Category Archives: Pirelli

Formula One: Austrian GP – Tyre compound selction reminder & preview

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For Formula One’s annual visit to the Red Bull Ring, with its stunning mountain setting, the three softest compounds in the P Zero range have been nominated: soft, supersoft and ultrasoft. The Spielberg track is probably the closest that Formula One comes to a rally stage: with big changes of elevation and a sequence of fast and twisty corners. The weather in the region can also be quite unpredictable. Although the circuit only returned to the F1 calendar in 2014, it has its roots in the 1969 Osterreichring, which gives the track quite an old-school character that is still in evidence now.

THE CIRCUIT FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW:

  • The first two sectors are fast with the final sector being slower and more technical.
  • The circuit tests a wide spectrum of a tyre’s ability, in terms of lateral and longitudinal loading.
  • Wear, degradation and temperatures are quite low, which is why we have the softest tyres.
  • Judging the braking points is quite complex, as there are a number of uphill braking areas.
  • The track surface is generally low-grip and low abrasion, as well as being bumpy in places.
  • Spielberg is the shortest lap time of the year with only nine corners, so precision is vital.

THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:

  • Yellow soft: unusually this is the hardest tyre in the range, one of the mandatory available sets.
  • Red supersoft: these should play an important role in the race, also a mandatory available set.
  • Purple ultrasoft: the most popular choice by a long way, with up to nine sets nominated per car.

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Driver tyre selection could all be for nothing however, with wet weather forecast across the entire race weekend.

PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR:                     

  • “Austria is one of the most picturesque and individual tracks on the championship, which asks a lot from the tyres in terms of all-round mechanical grip and performance, which is why the ultrasoft has been resoundingly favoured here. As a result, we may have a two-stop race this time, even though last year was a one-stopper. However, this venue is always quite unpredictable: we had a safety car period right at the beginning of the grand prix last year, while rain as well as bright sunshine seems to be an equal possibility. The ultrasoft compound should be well-suited to the Red Bull Ring, which means that we will almost certainly see the fastest laps ever of this current circuit configuration this weekend.”

WHAT’S NEW? 

  • The circuit has been completely re-asphalted this year, with the new asphalt having a similar level of abrasion to before. The fresh bitumen may offer a different amount of grip though: it will be measured by Pirelli’s engineers on Wednesday before the race.
  • The ultrasoft makes its Austrian debut, having been introduced for the current season.
  • As well as cars, Spielberg also hosted the Red Bull Air Race earlier this year, above the track.

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Formula One: Stats and Facts from the Grand Prix of Europe

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The very first Grand Prix in Azerbaijan was won by Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who started from pole and stopped just once, passing from supersoft to soft tyres, without ever losing the lead.

The top six started on the supersoft and stopped only once for the soft tyre, between laps 8 and 21. This meant that their soft tyre stints lasted up to 43 laps, in the case of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. The result was achieved despite a higher wear rate than expected owing to warmer temperatures than those seen in practice and qualifying.

The highest placed of the three drivers to have instead started on the soft was Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, who finished ninth from 12th on the grid. Hulkenberg stopped just once, while the best of the two-stoppers was Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who used all three compounds nominated for Azerbaijan: supersoft, soft and medium, which was the case also for his team mate Max Verstappen.

Another alternative strategy was adopted by Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein, who completed a very long 29-lap opening stint on the soft, then reverted to the medium before his retirement. Renault’s Kevin Magnussen, by contrast, had a very long closing stint on the soft tyre that even lasted for 46 laps. Manor’s Rio Haryanto went even longer: 48 laps.

Commenting on the race Pirelli’s Paul Hembery remarked:

 “The Baku grand prix contained a number of surprises; firstly with track temperatures still in excess of 50 degrees after one third of the race, and with very little drop in temperature throughout. And secondly because the much-anticipated safety cars never materialised. As expected, it was a one-stop race for the winner, with quite high wear and low degradation despite the long lap length and very high top speeds. We saw a number of different strategies being tried, including some very long stints even on the supersoft, which was key to Nico Rosberg’s victory on this spectacular track.”

