Pirelli advises against a one-stop strategy

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Formula One’s sole tyre supplier Pirelli advises teams to choose from a wide range of two-stop strategies, indicating that a one-stop would be a rather dangerous choice.

While teams are usually desperate to execute a one-stop strategy in races, trying to hang on to track positions, today’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix might be a different affair to the norm. The tyres already played a key role at last weekend’s British Grand Prix when three drivers suffered punctures in the dying moments of the race. Pirelli’s investigation into the late-race tyre drama showed that the extremely long stints caused the punctures.

For the fifth round of the curtailed 2020 season, the Milan-based company has provided teams with the C2-C3-C4 trio of compounds that represents a step softer range to that seen last weekend. The softer compounds, the higher ambient and track temperatures and last weekend’s punctures are clearly propelling teams to cover today’s race with a two-stop strategy.

Pirelli advises against a one-stop strategy for the 52-lap race, so a two-stopper is set to be the strategy. The quickest way depends on track temperature and resulting wear on the medium tyre, but optimally it would be to do two stints on the medium tyre of 15 laps each and then a final stint on the hard of 22 laps.

Alternatively, 12 laps on the medium, followed by two stints of 20 laps each on the hard. The second-quickest strategy is to start on the hard with two stints of 23 laps each, then finish on the soft.

Moreover, the Milan-based company proposed a very interesting two-stop strategy that incorporates a very short stint on the soft compound. Very close to the strategy options mentioned above is a two-stopper with 19 laps on the medium, 25 laps on the hard and eight laps on the soft. The hard and the medium stints can be swapped here.

Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola labelled yesterday’s qualifying session as interesting given the variety of compounds used by driver across the 60-minute session.

“This was a very unusual qualifying session, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen starting tomorrow on the hard tyres by using them to get through Q2: which is probably a first in our Formula 1 history. He should be able to benefit from the extra durability of this compound throughout the first stint when the cars are heavy with fuel. We also saw the top two fastest times in Q3 set with the medium rather than the soft tyre.

„These facts alone indicate how this week’s nomination for the second race of the double-header at Silverstone has been an interesting one, with the soft tyre providing plenty of initial speed and then dropping off, while the pattern is the opposite for the medium. We knew that the soft was never going to be an ideal race tyre, but the high level of wear and degradation seen on it even in qualifying underlines how the medium and the hard should be the default choice for tomorrow’s strategies. We’re expecting a two-stopper, so there are a number of variables that could play out,” the Italian concluded.