One-stop strategy without a doubt – that is the usual approach for the 53-lap Italian Grand Prix, and that is what Formula One’s sole tyre supplier Pirelli predicts for today’s Monza race. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó analyses the possible race strategies for Round 15 of the 2022 FIA Formula One Championship.
For Monza, Pirelli has chosen the three compounds in the middle of the range: C2 as the P Zero White hard, C3 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C4 as the P Zero Red soft.
It is all about understeer, traction and mechanical grip around the legendary circuit of Monza. Eliminating the natural understeer tendency of the current cars is a challenge at the slow corners, with a strong rear end needed to achieve a perfect balance through the fast sections.
Traction is important to ensure a good drive into the flat-out straights from the slower and more technical parts of the circuit: another well-known characteristic of the Temple of Speed, with notable kerbs at the chicanes.
As for the weather, it was warm and dry yesterday, with ambient temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade and track temperatures of 41 degrees centigrade during qualifying. The very same weather conditions are expected for today’s 73rd Italian Grand Prix.
Despite the expectations and Red Bull’s ominous speed on the long straights, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, in a special yellow tribute livery, claimed a 17th career pole position and his eighth of the season, in front of the Scuderia’s home crowd. The Monegasque driver qualified in front of reigning world champion Max Verstappen and the other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.
However, the starting grid has been changed for today as nine drivers, including Verstappen and Sainz, have received grid drop penalties for exceeding their allocation of power unit elements.
Following the last three grands prix at Budapest, Spa and Zandvoort that all saw a wide variety of strategies, today’s Italian Grand Prix is set for a more straightforward case. The 53-lap race at the “Temple of Speed” should be a one-stop race, thanks to the relatively contained degradation levels expected if the weather remains as forecast, not to mention a comparatively big pit lane time loss.
Pirelli estimates that the best one-stopper involves starting on the soft to make the most of its initial grip, before moving onto the P Zero White Hard, which should provide a consistent and competitive performance in the predicted warm weather conditions.
However, there is an alternative one-stopper that consists of a longer initial stint on the P Zero Yellow Medium before then going on to the hard.