Pirelli has made a rather surprising announcement that it will bring its softest three compounds to the Austrian Grand Prix in June, making it the third race in four to feature Pirelli’s newest tyre compound: the Ultra Soft.
The purple-marked Ultra-Soft is Pirelli’s newest variation which will make its debut at the Monaco Grand Prix in May.
It was originally intended solely for street circuits, but Pirelli seems confident enough that it can hold its own in Canada as well as Austria. By contrast, Pirelli is taking a more cautious approach for Azerbaijan’s debut Grand Prix on June 19 – which is also on a street circuit – by allocating the Medium, Soft and Super Soft compounds.
Under Formula 1’s 2016 tyre regulations, Pirelli will bring three different dry-weather compounds to a Grand Prix weekend compared to only two in recent seasons.
Across all three designated compounds, each driver chooses any mix of ten tyre sets out of their allocation of thirteen to run over a Grand Prix weekend, while Pirelli chooses the other three: one set will be the softest available compound to be set aside should a driver make it to Q3, and one of each set of the other two compounds to be set aside for the race.
It is a move which has proved both popular and successful in 2016 to-date by spicing up the races and opening more strategic variety for the teams.
The Ultra Soft was only given serious pre-season testing mileage by Ferrari as it was initially expected to be a rare sight during the season. Perhaps rarer still could be the Hard compound tyre, which will make its 2016 debut in the Spanish Grand Prix next month on the high-wearing Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Image via XPB Images