In the past, Pirelli, who has been Formula 1’s sole tyre supplier since 2011, has decided on its tyre choice a few weeks in advance of each race. But that changed this year, they decided to plan out the entire tyre choice for the whole calendar (from Bahrain to Abu Dhabi) in advance to prevent complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to motorsport.com, Mario Isola, Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing said: "Announcing all the selections for the year right now will help the teams and the drivers with their planning, also allowing for maximum flexibility just in case the calendar has to change due to COVID-19 restrictions, as we saw last year."
They do bring soft, medium and hard to every event, but the actual compound selection does vary from track to track. Their range goes from C1 (the hardest compound) to C5 (the softest one), and the 3 selected for each race – that, as mentioned before, vary from race to race – are labelled Hard, Medium or Soft, depending on their choice.
The selection this year is similar to the one from 2020, as Isola mentioned: "The selections themselves are on the whole similar to last year (or 2019, in the case of races not run in 2020), which means that teams should have plenty of data to fall back on - but we have two races where the nominations are softer.”.
The first race in which the nominations are softer is Azerbaijan, where the softest compounds (C3, C4 and C5) are going to be used. Then we have Brazil, where the C2, C3 and C4 are the compound choice.
The Italian supplier has always been careful when it comes to the selection of compounds for new races that are incorporated into the calendar; for the Netherlands we have the C1, C2 and C2, while for the night race in Saudi Arabia they opted for a softer choice with the C2, C3 and C4. The Zandvoort circuit will not be the only one where the hardest tyres will be seen, they have chosen the same compounds at Portimão, Montmeló, Silverstone and Suzuka.