Yesterday’s Mexican Grand Prix delivered Lewis Hamilton his fourth drivers’ title, not to mention a moment of bated breath in the very first round as Hamilton’s Mercedes made contact with the Ferrari of closest title contender Sebastian Vettel. The collision, comments Pirelli, added an extra tactical element to the race, as both protagonists were forced to deviate from the expected one-stop strategy.
Pirelli has continued its late-season trend of introducing softer Formula One compounds than in 2016 with its selection for the Japanese grand prix at Suzuka. Mario Isola, head of car racing, says that “this is particularly pertinent” at Suzuka, “as it’s one of the most challenging tracks for tyres of the entire year, with a very big emphasis on lateral loads that can cause thermal degradation if the tyres are not properly managed.
The first ever wet Singapore Grand Prix saw the top six starting on Pirelli’s Cinturato Green intermediate tyre and a mixture of Cinturato Blue wets and intermediates further down the grid. the early safety car periods provided the opportunity for some drivers to change from wet to intermediate tyres, while Daniel Ricciardo, who had started on intermediates, opted to change to a fresh set of intermediates. The Red Bull driver finished the grand prix second, behind the Mercedes of race winner Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes, led by Lewis Hamilton, took the top two podium steps at Monza’s Italian grand prix as nearly every driver chose a one-stop supersoft-soft strategy. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo adopted a different strategy, starting on a soft and moving to the supersoft for the second stint to move 12 places up from his starting position of 16th on the grid – the result of penalties. The Australian also set the fastest lap of the race, which was two seconds faster than last year’s equivalent, using the same tyres.
Formula One comes to the UK this weekend with the British Grand Prix, and Pirelli has opted to bring softer tyres to Silverstone than originally planned. During this halfway-point round in the 2017 F1 calendar, teams will work with the P Zero White medium, P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft tyres rather than the hard, medium and soft tyres initially nominated. Pirelli comments that the decision to focus on the softer end of the compound spectrum was taken after examining information gained from previous races. This will be the first time the supersoft compound has taken to the track at the British Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel won one of the fastest ever Monaco grands prix, using a one-stop strategy. The Ferrari driver used Pirelli’s P Zero Purple ultrasoft and Red supersoft tyres in the expected fastest strategy, running a longer – and faster – first stint than teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who qualified on pole and finished second. A similar strategy was employed by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to make up two places from his grid position and claim a podium finish.
Pirelli will bring its P Zero Red Supersoft, Yellow Soft, and White Medium Formula One compounds to Silverstone for the British grand prix on 14-16 July, the tenth race of the 2017 championship. This will be the fourth time this mix has been employed, previously seen in China, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan.
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas claimed his first Formula One victory in the Russian Grand Prix with a one-stop strategy used by most drivers, as has always been the case in Sochi. The Finn took the lead on the first corner from third on the grid using ultrasoft, stopping for the supersoft tyre before his key rival: Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Alain Prost believes that allowing Formula 1 teams to combine different compound tyres on the same car, and giving them the option to compete without switching to a different compound, would make for a race with more surprises and greater freedom for drivers. But Pirelli isn’t having any of this. Pit stops are viewed as integral to the F1 spectacle, and the F1 tyre supplier dismisses the mixing of tyre types as impractical.
Pirelli has defined the development programme for its 2018 slick and wet weather Formula One tyres in agreement with F1’s teams and the FIA. Starting with the recently completed Bahrain test, the programme will conclude with testing on 14-15 November at Interlagos, Brazil.
Pirelli has conducted its first in-season test of 2017 at the Bahrain International Circuit, which hosted last weekend’s grand prix. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel tested next year’s development tyres with Pirelli throughout Tuesday, for one of the two days, driving a total of 130 laps on the tyres. The next test will take place from 16-17 May in Barcelona, where Renault and Toro Rosso will try out some 2018 development tyres on behalf of Pirelli.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix with a two-stop strategy, from the second row of the grid. All the drivers apart from Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein stopped twice, while his team mate Marcus Ericsson was the only driver to begin the race on the soft tyre. In the warm conditions of the evening, degradation was contained on both compounds, enabling drivers to push hard throughout every stint.
Formula One’s teams will use the same three compounds selected for China at Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit: the P Zero Red supersoft, P Zero Yellow soft, and P Zero White medium. Knowing the track as a favoured year-round test venue for various series, Pirelli states that it will above all test traction, especially since it is the first of three scheduled night races for the 2017 season.
Lewis Hamilton’s victory on a drying track in Shanghai was garnished with a fastest lap four seconds quicker than in the 2016 race, set on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft compound tyre. The exclusive tyre manufacturer has promised a leap in speed equating to such improvements in lap times this season as a result of both the latest specification cars and the manufacturer’s new, larger tyres.