This weekend’s British Grand Prix will mark the start of potentially a brand new era for the Formula 1 weekend format, with the first ever sprint race set to take place at Silverstone this weekend, putting lots of pressure on Pirelli to perform.
A 100km sprint race will take place on Saturday to determine the grid for Sunday’s traditional race, with the usual qualifying taking place on Friday evening to set-up the grid for the sprint race. An exciting prospect for the thousands who will be in attendance this weekend. For the sprint race the teams can choice to start on any tyre whereas for qualifying only the soft C3 compound can be used.
As usual Pirelli have chosen the three hardest compounds to be used this weekend, the C1, C2 and C3 tyres will be in operation. The hardest tyres have to be used at Silverstone with the high speed corners such as Maggots and Becketts, putting a huge amount of force into the tyres. Pirelli will not be hoping for a repeat of last year’s British Grand Prix, where several drivers including race winner Lewis Hamilton suffered dramatic tyre failures during the closing stages of the race.
This weekend will also see a new construction of rear tyre which were tested during free practice at the Austrian Grand Prix. The new tyres weigh the same as the old ones but are at the same time more robust, the tyres incorporate a lot of the features which will be seen on the new eighteen inch wheels next season.
With so much going on this weekend, Pirelli Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola is extremely excited to the new weekend format at what is one of the most challenging circuits for the tyre manufacturer.
“There are plenty of new things to look forward to during the Silverstone weekend: first and foremost the introduction of sprint qualifying for the first of three races this year, which will completely alter the dynamic and rhythm of the weekend as well as having an important effect on how the tyres are used. The different ways in which the teams interpret these new regulations and make the most of them is going to be fascinating to watch.
“We’re also introducing the new construction of rear tyre that was tested successfully in Austria with positive feedback. As for Silverstone itself, it remains one of the biggest test of the year for tyres thanks to all its fast corners, meaning that some degree of tyre management is always essential. Another key factor is of course the British weather, which is famously variable at this time of year.”