Pirelli Motorsport’s Head of Car Racing, Mario Isola, is expecting the majority of drivers to make more than one pit stop during this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, due mainly to the abrasive nature of the track surface around the Bahrain International Circuit.
Most drivers were able to manage the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with just one stop, but Isola does not believe this will be as easily achieved this weekend, particularly with the tyre compounds being softer in 2018 than last year despite Pirelli bringing the same three compounds – the Medium, Soft and Supersoft – to the desert track.
“Bahrain provides a very different challenge to Australia, but one of the things it has in common is that is quite a stop-start circuit characterised by longitudinal rather than lateral loads, which also means that it is rear-limited in particular,” said Isola.
“Because of the abrasive surface and also thermal degradation we would expect more than one pit stop for most drivers, especially as the entire tyre range is softer this year and Bahrain has produced a variety of interesting strategies in the past.”
Isola says teams will need to focus on getting the best out of their tyres during Friday evening’s practice session, as it will likely have the most representative conditions to what will be seen in Qualifying and in the race.
“The race schedule, with track temperatures that fall considerably during the evening, means that teams need to maximise their learning from the sessions that are most representative and draw the most effective conclusions from the unusual track conditions in the evening,” said Isola.