The alternate tire program, a staple of the IZOD IndyCar Series since 2009, mandates a second tire specification at a road- or street-course race weekend using the same tire construction as the primary specification, but with a softer tread compound to provide more grip and faster lap times while trading off compound durability in exchange for those shorter-term advantages. Firestone's alternate tires are easily identified by their bright red sidewalls.
Per series regulations, all cars must use at least one set of primary tires and one new alternate set during the race, each for a minimum of two green-flag laps. Otherwise, teams are free to use their tire allotment as they see fit, though each car is limited to one set of tires (team choice of primary or alternate) for each qualifying segment.
From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "We have seen some incredibly exciting races so far this season on all types of tracks, and we expect more of the same this weekend in Toronto. Last year's race here was action-packed in its own right. IZOD IndyCar Series drivers have plenty of experience on the 2012 street course primary and alternate tire specifications that will be employed this weekend. No matter what happens on the streets of Exhibition Place, including the return of 'push to pass,' the Firestone Firehawk tires will be ready to tackle the challenge. Recently we have been credited with helping promote passing this season, and we are pleased that our efforts are being acknowledged. But it's truly a combination of factors including Firestone tires and Dallara, Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus engines, not to mention the talented IZOD IndyCar Series drivers who continually push to the limit."