The GP2 Series will introduce a new tyre rule and a new points system for 2012, it has today been announced.
In a move to mirror the tyre regulations used in Formula 1, two different types of dry tyre compounds will be made available during each race weekend. A total of four sets of Pirelli P Zero tyres will be provided, comprising of three sets of prime, harder compound tyres and one set of option, softer compound tyres.
One set of prime will have to be kept back for the Sunday sprint race, meaning the teams will be able to choose between the remaining three sets for free practice, qualifying and the feature race. The compulsory pit stop in the feature race will remain, where a minimum of two tyres must be changed.
“The new tyre rule offers a fantastic opportunity to the drivers,” said GP2 boss Bruno Michel. “Our Series' main goal has always been to prepare them to Formula One and so far we have been very successful at it. More than ever, tyre management is key to how quickly young drivers can adapt to the pinnacle of motorsport.
“However, although we will introduce a second compound, we have decided to keep only four sets of tyres per race weekend in order to control the costs. It will be interesting to watch as our teams will put in place the best possible strategy. It will add even more suspense, but it will also make tyre management all the more delicate. We're very happy that Pirelli will help us achieve that.”
Pirelli Racing Manager Mario Isola added: “Since we became sole tyre supplier to the GP2 Series, we have always been very keen to work in close contact with the organisers and meet their requests. We are already supplying an improved version of our P Zero GP2 hard compound rubber for this year's GP2 post-season tests. This is a product with enhanced performance features, which will probably be seen on track starting from next season when the series will have new tyre rules.
“Having two different compounds available for each event in 2012 will certainly spice up the action and narrow the gap between Formula One and its feeder series, as the focus will not only be on tyre management skills but also on making the right tyre choice and planning race strategy accordingly.
“We are very satisfied with how our P Zero GP2 tyres performed during the 2011 season and we are glad to have significantly contributed to increasing the spectacle of the races. I feel confident that our P Zero tyres combined with the new tyre rules will make the GP2 races even more interesting to watch next season.”
GP2 will, along with GP3, adopt a new points-scoring system based upon the one currently used in Formula 1. Points in Saturday races will be awarded to the top ten finishers (25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 points). As usual only the top eight will be reversed to make the grid for the Sunday race, where the top eight will receive points (15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 points). Four points will be given for pole position, and two for the fastest lap in each race.