Pirelli set to introduce new F1 slick tyre at Silverstone

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Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

In an announcement on their website today, Formula One’s tyre partner, Pirelli, have stated their intention to bring a new specification of slick tyre into use from the British Grand Prix for use for the remainder of the season.

This is a reaction to the leap forward in pace seen from the current generation of cars in the short time they have been in play, and now Pirelli have brought forward materials they intended to use for 2024.

According to Pirelli the move was “made necessary because of the increase in car performance – in terms of both speed and downforce – seen over the first few races compared to pre-season simulation data supplied by the teams. It’s also likely that this performance will increase still further over the rest of the season.”

For instance the pole time in Bahrain 2023 was 0.8 of a second quicker than the previous year, and at Miami last weekend we saw a just under two second reduction in the time it took the pole sitter Sergio Perez to complete his lap versus the previous year’s best time in qualifying. With not even a quarter of the season yet completed, and team’s development still ongoing, you’d have to agree with Pirelli on the likelihood of the pace increasing further.

Ordinarily, all compounds that are planned to be used in an F1 season must be confirmed before December 15th the year before – but a request can be made to the sport’s governing body the FIA to make changes in certain circumstances and the FIA have now approved the tyre manufacturers request to use this new spec of tyre.

The changes to the regulations concerning the floor of the car’s over the winter intended to slow down the current crop of F1 machinery as well as ride height changes, all of which were expected to cost in the region of up to half a second per lap no doubt factored into how this dramatic step up in performance has caught Pirelli slightly off guard and having to bring their schedule forward.

The teams will be able to sample this new tyre at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona at the start of June during FP1 & FP2 sessions, a month before its full rollout at Silverstone. Head of Motorsport at Pirelli, Mario Isola had the following to say on the matter:

“We’ve seen how much more performance the 2023 cars have compared to last year throughout the opening races of this season, and that is thanks to the extraordinary pace of development shown by all 10 of the teams. In Miami, for example, the pole time was nearly two seconds faster than last year, but the same sort of progress has been seen during races as well. Pirelli’s simulation work has always been aimed at not only supplying a product that hits the performance targets specified by stakeholders, but also anticipating any potential problems and reacting to them quickly. The new specification contains materials that we have already developed for 2024, which will make the tyres more resistant without affecting any of the other technical parameters or their behaviour on track. To allow all the teams to test the new construction on a level playing field, Pirelli will supply two extra tyre sets per car to be used during FP1 and FP2 at the Spanish Grand Prix.”