Tag Archives: Strategy

Formula One: Tyre availability and likely strategy for the Singapore Grand Prix

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If points were awarded to drivers for not using their complete allocation of tyres Sebastian Vettel would be in the box seats for the Singapore Grand Prix! With 3 sets of unused Ultra soft compound tyres availble, owing to a technical in Q1 leading to a back row start for the race tomorrow, Sebastian and the Scuderia have the opportunity to take a ultra aggressive approach to the race. Philosophical on the difficult session Vettel commented:

” For tomorrow we have a long race in front of us, with a lot of safety cars. At least we have some new tires, and even if for sure it is not an ideal situation. we can still have a good race.”

Red Bull Racing and AMG Mercedes Petronas have taken opposing strategies to the race with the former electing to start of the Supersoft compound the latter the Ultra soft. Lewis will be keen to ensure he recovers from an average qualifying session quickly to minimise any time behind a Red Bull on a slower compound.

Pirelli have confirmed the life of each tyre compound is expected to be around 21-23 laps, the challenge will be managing the level of drop off in performance which could be as great as 6 seconds per lap.

A two stop strategy is expected to be the quickest way to complete the race, with a very high probability of safety car periods team strategists will be working overtime to pick the precise points at which to complete those stops and reduce loss of track position.

Nico Rosberg has looked strong throughout the weekend. With a good start and a cushion of Daniel Ricciardo between him and his most likely challenger Lewis Hamilton, the race could be his to lose.

See the info graphic below for a breakdown of drivers tyre availability for the Singapore Grand Prix:

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Formula One: Remaining tyre allocation for the British Grand Prix

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The 2016 British Grand Prix looks set to be a race of tyre management. Pirelli have released data on the remaining tyre allocation availble to all drivers ahead of the race and indicated the projected life of each tyre compound.

Tyre usage by the top teams in free practice and qualifying leaves them with minimal opportunity to run fresh tyres on the optimal race strategy. As such we can expect to see a certain level of compromise in strategy approach in tomorrow’s Grand Prix, should it remain dry.

Possible race strategies and maximum laps:
Pirelli recommends that the following numbers of laps are not exceeded on each compound:
Hard* = 26 laps
Medium = 28 laps
Soft = 15 laps
*The hard compound experienced some graining, which is why the useful life of this tyre is predicted to be less than that of the medium.

On this basis, the optimal pit-stop strategies predicted by Pirelli are as follows:

QUICKEST
Two-stopper: two stints on soft of 12 laps each + one 28-lap stint on medium
SECOND-QUICKEST
Three-stopper: three stints on soft of 12 laps each + one 16-lap stint on medium
THIRD-QUICKEST
Two-stopper: one 12-lap stint on soft + one 14-lap stint on new soft + one 26-lap stint on hard
SLOWEST
Two-stopper: one stint on soft of 12 laps + two 20-lap stints on medium

Different permutations of compound usage within each strategy are possible.

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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: 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: Mclaren go agressive in Shanghai

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Pirelli have released tyre compound selections from drivers for the Chinese Grand Prix later this month and revealed an aggressive choice from Mclaren drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

Mclaren, along with Williams and Haas have elected to take 7 sets of the Super Soft compound to Shanghai, suggesting a likely 3 stop strategy for these teams. Shanghai  traditionally plays host to one of the cooler races of the season with teams often struggling with tyre temperature. Soft compound tyres will serve to counter act this issue, although the higher wear rate of the tyres may minimise any total race performance gain.

The Haas F1 team demonstrated in Bahrain at the weekend how a strategy focusing on soft tyre performance can work in the favour of the driver and deliver high quality on track entertainment for fans. We should expect a similar performance from both Mclaren, Williams and the American team in China.

2016 will be the first year in which Pirelli bring the super soft compound to China. It is noteworthy that all teams appear to focus on the softest compound available under the new tyre regulations. With softer compound tyres available we can expect to see lap records being challenged during qualifying as we saw in Bahrain.

Should Alonso be unable to participate in the Chinese Grand Prix Stoffel Vandoorne will again step in, he will be supplied with the tyre compound selection Fernando Alonso and the team made earlier in the year.

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Formula One: 9 Different Strategies from the top 10

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Two wins from two races in 2016 for Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, using a three-stop strategy in Bahrain that alternated stints on the P Zero Red supersoft with P Zero Yellow soft: exactly the same strategy used by Kimi Raikkonen, who was second for Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton finished third after using the medium tyre for his second stint, following contact with another competitor at the start. In total, there were nine different strategies used throughout the top 10, including a two-stopper for Williams driver Felipe Massa.

Paul Hembery: Pirelli motorsport director: “We’re only in the second race of the 2016 tyre regulations but already we’re seeing a massive variety of strategies throughout the field, as we particularly expected to be the case this weekend. Tyre strategy started already in qualifying, as we saw from Romain Grosjean who made the most of his starting position to score more points. Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen finished just 10 seconds apart at the finish, using exactly the same strategy as each other. As well as the performance of the softer compounds, the adaptability of the product was demonstrated by Felipe Massa, who completed the race with just two pit stops despite the high wear and degradation traditionally associated with the Sakhir track.”

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Formula One: Top six Drivers use five different strategies

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Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the first race of the new 2016 tyre regulations, with three compounds available per race and teams allowed a large element of choice in their allocations. Eight drivers used all three compounds available, in a race that was characterised by a red flag stoppage after 18 laps. A variety of strategic choices – which was the intention of the new regulations – were possible at the re-start, with Mercedes and Ferrari notably opting for opposite tactics. Nonetheless, the top three were separated by less than 10 seconds at the finish: underlining the closeness of the competition under the latest tyre rules.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “The grand prix started and ended with a tactical tyre battle, but a red flag after 18 laps reset the race, giving it a very different complexion with tyre changes allowed. After starting with the same used supersoft compounds, Ferrari and Mercedes chose opposite strategies in the second part of the race, with Mercedes running two-thirds of the total distance on the medium tyre but closely challenged by Vettel on the soft. This goes to show how the new regulations have helped to open up a number of different approaches to strategy, with nine of the 16 finishers taking advantage of all three compounds on offer and five completely different strategies covering the top six places. As well as the expected battle at the front, Romain Grosjean finished an excellent sixth for the Haas team on its debut by effectively not making a pit stop at all: instead swapping from soft to medium during the restart, which was an inspired decision. The same strategy was used by Valtteri Bottas”.

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