A new season of F1 has got underway with testing in Barcelona. But what’s going to be different about the tyres in 2019? Here’s a quick guide.
Three colours, five compounds
There will be only three colours at each 2019 race: white for the hardest compound of the weekend, yellow for the medium one, and red for the softest compound. In total though, there will be five compounds available for the year. They are numbered from 1 to 5, going from hardest to softest – but you’ll only ever see three compounds on track.
Prototypes for testing
There will also be some tyres that don’t carry any markings at all: these will be prototype tyres seen during tests only to assess potential evolutions for the future. There’s a bespoke test schedule currently being finalised for 2020, which will involve all the teams in a series of sessions this year. Details of this schedule will be released shortly.
Different temperatures and pressures
A new move for 2019 is to reduce the maximum temperature of the tyre blankets at the rear to 80 degrees centigrade, while the front tyre blanket temperature remains at the current 100 degrees centigrade. This helps front tyre warm-up, and also reduces the risk of graining.
A thinner tread was used at selected races last year, which featured new asphalt, designed to prevent overheating. A similar tread reduction has been adopted for all the 2019 tyres.
New intermediate and wet
There’s a brand new intermediate tyre this year, designed to cover a wider range of conditions than its predecessor. This gives a more effective crossover point with both the slick and the full wet tyres, as well as improved performance. The full wet tyre is also entirely new, with greater resistance to aquaplaning and better driveability in heavy rain.
No wet back-ups
Last year, there were two parallel ranges of wet and intermediate tyres: one for higher temperatures and one for lower temperatures. This year, the tyres have been made more versatile, so there’s only one intermediate tyre and one full wet tyre for the whole year.
Wider working ranges
The working ranges are a bit higher this year, to reduce the potential for overheating. This means that there’s a wider operating window as well.