For the first time, drivers will have to use both compounds of Pirelli tyre in the GP2 Series feature race, and in Bahrain that will be the orange-banded P Zero Hard tyre and the yellow-banded P Zero Soft tyre. Each team will be given three sets of the prime Hard tyre and two sets of the option Soft tyre for the weekend.
The GP2 teams and drivers tested at Bahrain last month with the whole range of Pirelli tyres (Hard, Medium, Soft and Supersoft) available to them. Tyre management in the heat of Bahrain however will still be a big challenge, especially with the rough surface of the Sakhir tarmac.
“We’re delighted to be supplying GP2 with tyres in what will be the 10th year of the championship, so first of all, ‘happy birthday’ from all of us to this great series,” said Mario Isola, the racing manager of Pirelli. “The GP2 tyres for this year are the same as they were last year: we felt that their characteristics were helping us to provide what we wanted to achieve with close and competitive racing that prepares drivers for Formula One The car is also the same as before, so there was no point in changing.
“However, the new rules are certainly going to provide an interesting extra perspective, by bringing GP2 even more closely into line with Formula One. We’re expecting quite a gap in performance between the hard and the soft tyres and this should put the emphasis firmly on strategy. There’s also a further 15 minutes of free practice this year, which will allow the teams to assess the tyre characteristics more accurately before the start of each race.
And for the first time, qualifying will be held at night, 8pm local time, meaning the tyre characteristics may change again! It will be a challenging weekend for the GP2 series teams and drivers.
“One of the biggest challenges for the teams will be the fact that qualifying takes place at night this year, so the tyre data that they collect during practice could be different to the characteristics seen in qualifying, when ambient and track temperatures will be lower. ”