Pirelli revealed after the qualifying session for the Bahrain GP that there are many different strategy options for race because the new three-compound-per-weekend rule opens up many effective possibilities.
Pirelli’s Paul Hembery said that the first analyses showed that there are different ways to approach the Bahrain race in terms of strategy and there is no specific strategy which would stand out as the best.
“From our initial calculations, we can see that there are a number of potentially different ways to approach the race, with no single strategy that stands out as being obviously quickest.”
The Briton also suggested that the race could lead to a strategy race due to the variety of strategies.
“There will be a lot of data analysis tonight, which should lead to a tactically intriguing race tomorrow with many different schools of thought.”
Pirelli concluded that both a three-stop and a two-stop strategy could be a winning strategy. The choice mostly depends on the individual tyre allocation for the driver, their actual position in the race and the actual race scenario.
According to Formula 1’s sole tyre supplier one likely two-stopper strategy would be start on supersoft, medium on lap 12 and soft from lap 37.
As for a three-stopper, there are basically two different routes to go. One would be start on supersoft, soft on lap 14, soft on lap 29 and soft again on lap 43. For those who could save new sets of supersoft, a three-stopper could work with more stints on supersofts.
As the Fridays times suggested, however, the supersoft tyres don’t hold too long, so using supersoft tyres could be a risky choice. The fastest eights cars have to start the race on the supersoft which they set their fastest time in Q2 on. Due to the high degradation of that compound the first stint and the first pit stop should be intriguing because drivers starting from 9th position and from behind could upset the fastest drivers after their first pit visit.
The drivers of the two leading teams, Mercedes and Ferrari started the weekend with different tyre allocations, but they have the same sets of tyres remaining. The four fastest cars have one set of medium, two sets of soft and three sets of supersoft as the last set of the softest compound which was used in Q3 had to be returned to Pirelli.