My question is pretty straightforward. FIA tyres and wheels regulation states:

Pirelli nominate two mandatory sets for each car for the race (which can be of different compounds) and one further set of whichever is the softest compound that can only be used in the Q3 segment of qualifying, but the teams are free to choose the remaining 10 sets.

I understand the second part of the rule. It makes sure that the most important qualifying session is Q3, the last one. Better for the fans, as you can most of the times just watch Q3 for the fastest laps.

But I do not get the purpose of having two mandatory compounds during the race. What is the point of this rule?

  • "...two mandatory compounds during the race" is not a correct statement. They may be allocated as 2 of the 13 sets available, but neither has to be used in the actual race. They can be used during practice, qualifying, or remain unused.
    – BowlOfRed
    Jul 26, 2018 at 17:13

2 Answers 2


The mandatory compounds are there to prevent teams from favoring only the softest, fastest compound, as these mandatory compounds are usually the hardest and the second-hardest dry weather compounds that Pirelli have brought for a particular race weekend. This forces teams to adapt their strategies to having to use two different compounds during the race, consequently opening up strategy options.

Teams now have to gather data on their selected tire allocations throughout the weekend to come up with an ideal tire strategy. Another result is that whenever they race at a track with heavy tire wear, (i.e., Silverstone) teams that do not make it into Q3 can take the option to start the race on the harder compound, effectively clearing the mandatory usage and allowing them to keep pitting for the softest compound from the first pit stop onwards, potentially giving them the faster tires for the latter half of the race.


Those two mandatory sets are related to the mandatory tyre change during the race. Pirelli choses 2 sets of tyres with one of them having to be used during the race. So it actually gives the teams a choice between two sets of tyres for the mandatory tyre change, giving them some kind of freedom but still forcing them to be competitive on different sets of tyres.

  • This does not explain the need for two mandatory compounds at all. In the best case it is speculation about a vague idea of balanced competition/competitiveness.
    – Nij
    May 30, 2017 at 7:56
  • 1
    It does. Mandatory tire change to have them go to the pits at least once a race since there's no refuelling anymore. Two mandatory tires to give them some freedom about this tire change and open the way for strategy. I don't really see what's vague here.
    – mtdp
    May 30, 2017 at 10:29

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