Formula 1 teams are facing “a few unknowns” as they head to Australia for the third round of the 2022 season, according to Pirelli.
The sport will compete at Albert Park this weekend for the first time since 2019, as the 2020 and 2021 rounds were both cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pirelli will bring the C2 and C3 tyres to the event, but will skip the C4 compound and instead arrive with the C5 tyre, the softest in its range.
It marks the first time since 2018 that Pirelli has not opted for a selection that runs equally through its range.
The circuit has also been modified since the last race in Melbourne, with several corners widened while the chicane that made up Turns 9 and 10 has been removed.
With 18-inch wheels and new-for-2022 cars in play, Pirelli believes all the alternate elements mean that the teams are slightly in the dark ahead of the weekend.
“Compared to previous occasions, and with the drivers not having raced there for two seasons, this year there are a few unknowns to the Australian Grand Prix,” said Pirelli’s Head of F1 Mario Isola.
“First of all the circuit layout has been heavily revised to improve overtaking and, as a result, there’s also new asphalt that should be quite smooth.
“This means the track is likely to offer very low levels of grip at the start, with a high degree of evolution expected over the weekend and an extremely slippery surface if it rains.
“We will also head to Melbourne a couple of weeks later compared to previous seasons, when autumn has already started in the southern hemisphere, so conditions could be more variable.
“Last but not least, there is a completely new generation of cars and tyres that the drivers are still trying to learn about.
“All these factors mean that there will be a lot of work to do for teams and drivers in the free practice sessions.
“We decided to opt for the step in the compound nominations because we noticed that there was a relatively small performance gap between the C3 and C4 compounds during development testing.
“We believe that Albert Park – with its new asphalt and layout – is a good place to try out this option.”