The Spa-Francorchamps circuit isn’t just challenging for the drivers, but also the tyres, which is why Pirelli have selected their medium and soft compound P Zero tyres for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Spa is infamous for its unpredictable weather, and so the Cinturato intermediate and wet tyres are likely to be used at some point over the weekend.
“We have the same tyre nomination for Spa as we did for the Hungaroring – which turned out to be one of the most thrilling races of the season – but the two circuits present a very marked contrast,” said Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director.
“Whereas Hungary was tight and twisty, Spa is open and flat-out, making it a favourite among all the drivers. We’ve got plenty of high-energy loads going through the tyres in many directions due to all the different forces at work, but ambient temperatures still tend to be quite low, so the soft and medium tyres represent the best compromise between performance and durability.
“Spa is a race where anything can happen, with a high incidence of safety cars and changing weather, so tyre strategy is important, as well as each team’s ability to constantly read the race and react quickly to any opportunities that present themselves.”
Last year’s race was won by Red Bull Racing and Daniel Ricciardo. The team used a two-stop strategy, with two stints on the soft tyre before a final run using the medium compound. This year, a performance gap of between 1.8 and 2 seconds is expected comparing the two compounds, but despite this, Ricciardo’s fastest lap last year was set on the medium tyre.