Why Is the Soft Tire Faster Than Medium and Medium Faster Than Hard in Formula One?

Published 06/30/2021, 11:42 AM EDT
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 27: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren F1 Team MCL34 Renault retires in the Pitlane during the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 27, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


As in all motorsports, the properties and features of tires play a huge part in a Formula One vehicle. The tires used by F1 have gone through significant changes since the commencement of the sport. Moreover, throughout is lifespan, F1 has tried and tested various tire makers and tires.

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Currently, Pirelli is the sole tire supplier for the sport, and they select three types of tires, out of seven overall, to be run at every race.

Two of out of the seven tires being used in the 2021 season are for wet climate driving. These are the intermediate (green) for light water, and the full wet (blue) for heavy water. Every team has access to these two tires during a race weekend.

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The main five tire compounds are for dry running. These are from C1 to C5, with C1 being the hardest tire. These tires have the least grip yet are the most solid. C5 tire is the softest tire, having the most hold. Although, these C5 tires are the least durable ones.

Out of the three tires selected by Pirelli, the hardest tires are named the hard ones and are white-colored.

Similarly, the softest compound tires are named the soft tires and feature a red color. The third of the designated tires is named the medium tire, which has a yellow color. Drivers have to use two of the dry climate tires during a race.

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The reason why C5 tire is faster than C1 in Formula One

C1 is the Compound 1 tire; these are the hardest tires. It is intended for circuits that require high efficiency through the tires. This includes quick corners, different surfaces, and even high track temperature. The C1 compound tire warms slightly slower than other compounds but offers the greatest sturdiness.

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 26, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during qualifying REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

C5 is the Compound 5 tire. It is the quickest compound that Pirelli has in its arsenal. This tire can run on all circuits that require high speed. As these tires are the fastest available tires, they are the least durable tires and develop graining quite quickly.

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In conclusion, the difference between these compounds is their durability and the grip provided by the tire.

As the vehicles keep getting quicker and quicker, Pirelli is battling every week to provide something to the Formula One teams that is quicker and durable.

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Abhay Aggarwal

420 articles

Abhay Aggarwal is sports analyst at EssentiallySports. Having joined ES in early 2020, he has over 300 NASCAR, Formula 1, and Tennis articles to his name. Abhay has been an avid motorsports fan for over a decade, and he even attended the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011.

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