Williams’ Pat Symonds: Two-stop strategy the favoured in Abu Dhabi GP


Credit: Glenn Dunbar/Williams

Despite the Yas Marina Circuit being a modern circuit, Pat Symonds confirms the circuit is quite challenging.

Williams Martini Racing had a disappointing Brazilian Grand Prix, after Felipe Massa failed to see the chequered flag, after he crashed out of the race. This was an emotional Grand Prix for Massa as it was his last home race in his Formula 1 career.

Valtteri Bottas didn’t have much luck either, with him finishing in eleventh in the tricky conditions. He lost track positions after an early switch to intermediate tyres, he was unable to hold onto tenth as full wets were the required tyre, rather than the intermediates.  With conditions improving he was able to make up two places on the final laps but it was not enough to put himself into the points.

Italian tyre manufacturer, Pirelli are bringing the ultra soft tyre to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the first time, and Head of Performance Engineering of the Grove-based team Symonds believes this could prove a difficult tyre to use with the numerous corners that make up sector three.

“After two high altitude races we now head right down to sea level in Abu Dhabi,” said Symonds. “Although a modern circuit, it is quite challenging.

“However, the set-up also needs to allow good low-speed change of direction. Pirelli are bringing the ultra soft tyre to this race for the first time. Which could prove a difficult tyre to use as the numerous corners that make up sector three.

“May well push this tyre above its ideal operating temperature, particularly as the prescribed pressure is significantly higher than we have used with this tyre before. Unlike Brazil, we can be pretty sure of a dry race here in the desert and, in spite of the introduction of the softer tyre, we would still expect a two-stop to be the favoured strategy.”