The “unusual” tyre delta that opens door for F1 Spanish GP technique intrigue


Potential pre-race showers, a strong undercut and a gentle tyre that’s quick however fragile have opened the door for some technique intrigue in Formulation 1’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Slightly than the excessive degradation circuit pushing groups and drivers to go conservative with a boring one-stopper, what’s unfolding at Barcelona might set off loads of motion – and even some aggressive three-stoppers.

That’s as a result of the lap-time delta between the three compounds that F1 tyre provider Pirelli has introduced implies that the popular race tyre is definitely the gentle – regardless that it’s acknowledged to successfully be a one-lap qualifying tyre.

The onerous, which is the C1 compound, has been taken off the desk as a most popular choice as a result of it’s not delivering a lot tempo.

As a substitute, the gentle (C3) is so significantly better in lap time phrases – as much as 1.2 seconds per lap faster than the medium, and round 1.8 seconds up on the onerous.


As Pirelli chief engineer Simone Berra mentioned: “It [the C1] is extra thermally resilient, but it surely’s fairly gradual in comparison with the C2 and C3 principally… so the C1 won’t actually be used. We do not see a bonus from utilizing the C1.

“We all know that the C3 is a one-lap tyre, however anyway it’s offering a a lot larger grip stage in comparison with C2. And which means on longer stints, whereas degrading, it’s sooner than the C2 over a stint – regardless that it’s turning into slower.”

The traits which might be more likely to push groups in direction of the best degrading tyre tee up a day the place taking care of the tyres will probably be crucial – however exploiting the undercut might be the secret.

With the quickest technique on paper wanting like a gentle/medium/gentle, Pirelli’s head of F1 and automotive racing Mario Isola reckons {that a} one-stopper is off the playing cards as a result of the gentle holds such a bonus – regardless of its limitations.

“The benefit that you’ve got on tempo is clearly what we consider is pushing the groups to decide on the gentle at first of the race,” he mentioned.

“It appears perhaps a bit unusual, as a result of with a heavy automotive with a full tank clearly you improve the extent of degradation. However when it comes to a medium/onerous technique [for a one-stop], the extent of administration is so excessive that isn’t handy. Mainly, you lose a number of time.

“Right here, additionally it is potential to overhaul so there is no such thing as a motive to handle the tempo a lot to attempt to go on a one-stop.

“It is also true that if the extent of degradation of the gentle is larger than anticipated, it might be a three-stop. In time phrases, three-stop is nearer to the two-stop than in comparison with one cease. So if there’s a alternative, it is in all probability between two and three, not one and two.”


Photograph by: Erik Junius

Rain affect

The potential for groups getting themselves on the entrance foot and chasing an aggressive three-stop might be elevated if the rubber laid down to date this weekend is washed away by rain showers anticipated earlier than the beginning.

Isola added: “If it rains and we’ve a inexperienced observe, we speed up the damage, for positive.

“The automobiles will slide extra, and they’ll put on particularly the entrance left quite a bit on the skin shoulder. They must take note of that with a inexperienced observe, and I can think about that this impact is accelerated.”

All these components come collectively to make the timing round pit cease home windows crucial, as drivers will probably be seeking to exploit the undercut – and make use of any tyre efficiency benefit to get previous rivals who’re enduring worn rubber.

Isola added: “The undercut is highly effective as a result of the degradation is sort of excessive, so somebody might attempt to use it as a result of it’s potential to overhaul.

“With a contemporary tyre, you possibly can attempt to do one thing completely different from the others. It is also true that if somebody stops early, then we all know that every one the others are simply copying the technique.”

For a Spanish GP venue that previously was generally known as being virtually inconceivable to overhaul on, expectations are of some intense motion – and passing – this time round.

As Mercedes driver George Russell mentioned: “I do not suppose will probably be that troublesome to overhaul as a result of there’s a number of tyre degradation right here.

“You’ve got solely received to offset your self by two or three laps and out of the blue, simply within the tyre, you may in all probability have 4 tenths benefit on the motive force you are battling.

“So in the end, the quickest driver will 9 occasions out of 10 win the race. It isn’t like a Singapore or Monaco that if you end up within the lead, you possibly can defend it irrespective of how gradual you’re.”

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