Pirelli’s Paul Hembery: “We’ve heard lots of interesting things about the circuit”

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

The Baku City Circuit is as much an unknown for Pirelli as it is for the F1 teams and drivers, and they have had to rely on simulation and acquired information rather than real data when deciding on which tyre compounds to nominate.

Because we are on unfamiliar territory, the Italian manufacturer have therefore gone fairly safe in their selections and have chosen the white walled medium, yellow walled soft and red walled super-soft tyres for use across this weekend.

Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery, believes the compounds they have chosen will rise to the challenge and conditions thrown up by the new Baku City Circuit.

“It seems that the circuit’s character, lap length, and speed will certainly make it stand out.

“Obviously it’s never easy when you go to a circuit for the first time, but the conditions and the tyres are of course as always the same for everyone.

“The selection of compounds we have nominated should cope with a wide range of potential conditions.”

“Now of course it is down to the teams to get the most out of their choices and to identify the best possible strategies, which is why the running we see in free practice will be particularly important.”

Not being au fait with the nuances of the Azerbaijan track as yet, many of the drivers have gone for similar tyre choices when making their selections pre-race. The Scuderia Ferrari drivers have one more set of the soft tyre available, compared to Mercedes AMG PETRONAS driver Lewis Hamilton who will have an additional set of the super-soft compound instead, whereas team-mate Nico Rosberg has opted for an extra set of the medium tyre and one less set of the soft compound than the Brit.

Most teams however have gone with either, one set of the medium, five sets of soft, and seven sets of super-soft, or, one set of medium, four sets of soft, and eight sets of the super-soft compound. How they manage those tyres strategy-wise will be all important, which is why the practice sessions will be extremely crucial.