Along with this very soft compound, which is orientated towards maximum performance within a limited number of laps, a new colour also takes centre stage: purple. This becomes the seventh shade to take its place in the ranks of an array that is now instantly recognisable all over the world. Here are all the 2016 compounds in full Technicolor detail:
Dry weather compounds
This is a brand new compound for this year, designed for use on tight and twisty circuits that place an emphasis on mechanical grip. It’s a low working range compound. As the very softest tyre in the range, designed to sit below the supersoft, it has a very rapid warm-up and huge peak performance, but the other side of this is its relatively limited overall life. The ultrasoft is not quite a qualifying tyre, but it’s moving in that direction, with some interesting potential applications for it available as well during races. Its purple colour was chosen as the result of an innovative social media campaign, with fans getting the chance to vote for their preferred colour.
The next-softest compound in the P Zero range is ideal for slow and twisty circuits, especially in cold weather, when maximum mechanical grip is needed. The supersoft benefits from an extremely rapid warm-up time, which makes it ideal in qualifying as well, but the flip side to that important characteristic is of course increased degradation. This is a low working range compound.
This is one of the most frequently used tyres in the range, striking a very good balance between performance and durability, with the accent on performance. It is still biased towards speed rather than long distances, but is nonetheless capable of providing teams with a competitive advantage both at the beginning of the race on full fuel and when used as a ‘sprint’ tyre at the end. This is a high working range compound.
Theoretically this is the most perfectly balanced of all the tyres, with an ideal compromise between performance and durability. As a result, it is extremely versatile, but it often comes into its own on circuits that tend towards high speeds, temperatures, and energy loadings. This is a low working range compound.
The toughest tyre in Pirelli’s range is designed for the circuits that put the highest energy loadings through the tyres, with fast corners or abrasive surfaces, and are often characterised by high ambient temperatures. The compound takes longer to warm up, but offers maximum durability – which frequently means that it plays a key role in race strategy. This is a high working range compound.
Wet weather compounds
The intermediates are the most versatile of the rain tyres, dispersing approximately 25 litres of water per second at full speed. They can be used on a wet as well as a drying track.
The full wet tyres can disperse (each tyre) up to 65 litres of water per second at full speed, making them the most effective solution for heavy rain. The latest evolutions of the Cinturato Blue mean that it is also effective on a drying track, with increased durability. The result of this intensive work on the rain tyre is increased driveability in a wide variety of conditions. At the start of 2016, Pirelli carried out the very first specific wet tyre test with contemporary Formula One machinery at Paul Ricard in France, in order to refine the development of the latest wet-weather tyres. This has been extremely valuable in determining the latest evolutions.