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Pirelli test new tyre compound in bid to liven up boring F1 races

Pirelli test new tyre compound in bid to liven up boring F1 races

A softer tyre will mix up race strategies and improve on-track action

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Formula 1 tyre manufacturer Pirelli have begun testing a softer tyre to make races more exciting.

Pirelli test new tyre compound in bid to liven up boring F1 races
Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz (pictured) were at the helm of their SF-24 cars around Circuit Paul Ricard to test the new tyre (Image Credit: @ScuderiaFerrari on X)

The 2024 Monaco Grand Prix was a momentous occasion, not least for local hero Charles Leclerc who became the first Monegasque driver to win the event in 93 years.

However, apart from the allure of a tightening battle at the top of the Standings and a winner other than defending Champion Max Verstappen, nobody could deny that the race itself wasn’t the most exciting.

After a Red flag-inducing first lap incident between Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, the remaining drivers were able to switch to a fresh set of Hard or Medium tyres which lasted the entire 78-lap race distance.

With a distinct lack of pitstops and race strategy completely negated, the Monaco Grand Prix saw embarrassingly few overtakes with the top ten finishing exactly how they qualified.

In an effort to make F1 races more entertaining with closer on-track battles and a plethora of different tyre strategies, Pirelli have decided to test out a softer “C6” compound of tyre which will be noticeably faster than the current softest “C5” tyre but also degrade quicker.

Testing of this radical tyre solution began on 29 May around the Circuit Paul Ricard in France. Leclerc was back behind the wheel of his SF-24 alongside teammate Carlos Sainz to provide data and feedback for the performance of the “supersoft”-esque tyre.

We need to have softer compounds

Mario Isola, the Motorsport Director for Pirelli, explained the reasons for the potential change. He told The Times: “The idea is to introduce a new C6 compound, a softer one, because in the calendar we have more and more street circuits and we need softer compounds.

“We will move the range on the soft side, always trying to remove overheating. The real problem is to find the right trade-off between overheating and degradation,” added the Italian engineer.

Isola continued by stating that a softer compound will encourage a mixture of race strategies from the different teams on the grid come race day: “We tested one [C6 tyre] in Paul Ricard a couple of days ago. It’s the first attempt but the idea is to go in this direction probably to six compounds next year.

“That was our idea, considering the calendar and considering where we go to race. The target is that we have to encourage a mix between one and two-stop strategy.”

The issue with the current ruling of three different tyre compounds at each race weekend is that the gulf in performance from one tyre to the next is so big that there tends to only be one optimal strategy.

This is something that Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has alluded to, as he claimed after the Miami Grand Prix: “Honestly, it’s probably the most frustrating thing. You look back in the day where you had a much bigger working window to work with. Then you can just optimise the balance and then just have good grip throughout the whole lap. This is definitely my least favourite.”

F1 returns to North America for the Canadian Grand Prix, which commences Sunday 9 June at 19:00 BST (14:00 local time).

Feature Image Credit: RACEPICTURES.COM

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