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Big changes for tyres in Melbourne

05/04/22

Albert Park track changes mean a step into the unknown for Pirelli.

A revised Albert Park circuit is an unknown for the drivers and the teams in the Formula 1® Heineken® Australian Grand Prix 2022 but it is also a huge challenge for F1®’s exclusive tyre supplier since 2011, Pirelli.

Newly profiled corners are one thing that can be assessed on computers and simulators but the track’s resurfaced tarmac presents a large challenge to Pirelli’s engineers.

The other significant change has been the introduction of 18-inch wheels and tyres this year, as opposed to the 13-inch tyres used in F1® since the 1970s.

Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing, says that he expects the track to change from the start of Friday’s Practice sessions and the conclusion of Sunday’s race.
“First of all the circuit layout has been heavily revised to improve overtaking and, as a result, there’s also new asphalt that should be quite smooth,” he said.

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“This means the track is likely to offer very low levels of grip at the start, with a high degree of evolution expected over the weekend and an extremely slippery surface if it rains.

“We will also head to Melbourne a couple of weeks later compared to previous seasons when autumn has already started in the southern hemisphere, so conditions could be more variable.

“Last but not least, there is a completely new generation of cars and tyres that the drivers are still trying to learn about. All these factors mean that there will be a lot of work to do for teams and drivers in the free practice sessions.”

Drivers will have a choice of Soft tyres (with a red band on the sidewall), Medium (a yellow band) and Hard (a white band). They must use at least two different types of tyres in the race.

Should Wet tyres be needed, they have a blue band and Intermediate tyres, which can be used in mixed conditions, have a green band.

At Albert Park, the Soft tyre will be two grades ‘softer’ than the harder rubber, as opposed to the one-grade difference in the opening two races in the Middle East.

“We decided to opt for the step in the compound nominations,” said Isola, “because we noticed that there was a relatively small performance gap between the C3 and C4 compounds during development testing, and we believe that Albert Park – with its new asphalt and layout – is a good place to try out this option.”

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