
- One set, which each competitor must nominate prior to the start of P1 (or may re-nominate with the consent of the FIA technical delegate), may only be used during the first 40 minutes of the session. If the session is stopped during the first 40 minutes the length of the stoppage will be added to the 40-minute limit.
- One further set must be electronically returned no later than two hours after the end of P1.
- Two further sets must be electronically returned no later than two hours after the end of P2 unless both P1 and P2 are either declared wet or cancelled, in which case one of these sets may be retained by each driver but must be electronically returned no later than two hours after the end of P3.
- Two further sets must be electronically returned no later than two hours after the end of P3.
Once all tyres have been returned electronically after P2 and the qualifying practice session the Supplier will publish a list of the tyres which each driver has available to him for the remainder of the Event.
Prior to the start of the qualifying practice session intermediate and wet-weather tyres may only be used after the track has been declared wet by the race director, following which intermediate, wet or dry-weather tyres may be used for the remainder of the session.
With the exception of any cars which have a change of survival cell after the qualifying practice session, at the start of the race each car which qualified for Q3 must be fitted with the tyres with which the driver set his fastest time during Q2. This will only be necessary for these cars if dry-weather tyres were used to set the fastest time in Q2 and if dry-weather tyres are used at the start of the race.
Unless he has used intermediate or wet-weather tyres during the race, each driver must use at least two different specifications of dry-weather tyres during the race, at least one of which must be a mandatory dry-weather race tyre specification. Unless a race is suspended and cannot be re-started, failure to comply with this requirement will result in the exclusion of the relevant driver from the race results.
If the race is suspended and cannot be re-started, thirty seconds will be added to the elapsed time of any driver who was unable to use at least two specifications of dry-weather tyre.
2018 FIA F1 sporting regulations can be downloaded here.