Pirelli supply two types of tyre, slick and wet. Within these, there are a range of compounds available for the teams to use. Below is an explanation of the characteristics of each compound.
Slick tyres contain no tread, allowing a large contact patch with the road. There a five different slick compounds, to suit different surfaces and conditions. For each race, Pirelli will allocate 3 dry compounds which teams can chose to use throughout the weekend. For more information about tyre allocations click here.
Hard – Orange
The hardest available compound, the hard tyre is designed for circuits with high tyre degredation, those which put a lot of energy load on the tyre. It takes longer to get up to temperature than the other compounds and has a lower level of performance. However, it offers maximum durability so can be crucial on race day.
Medium – White
A balance of durability and performance, the medium tyre is commonly used in races. Available for most races, it is seen as the most perfectly balanced tyre on offer from Pirelli. It is effective at circuits with high speed, high temperatures and high loads.
Soft – Yellow
Another commonly used tyre compound, the soft is again a balance between urability and performace but more focused on the latter. It is can be used at the start of the race on a high fuel load but also in the closing stages in a final sprint to the line.
Supersoft – Red
Ideal for slow, twisting circuits requiring maximum grip. It gets up to temperature incredibly quickly, making it ideal for qualifying. However, this results in high degradation meaning that it lasts only a short time during races.
Ultrasoft – Purple
A new compound introduced in 2016, the Ultrasoft is the softest available tyre. Huge peak performance and incredibly quick to warm up, the ultrasoft tyre is the compound providing the most grip and performance of all. However, with this comes extremely short life due to high degradation.
With grooves in the tread, the wet tyres are capable of dispersing huge amounts of water at high speeds. Two wet compounds are available:
Full wets – Blue
With deep grooves to disperse water, the full wets are designed for use in heavy rain. They are capable of dispersing up to 65 litres per second of water at high speeds.
Intermediates – Green
The intermediate compound can be used on wet and drying tracks, less effective at dispersing water than the full wets but offering a greater performance.