Over the course of a Grand Prix weekend, the pressure ramps up every day, starting on Friday and reaching a crescendo of excitement when the lights go out on the grid on Sunday afternoon or evening. Who will win is the obvious question on everyone’s mind, but one major player in the sport knows that, whatever the colour of the car that is first past the chequered flag, it is guaranteed the victory.
We’re talking about Pirelli, the sport’s sole tyre supplier and, from their headquarters not far from us in Milan, the Italian tyre giant has come up with some very interesting statistics relating to the season just ended. Let’s start with some big numbers: in 2017, Pirelli supplied a total of 38,788 tyres to the ten teams, for racing and tests. The figures for tyres actually used during a race are 11,532 slicks and 1,388 rain or intermediates and every single tyre used was returned to Pirelli, no matter what condition it was in. Of the seven tyre types available, including rain tyres, the most popular proved to be the Supersofts, which covered a total of 118,729 kilometres, during testing, practice, qualifying and the races. The season finale in Abu Dhabi, was Pirelli’s 340th GP appearance since it first entered the sport in 1950 and it was also its 181st F1 victory.
Pirelli also supplied some more general facts and figures about this year’s races. The longest race of the season was the one in Azerbaijan, which lasted for 2 hours, 3 minutes and 55.753 seconds, while the shortest – you know the answer to this one – took place at Monza and went on for just 1 hour, 15 minutes and 32.313 seconds. The chilliest track temperature of the season was 14 degrees in Shanghai, while the hottest was 56 degrees in Bahrain.
The sport’s sole tyre supplier had a very busy winter leading up to the 2017 season, because of rule changes that involved having tyres that were 25% wider than their predecessors. Given other changes to the cars themselves, the tyres also had to withstand greater cornering speeds and lateral forces, while producing wear characteristics aimed at creating exciting racing. With this in mind, Pirelli is pushing the boundaries even further for 2018, with the introduction of its softest tyre ever, the Hypersoft. Throughout the year, all teams had the chance to try this and the other new tyres Pirelli will introduce next year and Toro Rosso STR12s ran 1,200.99 kilometres in 2018 tyre testing programmes.
Plenty of interesting numbers there, but our favourites Pirelli stats come from their hospitality unit which, in 2017 served around 30,200 coffees, 400 pizzas, 7,600 ice creams and 15,900 meals. Thank you Pirelli!