Pirelli British Grand Prix Preview
Silverstone comes straight off the back of Austria but the two events could not be more different: after selecting the softest tires in the P Zero range for Austria, the hardest tires in the line-up have been chosen for Silverstone.
It’s only the second time this year that the hardest tires have been selected – after Spain – and this is due to the high-energy, high-speed demands of the British circuit, which features fast straights and rapid changes of direction.
THE CIRCUIT FROM A TIRE POINT OF VIEW:
• Silverstone is one of the circuits that take the most lateral energy out of the tires all year.
• With high levels of downforce pushing onto the cars, the tires face forces from all directions.
• Weather is notoriously unpredictable: there can be bright sunshine or torrential rain.
• At least two pit stops per car are expected, due to high levels of tire wear and degradation.
• The asphalt offers high levels of grip, which works the surface of the tire even harder.
• As was the case in 2014, Silverstone will host a two-day in-season test after the grand prix.
THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:
• Orange hard: not seen so often this year but likely to be used at some point in Silverstone.
• White medium: will be a popular race tire and is one of the mandatory sets, along with hard.
• Yellow soft: seen at every GP year, the softest tire available in Silverstone is the most popular choice among the teams in terms of quantities chosen.
HOW IT WAS A YEAR AGO:
• The race was affected by rain and safety cars, which skewed the strategy. Race winner Lewis Hamilton stopped twice, going from medium to hard on lap 19 then to intermediate on lap 43.
• With rain suddenly falling towards the end, the best alternative strategy was an opportunistic one. Sebastian Vettel’s early stop for intermediates allowed him to make up two places and finish on the podium.
PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR:
“With the majority of teams choosing mostly the softest compound available – a consistent trend we have seen all year – it’s clear that the intention of many drivers is to run quite an aggressive strategy, which on a track like Silverstone could result in multiple pit stops. As last year showed, the weather is also a typically British variable, which means that we are likely to be in for an unpredictable race”.
• There are no modifications to the circuit layout, surface or infrastructure this year.
• Silverstone returns to the test calendar after the race, but this is not a dedicated tire test.
• However, Mercedes will run an additional car for Pascal Wehrlein at the test, which will be a 2014-specification car fitted with prototype tires (in 2016 dimensions, but with new technical contents).
OTHER THINGS THAT HAVE CAUGHT OUR EYE:
• Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull have all made differing tire nominations for Silverstone, while Haas is the only team that has different choices for each driver.