Ahead of the Grand Prix of Europe from Baku Pirelli have confirmed the remaining tyre allocation available to drivers for the race.
With a one stop race expected and increased running from drivers to familiarise themselves with the circuit, new tyre availability is minimal. Teams are expected to adopt a one stop strategy in the race with most starting on the Supersoft compound then changing to the mandatory Soft tyre at around 1/3rd race distance.
However, as seen in qualifying and free practice many drivers have struggled with braking points through around the circuit resulting in heavy flat spotting. Should this occur in the race additional pitstops will be required and with so few fresh tyres available drivers may be forced to run the Medium compound tyre.
Drivers such as Button and Hulkenberg arguably out of position have a wealth of fresh tyres available to them which may encourage them to consider an alternative strategy.
Commenting on likely strategy Pirelli remarked:
“The teams obviously have limited data regarding Baku, so there is less information than usual on which to base strategy calculations. However, a one-stop seems to be clearly the best option. The top 10 will all start on used supersoft, and we would expect them to move onto the soft on lap 22 (of 51). If starting on the soft, the time to switch to supersoft is lap 29. However, strategies will have to be flexible, as there appears to be a high likelihood of a safety car.”
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director adds:
“We saw an action-packed qualifying session, where the lack of experience and lack of grip on this new circuit was a key factor, causing a few surprises. The supersoft was used from start to finish, but the fresh asphalt meant that there was little grip on offer, and the track was evolving all the time. As a result it was an exciting session, which suggests also that there could be a high probability of a safety car tomorrow, as we saw in the GP2 race earlier. While a one-stop strategy is clearly the way forward, there are some good opportunities to have on this rapid circuit, which combines the unpredictability of a street circuit with the possibility to overtake and move up the field.”