During each F1 qualifying session, teams and drivers carefully select the tire compound that will allow them to set the fastest lap on the track. The choice of tire compound depends on several factors, like track temperature, air temperature, track surface conditions, etc. The FIA monitors which tires each driver is using during all three qualifying segments.
Qualifying sessions have changed quite a lot over the years. Before the 2022 F1 season, the FIA decided to scrap the tire rule that forced the top 10 drivers to race on old tires, which they used in the Q2 session. Now they can choose whichever race tire they want from the qualifying session.
Similarly, F1 recently announced plans to test a revised qualifying format for the 2023 F1 season. The new format will set each tire compound for each stage of the qualifying session. Apart from the tire change, the rest of the format will be identical.
🚨 | F1 will test a ‘Revised Qualifying Format’ at two events in 2023.
This revised format will “see tyre compounds mandated for each stage of F1’s three-part qualifying.”
“Hard tyres only in Q1; medium tyres only in Q2 and soft tyres only in Q3.”
— formularacers (@formularacers_) January 13, 2023
This means that teams can only use the hard tire compound for Q1, the medium tire compound for Q2, and the soft tire compound for Q3. This qualifying format will be tested by all teams on two race weekends in the 2023 F1 season, though no one knows which two race weekends will be selected for it.
This system is being tested to help make the sport use less tire compound over a race weekend and become more sustainable as a sport. It is one of many changes that the sport will implement as it works to reduce its carbon footprint and increase its overall sustainability.
Pirelli boss explains how Red Bull beat Mercedes and Ferrari through tire strategies in the 2022 F1 season
There is no denying that Red Bull dominated the field in the 2022 F1 season, defeating their rivals by a country mile and winning both world titles. Although Charles Leclerc was able to battle Max Verstappen earlier in the season, the Monegasque failed to keep up due to several mishaps from Ferrari.
Pirelli boss Mario Isola also explained how the Austrian team implemented excellent tire strategies that helped them get ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari. He said:
“To be honest, Red Bull is especially good with the tyres in the last few races. don’t know what they did with the car to achieve that, but it’s probably upgrades throughout the season. In the beginning, Red Bull was not always so good with the tyres, but now we see that they have made a big step forward compared to the first part of the season. That’s probably what they focused on.”
A year we’ll remember forever 💙 Thank you, 2022 🏁 pic.twitter.com/UnHrHKScoD
Although Ferrari were the fastest in the qualifying sessions, they were unable to keep up with Red Bull and Mercedes due to poor tire management. Red Bull themselves weren’t able to manage tires early in the season, but they gradually tweaked their car development program to improve and focus on tire performance.