Formula 1 racing’s official tyre supplier Pirelli will be bringing the following three tyre compounds at the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix, which is due to be held on 27 August 2017 at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Stavelot, Belgium:
P Zero Yellow soft – less grip, less wear (used for long-race stints)
This is one of the most frequently used tires in Pirelli’s range, as it strikes a balance between performance and durability, with the accent on performance. It is still geared toward speed rather than long distances, but it remains capable of providing teams with a competitive advantage at the beginning of the race where cars are carrying a full fuel load, and at the end of the race where the fuel load is much lighter and the race effectively becomes a sprint. It is a high working-range compound.
P Zero Red supersoft – more grip, medium wear (used for shorter-race stints and for initial portion of qualifying)
This is the second softest tire in Pirelli’s range, and it is ideal for tight and twisting circuits, especially in cold weather, when maximum grip is needed. The supersofts warm up rapidly, which has made it a stalwart choice for qualifying. But with increased grip comes increased degradation. It is a low working-range compound.
P Zero Purple ultrasoft – highest amount of grip, highest amount of wear (used for qualifying and select race situations)
As we already know, this is the softest tire in Pirelli’s range, with rapid warming and massive performance. It is best used on tight and twisting circuits that put a premium on mechanical grip. However, because it is so soft, it has a limited lifespan. It is a low working-range compound.
The Belgian Grand Prix marks the sixth time these three compounds have been brought together this season. Teams most recently used this tire package in the Austrian Grand Prix July 7-9 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. For last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, the White medium, Yellow soft and red supersoft compounds were used.
The Yellow soft tire has been used in every grand prix this season. The Red supersoft tire has been used everywhere except the Spanish Grand Prix. The Purple ultrasoft has been used in the Australian Grand Prix, the Russian Grand Prix, the Monaco Grand Prix, the Canadian Grand Prix and the Austrian Grand Prix. As always two of the three available compounds must be used during the race. Teams are able to decide when they want to run which compound, adding an element of strategy to the race. A driver can also use all three sets of Pirelli tires in the race, if they so desire. (If there are wet track conditions, the Cinturato Blue full wet tire and the Cinturato Green intermediate tire will be made available.)
Formula 1 racing’s official tyre supplier provides each driver 13 sets of dry tires for the race weekend. Of those 13 sets, drivers and their teams can choose the specifications of 10 of those sets from the three compounds Pirelli selected. The remaining three sets are defined by Pirelli – two mandatory tire specifications for the race (one set of Yellow softs and one set of Red supersofts) and one mandatory specification for Q3 (one set of Purple ultrasofts). Scuderia Ferrari’s drivers have selected the following tyres for the weekend in Spa:
Sebastian Vettel: three sets of Yellow softs, three sets of Red supersofts and seven sets of Purple ultrasoft
Kimi Raikkonen: three sets of Yellow softs, three sets of Red supersofts and seven sets of Purple ultrasofts
Formula 1 title rivals Mercedes have decided to make a similar choice, but with a small variation between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ soft and super-soft totals. With four sets of softs, Lewis Hamilton seems to have the most conservative tyre picks in the field, ahead of the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix.