Formula 1 teams will be given extra tyres for Friday free practice session from this week’s Spanish Grand Prix to encourage them to provide more on track action for fans, supplier Pirelli said on Monday.
“We’ll be supplying an extra set of prototype hard compound tyres for free practice, which will hopefully ensure that all the cars run throughout these sessions,” said motorsport director Paul Hembery in a preview of Sunday’s race in Barcelona.
“It’s something we wanted to do to encourage all the teams to run as much as possible right from the start, especially with the rookie drivers, to give fans the spectacle they deserve to see,” he added.
Spectators watching the first practice session on Friday have had to endure long periods with no track action as drivers opt to save their quick-wearing tyres.
Pirelli said the extra hard tyres would be a specially-created compound, made to last much longer and different to the regular orange-marked hards available for the rest of the weekend. They will carry no colour markings.
The initial suggestion had been for the extra set to be made available for young drivers only, or to be used in the first half hour of practice on Friday, but that met opposition from top teams unwilling to put rookies into their cars at a grand prix weekend.
Each driver currently has 11 sets of dry weather tyres for a weekend – six of the harder ‘prime’ and five of a softer ‘option’.
They must hand back one set of the prime tyres before second practice and one set of each before the third session and before qualifying.