Pirelli have announced that the Yellow banded P Zero Soft and the Red banded P Zero Supersoft will be the tyre compounds to choose from at this weekends Austrian Grand Prix, the third consecutive race those two compounds have been utilised in.
Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery feels excited about racing on a new track, and along with his engineers, believes the Soft and Supersoft tyres are the two best compounds to use at the Red Bull Ring. Hembery expects a two-stop race but expectations might change once practice gets underway on Friday.
“It’s always exciting to go to a new circuit: everyone starts on a level playing field, with the teams and drivers who dial themselves into the new conditions soonest coming out on top,” said Hembery. “Based on the asphalt samples and track inspections from our engineers, we believe that the two softest compounds in our range will deliver the best compromise between performance and grip on a circuit where the teams are expected to run high downforce.
“One interesting question mark will be the weather, which is well known for being unpredictable over the circuit. With any new venue, the work done during free practice becomes particularly important, so the teams will be looking to take as much information as possible from the Friday and Saturday sessions in order to assess the behaviour of the tyres on the track with different fuel loads and set-ups. This will be the key to qualifying race strategy.
“Simulation data suggests that we will see a two-stop race, but this is subject to weather conditions and track evolution, which we will only understand properly after free practice.”
Pirelli Consultant Jean Alesi raced at the Red Bull Ring, then called the A1 Ring between 1997 and 2001, racing at the track for the Benetton, Sauber and Prost teams. He feels the track will be difficult for drivers to overtake on, with all the braking areas on uphill sections.
“Spielberg is back in the world championship, with a few modifications that everyone will only find out about during free practice on Friday,” said Alesi. “On the whole though, the track is the same as the one we knew before. What’s really nice about Spielberg is the fact that the track always goes up and down, which is great fun for a driver.
“The tricky aspect of this is that all the major braking areas are uphill, which makes overtaking difficult. I remember something that’s quite funny: in the old days it was always said that the local cows stopped producing milk for a week, because of the noise from the F1 cars. Now that the cars make less noise, let’s hope it’s only a few days…”