Based on the Friday race simulations, Formula One’s sole tyre supplier Pirelli estimates that the two-stop strategy could become the fastest approach to complete tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Pirelli brought the C2, C3 and C4 tyres to Sakhir this weekend, which are one compound softer than 2019. After tweaking the allocation in Portugal and Turkey, Pirelli reverted to the standards 2020 allocation of two sets of Hard, three sets of Medium and eight sets of Soft tyres.
The surface of the Bahrain International Circuit is a high-grip, highly abrasive asphalt, on which traction out of slow corners and protecting the rear tyres are usually the key considerations. That has not been different so far this weekend with the Soft compound allowing drivers to complete only a single flying lap before losing a significant amount of grip.
Friday long runs also showed that tyre degradation and overheating would be key issues in the race that teams and drivers need to take into consideration while working out the best race strategy. At the moment, a two-stop strategy looks set to be the quickest way to tackle the 57-lap Bahrain Grand Prix.
The fastest two-stopper involves one stint on the P Zero Yellow medium for 21 laps, (set to be the opening stint for those in the top 10 of the grid) plus two stints on the P Zero Red soft tyre of 18 laps each. The second-quickest two-stopper instead uses the medium for two 21-lap stints and the soft for 15 laps.
The Milan-based manufacturer thinks that a medium-hard one stopper is slower. Should someone opt for a one-stopper, he would use the medium for 27 laps and the hard for 30 laps. Pirelli estimates that a three-stopper would be significantly slower than a two- or one-stop strategy, as this costs too much time in the pits.
Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola is following the race weekend from his home in Italy after testing positive for the novel coronavirus following the Turkish Grand Prix. The Italian highlighted the fact that every driver tried to avoid starting the race on the soft compound that has proved difficult to manage over a longer distance so far this weekend.
“The strategy for this race really began in Q2, with nearly all the drivers coming out on medium tyres, before a red flag stoppage with nine minutes remaining meant that there was only one run left to make it count. With the top 10 all starting on the Yellow medium tyre tomorrow, they have some options as to which compound to run during the second stint.
„We saw in qualifying that the pace of the soft and the medium is closely matched, however the medium is easier to manage in terms of rear overheating, which is why it was selected in Q2.
En route to his 98th F1 pole position, Lewis Hamilton broke the previous track record held by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
„We also saw that Hamilton was able to break the track record not once but twice, on two different compounds, which confirms the ever-increasing speed of the current Formula 1 cars. In Formula 2 earlier, there was another strategic race with plenty of overtaking that keeps the title battle well and truly alive,” he said.