Based on what the long runs have shown so far over the weekend, today’s Italian Grand Prix looks set to promote the one-stop strategy, albeit it is not clear-cut what compounds should be used for the 53-lap race.
For its home race, the three compounds in the middle of the range have been chosen: the most popular selection of the season. The P Zero White hard is the C2, P Zero Yellow medium is C3, and P Zero Red is the C4.
Despite the high longitudinal loads, the Autodromo Nationale Monza is not among the circuits that put extreme loads through the tyres. The Temple of Speed is best-known for its flat-out straights preceded by heavy braking areas, but with some slower and more technical sections as well. The long straights also have the effect of cooling down the tyres, which can affect the precision of the turn-in during the following corners.
Teams and Pirelli had plenty of data to analyse to deceide which way to go in terms of strategy in today’s Monza race. Due to the Sprint Qualifying format of this weekend, the second practice session that took place in between the qualifying session and the Spring Qualifying, offered a perfect opportunity to conduct long runs, which teams duly did.
The 18-lap Sprint Qualifying also provided teams with a good amount of data. During the sport’s only second sprint race, ambient temperatures were 29 degrees centigrade with track temperatures of 42 degrees. Despite the warmth, the degradation on the soft was lower than expected, probably helped by the fact that the cars carried only around a third of their usual fuel load for a full race distance, therefore helping to reduce the energy going through the tyres - along with an early safety car.
Pirelli looks sure that the fastest strategy for the 53-lap Italian Grand Prix is a one-stopper. However, there are a number of one-stop strategies on the table. Of these one-stoppers, the best is to start on the P Zero Yellow medium C3 and then go onto the P Zero Red soft C4.
However, also switching from the soft or the medium to the P Zero White hard C2 can be a very good option, so all the compounds can play an important role. The information from sprint qualifying showed how both the soft and medium are valid choices as starting tyres, and the teams will have gained vital information from their performance during this afternoon’s race.
By contrast, a two-stopper seems to be a distinctly slower strategy, but the best option in this case would be a soft-medium-soft strategy.
Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola commented: “It was interesting to see both the soft and the medium tyres on the grid today, with the teams given free choice. Although free practice time is reduced compared to a normal weekend, the teams were able to collect a good quantity of data today during sprint qualifying, which was run in conditions similar to those expected for tomorrow’s grand prix.
„The early safety car in sprint qualifying gave the tyres some respite, but the soft performed better than expected, with very low levels of degradation despite the warm temperatures. For tomorrow’s grand prix we expect all three compounds to have a valid role in the race strategies,” the Italian concluded.