Pirelli Italian Grand Prix Preview
It’s finally here: Pirelli’s home race at the fastest grand prix circuit of them all, making Monza the undisputed ‘temple of speed’.
The actual cornering speeds aren’t excessive, so instead it’s all about the straights, where the cars come close to 360kph thanks also to specific low-drag configurations that are generally only seen in Italy. Pirelli has chosen the medium, soft and (for the first time) supersoft tyres at Monza: the fourth consecutive race where this selection is being used. In terms of atmosphere, the Parco Reale di Monza remains unique: a historic venue used continuously for Formula 1 since 1950 (with only one exception) that inspires not just the fans, but also the drivers.
THE CIRCUIT FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW:
- While average speeds are high, cornering speeds are reasonably low, minimising tyre wear.
- This means that some teams could aim for a one-stop strategy.
- Heavy longitudinal forces act on tyres, especially under braking and traction in the two chicanes.
- The drivers tend to hit the famous curbs at Monza hard, which further tests the tyre structure.
- Parabolica and Curva Grande are particularly challenging, as they are long corners putting plenty of energy through the tyres.
- Low downforce means braking and acceleration is tricky: drivers must try to avoid wheelspin.
THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:
- White medium: a mandatory set that will be important for the race if using a one-stop strategy.
- Yellow soft: again a mandatory set, could come into play for a two-stop strategy in particular.
- Red supersoft: mandatory in qualifying; most of the top 10 are very likely to start on this tyre.
HOW IT WAS A YEAR AGO:
- Lewis Hamilton dominated the weekend with a grand slam. He used a one-stop strategy, starting on soft and changing to medium on lap 26 (of 53). The entire top 10 stopped just once.
- Best alternative strategy: Daniel Ricciardo was the highest-placed driver to start on the medium tyre and then change to soft, going from 19th on the grid to eighth at the finish.
PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR:
“With Monza coming straight after Spa, that’s two epic circuits in the space of just over one week, but for any organization in Formula 1, your home race is always the most special of the year. It’s going to be a busy weekend for us as a result, and with the supersoft coming to Monza for the first time, we might also see some record top speeds in qualifying especially. Last year we saw the majority of competitors opt for a one-stop strategy, but the arrival of the supersoft could make multi-stop options more attractive this time.”