Pirelli have released driver tyre selection data for the Spanish Grand Prix. The Spanish Grand Prix is the first time the Hard tyre compound will be used this season, but also represents the first event where drivers have made tyre choices having raced on 2016 compounds.
Owing to the production process of Pirelli Formula One Tyres, teams and drivers are forced to make decisions on tyre usage 12 weeks ahead of schedule for fly away races and 8 weeks ahead of time for European races. This means that drivers had selected tyre compound weighting for the opening races before pre-season testing had begun. As the first European race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix represents the first time drivers have been able to build actual race experience into their decision making process.
As we have come to expect this has led to drivers focusing on the softest compound available. Intriguingly Spanish Grand Prix tyre selection sees far less disparity between drivers in the same team that in other races.
It can be expected Mercedes will again dominate the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. 100% of their pre-season testing was carried out on the Medium and Soft tyre compound, where as other teams split efforts across a wider range of compounds. This increased knowledge of the Medium and Soft tyre will likely facilitate a smooth optimisation of set up allowing the team to focus on race and reliability performance.
Mercedes AMG Petronas have put together a short film on the impact of introducing a 3rd tyre compound option to race strategy. This offers an interesting perspective on what we might expect to see at the Spanish Grand Prix later this month: