Bridgestone has revealed the compound allocations of Potenza tyres for the first three rounds of the 2010 F1 world championship - in Bahrain, Australia and Malaysia - as the category moves into the second season following the return of slick rubber.
Changes for 2010 include a narrower front tyre and new constructions front and rear, while all four dry compounds are modified from those used last year. Just as in 2009, non-consecutive allocations of tyres will occur at many circuits but, despite the changes to the compounds themselves, the compound names remain the same, with the range consisting of hard, medium, soft and super soft. There are two distinct temperature working ranges of tyres, with the hard and medium having a higher temperature working range than the soft and super soft.
The season-opening Bahrain GP will see the supersoft and medium compounds pressed into service, while both Sepang and Albert Park will feature the soft and hard alternatives.
In a change to the regulations, the number of sets of dry tyres available for each driver at a grand prix changes from seven of each compound to six of the harder 'prime' compound and five of the softer 'option' compound.
The wet and intermediate tyres have no significant changes apart from the width of the front intermediate tyre, which will now be the same as the new dry front tyre, while the means of distinguishing between the two specified compounds will again be by means of green bands painted on the edges of the sidewalls of the softer tyre. The wet tyre also has a green line at the bottom of the central groove, showing Bridgestone's continued support of the FIA's 'Make Cars Green' campaign.
“Tyre strategy will be very important in 2010 as there is no longer refuelling, which was previously a big factor in determining when pit-stops would occur," Hirohide Hamashima, head of motorsport tyre development, said, "We have changed all our dry compounds for this season, as the cars will be heavier and the stint lengths could be longer.
"We have also made changes to enable quicker warm-up times. We will bring harder tyres to Australia than we did last season, but the compound allocation positions for Bahrain and Malaysia are the same as they were in 2009. There will be a big challenge for teams this season on how they use their tyres as they have fewer sets of dry tyres available than before, particularly with the softer tyre at each race.
"We are happy to continue to show our support of the FIA's 'Make Cars Green' campaign with the green markings on our tyres and we look forward to what should be a very exciting start to the season in Bahrain.”