For the Formula One 2020 season, there will be 5 dry weather tire compounds. Each compound doesn’t have a permanent allocated color this year: instead, they are numbered from C1 to C5. C1 will be the hardest tire and C5 will be the softest tire. The characteristics of the tires have also changed slightly, designed to increase resistance to overheating and provide greater consistency over the course of a stint. During the race, we will see three colors: white for the hardest compound, yellow for medium and red for soft.
C1 stands for Compound1, and it’s the hardest tire in the 2019 Pirelli range, sitting just below the 2018 hard in terms of compounding. It’s designed for circuits that put the highest energy loadings through the tires, which will typically feature fast corners, abrasive surfaces, or high ambient temperatures. The compound takes longer to warm up but offers maximum durability and provides low degradation.
C2 means Compound 2, effectively last year’s medium tire. A versatile compound, but sitting at the harder part of the spectrum, it comes into its own on circuits that tend towards high speeds, temperatures, and energy loadings. This tire has demonstrated an ample working range and adaptability to a wide variety of different circuits.
This tire is equivalent to the soft that was nominated in all but four of the races last year. It strikes a very
good balance between performance and durability, with the accent on performance. It’s a very adaptable tire that can be used as the softest compound at a high-severity track as well as the hardest compound at a low-severity track or street circuit.
This is closest to the 2018 ultrasoft and it works well on tight and twisty circuits. It has a rapid warm-up and huge peak performance, but the other side of this is its relatively limited overall life. However, the improved consistency of this year’s compounds should mean that the softer rubber is capable of more versatile use.
The softest 2019 compound is the heir to the universally-popular hypersoft: the fastest compound that Pirelli has ever made. This tire is suitable for all circuits that demand high levels of mechanical grip, but the trade-off for this extra speed and adhesion is a considerably shorter lifespan than the other tires in the range. Getting the most out of it will be a key to race strategy.
Wet weather compounds
The wet and intermediate tires have been redesigned this year with new tread patterns and structures. This makes them more efficient and also more versatile.
As a result, there are no longer two specifications of the wet and intermediate tire in 2019: instead just one wet tire and one intermediate tire to suit all circuits and conditions. Unlike the slick tires, the colors are unchanged this year, and they continue to be branded Cinturato, in homage to a name that has been synonymous with safety and control since the 1950s.
The intermediates are the most versatile of rain tires. They can be used on a wet track with no standing water, as well as a drying surface. This tire evacuates 30 liters of water per second per tire at 300kph. There’s a new compound that is designed to expand the working range, guaranteeing a proper crossover both with the slicks and the full wets.
The full wet tires are the most effective solution for heavy rain. These tires can evacuate 85 liters of water per second per tire at 300kph. There’s a new profile designed to increase resistance to aquaplaning, which will give the tire more grip in heavy rain. The diameter of the full wet tire is 10mm wider than the slick tire.