The 2016 Austrian Grand Prix is set to be a thrill tomorrow with a mixed up grid, alternate qualifying strategies and limited dry running across the board. Due to the differing data available from Friday and today, a number of opportunities are open and it is quite difficult to predict the best strategy for tomorrow. The drivers with two sets of soft tyres available have a big potential advantage. A two-stop strategy looks to be the winning one. Using the data from Saturday, two different types of two-stopper appear to be best: start on supersoft, change to soft on lap 16, and soft again on lap 44 is the optimal strategy. If starting on ultrasoft, a change to soft by lap 10 and then soft again by lap 40 looks to be just a few seconds slower.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Austria has certainly proved to be a very unpredictable event so far, and lap times before the shower that fell in Q3 were up to two seconds faster than the times in each equivalent session from 2015. Both in terms of weather and events on the track, so we can expect this unpredictable theme to continue tomorrow. We’re anticipating two stops tomorrow and reasonably short stints on the ultrasoft, which are of course designed to provide the ultimate performance but at the expense of durability. We saw tyre strategy underway during qualifying, with Ferrari and Red Bull running the supersoft in Q2, which will give them the opportunity to run a longer first stint tomorrow. The final shoot-out was all about finding the right window of opportunity for the slick tyres to perform at their best on a drying track.”
Taking a look below the a diverse range of strategy can be expected through the race. Current forecasts suggest dry conditions for the race, but with mixed conditions throughout the weekend to date teams will have to be prepared for every eventuality.
Jenson Button will be keen to capitalise on an incredible 3rd on the grid, with both Mercedes and Force India have struggled off the grid in earlier races this year could we see a Mclaren leading into T1 for the first time since Brazil 2012?