Pirelli Monaco Grand Prix Preview
The eagerly-anticipated P Zero Purple ultrasoft makes its debut in Monaco, alongside the P Zero Red supersoft and P Zero Yellow soft: the three softest tyres in the range.
These will work well in the low-grip and low-speed conditions of the Monte Carlo street circuit, where the accent is always on mechanical grip from the tyres. Monte Carlo is such a legendary venue that there is little left to say about it that hasn’t been said already. It remains the most prestigious race on the calendar, and also one of the most unpredictable.
THE CIRCUIT FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW:
• The street circuit offers very little grip and a high degree of track evolution over the weekend.
• Teams use a high-downforce set-up to ‘push’ the car onto the track as much as possible.
• Wear and degradation is the lowest seen all year, making one-stop strategies possible even on soft compound tyres.
• Tactics need to consider a high probability of the safety car and the difficulty of overtaking.
• With little representative running of the ultrasoft up to now, free practice (on Thursday) is vital.
• Lowest average speed of the year so tyre warm-up is a key skill for maximum performance.
THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:
• Yellow soft: unusually, it’s the hardest compound of the weekend. Not so many chosen.
• Red supersoft: a favoured race tyre, capable of quite long stints in Monaco.
• Purple ultrasoft: chosen by many teams; the default choice for qualifying and expected also in the race.
HOW IT WAS A YEAR AGO:
• Winner: Rosberg (one stop: started on supersoft, changed to soft on lap 37 of 66).
• Best-placed alternative strategy: Hamilton, second with two stops. Pitted from the lead to take on new supersofts during a late safety car, but admitted later that it was probably a mistake.
• The vast majority of drivers made just one pit stop: including Sainz who finished 10th from last.
PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR: “Monte Carlo will mark the first race for our new purple ultrasoft tyre, which offers the maximum performance and technology that we can put into a compound. However, the large numbers of this compound nominated by the teams for the Monaco GP shows that it is a serious race tyre rather than just a ‘qualifying special’. With the unique conditions of Monaco, and its own specific timetable, the teams will be looking to get a thorough read on the characteristics of the new ultrasoft during free practice. Only then will we have an accurate idea of race strategy, although with the difficulty of overtaking, drivers will be looking to minimize their pit stops.”