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Formula One: Tyres available in Baku

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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.”

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Formula One: Grand Prix of Europe preview

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Formula One arrives in Baku this weekend for the 8th round of the 2016 Formula One World Championship. The Grand Prix of Europe, takes the form of a high speed street circuit in which cars are expected to exceed 340 KMPH. The circuit at just over 6km is the second longest on the F1 calender. The race will take place over 51 laps.

The track surface is made up of a variation of new and temporary tarmac (covering cobbles for in the old town section of the circuit for the race weekend only) tyre degradation is expected to be minimal. Despite this expectation, since the circuit is new Pirelli have opted to supply teams with the medium compound range of tyres. It can be expected future events will use softer compounds. Team tyre compound selection has focused on the softest compounds available.

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With excessive straights followed by a series of tight low speed corners car set-up is likely to be somewhat of a compromise. Teams will be looking to run minimal downforce to ensure maximum speed on the straights whilst ensuring the car is controllable in the low speed sections, as a friend pointed out earlier today, these elements of the circuit are not dissimilar to the old Hockenheimring.

Teams with advanced simulators are likely to arrive at the circuit with a strong baseline set up, others may require much of Friday running to find the optimal approach to the circuit.

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Formula One: All the stats and tyre facts from the Canadian Grand Prix

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The Canadian Grand Prix got underway in some of the coldest conditions seen recently during a race weekend, with track temperatures of just 20 degrees centigrade: putting the accent on tyre warm-up and management. There was a wide variety of one and two stop strategies, with polesitter Lewis Hamilton stopping just once in his Mercedes, but holding off the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, which stopped twice, having beaten Hamilton off the line to lead into the first corner.

Hamilton made his sole stop on lap 24, re-emerging in second place behind Vettel. Once Vettel made his second stop, he had a six-second deficit to try and make up to Hamilton in 33 laps, using soft tyres that were 13 laps younger than those on the Mercedes.

Despite the cold conditions, Nico Rosberg set the fastest lap of the race on the soft tyre, 10 laps from the end, lapping his Mercedes 1.4 seconds quicker than the 2015 fastest lap, which was set on supersoft.

Valtteri Bottas took the first podium of the season for Williams by using a similar strategy to Hamilton, while the remainder of the top 10 stopped twice, after starting on the ultrasoft – the fastest compound by around 0.6s per lap.

An alternative strategy was run by Force India’s Sergio Perez, who started on the soft tyre and completed a long first stint of 31 laps before making his sole stop for supersofts. The most impressive climber was Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, who used a two-stop strategy (finishing the race on the rapid ultrasoft) to end up ninth, after starting 20th on the grid.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Thanks to differing race strategies, we saw a grandstand finish, with the two-stopping Vettel closing in on the one-stopping Hamilton. Cool track temperatures made tyre management crucial, with some teams also switching strategies as it became clear that this might be quicker. Most drivers in fact stopped twice, compared to the one-stop race last year in Canada. Key to making a one-stopper work was looking after the tyres as effectively as possible, which Hamilton and Bottas both did brilliantly.”

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Formula One: Tyres available for Montreal

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Pirelli have released a handy info-graphic explaining the tyres drivers have available for the Canadian Grand Prix today.

The graphic splits availability between new and used compounds.

The lack of new ultra soft tyres available for Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams further supports the theory that a single stop strategy will be the most likely approach to the race should conditions be dry.

Drivers qualifying in the top ten must start the race on the tyres they their completed fastest laps in Q2 with. Non of these drivers have a second set of Ultra Soft tyres available for the race.

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Formula One: One stop strategy expected

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Lewis Hamilton set a commanding pole position ahead tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix early today. Commenting on the lap and fortunes for the race Lewis commented:

That’s not necessarily the way you want it to turn out, getting pole without a real battle on the final lap – but you take it whatever way it comes! I think there was more time to be found out there but I’m happy to have done enough on that first run. This always tends to be a good track for me. It’s all about braking and since I was a kid I’ve always been last of the late brakers, so I guess that’s why it’s always suited my style and why I’m strong in sector one in particular. It’s such a great track to drive – like a Formula One kart track, with the high speeds and the way you’re jumping over the kerbs.

