Formula One’s Milan-based tyre manufacturer Pirelli will supply teams with the compounds from the middle of its range for the Hungarian Grand Prix that will bring the first half of the 2021 F1 season to an end.
The Hungarian Grand Prix will feature the C2 compound as the P Zero White hard, the C3 compound as the P Zero Yellow medium, and the C4 compound as the P Zero Red soft. Following the sprint qualifying format pioneered at Silverstone, the usual weekend format and tyre rules return in Hungary. It means that drivers will be allocated with eight sets of C4, three sets of C3 and two sets of C2 compounds.
Teams must be familiar with the this tyre nomination as it is exactly the same as it was last year. Although the circuit doesn’t place particularly heavy demands on tyres, the heat usually means that some degree of tyre management is necessary during the race.
The Hungaroring is usually referred to as the copy of the Monaco track, giving drivers the impression that they drive on a kart circuit: the track is narrow, old-school, and has a non-stop series of corners that means the tyres are constantly working, with no rest.
The Hungaroring has seen a number of different strategies in the past: last year the wet and intermediate tyres were run at the start of the race because of rain.
In dry conditions, the one-stop strategy is usually the obvious choice, because the pit lane is relatively long which leads to a big loss during pit stops. Moreover, as overtaking is not an easy task to execute, track position is accented at the Hungarian circuit. Despite these factors, a two-stop strategy can sometimes also deliver success if tyre wear turns out to be higher than expected. For example, in 2019, Lewis Hamilton won the race in a thrilling finale, using a two-stop strategy to beat Max Verstappen.
Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola expects different strategies for the Hungarian Grand Prix given the fact that tyres are subject to big stress due to the soaring temperatures as a heat wave pushes the meters to more than 40C.
“Tyre-wise, we’re not expecting any particularly big surprises from the Hungaroring, which has been a constant on the calendar and signals the end of the first half of the season. The defining characteristic of the track are all the tight corners in quick succession, with no long straights to cool down the tyres, and hot weather.
“This makes the Hungaroring actually more demanding on tyres than it initially seems, so some degree of management is likely to be needed on the soft compound in particular. As a result, the best strategy is not always obvious – with different approaches often yielding a similar overall race time, depending on the individual circumstances.
“That’s why we’ve often seen some tactically intriguing races at the Hungaroring, keeping the final result in doubt right up to the end and providing an interesting challenge for the engineers," Isola concluded.