Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery believes that tyre strategy could play an important role in determining who comes out on top at this weekends Chinese Grand Prix.
The P Zero white medium and the P Zero yellow soft tyres are the weekends allocated tyre compounds. Pirelli believes these compounds are the best choice for the varied demands of the Shanghai International Circuit.
Hembery agrees and thinks that as the teams become more accustomed to how the new generation of P Zero tyres work with the 2014 cars they will begin to understand the best way to capitalize on tyre strategy. “With this being the third race featuring the combination of medium and soft this year the teams are beginning to accumulate more knowledge of how our tyres work with the complex 2014-specification cars. As a result, tyre strategy is starting to become a bigger factor in the races.”
The Chinese Grand Prix is traditionally a race that is decided by tyre strategy and Hembery believes this year will be no different. “China is a circuit that has showcased the effectiveness of a good tyre strategy in the past, so the teams will be hoping to put their data from the first part of the season to good use and explore some of the strategy options available.”
The Shanghai Circuit is the most demanding circuit on the Formula One calendar on brakes. With braking forces peaking at 4.3g the new brake by wire system will be under extreme scrutiny from teams who have struggled with the complex system in the previous races.
The circuit is also well known for having some of the longest straights in Formula One. These long straights have a cooling effect on the tyres which drivers will need to manage going into turn 1 and turn 14.
The varied demands of the Shanghai Circuit will also mean there will be varying degrees of tyre degradation expected between teams. Meaning it’s likely we will see varying strategies between two-stop and three-stop. Last year Fernando Alonso won with a three-stop strategy, with three stints on the medium tyre after starting on the soft tyres.