Tyre wear “critical” as Pirelli to take softest compounds to Canada
Pirelli’s new supersoft tyre made its debut in Monaco and will now return for the Canadian Grand Prix; this time however the PZero Red supersoft tyre and the harder PZero Yellow tyre will face increasing wear on a low-grip Montreal circuit that is also faster with heavier braking than at Monaco. Pirelli says that the long stints of more than 50 laps on the PZero tyres, as seen in Monaco, are unlikely and instead there will be a return to wheel-to-wheel sprint racing. For Friday practice, drivers will be given two additional sets of Pirelli’s new medium compound slicks to evaluate for the future.
Tyre wear is a critical factor at the Montreal circuit, traditionally making Canada one of the most entertaining races of the year. Since its inauguration in 1978, the track has undergone a number of changes, notably some resurfacing before last year’s grand prix and the addition of some new and higher kerbs in 2005: both of which influence the way that the tyres behave. With the track hosting only two major races per season – Formula One and NASCAR – there is a marked evolution in terms of grip over the course of the weekend as more rubber gets laid down on the surface.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery states: “Monaco was a fantastic race, with three drivers battling closely for the win even though they were using three very different strategies. From the data we can see that Sebastian Vettel’s tyres would have gone the distance if he had continued to drive on them in the same way that he had been doing up to the red flag period. This means that he could have covered 62 laps, the equivalent of more than 200 kilometres, on the PZero Yellow soft tyre, with an extremely close finish.
“The characteristics of Canada mean that we’re unlikely to see a one-stop strategy this weekend, but we’re hoping that the racing will be just as close and that the opportunities for overtaking will give teams even more possibilities than Monaco in terms of race strategy. The pure performance of the PZero tyres was demonstrated by the fact that we were able to set the fastest-ever qualifying lap of Monaco, adding to our record of success, which now includes more than 50 grand prix wins throughout our time in Formula One.”
Rubens Barrichello of Williams gave Pirelli the drivers’ point of view: “The Montreal circuit can be hard on tyres because the cars run on low downforce and the tarmac is quite low grip. The track has some change of direction, is very hard on brakes and has two hairpins that make good traction very important. Turn One, for example, is a corner that you carry a lot of speed into and then you brake hard into the hairpin in first gear. The minimum speed is low but traction is hard on tyres. There are a lot of hard braking areas throughout the lap. I love the circuit and racing there is always good. I look forward to racing on the Pirelli PZero tyres in Canada.”