Pirelli has confirmed its tyre compounds for the third and fourth rounds of the 2017 season in Bahrain and Russia.
With new, wider tyres for 2017, Pirelli has decided all 13 sets of tyres must be identical for the opening five events of the season, something teams usually decided on themselves. This means each driver will have seven sets of the softest compound, four sets of the middle compound and two of the hardest nominated compound.
Having revealed the Australia and China selections before Christmas, Pirelli has now revealed the selections for the next two races. Bahrain will feature the medium, soft and super-soft tyre, with the medium and soft designated as the 'race' tyres (one of which must be used in the grand prix). China will feature the soft, super-soft and ultra-soft, with the first two set aside as 'race' compounds.
On both occasions, the softest tyre available is the one set aside for Q3. Drivers who do not make Q3 essentially save one set of that tyre and can choose to start on any compound still available.
Pirelli's new thicker rubber underwent extensive testing last year and are much larger than 2016's compounds. The tyres will be tested for the first time when winter testing begins in Barcelona on February 27, ahead of the Australian Grand Prix at the end of March.
The Italian manufacturer has backup compounds prepared for later in the season if the tyres taken to the initial races are not suited to the performance levels of 2017's new, high-downforce cars. Pirelli hopes the new tyres will create more performance and less degradation following years of complaints from drivers that they have not been able to push to the limit in races.