Monday, 29 September 2014

Pirelli Japanese Grand Prix Preview

(Pirelli Motorsport Media)

This weekend Pirelli will for only the fifth time this season bring the tyre combination of the Pirelli P-Zero White Medium compound along with the P-Zero Orange Hard compound tyre for the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit.

The Pirelli strategy guide predicts that team's will run a two to three stop strategy It is likely that most teams will opt to run the Medium compound tyre at the start of the race as the compound allows for optimum performance at low temperatures before they switch to the Hard compound tyre at the first stop before switching back to the Medium compound tyre for the second stint.

Speaking about the Japanese Grand Prix, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery commented:

'Japan is one of the highlights of the year, not just for ourselves but for the whole of Formula One. The fans are absolutely brilliant, with huge enthusiasm and knowledge of the sport, which is almost unparalleled anywhere in the world. Suzuka is a real drivers’ circuit, and because of that it is a considerable challenge for the tyres, with some of the biggest lateral energy loads of the year. 

As a result, it would probably be realistic to look at between two to three pit stops, with tyre management forming a key part of the race. However, we’ll obviously know more about that after free practice. It’s a track where several forces are often acting on the tyre at once, and the increased torque but decreased downforce of this year’s cars will only place more demands on mechanical grip. If a tyre can perform well in Suzuka, it can perform well almost everywhere.'

Pirelli tyre consultant and former F1 driver Jean Alesi commented saying:

'Suzuka is just an amazing track from a driver’s perspective. It’s very technical, with each bit of the circuit very different from the others. I would say that 130R is one of the most demanding corners of the entire year, which requires the right set-up and a car that is absolutely planted to the ground. 

The esses are also extremely demanding: if you make just one mistake here that will disrupt the whole sequence and you lose a lot of time. We’ve raced many times at Suzuka in the rain: in those situations, visibility is extremely low. We also tend to see a lot of track evolution over the course of the weekend. So we start off with a surface that is very abrasive and ‘green’ but the driver has to pay a lot of attention to how the situation changes over the weekend and how in turn that affects the tyres.'

© Ben Johnston 2014

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