Formula 1 is taking into consideration the possibility of giving teams total freedom in their tyre selections if the Q3 tyre rule was scrapped, according to official tyre supplier Pirelli. Currently teams have to make their selections from three compounds nominated by the sport’s official tyre supplier. Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer is among those who has argued in favour of opening up the nominations to create greater diversity between strategies:
“We should have free tyre choice from any [compound].” – said Szafnauer at Suzuka. “I still think that’s a good idea, not this limited thing that we have now. If you want a variety of strategies, make a free tyre choice. Any two compounds you want as opposed to they give you a range of compounds you can pick from. Why not leave it up to you? Then for sure you’ll get different [strategies]. Some people will say ‘I really want to qualify high here I don’t care what happens in the race at least I have my Saturday night’. Especially if there’s a race where overtaking’s difficult.” – he explained.
Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola said the idea is feasible with one caveat: The requirement that drivers who reach Q3 must start the race on the tyres they used in Q2 would also have to be lifted.
Giving teams freedom in their tyre choices was “discussed in the past” – Mario Isola confirmed – “It’s not a new idea. Some teams came up with some simulation showing that if we give the freedom to the teams to choose any of the compounds it’s an additional advantage to the top teams because the midfield has to push more for qualifying with a more aggressive selection and then they have to start the race with those tyres selected for quali. So I believe it is feasible, provided we also change some of the sporting regulations like not obliging to start on the tyres they qualified on in Q2 or something like that to make something that makes sense.” – he explained.
Next year Pirelli’s three nominated compounds will be referred to using the same name at each race. The final details of the arrangement are yet to be confirmed: “Hard, medium and soft is the terminology for next year. We will make an official release, announcement with also the colours because we are still defining the colours. So when the colours are defined, we will release colours and name together.” – Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola concluded.