It’s always special coming back here as it’s where I won my first Grand Prix – plus the fans are incredible. Every year, without fail, they turn up in their thousands and create a great atmosphere at the track and in the city itself. In terms of the race, it’s going to be tight. I need to study hard tonight to get myself back to where I was yesterday, as I didn’t actually feel quite as strong in the car today. I was killing it out there yesterday – but I lost a bit of feel with the setup changes I made for today. I wasn’t always able to put the car exactly where I wanted, which means you have to step back and not quite push to the limit. Ferrari look strong on the long runs so we’ll need to be on our toes.”

Reviewing tyre performance ahead of Race day Pirelli commented:

Soft: used in free practice but not qualifying. A mandatory set for the race (if it’s dry).
Supersoft: quite close to the ultrasoft here both in terms of wear and degradation.
Ultrasoft: the fastest tyre by 0.6s per lap, making it the default choice from Q2 onwards.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director:

“With uncertain weather conditions both today and tomorrow, there were a number of question marks during qualifying that will be carried through to the race. Track temperature is clearly a key aspect to tyre behaviour here, but we won’t know exactly how that develops until just before the race: cool temperatures seem to be indicated, and there might even be some rain. With low wear and degradation, a one-stopper seems the most likely scenario. However, teams will have to keep an open mind on strategy and react to changing conditions as they happen: a traditional hallmark of this fantastic track. We’ve seen in the past that pole position is not necessarily the key to success here, so everything is still wide open.”

Race strategy: Track temperature will determine what the optimal strategy is for the 70-lap race tomorrow. If it’s cold, we’re looking at a one-stopper: starting on supersoft and then moving to soft on lap 26 is theoretically the fastest way. If starting on ultrasoft (which all the top 10 will do), the strategy is extremely similar, with the change to soft coming one lap earlier, on lap 25. Note, should the race take place under mixed conditions tomorrow, race strategy will look very different!

Formula One: Stats & Facts from the Barcelona Test

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The first in season test of the 2016 Formula One Season came to a close earlier today. With limited information on fuel loads and strategy from the teams it is hard to draw too many conclusions, other than to comment that both Renault and Red Bull Racing have given positive feedback on the B-Spec Power Unit. The unit seemingly ran trouble free and may now be introduced in Monaco, one race earlier than planned.

Kevin Magnussen – Renault Sport F1
“That was a full day for me and a productive one. It’s definitely been a positive test. The power unit feels stronger and has better driveability and there are some other good improvements too.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director – Renault Sport F1
“Today has been a highly positive day of testing following on from Esteban’s good work yesterday. Kevin gave us everything we needed over a wide range of simulations and assessments. We’ve now run for two long days with the latest specification power unit with no major issues or concerns.”

TOP TIMES FULL SESSION

Vettel Ferrari SOFT 1:23.200 DAY 1
Verstappen Red Bull SOFT 1:23.267 DAY 2
Rosberg Mercedes SOFT 1:23.337 DAY 1
Button McLaren SUPERSOFT 1:23.753 DAY 1
Grosjean Haas ULTRASOFT 1:23.882 DAY 1
Vandoorne McLaren SUPERSOFT 1:24.006 DAY 2
Wehrlein Mercedes SOFT 1:24.145 DAY 2
Wehrlein Manor SUPERSOFT 1:24.297 DAY 1
Ricciardo Red Bull SOFT 1:24.307 DAY 1
Gutierrez Haas SUPERSOFT 1:24.592 DAY 2
Fuoco Ferrari SOFT 1:24.720 DAY 2
Kvyat Toro Rosso SOFT 1:24.737 DAY 2
Gasly Toro Rosso SOFT 1:24.821 DAY 1
Celis Force India SUPERSOFT 1:25.016 DAY 2
Magnussen Renault SOFT 1:25.133 DAY 2
Lynn Williams MEDIUM 1:26.100 DAY 1
Ocon Renault MEDIUM 1:26.530 DAY 1
Massa Williams MEDIUM 1:27.167 DAY 2
King Manor SOFT 1:27.615 DAY 2

