Pirelli China Grand Prix Preview
The imposing Shanghai circuit is wide, fast and flowing, with plenty of overtaking opportunities that frequently make for entertaining races.
For the third time this year, the P Zero White medium, P Zero Yellow soft, and P Zero Red supersoft compounds have been nominated.
THE CIRCUIT FROM A TIRE POINT OF VIEW:
• Weather conditions are nearly always unpredictable, which have a big effect on tire behavior.
• As a result, graining is sometimes an issue when it’s cool: especially in the early sessions.
• Around 80% of the lap is spent cornering, meaning that lateral loads are a crucial factor.
• The track is front limited, because of all the turns and high-energy corners.
• The crucial corners are Turn 1, which is almost a full circle, and Turn 13, which is banked.
• Drivers also have to avoid wheelspin out of the corners, in order to minimize rear degradation.
THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:
• White medium: a low working range compound that is one of the most versatile in the range.
• Yellow soft: a high working range compound with the accent on performance.
• Red supersoft: a low working range compound that is rapid but with a limited overall life.
HOW IT WAS A YEAR AGO:
• Winner: Hamilton (two stops: started on soft, changed to soft on lap 14, medium on lap 33).
• Best-placed alternative strategy: Massa, fifth (also stopping twice, but starting on soft, changing to medium on lap 13, then medium again on lap 34).
• Most drivers stopped twice, but a few drivers also tried a three-stopper. The race strategy was affected by a late safety car, which extended tire life.
PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR:
• “China is a very different type of circuit to the two that we’ve visited up to now this year, yet the tire nomination is the same, which underlines the adaptability of our product under a wide range of circumstances. Shanghai is also likely to be quite a cool race, although the nature of the place means that anything is possible, so teams will have to keep an open mind on strategy and carefully correlate the data captured in practice to the eventual race conditions. The three compounds selected have led to a number of different tactical permutations up to now, and we expect an ample variety of strategies once more in China.”