Pirelli’s C5 compound tyre makes its debut

Milan, 18 March 2024 - Pirelli’s C5 tyre – the softest of the five slick compounds available this year – will make its debut at the Australian Grand Prix: round three of the 2024 season. This has been nominated alongside the C4 (as used in Jeddah) and the C3, which is seen at practically every race.

This is a softer selection compared to last year, when the C2, C3, and C4 were chosen, but it’s not the first time that the softest compound has been seen in Melbourne. Back in 2022, Pirelli brought the C5 to Albert Park as the soft nomination (when it was paired with C3 as medium and C2 as hard, leaving out the C4).

The decision to go with a softer selection was taken after analysing last year’s race, which centred around the C2 with 10 drivers using it for 47 of the 58 laps, and three drivers running it for more than 50 laps. The 2023 Australian Grand Prix was characterised by numerous stoppages, including three safety cars and three red flags, with two restarts from the grid and one rolling restart.

The Albert Park track is made up of 14 corners, having recently been redesigned to make it more flowing. It’s still tricky to overtake on, although not as hard as it was in the past. Historically, a one-stop strategy has been the favoured option, but the move to a softer tyre nomination might change that – as well as creating situations where the pace difference between the cars as a result of varying levels of tyre performance helps overtaking.

The C5 remains unaltered from 2023, but it's the compound that has up to now been used least on the current generation of cars. It wasn’t nominated for either of the two opening races this year, and just 140 kilometres were covered on the softest compound in the 2024 range during the single pre-season test in Bahrain from 21-23 February. Lewis Hamilton was the only driver to complete a true long run with it, while the Williams drivers mainly used it for a series of in and out laps. Only two other teams, Ferrari and Stake F1, selected the C5 for the Bahrain test: an abrasive track that is not particularly suited to the softest compound. So it remains something of an unknown heading into this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

The Albert Park weekend is a firm favourite in the world of Formula 1, thanks to its stunning location and the buzzy atmosphere of host city Melbourne. The track itself isn’t too hard on tyres, with degradation being a bigger factor than wear. It’s now the beginning of autumn at this time of year in Australia, and this can spring a few weather-related surprises, with temperature swings and rain all having made their mark on the race weekend in the past. There’s a packed programme of support races from Thursday onwards: as well as Formula 2 and Formula 3, there’s also the Porsche Carrera Cup and Australian Supercars championship, which means there will be plenty of rubber laid onto the track to influence grip levels.

Australia first joined the Formula 1 calendar in 1985, with the 37th edition taking place this weekend. Up to 1995, the Adelaide street circuit hosted the race before moving to Melbourne, which has been the Australian Grand Prix’s home ever since (with the exception of 2020 and 2021, when the race didn’t run due to the Covid-19 pandemic).

The most successful driver at the Australian Grand Prix is Michael Schumacher on four wins: all of which took place in Melbourne with Ferrari. The Maranello team’s 10 wins in Australia is beaten only by McLaren, on 11 victories. McLaren also has the most poles in Australia (10) while the driver with the most pole positions – eight – is Lewis Hamilton. In terms of podium finishes, Ferrari and McLaren hold the joint record with 26, while Hamilton is the driver who has been in the top three most times: 10. Red Bull has only won in Melbourne twice: in 2011 with Sebastian Vettel and last year with Max Verstappen.


Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a company with deep Italian roots now recognised all over the world for its cutting-edge technology, capacity for innovation, and the quality of its products. Motorsport has always played an important part in Pirelli’s strategy, following the ‘race to road’ philosophy. The company has been engaged in motorsport for 117 years and today supplies tyres to more than 350 championships on both two and four wheels. Pirelli pays constant attention to the most efficient use of natural resources and energy, and will reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
Pirelli has been Global Tyre Partner of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 2011. The company also supplies championships including FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, FIA World Rally Championship and GT World Challenge, alongside numerous national series.