At this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, Pirelli brings the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft compounds to the Hungaroring, close to Budapest.
This is actually the same nomination as last year, but with the compounds being softer this year, there is even more performance. The construction of the tyres has changed as well, with the 2012 structure matched with the 2013 compounds.
These tyres were tested at Silverstone last week, with the teams collecting data that will be useful for the future. Conditions at the Hungaroring are normally hot and sunny, which increases the work for the tyres.
Paul Hembery: “Hungary marks the first event for our latest specification P Zero tyres, which consist of the 2012 construction matched to the 2013 compounds. These tyres were tried out by the teams at Silverstone during the young driver test, who benefitted from the opportunity to adapt the set-up of their cars to best suit the new tyres. Now they get to use them in competition for the first time, and with qualifying particularly important at the Hungaroring, the work done in free practice will be very important. Overtaking at this circuit is never an easy task, so the teams will be looking to use strategy to maximise their opportunities to gain track position. The selection of medium and soft tyres should provide plenty of chances to help them do that, based on the data that all the teams gain with different fuel loads in free practice. Temperatures in Hungary can be very high, and this is the other factor on which the levels of wear and degradation experienced will depend. Traction and braking are two critical aspects of tyre performance in Hungary, with the teams running a set-up designed to emphasise these key areas. With levels of lateral energy relatively low, tyre performance rather than durability will be the limiting factor and this will form the basis of the strategy selected – with the teams aiming to keep the tyres within the peak window of operating performance for as long as possible. The design of our latest tyres should help them to do this.”
Jean Alesi: “The Hungaroring is a circuit where it is really difficult to overtake, although they did make the straight a bit longer a few years ago to provide more passing opportunities, which helped a bit. So this means that qualifying as well as you can is extremely important. There is some tyre degradation, but it comes from traction and braking rather than high-energy corners: you have to make sure that your tyres do not go off at the end of a stint in particular. Although I’ve been on the podium it’s never been a track that is especially exciting to drive. But it’s a very important race for Formula One history and culture: when I first raced there, Hungary was still behind the Iron Curtain, and the grand prix was just one of those things that brought change to so many countries in that area, which were still Communist at the time. It was an incredibly exciting period of history and the race was a symbol of the liberation that was to come. Those days are gone now, but the fans are still as passionate as always and this is why it is always a pleasure to come here.”