Pirelli will debut their P Zero Red Supersoft tyre for the first time this weekend in Monaco alongside the P Zero yellow soft compound, which has already been used in three of the first five races.
Monaco is well known for having the lowest average lap speed of the year, which means the cars rely almost entirely on mechanical grip as opposed to aerodynamic grip – which is generated by tyres.
The tyres traditionally suffer from very little wear and degradation during the race, which means teams could opt for a one-stop. But due to the high risk of a safety car appearance, teams will have to manage their strategies to make the most of any possible opportunities.
Pirelli Motorsport Director, Paul Hembrey says teams should be aware of this and also mentions the importance of qualifying well on the tight street circuit. “It’s possible to do the race with just one pit stop,” said Hembrey. “However, that’s not always the quickest way – there is a high probability of safety cars on the narrow circuit, so reading the race to make use of any potential opportunities exactly as they happen will once again be key to success.”
“Strategy will always play an important part: particularly with Monaco being such a difficult track to overtake on – this increases the importance of qualifying.”
Pirelli Consultant and former F1 driver Jean Alesi also thinks strategy is key to getting the most out of Monaco. “They tyres are obviously really important, the arrival of the supersoft means that the cars will be able to make the most of their performance.”
Alesi says it’s possible the track won’t rubber in until qualifying on saturday, and thinks the new supersofts could actually play a big role in deciding who wins the race.
“There’s quite a big degree of track evolution in Monaco, with a dirty surface on Thursday, so you really have to wait until the track is more rubbered in on Saturday before you see any significant times.”
“Strategy is going to be interesting: I reckon a set of fresh supersofts at the end of the race could make a massive difference.”