Pirelli’s head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola believes that the softer tyre compounds allocated for the 2020 Russian Grand Prix will spark a fluctuation within pit strategies and provide ‘extra speed’ in both Qualifying and the race.
Isola says that the decision to soften the compounds was taken to reduce the need for drivers to manage tyres extensively. This switch should encourage closer and more raw racing, something which fans have been yearning for- particularly in Russia.
The track is still in it’s early years- with the first grand prix being held there in 2014. Since then, no drivers other than those in Mercedes-AMG Petronas cars have won. It’s the circuit where Valtteri Bottas earned his first F1 victory, and one year later saw him forced to give up the win for team-mate Lewis Hamilton, and it’s a track that requires precision and bravery- especially into the first braking zone.
Mario Isola was confident that the new tyre choices will make for a more thrilling spectacle for fans, and hopes that the newer, faster cars will spice things up in the race.
“The Russian Grand Prix is one of the relatively few events this year to stick to its original calendar slot, which is at the same time as last year. Since then though, we’ve gone a step softer with the tyre choice, in order to provide extra speed and an additional challenge in terms of tyre strategy.
Isola continued: “Thanks to the current reduced tread depth, which was first introduced in 2019, the softer C3, C4 and C5 nomination this year should encourage the use of all three compounds without the drivers having to manage them extensively during the race.“
“With last year’s strategy having been heavily influenced by neutralisations – plus 2020 cars that are faster than ever before – the teams will certainly have a few unknowns heading into this year’s Russian Grand Prix.“
“Having said that, Sochi places relatively low demands on tyres, so a one-stop race should still be possible. The teams will work out during free practice if this is still the fastest way: which we expect to be a popular choice as teams tend to target one-stoppers whenever possible” He concluded.
Until the race it’s up in the air as to whether Hamilton can equal Michael Schumacher’s staggering record of ninety-one wins or not, and if the race will be as exciting as previous grands prix in 2020.