BEST TIMES BY COMPOUND

SOFT Vettel Ferrari 1:23.200 DAY 1
ULTRASOFT Grosjean Haas 1:23.882 DAY 1
HARD Gasly Toro Rosso 1:27.795 DAY 1
MEDIUM Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.384 DAY 1
SUPERSOFT Button McLaren 1:23.753 DAY 1

LONGEST STINT BY COMPOUND

MEDIUM Verstappen Red Bull 18laps DAY 2
SOFT Button McLaren 10 DAY 1
SOFT Ricciardo Red Bull 10 DAY 1
SOFT Ricciardo Red Bull 10 DAY 1
SOFT Magnussen Renault 10 DAY 2
SOFT Magnussen Renault 10 DAY 2
SUPERSOFT Gutierrez Haas 10 DAY 2
ULTRASOFT Grosjean Haas 8 DAY 1
HARD Gasly Toro Rosso 8 DAY 1

TOP TIMES DAY 1

Vettel Ferrari SOFT 1:23.200
Rosberg Mercedes SOFT 1:23.337
Button McLaren SUPERSOFT 1:23.753
Grosjean Haas ULTRASOFT 1:23.882
Wehrlein Manor SUPERSOFT 1:24.297
Ricciardo Red Bull SOFT 1:24.307
Gasly Toro Rosso SOFT 1:24.821
Celis Force India SUPERSOFT 1:25.467
Lynn Williams MEDIUM 1:26.100
Ocon Renault MEDIUM 1:26.530

TOP TIMES DAY 2

Verstappen Red Bull SOFT 1:23.267
Vandoorne McLaren SUPERSOFT 1:24.006
Wehrlein Mercedes SOFT 1:24.145
Gutierrez Haas SUPERSOFT 1:24.592
Fuoco Ferrari SOFT 1:24.720
Kvyat Toro Rosso SOFT 1:24.737
Celis Force India SUPERSOFT 1:25.016
Magnussen Renault SOFT 1:25.133
Massa Williams MEDIUM 1:27.167
King Manor SOFT 1:27.615

 

Formula One: Purple Reign around the Principality

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Pirelli have released driver tyre selection data for the Monaco Grand Prix later this month. Unsurprisingly drivers have weighted selection heavily towards the new for 2016 Ultra Soft compound. This despite in the case of Mercedes AMG Petronas having had no running on the tyre up until now.

As is becoming the norm, there is almost no disparity between team-mates in tyre selection with the exception of the Renault Sport F1 team duo.

Mercedes and Red Bull Racing have taken the most extreme approach to tyre selection with 10 of the 14 sets available being the Ultrasoft. Suggesting a 3 stop strategy for both teams. Scuderia Ferrari have allowed allocated a additional set of Soft tyres into driver selection, suggesting the team may look to increase Friday running for the Scuderia.

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Formula One: Pirelli support running tyre pressure monitor

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Amidst rumours through the F1 paddock of a number of teams having found a loophole in technical regulations allowing them to reduce running tyre pressures below the Pirelli and FIA mandated levels, Pirelli have commented they will work together with the FIA and teams towards a shared system to monitor and eliminate any such activity.
Pirelli went on to confirm that they are not formally aware of any team actively involved in such a practice.  Other sources have reported that Mclaren initially contacted the FIA for clarification on the topic believing two other teams on the grid are experimenting in this area. Whilst Mercedes have categorically denied they are working in this area, it is thought Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso are the teams more likely to have taken the lead in this area.
It is understood that by lowering the operating temperatures of the tyre whilst running it would be possible to reduce the overall tyre pressure. It is possible to implement a process to achieve this and it would not contravene current technical regulations.
Pirelli initially sought to increase tyre pressures for 2016 on the grounds of safety. The FIA could elect to introduce further checks to assure safety requirements.