Italian Grand Prix Preview: Monza, September 3-6
Pirelli comes home to Monza this weekend; the ‘temple of speed’ that features some of the fastest straights on the F1 calendar, prompting the cars to run a specific low-drag aerodynamic set-up.
The P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tires have been chosen for the Italian Grand Prix, which are versatile compounds that are able to balance the unique demands of performance and durability that Monza always requires. With high-energy loads of up to 4.5g going through the tires and some big impacts with the famous curbs, the tire compound and structure is challenged throughout the whole lap.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Monza is always one of the highlights of our season, with an incredible history and atmosphere. We have the medium and soft compounds, a step softer than our nomination last year, which should be well suited to Monza and the emphasis on speed that this circuit always places. We’re expecting a fair degree of wear and degradation, so as always the work done during free practice will be very important when it comes to calculating the optimal strategy. With the two compounds potentially quite closely matched in terms of pace, this opens up a few options.
The cars run low downforce at Monza and that actually increases the work for the tires considerably under acceleration and braking, because with less force pushing down on top of the car, it’s the tires that are providing all the mechanical grip. Allied to the curbs at Monza, this provides our tires with a wide-ranging all-round challenge, requiring consistent durability and performance.
We have finalized the investigation into Sebastian Vettel’s tire at Spa. Detailed conclusions from the technical analysis will be presented at Monza”.
The biggest challenges for the tires: A fast circuit like Monza tends to be more demanding on tires than a slow circuit, as all the forces at work encourage heat build-up, particularly on the shoulder of the tire. There are significant lateral energy demands at Monza, due to long corners such as Parabolica, as well as big longitudinal demands, because of all the traction and braking.
With a low downforce set-up as is used at Monza, the drivers need to take care of the rear tires in particular, in order not to provoke wheelspin under acceleration. However, the other side to this is increased maximum speed, in the region of 360kph.
Expected performance gap between the two compounds: 0.8 – 1.0 seconds per lap.
Last year’s strategy and how the race was won: Lewis Hamilton used a one-stop strategy for the 53-lap race, with the hard and medium compounds nominated last year. The Mercedes driver started on the medium tire and then switched to the hard on lap 25.