(Pirelli Motorsport Media)
This weekend Formula One heads to Singapore for the season's second night race following the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this year. The Bahrain International circuit is a purpose built facility however the Singapore Marina Bay circuit takes place city streets and such this poses different challenges for the tyre's compared to racing on a normal track surface.
One factor that plays a key role is the fact that like in Bahrain the race is held at night and that means that the track temperature fluctuates and this can have a huge affect on the overall performance of the tyre.
This weekend Pirelli have opted to bring the P Zero yellow walled Soft compound tyre and the P Zero Red walled Super Soft compound tyre. It is the fifth time this season that these tyre combinations have been used having previously be adopted for the other street circuit in Monte Carlo, the Canadian Grand Prix, Austria and the Germany Grand Prix.
Pirelli's Motorsport director Paul Hembery commented by saying:
'It’s always a great pleasure for us to come to Singapore, which has consistently proved itself to be one of the most spectacular races of the year.
Racing under the lights in such a vibrant city provides an amazing atmosphere that showcases Formula One at its very best. The unique nature of the race at night obviously has an impact on the tyres, and we’ve selected the two softest tyres in the range for their rapid warm-up and high levels of mechanical grip: vital characteristics on a street circuit. This is actually a step softer than last year, when we nominated the medium and supersoft, so we should see some interesting tyre strategies with teams taking full advantage of the performance on offer.
There’s traditionally quite a high incidence of safety cars, so every strategy has to be flexible enough to bear this eventuality in mind as well. With the championship seemingly getting closer, all the signs suggest that we’re in for an exciting and unpredictable race.'
Pirelli consultant and former Formula One driver Jean Alesi stated:
'I’ve never actually raced in Singapore but my impression is that it’s a bit like Monaco, with its capacity to transform a simple mistake into an absolute disaster, given how little run-off there is.
Here you also have to add in the high ambient temperatures and high humidity, plus the fact that you are racing at night while keeping to a European timetable. So it’s easy to see how physically fatiguing the race can be for the drivers. From a technical point of view, the most important aspect is to have a car with the best traction possible.
Consequently it’s important to look after the rear tyres, otherwise you lose a lot of time coming out of the corners (which are nearly all slow corners in Singapore). This can really compromise your race if you are not careful.'
© Ben Johnston 2014