Monday, 4 May 2015

Pirelli Spanish Grand Prix Preview

(Pirelli Motorsport Media)

The European leg of the Formula One season gets underway at the Barcelona Circuit De Catalunya this weekend with Pirelli set to bring the P-Zero Orange Hard compound and the P-Zero White Medium compound tyre.

The Pirelli Spanish Grand Prix is one of the toughest of the season in terms of tyre wear and this is particularly true with the front left tyre which is worked the hardest.

This weekend will see the main show, Formula One, along with the GP2 and GP3 for the first time this season following the first four fly-away Grand Prix of the year. There will also be a two day in season Formula One test following Sunday’s race.

Two of the winter tests took place at the Barcelona Circuit De Catalunya in February however this weekend the weather will be much hotter with the air temperature set to reach a staggering 25 degrees. This weekend, Formula One cars will use a high downforce set up which allows the cars to stay planted to the circuit.

Tyre degradation is extremely high at the Montmelo circuit due to the long straights couple with both high and low speed corners. The asphalt is one of the roughest of year which is why the Medium and Hard compound tyre range have been chosen.

It is only the second race weekend this season that Pirelli will have brought the Medium and Hard compound tyre, the last time they were used were at the Malaysian Grand Prix, a race which was won by Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Speaking ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Pirelli Director of Motorsport, Paul Hembery stated:

Spain is obviously one of the more familiar venues that we go to, as there has already been plenty of data gathered during testing. One of the things we have noticed so far is that this year Barcelona will once again be a front-limited circuit, from a tyre perspective. Last year, the increase in traction and torque from the cars meant that for the first time the race became a rear-limited event, with the useful life of the rear tyres dictating the pit stop strategy. Thanks to the improvements we made to the rear tyre construction for this year, we’re back to Barcelona being a front-limited circuit again. However, we do not expect this to mean that there will necessarily be more pit stops this year: last year the majority of competitors used a two-stop strategy and that will probably be the case again. The biggest unknown factor will be the weather: in the past we have seen some very hot weather in Barcelona, but it isn’t always guaranteed. The start of the European season traditionally means that many teams bring important upgrades, and it will be very interesting to see how these interact with our 2015 tyres.

© Ben Johnston 2015

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