The 18-inch tires were designed from the ground-up, with every element of the tire drawn from a clean sheet of paper: from the profile to the structure, to the compounds. The design process took in more than 10,000 hours of indoor testing, more than 5,000 hours of simulation, and more than 70 prototypes developed virtually, to eventually create 30 different specifications that were tested by nearly all the teams over more than 20,000 kilometres. The role of the drivers was crucial, with each of them contributing to the development at various points and helping Pirelli arrive at the definitive specifications thanks to their feedback.
This year, the number of compounds that Pirelli can nominate throughout the championship has increased to six: making it possible to have tires that are even more perfectly suited to the specific characteristics of each track. A philosophy that is equally true for Pirelli’s road products, which benefit from technology directly transferred from Formula 1®.
DISCOVER THE RANGE
Since 2022, tires have a wider working range than their 13-inch predecessors, improving the warm-up phase, as a result, overheating is limited, and degradation is reduced. However, innovation never stops: in 2023, a new C1 compound has been created. Pirelli provides three different compounds of slick tire, as well as the intermediate and full-wet tire, for teams to utilise over a race weekend. There are six slick compounds within the range, numbered from zero to five from hardest to softest. These are known as C0 to C5, with the ‘C’ standing for ‘compound’.
Last year’s C1 tire has become the C0 for 2023. This is the hardest tire in the range, which will be nominated for the circuits that take the most energy out of the tires. It’s designed to provide maximum resistance to heat and extreme forces, being capable of running very long stints, but this comes at the expense of peak performance.
This new-for-2023 compound slots in between last year’s C1 and C2. Based on the latter, it was created to reduce the performance gap between what had previously been the two hardest compounds in the range.
The third-hardest compound remains very suited to the faster, hotter and more abrasive circuits. The harder compounds are sometimes nominated for new circuits, providing a conservative selection so that tire loads can be verified in real-world race conditions for the first time.
This compound is extremely versatile and can be used as either the hardest, the middle or the softest of any three-compound selection. With an excellent balance between performance and durability, this is well-suited to a wide range of conditions.
This compound is designated to work well on low-severity circuits, where quite a quick warm up is required in order to reach peak performance as soon as possible. This tire is used extensively throughout the season.
These are very softest tires in the range, designed for the slowest circuits with low wear and degradation where maximum mechanical grip is required from the rubber. These are normally seen at street circuits or where the asphalt is exceptionally smooth.
The intermediates are the most versatile of the rain tires. They can be used on a wet track with no standing water, as well as a drying surface. The compound has been designed to have a wide working range, guaranteeing a wide crossover window both with the slicks and the full wets.
The full wet tires are the most effective for heavy rain, capable of dispersing impressive quantities of water. But if it rains heavily, visibility rather than grip causes issues, leading to race stoppages on occasions. The profile delivers increased resistance to aquaplaning, which gives the tire more grip in heavy rain.