Posted by sugarpuff on March 19, 2007
For the 2007 Formula 1 season, Bridgestone is the sole tyre supplier for all of the Formula 1 teams.
On a race weekend, each driver will receive an allocation of 14 sets of tyres for that weekend. Four sets may be used during free practice on friday, while the remaining 10 sets may be used to cover qualifying on the saturday and the race on the sunday.
Each Formula 1 team will receive only 2 different compounds of dry weather tyre per event. The choice of those compounds will be pre-determined by the tyre supplier Bridgestone. The four dry weather compounds are classified as Hard, Medium, Soft and Super-Soft. These compounds and tyres will remain the same throughout the entire season.
During the race itself, each driver must use both compounds nominated by Bridgestone for that event. The softer of the two compounds will be made distinguishable by a white dot on the wall of the tyre to indicate the difference to spectators of the sport.
The chosen compounds for the beginning races of the season as decided by Bridgestone are:
Australia – Soft & Medium
Malaysia – Medium & Hard
Bahrain – Medium & Hard
Spain – Medium & Hard
Monaco – Soft & Super-soft
Canada – Soft & Super-soft
USA – Soft & Medium
France – Soft & Medium
Britain – Medium & Hard
Europe (Nurburgring) – Medium & Soft
Hungary – Soft & Super-soft
Turkey – Hard & Medium
Italy – Medium & Soft
Belgium (Spa) – Medium & Soft
Japan (Fuji) Medium & Soft
China – Hard & Medium
Brazil – Soft & Super-soft
The unique marking of the softer option of tyres for the benefit of the spectators has been criticised, after it became evident in the opening grand prix in Melbourne that actually the only time it was possible to identify which tyre a driver was using was up close when the car was stationary. Once the car is moving it is impossible for spectators to distinguish between the different compounds.
It is not yet known if there will be a revision to the unique identifying marking to be displayed on the softer of the two compounds used at the grand prix, as this very much depends on the FIA asking for a change to be made. However Head of Trackside Engineering at Bridgestone Kees van der Grint has confirmed that the tyres up to and including the grand prix in Bahrain have already been produced, so any revision to the existing identifiable markings can only occur after that.
Update: 31st March 2007
Bridgestone will be adopting a white painted groove on the softer of the two compounds taken to each grand prix weekend. Reports suggest out of all the various solutions trialled by the tyre maunfacturer at the test in Sepang, the second painted groove of the tyre was the most easily identifiable.
Bridgestone are now waiting for official confirmation from the FIA that may go ahead with this solution, but it is thought the white painted groove could be appearing from the Malaysian Grand Prix on April 8th onwards. The sole tyre manufacturer are hoping that once they get the go ahead this will become the permanent identifying marker for the softer compounds for the rest of the season.
According to Bridgestone it will take two full days for their employees to paint the white line manually into the groove of all the tyres taken to the grand prix weekend.