Pirelli currently supplies seven compounds of tyres: five slicks, the intermediate tyres for wet conditions, and the full wets for when it rains. The five slick compounds are officially designated C1 to C5. They all used to have separate names on the car but that has been changed in recent season. Nowadays, Pirelli selects three of the five slick compounds available during a race weekend and for that weekend those compounds are then known as soft, medium and hard.
So next year, a sixth compound will be added. The current C1 - the hardest tyre in the series - will be renamed C0 and the new tyre will then become C1. So that puts the new tyre at the harder end of the spectrum. The other compounds will remain the same. According to Pirelli, the tyre is likely to be used at Silverstone and Suzuka.
New tyre has more grip
"The current C1 worked very well at Zandvoort and Silverstone, for example, so we didn't want to get rid of it," explained Pirelli's head of F1 affairs Mario Isola. "This new compound has more grip than the old C1. We already have a pretty good idea what we want for next year. We do want to keep that flexibility so we can still change or fine-tune where necessary, especially based on pre-season testing and based on the first few races."
Earlier this year, Pirelli held a special test session during the race weekend in Austin to test out the tyres for next season. This included trying out this new compound for the first time.