And Formula One’s official tyre manufacturer Pirelli have been handing out their Christmas presents ahead of the new year!
The regulations regarding the use of tyres in Formula One will see a shake-up for 2016.
Instead of two compounds being announced by Pirelli to be be used for each Grand Prix, like in previous seasons, for 2016 drivers will have a free choice of a third compound.
Pirelli will still nominate two compounds for each Grand Prix, but the drivers will decide on their third option. This can be different to their team-mates, but teams will have to make their choices within a deadline set by Pirelli and their choices will remain secret until two weeks before each Grand Prix.
Drivers will also be able to choose how many of each set they get for the weekend, with 10 sets of tyres their own choice and only 3 sets specifically chosen by Pirelli.
Those 3 sets specifically chosen by Pirelli will be for use in Q3 and the race [although if a driver doesn’t make it through to Q3 they can opt to use them in the race].
Pirelli will nominate two mandatory race sets for each car, but the teams will decide which one will have to be used during the race.
This could mean that theoretically for example, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg could both start a Grand Prix on the super-soft tyres, but Hamilton may target a two stop race switching to medium compound tyres whilst Rosberg may try and one-stop race switching to the hard compound.
If of course Mercedes allow their drivers to make their own selections……
So what have Pirelli put under the tree for their drivers for Australia, Bahrain and China?
Supersoft, soft and medium will all feature at all three race weekends with one set of the medium and one set of the soft tyre must be held back for each race [but remember only one has to be used by the driver in a race].
According to Sky Sports, the lead in times for Pirelli actually mean that a decision for Australia has actually already been made.
This will have proved difficult as a decision would have been based on simulation data, rather than 2016 testing data as that hasn’t taken place yet!
Pirelli hand out their Christmas pressies!