F1’s new ATA rules are intended to bolster the sport’s sustainability stance by decreasing the number of tyre sets that Pirelli must deliver each weekend. It could also enhance strategic diversity on race days.
This system will be tested at the Italian GP, before the FIA evaluates its implications and ponders its more widespread adoption in the future.
Usually, 13 sets of dry tyres – two hard, three medium, and eight soft – are allocated for the weekend. However, the ATA rules cut this to 11 sets: three hard, four medium, and four soft. One set must be returned after FP1, another after FP2, and two more after FP3. Racers must keep one set of hard and one set of medium tyres for the race day, resulting in two sets of each and broadening the strategic scope.
Crucially, tyre usage in qualifying is now predetermined. Only hards can be used in Q1, mediums in Q2, and softs in Q3.
This format has also been implemented this year for the sprint shootout. If the session is declared wet, the slick restrictions are nullified.
Pirelli has added another layer of complexity by selecting a softer range than last year – the C3, C4, and C5 compounds – for Hungary, repeating the choice made for the aborted Imola event. Thus, last year’s medium in Budapest is this year’s hard.
“With the alternative tyre allocation, teams will possess two sets of each tyre type for the race,” Mario Isola from Pirelli stated earlier this year.
“Therefore, we can afford to go one step softer. Even if this results in more pit stops, they have sufficient tyres.
“If this system works, we will stick to it. If not, we will revert to the previous one. The approach is appropriate since, despite the best forecasting efforts, there are always unpredictable elements,” Isola added.
Teams extensively studied the potential impact of these rules before Imola. For Budapest, they’re applying and adjusting those findings.
Joseph McMillan, Senior Race Strategy Engineer at Mercedes, anticipates increased challenges. He mentioned that teams must now think about optimal tyre preparation and best out-lap profile for three different compounds, adding more variation to practice sessions.
According to McMillan, teams will have greater flexibility for race day. He predicts that the medium and hard compounds will likely be favoured over the soft C5. This should place teams in a better position than usual, as they’ll have more strategic freedom post-qualifying.
Tom McCullough, Performance Director at Aston Martin, expressed optimism about the alternative tyre allocations, viewing them as a worthwhile experiment. He believes the main challenge is to familiarise the drivers with the different compounds before qualifying while still preserving good race tyres.
However, some concerns remain. Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams, expressed some disappointment with the obligatory tyre selection in qualifying, stating he would prefer more freedom. Yet, he remains open-minded to see how it plays out.
This weekend, all eyes will be on how these new regulations unfold.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1’s new ATA tyre rules
What is the purpose of the new ATA rules in F1?
The new ATA rules in F1 aim to enhance the sport’s sustainability by reducing the number of tyre sets that Pirelli must supply each weekend. Additionally, the rules could add an element of strategic diversity on race days.
What is the standard weekend allocation of dry tyres under the new ATA rules?
Under the ATA rules, drivers are allocated 11 sets of dry tyres, with three hard, four medium, and four soft. This is a reduction from the previous standard of 13 sets.
How does the new ATA rules affect qualifying?
With the new ATA rules, tyre usage in qualifying is predetermined. Teams can only use hard tyres in Q1, mediums in Q2, and softs in Q3.
Who commented on the new ATA rules from the F1 teams?
Several team members have commented on the ATA rules. These include Joseph McMillan, the Senior Race Strategy Engineer at Mercedes, Tom McCullough, the Performance Director at Aston Martin, and Dave Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams.
How will the new ATA rules affect race strategy?
The new rules offer more leeway for teams on race day. Teams are expected to have two sets of hard and medium tyres available, leading to a broader range of strategic options. The medium and hard compounds will likely be favored over the soft C5.