Drivers will have access to six sets of soft tires during the inaugural Indian Grand Prix after Pirelli announced that it is taking the unusual step of making the yellow-labeled compound the prime selection for the event.
Pirelli has defined the tire compounds it will provide to the teams for the final three races of 2011, with the Italian manufacturer opting to take a cautious approach to the new Buddh circuit later this month.
Teams are given 11 sets of tires per grand prix weekend - normally five softer option sets and six harder primes. But they often then return a set of hard tires unused after the event. Pirelli has been campaigning to switch the allocation around for a while, with support from the GPDA, so as to reduce waste.
Pirelli's decision means that drivers will be able to make better use of their tire allocation to learn the new Buddh circuit. The fact that it has also brought the hard tire back in to service – a compound it had previously indicated it would not use again this season – is an indication of its conservative approach to the event.
Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery said: "India is a big unknown for all the teams and ourselves, so we will also be taking the most durable hard tire in order to cover every base."
For the final two races at Abu Dhabi and Brazil Pirelli will provide soft option tires and medium primes.
"Abu Dhabi is much more familiar territory for us, where we know that the medium and the soft tire will suit the circuit well. As for Interlagos, we're aiming to end the season on a high," said Hembrey. "The combination of medium and soft rubber has given us some close racing in the past, lots of overtaking and provided some good opportunities for interesting pit stop strategies."