Tag Archives: tyres

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: Likely strategy and tyres remaining for the German GP

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Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has claimed pole position for the German Grand Prix. Conditions remained warm and dry throughout the session, with track temperatures of 38 degrees centigrade at the mid-point of qualifying. Rosberg’s pole time of 1m14.363s was more than two seconds faster than the 2014 pole (1m16.540s).

The Mercedes drivers were the only ones to get through Q1 using the soft tyre only, while all the others fitted the supersoft – reckoned to be around 1.5 seconds faster on the German track. From Q2 onwards, all the drivers utilised just the supersoft tyres in qualifying and this is the compound that the top 10 will start on tomorrow. Although yesterday 1.5 seconds separated the soft and supersoft compounds, the gap today seemed to be reduced at around 1 second.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “It looks like we might be seeing a mixture of two and three stop strategies tomorrow, with the running up to now showing that there could be a few quite different approaches to the race. A lot will obviously depend on the weather, which still appears to be changeable. Mercedes handed themselves a potential advantage by saving themselves an additional set of supersofts, so it will be interesting to see if they can capitalise upon that tomorrow.”

How the tyres behaved today:
Medium: Not used during qualifying but might be used in the race as tactics will vary.
Soft: Used by the Mercedes drivers only to get through Q1: could be key to the race.
Supersoft: Around 1.5s faster than the soft on Friday; around 1 sec. gap seen in quali.

Possible race strategies and maximum laps*:
Pirelli recommends that the following numbers of laps are not exceeded on each compound:
Soft = 29 laps
Supersoft = 22 laps

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

QUICKEST
Three-stopper: three stints on supersoft + one stint on soft
SECOND-QUICKEST
Two-stopper: two stints on supersoft + one stint on soft (maximizing the stints on supersoft)
THIRD QUICKEST
Two-stopper: two stints on supersoft + one stint on soft (maximizing the single stint on soft)
SLOWEST
Two-stopper: one stint on supersoft + two stints on soft

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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: 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: 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: 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.

Formula One: Vergne trials 2017 F1 tyre compounds with Scuderia Ferrari in Fiorano

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Scuderia Ferrari development driver Jean Eric Vergne is testing 2017 F1 tyre compounds in Fiorano today, Pirelli have confirmed.

Contrary to reports in other news outlets testing from Fiorano today is the first time 2017 Pirelli F1 design concepts have taken to the track. Pastor Maldonardo is yet to participate in any testing for the tyre manufacturer.

Jean Eric Vergne will be completing the test in the 2014 Ferrari F14-T, the first Ferrari of the hybrid era. The test will be used to assess tyre compound and construction only. Modified tyre dimensions set to be introduced under 2017 regulations will not be trialled. At this time Pirelli will not be releasing images from the test.