The Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend provided spectators with 59 pit stops as drivers sought to fight the high degradation on the Pirelli rubber, and this weekend the Italian tyre company are anticipating another unpredictable race as the F1 circus moves onto China.
The circuit in Shanghai tests the traction and braking of the F1 cars, which puts tyres under particular stress. Although the Chinese weather will provide cooler conditions than teams experienced in Malaysia, which should slow degradation rates, their is also a decent prospect of rain, which may see the introduction of the wet weather compounds.
Pirelli will be bringing the hard and soft tyres from its PZero range, just as it used in Australia and Malaysia. Motorsport Director Paul Hembery was very positive about how these two compounds performed in those two events: “So far I’m very pleased with the way that our tyres have helped the show, but I’m always impressed by the way that the teams and drivers learn so quickly: I’m sure they will be finding different solutions to make the tyres last longer all the time.
“So far we have accurately predicted two pit stops in Australia and three in Malaysia but we’ll have to wait until we see the data after Friday free practice before having a completely clear idea of what to expect in China.
“Unlike Malaysia, where we provided the teams with an experimental tyre for free practice, we will give each team one extra set of the usual hard tyres for Friday’s first free practice session – just as we did in Australia. We saw then that it worked well, allowing the teams to maximise their track time and prepare as thoroughly as possible for the race, so we’d like to give them the same opportunity again.
“The first two races have been absolutely thrilling; I’m hoping that we’ll see the same again in China!”