For every Formula 1 car, the tires are the only direct contact patch between the tarmac and the car. The performance of such racing tires is therefore highly important and is centered around increasing grip.
Adhesion is where the tire compound forms a chemical bond with either the circuit surface, or rubber that has already been laid down on the circuit surface. Deformation is where the tyre, or more particularly the tyre compound, can move to fit around the irregularities of the track surface.
Energy loss occurs, resulting into friction. This also helps adhesion too, as the more a tyre compound is able to deform around the track surface irregularities, the greater the contact area for adhesion to occur.
From the 220 different materials used in a tire, more than 100 are mixed to create an optimal compound. The compound is based on four main elements: rubber, carbon, oil and sulphur.
The carcass is composed of a nylon and polyester framework, in a complex weave. This is the skeleton of the tyre. It provides rigidity against high aerodynamic load (more than one ton of downforce at 250 km/h), strong longitudinal forces (4 Gs) and lateral forces (5 Gs).
A dry-weather racing tire generally operates at an optimal temperature of around 100° C. This temperature should also be identical from left to right, and from the front to the rear of the car. Too much heat at the front tyres will cause under steer while non-optimal temperatures in the rear tyres will result in over steering.
Measuring the tyre pressure as often as possible is also a priority. Although low pressure (around 16 psi) allows the envelope to grip the track better and provides a greater contact area, a variation of just 2 psi will greatly alter the performance of the car.
Here is a brief recap...