Based on the historical data and Thursday's long runs, Formula One's sole tyre supplier Pirelli expects today's Monaco Grand Prix to turn out another race in the Principality dictated by a one-stop strategy.
The Circuit de Monaco is one of the most exciting challenges faced by F1 drivers, a circuit at which precise control must be matched by total commitment and unwavering focus. To cope with the slow corners where traction is vital, Pirelli brought the softest end of its five-compound range with the C3 nominated as the Hard, the C4 as the Medium and the C5 as the Soft compound.
In terms of tyre compounds, the qualifying session did not bring any major surprises. The P Zero Red soft tyre was the default choice yesterday afternoon, used from the start to the finish of each session. With track position paramount, and the soft tyre worth more than half a second per lap compared to the P Zero Yellow medium, there was no point in running any other compound in qualifying.
The Milan-based tyre manufacturer thinks that the 78-lap Monaco Grand Prix will be reasonably straightforward strategically, as a one-stop race with quite a wide pit stop window and a number of different possibilities. The two main variables governing the strategy are safety cars – a common occurrence in Monaco, with three stoppages following contacts with the wall today – and weather. Although the forecast is for a dry race tomorrow, weather conditions on the Mediterranean coast at this time of year can be extremely variable.
The top 10 will all start on the soft tyre, and that choice is likely to be mirrored by most of the runners but either the medium or the hard can be used for the second stint. And there’s also just a chance that some drivers further down the grid might try the opposite strategy: running the harder tyre first, before moving onto the soft at the end.
Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola commented:„There was some track evolution during the qualifying session, although the track was ‘reset’ after Friday’s pause followed by rain overnight. As a result, the drivers had to get to grips with track conditions that were quite different compared to Thursday, which naturally influenced tyre warm-up and behaviour as well.
„From start to finish the sessions were extremely tight, as is usual at Monaco with no room for error, as we saw again today. Weather conditions should be dry tomorrow, but we had the wet tyres in action this morning in Formula 2, where they showed their versatility on a drying track to deliver a thrilling conclusion to an action-packed race.
„We’re expecting a one-stop strategy under normal circumstances tomorrow, but Monaco remains one of the most unpredictable races of the year – as the dramatic end to qualifying demonstrated. Congratulations to Charles Leclerc for pole position at his home Monaco Grand Prix,” Isola concluded.