Mario Isola says there is no bigger contrast to this weekends Singapore Grand Prix than the last race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, with the high-speed nature of Italy being replaced by the slow stop-start nature of the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Isola, the Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli Motorsport, says the Singapore circuit is an unique challenge on the Formula 1 schedule, and it is up to the ten teams to get themselves dialled in to the 5.063-kilometre track in order to be able to maximise their potential across the weekend.
Pirelli are bringing their three softest compounds to Marina Bay, with the C5 acting as the soft, the C4 as the medium and the C3 as the hard, with the majority of the teams going for a large number of the C5, with six drivers – Max Verstappen, Alexander Albon, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hülkenberg, Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll – selecting ten sets of the C5 for Singapore.
“It is hard to think of a bigger contrast to Monza than Singapore, so the teams will have a significant reset as we head into the final long-haul leg of the season,” said Isola. “The unique challenges of Singapore are quite well known to them though, so they will have a good idea what to expect as they dial themselves into the track on Friday.
“We’ve seen in the past that there is scope to vary the strategy, and with overtaking quite tricky at Marina Bay, teams will be carefully assessing the ways in which they could potentially take advantage of strategy to move up the order. Especially considering the very high likelihood of safety cars there, which can change the complexion of a race.”
Isola says it will be interesting to see if anyone attempts to make it through the second segment of Qualifying on Saturday using the medium compound of tyre, with those who do adding an extra dimension to their strategy flexibility.
“It is going to be interesting to see if anyone tries to qualify on the medium rather than the soft, to add flexibility to the strategy, given all the variables,” said Isola. “There are some quite different tyre choices among the drivers, so we might see some alternative approaches”.