It is a “specially-created compound
The extra tyre set, which will not carry any distinguishing colour markings, will be allocated to each driver on Friday with the aim of spicing up the track action in practice.
It is a “specially-created compound with the emphasis on durability so that the teams run for as long as possible”, Pirelli announced in a media statement.
F1’s official supplier admitted the move is to discourage drivers who would otherwise opt to “conserve tyres for the rest of the race weekend”.
“It’s something we wanted to do to encourage all the teams to run as much as possible right from the start, especially with the rookie drivers, to give fans the spectacle they deserve to see,” said motor sport director Paul Hembery.
However, although there were suggestions the tyre would only be available to rookie drivers, in fact every car in the field will be eligible to run the new unmarked tyre.
“The (rookie) idea failed,” said German correspondent for Auto Motor und Sport, Tobias Gruner, “because of the resistance of top teams who only have experienced drivers in their ranks.”