The announcement comes as part of a rules change it was able to negotiate with its return to the sport to allow teams to gain further mileage on its new rubber.
Pirelli was given the green light to give an extra tyre set – which will generally be experimental rubber – to the teams on any Grand Prix weekend, on top of the eleven tyre sets that is written in the sport’s rulebook.
With the ambient temperatures set to be warmer in Melbourne than the teams have experienced during pre-season in Spain, Pirelli has opted to allocate an extra set of ‘prime’ (hard compound) tyres so the drivers – and as a secondary benefit, the fans – can enjoy more mileage in practice.
The extra tyre set can be used during both Friday practice session before it – along with two other ‘prime’ tyre sets and one set of ‘option’ tyres – must be returned to the FIA before Saturday’s final practice session kicks off.
The return of Pirelli – which has remained away from the sport for 21 years – has been one of the talking points of the pre-season, with many seemingly intrigued about the impact that its tyres will have on the race results.
The Italian tyre company has aimed to provide more on-track action by producing higher-wearing tyres, although some drivers and teams have complained that they have been too aggressive in this approach, with some of the softer compounds wearing out after just a handful of laps.
“[In] some ways this is against our company DNA as our road car tyres are designed to be as durable as possible,” said Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery. “But Formula 1 is a very different case, because our remit from the teams and promoter was to provide entertainment.
“With that in mind, we’re just keen to get going now and it will be fascinating to see exactly how the drivers and teams are going to use our tyres to employ different strategies during the race.
“We’ve noticed a few differences between the teams already in testing, and it’s going to be very interesting to find out exactly how that translates into a race situation.”
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