F1 drivers in Mexico will test the prototypes of a new C4 compound on Friday, giving Pirelli its last opportunity to make changes to the tyres set to be introduced in 2024.
F1 teams will get a chance to test an alternate C4 compound in Mexican Grand Prix’s free practice on Friday at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. If the test is successful, Pirelli could introduce the compound in 2024.
In addition to their regular predetermined allotment of compounds, each driver will receive two sets of the freshly developed prototype tyres to put to use in either FP1 or FP2. After gathering and analyzing the data from Friday’s sessions, Pirelli will determine whether or not to homologate the tyre for use in 2024.
The Mexican Grand Prix will present the last opportunity for the Italian tyre manufacturer to showcase the value of the updated C4, as it has already opted to keep its other tyres unchanged for the year to come.
Pirelli conducted a similar test with a new C2 on Friday’s practice of the Japanese GP weekend last month, but concluded that it showed no change in performance.
It is uncommon to choose to use the same tyres for the entire season as this practice was only used from 2020 to 2021 due to COVID, which prevented tyre testing.
By the end of the 2024 season, Pirelli generally has to predict where pressures will be by keeping up with the amounts of downforce that are rising. This year’s in-season testing was centered on running without blankets; however, that decision has since been delayed until 2025 at the most.
“In Mexico, we have a C4 with the idea to have a tyre the same performance as the current C4, but a wider working range and a bit better mechanical assistance,” said Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola.
“With the C4, at some circuits, we had a bit of graining, so we want to reduce it. If the test is successful, the plan is to introduce the C4 for next year.
“Otherwise, we keep the one we have now.”
Consequently, Pirelli made the decision to continue with its current design and the construction that was initially unveiled at Silverstone and was a result of the no-blanket testing undertaken. But, should Friday’s test be successful, the choice to modify the C4 compound is still available.
In the event that Pirelli chooses to use the new C4, examples will need to be prepared quickly for the Abu Dhabi tyre test at the end of the season. Pirelli will still benefit from the test even if the tyres remain same in 2024 given that teams will install more sensors to collect data.
According to Isola, Pirelli is still optimistic that the current construction will be able to handle the load increase through the end of 2024 awaiting fresh simulation data.
“If I look at the simulations we received in June, with the current construction we can cope with this level of load,” he said. “But this year, for example, they have been able to achieve a higher level of performance or downforce compared to simulations earlier in the year.
“We are going to receive new simulations at the beginning of December, and obviously we will analyse them because they are probably more accurate compared to what we had in June.”
Pirelli still has the chance to test and release updated wets and intermediates in 2024, after Monaco’s introduction of a no-blanket wet.
“The target is to have a wet tyre with a better performance in order to have a better crossover with the intermediate, and possibly an intermediate that is working without blankets, already for 2024,” Isola said.
“Probably not from the beginning of the season, because with the calendar we have next year the first tyres have to be delivered quite early for Japan, China, and Australia, so we don’t have the possibility to change it from the beginning of the season.
“But if we find a better tyre for 2024, we will discuss with the teams, the FIA and F1 the opportunity to introduce those tyres during the season.”