Hard and medium tires for GP2 in Italy: medium for GP3
The next round of the GP2 and GP3 Series will take place at Monza in Italy this weekend, the home of Pirelli’s headquarters, and the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium have been selected for GP2, together with the medium compound only for GP3 this year.
Monza has some fast corners, long straights and heavy braking, all putting extreme demands on the tires and meaning that they often reach their highest operating temperatures.
Not only this, the weather in Italy is expected to be hot, putting further demands on the tires, which is why the hard and medium compounds have been selected for GP2. Traction and braking are the keys to success at Monza, so the drivers will have to use their tires in a way that optimizes these two important factors.
Pirelli’s racing manager says:
Mario Isola: “This year’s GP2 and GP3 championships have provided lots of excitement: as the season is coming to a close it is still all to play for. Tire strategy will be key to success once more in Monza for GP2, while in GP3 it will again be a question of tire management over the course of the weekend. Monza is famously a very fast and demanding circuit but we are confident that our nominations are the best options for both the GP2 and GP3 races, which will take in a wide variety of racing conditions. In GP2, it’s going to be interesting to see the effect of the DRS system at Monza, which is in place for the first time this year. In GP3, we’ve gone with a very soft choice: as this year’s medium compound is broadly equivalent to last year’s soft. This should lead to greater degradation and close competition all the way to the finish of each race. Monza is very close to our hearts as it takes place close to Milan, the home of our headquarters. We are also looking forward to seeing the new generation GP3 car for next year, which will be unveiled at Monza.”
The challenge for the tires:
Monza is known for many fast corners but also the requirement for heavy braking at the first chicane. The circuit also has many curbs: drivers hit these hard and fast, so the tire has to absorb a lot of impact on each lap. In any single-seater, GP2 and GP3 included, the tire actually forms an essential part of the suspension travel, on top of its other roles.
The cars run low down-force at Monza, in order maximize top speed on the long straights. This means that mechanical rather than aerodynamic grip is key when it comes to direction changes.
The three areas that work the tires hardest at Monza are the first chicane (characterized by heavy braking), the Variante Ascari (with rapid changes of direction) and the famous Parabolica: a long and open corner that generates big lateral forces.
The race and the rules:
Every car will have five sets of dry tires and three sets of wet weather tires available for the GP2 race weekend. The five sets of dry tires comprise three sets of the hard compound and two sets of the medium compound.
The drivers must use at least one set of each compound must be used in the feature race (unless it is a wet race). One set of the harder compound must be returned after free practice.
Qualifying takes place at 15.55 on Friday, after practice at 11.55. Race One on Saturday is run at 15.40 over 30 laps and each driver must complete one compulsory pit stop. This cannot take place within the first six laps. Unlike Formula One, the drivers do not have to start the race using the tires they qualified on.
The grid for Race Two on Sunday at 10.35 is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed. Race Two is run over 21 laps, with no compulsory pit stops.
Every car will have three sets of dry tires and two sets of wet weather tires available for the GP3 race weekend. Only one compound is nominated: medium for this weekend. Drivers are normally allowed to carry over one tire set from the previous round for use in free practice only. This will be the ‘medium’ compound from Spa.
There is one practice session, one qualifying session and two races in GP3. Qualifying takes place at 09.45 on Saturday morning, after a single free practice session on Friday at 17.50. Race One starts at 17.20 on Saturday and lasts for 22 laps, followed by Race Two at 09.25 on Sunday (lasting 17 laps). The grid for Race Two is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed.