Pirelli foresees a one-stop strategy

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Belgium, Circuit de Spa-Francorchampsbe

Formula One’s sole tyre manufacturer Pirelli predicts a one-stop strategy for today’s Belgian Grand Prix. The company’s head of car racing Mario Isola thinks that rear degradation will be crucial during the race.

Isola stressed out that drivers will need to pay particular attention to the rear tyres to make a one-stop strategy successful during the 44-lap Belgian Grand Prix. The Italian thinks only unpredictable events such as a safety car phase could drive teams away from the recommended one-stop strategy.

“With a one-stop soft-medium strategy being the likely way to go here, it was no real surprise that we saw only the red tyre during qualifying. Whether or not anyone deviates from the predicted strategy will depend largely on the race and weather circumstances: if the weather changes or if there’s an early safety car, this could drive people towards the harder compounds or an extra stop.”

“However, all the forecasts suggest that it will instead be cooler than the unusually warm temperatures we had today. Tomorrow [today] will be all about looking after the rear tyres in particular to control the degradation on what is always one of the most abrasive and challenging circuits of the year,” he said.

Based on the Friday long run simulation, Pirelli’s engineers think that the optimal strategy for the 44-lap Belgian Grand Prix is a one-stopper, assuming it remains dry. Ideally, the quickest way is to start on the soft tyre for 18 to 22 laps, then switch to the medium until the end.

While the one-stop strategy looks the quickest one on paper, a two-stopper is also very close behind in terms of overall race time : starting on the soft for 15 laps, switching to the soft again for another 15-lap stint, and then doing the final 14 laps on the medium.

As Pirelli's hard C1 compound provided significantly less grip than the other two compounds, the C2 and C3, it is unlikely that drivers will use the hardest compound of the range.