For the 2021 Formula 1® season, Pirelli will present a new range of tyres, with five slick compounds and three colours for each race. P Zero White hard, P Zero Yellow medium and P Zero Red soft. Also this year, each compound will be assigned a numeric code rather than permanent color assignment. The range will be numbered from C1 to C5, with C1 being the hardest and C5 the softest. The compounds are the same as those introduced last year, which were designed to provide greater consistency over the course of a stint. However, there’s a new construction intended to increase strength and durability, allowing the tyres to run at a lower pressure. The 2021 cars will have slightly less downforce compared to this year, but past experience has shown that the teams quickly make up any deficits – so performance is likely to be comparable, if not faster, than in 2020. The range also includes two wet options: Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet tyres.
DISCOVER ALL TYRES RANGE
C1 stands for Compound 1, and it is the hardest tyre in the 2021 Pirelli range. It is designed for circuits that put the highest energy loadings through the tyres, which will typically feature fast corners, abrasive surfaces, or high ambient temperatures. The compound takes longer to warm up but offers maximum durability and provides low degradation.
C2 means Compound 2, which is a very versatile compound that sits at the harder end of the spectrum. It comes into its own on circuits that tend towards high speeds, temperatures, and energy loadings. This tyre has demonstrated an ample working range and adaptability to a wide variety of different circuits.
C3, or Compound 3, strikes a very good balance between performance and durability, with the accent on performance. It is a very adaptable tyre that can be used as the softest compound at a high-severity track as well as the hardest compound at a low-severity track or street circuit. It is one of the most commonly used compounds of all.
C4 – Compound 4 – works well on tight and twisty circuits. It has a rapid warm-up and huge peak performance, but the other side of this is its relatively limited overall life. However, the improved consistency of this year’s compounds should mean that the softer rubber is capable of more versatile use and less prone to overheating.
C5, which stands for Compound 5, is the heir to the universally-popular hyper-soft: the fastest compound that Pirelli has ever made. This tyre is suitable for all circuits that demand high levels of mechanical grip, but the trade-off for this extra speed and adhesion is a considerably shorter lifespan than the other tyres in the range. It is not a qualifying tyre, but it comes closest.
The intermediates are the most versatile of the rain tyres. They can be used on a wet track with no standing water, as well as a drying surface. This tyre evacuates 30 litres of water per second per tyre at 300kph. The compound has been designed to expand the working range, as seen at a number of races last year, guaranteeing a wide crossover window both with the slicks and the full wets.
The full wet tyres are the most effective for heavy rain. These tyres can evacuate 85 litres of water per second per tyre at 300kph: when it rains heavily, visibility rather than grip causes issues. The profile has been designed to increase resistance to aquaplaning, which gives the tyre more grip in heavy rain. The diameter of the full wet tyre is 10mm wider than the slick tyre.