‘No Big Surprises’ for Pirelli in Singapore Practice as One-Stop Strategy Calls Expected

by Paul Hensby

Mario Isola revealed there were no big surprises to come from Friday’s free practice sessions for the Singapore Grand Prix, with the soft tyre being the primary choice across the field.

Isola said there were no graining or blistering issues experienced during either session, with a significant amount of data being gained by all the teams that should benefit them across the remainder of the weekend.

“There were no big surprises from free practice in Singapore, with the track and conditions similar to last year,” said Isola.  “This resulted in broadly similar lap times compared to 2018. The track is still evolving so let’s see tomorrow.

“Despite the challenging conditions here – many drivers call this the toughest circuit physically of the entire year – we experienced no blistering or graining, with the teams accumulating plenty of useful data for a race that is likely to run to the full two hours.”

All three tyre compounds were used during the day, with Isola, the Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli Motorsport, feeling both the medium and the hard compounds are potentially good race day tyres, as is the soft compound.

However, Isola feels the pace difference between the soft and medium compound will make it difficult to make it through into the top ten shootout on the slower tyre, meaning there is a likelihood of everyone attempting to get through Q2 on the soft.

“While the soft tyre dominated the action today, all three compounds were sampled,” said Isola.  “The medium and the hard look set to be viable race tyres as well: especially for those starting outside the top 10 on the grid, with a one-stopper quite likely as the optimal race strategy.

“With the big lap time gap between medium and soft seen so far, this makes qualifying on the medium appear to be quite a tall order.”

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