Pirelli Motorsport has come up with a whole lot of tyre compounds ever since it took over the reins from Bridgestone way back in 2011. There have been four to choose from, sometimes five – ooh, and remember when wet tyres had ORANGE sidewalls? Oh how we laughed. Good times.
But never before 2017 has the Italian tyre manufacturer put forth so many wacky ideas at once. As a special treat to mark its seventh season in Formula 1 in modern times, they’ve commissioned seven dry weather compounds – that’s definitely the official reason for all the rubber and not just a happy coincidence.
We know these seven compounds to be the Ultrahard, Hard, Medium, Soft, Supersoft, Ultrasoft and Hypersoft, collectively known as the Rainbow Range even though, spoiler alert, white is not in the rainbow. Issues such as this, and the fact that Medium isn’t the most medium-y one, lead me to believe that I can come up with a FAR more impressive, accurate, and most importantly exciting range of dry weather compounds for the 2018 season, so that’s exactly what I’ve gone and done. Here goes!
Pirelli Diamond Edition
- Hardness: Could cut glass
- Sidewall Colour: Diamond-studded
- Average Tyre Life: They will outlive us all
It’s often said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. And while there are no females currently participating in Formula 1 (A situation that certain pro-all-female racing series flagbearers seem intent on prolonging) it’s hard not to be drawn in by the dazzling brilliance of Pirelli’s first jewel-encrusted tyre, regardless of your identity or gender.
The tyres are made of solid rubber, have no pressure due a lack of air, and much like real diamonds, they offer basically no grip when you thrash them round the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. However, in another similarity to diamond, you’ll never need to get rid of them, because they’re pretty much indestructible.
Plonk a quartet of Diamonds on for the 2018 Australian Grand Prix, and you won’t have to take them off until Formula 1 car engines have devolved into two-cylinder coffee-fuelled hedge trimmers.
Pirelli EastEnders Edition
- Hardness: Hard as F*@!
- Sidewall Colour: Danny Dyer’s face
- Average Tyre Life: 500 laps
Colloquially known as the Danny Dyer Racing TyreTM, the Pirelli EastEnder edition pays homage to one of the most beloved characters in BBC1’s flagship soap opera; the landlord of the Vic himself, Mr Mick Carter.
How exactly does it do this? Well, for starters, it’s hard as nails. These puppies are built with a blend of Kevlar and tungsten, making them tough, if a little dense, but you wouldn’t want to bump into them in a dark alley. The sidewalls of the tyre, and the hub of the wheel itself are emblazoned with the face of Danny Dyer, with the retaining wheel pin housed within DD’s gob.
Personally, it’s difficult to see why you’d ever bother changing from this compound. It’s literally perfect. But if and when you do need to get some EastEnders Edition tyres off, affixing the wheel gun to the nut will cause the tyre to say “You’re doing my nut in”, like the great man himself.
Pirelli Silverstone 2013 Edition
- Hardness: Your guess is as good as ours
- Sidewall Colour: Silver
- Average Tyre Life: 0-57 laps
The 2013 British Grand Prix was a memorable one. Sebastian Vettel suffered a gearbox glitch, putting Fernando Alonso back within striking distance of the German. Nico Rosberg took only his third career victory in fine style. Oh yeah, and everyone’s tyres decided to clock off early.
Though the multitude of high-speed blowouts at that fateful race were deemed to be the result of a very jagged kerb coming onto the Wellington Straight, Pirelli had a PR nightmare in trying to prove that they hadn’t just made a bunch of duff shoes for the F1 grid.
As a poignant reminder of this barmy race, the Pirelli Silverstone 2013 Edition adds an exciting unpredictability factor to Formula 1, with random sidewall lacerations and full-on canvas de-laminations promised by the boatful. Oh sorry, what was that? You’re two tenths up on the best time in Singapore? BOSH, tyre failure. How could that possibly get annoying?
The Pirelli Happy Medium
- Hardness: Exactly 50% as hard as the hardest tyre in our range, and 50% harder than the softest one
- Sidewall Colour: What haven’t we done yet? Teal? Yeah let’s do teal
- Average Tyre Life: Probably a good 75% of most races, maybe a full race at Monaco
The Pirelli Happy Medium is perhaps the most satisfying compound of the range. It’s just incredibly average in every way, offering median levels of both grip a degradation. It’s really the ideal race tyre for pretty much every track with any sort of high-speed corner.
Street circuits such as Monaco and Singapore, and perhaps Hungary, might be ill-suited to this one, as degradation is much lower, but for all intents and purposes, it’s just a good old reliable cylinder of rubber. It’s also slap bang in the middle of the Pirelli range; softer than the three that preceded it, and harder than those following.
WAS THAT SO HARD? CHRIST’S SAKE.
Pirelli Ultra Thin Edition
- Hardness: Consult your doctor if symptoms persist for more than four hours
- Sidewall Colour: Virtually see-through
- Average Tyre Life: 1-10 minutes
It’s sleek for aerodynamic performance. It’s ultra thin for intense feeling. And it’s ribbed for added pleasure. Motor racing is a dangerous sport, and at Pirelli, they ensure that drivers are well-equipped to give their very best performance at all times – racers couldn’t go racing without tyres, so they ensure that everyone rubbers up for safety. Though this is a dry-compound tyre, it performs incredibly well in wet conditions. And he might have retired from competitive racing, but Johnnie Herbert is said to be a huge fan. Next time you make a pit stop, be sure to enter wearing Pirelli Ultra Thin.
Please note: Only available for purchase from pub toilets.
- Hardness: It’s literally just butter
- Sidewall Colour: Butter-coloured
- Average Tyre Life: 28 Days (room temperature) 3 months (refrigerated)
There’s really not a lot to say about Pirelli Spreadable. It’s a tyre made out of butter.
It’s really not all that grippy, and it definitely favours colder conditions. We’re thinking of doing some sort of PR thing in Budapest to do with being Hungary, but temperatures are usually around 40 celcius, and in all honesty we don’t want to coat the Hungaroring with enough butter to ensure a good-sized cake doesn’t stick to the sides so we might knock it on the head.
There were also concerns that Bertolli were going to introduce a similar item, but it’s important to note that Bertolli is an olive oil-based spread, not a milk-based product, so there is little worry there. Oh, and they have absolutely nothing to do with Formula 1 either.
Pirelli Lowe’s Edition
- Hardness: Softer than His Serene Highness Prince Albert’s silk handkerchief
- Sidewall Colour: Red and White like the flag of Monaco
- Average Tyre life: No
It was the high degradation at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix that got us into this whole mess with tyres that degrade so damn quickly. But another famous street circuit, the Circuit de Monaco, is the inspiration for the latest innovation in grip drop off-ness.
This is a tyre designed to withstand the enormous pressure of the slowest-speed corner in Formula 1, the Lowe’s/Grand Hotel Hairpin at the Circuit de Monaco. You may be thinking: “Every tyre can put up with that corner, can’t it?”
And you would be right. But not every tyre can survive ONLY the 30 miles-per-hour crawl without wearing down to the canvas. Slip on a set of Lowe’s Editions and see for yourself. Parabolica? No chance. 130R? You’re having a laugh mate. Eau Rouge? I hope you brought spare overalls.
Which tyre compounds would you introduce to F1? Is seven too much? Should we ban tyres? Let us know!