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Will the varied Pirelli F1 tyre choices mix up the 2016 Australian Grand Prix?

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Will the varied Pirelli F1 tyre choices mix up the 2016 Australian Grand Prix?
Mar 9, 2016, 1:14 PM

Pirelli has revealed the tyres that have been selected by the Formula 1 field for the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, one of the ways that the sport is...

Pirelli has revealed the tyres that have been selected by the Formula 1 field for the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, one of the ways that the sport is trying vary strategy calls in the hope of spicing up the races.

In previous years, Pirelli had provided 13 sets of two different dry tyre compounds from its range, with the drivers required to run both varieties of rubber for at least one stint during the race.

But for 2016 the regulations have been changed so that the Italian company now offers the same number of tyres, but they are spread across three compounds and the drivers are free to choose between them.

https://twitter.com/pirellisport/status/707214016251346944

The aim is to provide different approaches in strategy between the teams and variation within their driver line-ups.

Has it worked?

The most noticeable difference in the Melbourne selection is that Lewis Hamilton has chosen an extra set of soft tyres (six) and one less set of medium rubber (one) compared to his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg.

The soft tyre is expected to be the optimum race compound around Albert Park and the discrepancy between the Mercedes’ drivers is understood to be related to the team’s planned running in Free Practice.

This is because it will be easier to compare any set-up changes made to a car using the same tyre compound.

Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton

All of the other teams have identical requests from their drivers with exception of Sauber and Haas F1.

At the Swiss team, Felipe Nasr has chosen an extra set of mediums and one less soft set compared to Marcus Ericcsson, while Romain Grosjean has one set less of the medium tyres and one extra set of softs than Esteban Gutierrez at the American outfit.

One the team strategy side, Mercedes and Ferrari have gone for six sets of super-soft tyres, compared to the seven selected by Williams, Red Bull, Renault, Toro Rosso, McLaren and Haas.

XPB.cc Rio Haryanto

Manor has made the most visibly different approach to the opening weekend of the season, as it has gone with five supersofts, the fewest of any team, four soft sets and four mediums for Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.

Strategy variation - for now

Pirelli’s racing manager, Mario Isola is expecting the teams to come up with different approaches at the beginning of the season before they start to follow the same strategies as the year goes on.

Speaking to Autosport, he said: "At the beginning of the championship I think there will be some variation because they had to choose the compounds quite in advance, before the winter test, for the first four races.

XPB.cc Mario Isola

"So I expect some differences. Maybe these differences will be in free practice and then they will converge to a similar strategy for the race.

"That's because they have very powerful tools of simulation and they are able to find the best strategy, also with the new regulations.

"But hopefully we'll have different strategies, probably more pitstops compared to last year because we've added one softer compound.

"So if we have teams planning to have a more aggressive strategy, we should have a higher number of pitstops."

Silverstone British Grand Prix

The changes to Pirelli’s tyre selection process have been brought in alongside the new-for-2016 qualifying system and a ban on in-race communication between drivers and their teams as part of a wider initiative to make F1 more unpredictable.

Have your say

Do you think the new tyre selection process will mix up F1 strategies and create more exciting races?

What do you make of the tyre selection for Australian Grand Prix? Will it make for a more unpredictable race in Melbourne? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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