Formula One’s tyre supplier Pirelli predicts that the best strategy for today’s Singapore Grand Prix should be a one-stopper. However, with a number of quick cars out of position, there are a raft of options on the table. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó analyses the possible strategy options for Formula 1's first visit to the Marina Bay Street Circuit since 2019.
The three softest compounds have been chosen for Singapore (for the first time since Austria): the P Zero White hard is the C3, the P Zero Yellow medium is the C4, and the P Zero Red soft is the C5. These compounds have been chosen to match the typical street circuit characteristics of the Marina Bay track, ensuring high levels of mechanical grip.
With the lingering uncertainty about the weather conditions, it is very difficult to predict the best strategy for today’s Singapore Grand Prix. Rain has been persistent over the whole weekend with more showers predicted for today. Yesterday’s qualifying session showed how long it takes for the track to dry out which is a consequence of various factors.
With qualifying and the race taking place after sunset, the sun cannot contribute to a faster process. The high humidity levels do not only provide a big physical challenge for the drivers and the cars, but it also makes the process of drying out slower. Moreover, with the track confined by high buildings and skyscrapers, the blowing effect of the wind is also restricted.
When it comes to the strategy, there are a number of well-known other external factors that often complicate the strategists’ work: every race held at Marina Bay has featured at least one safety car which can have a significant influence on the race outcome. Drivers lose an estimated 28 seconds while a stop under Safety Car conditions takes only 15 seconds and under Virtual Safety Car is closer to 20 seconds.
Mixed conditions for qualifying means there are plenty of fresh race tyre sets for the #Fit4F1 drivers to choose from. Which compound will have the edge in the #SingaporeGP? 🇸🇬#F1 #Formula1 #Pirelli #Pirelli150 @F1 pic.twitter.com/9or6uxm5UZ— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) October 2, 2022
Although there hasn’t been a huge amount of dry weather running since Friday and even those runs were complicated by stoppages, Pirelli’s data is pointing towards a one-stop strategy for today's race.
The Milan-based tyre supplier thinks that the best approach could be to start on the P Zero Yellow medium tyres and running them until between laps 22 and 28, before going onto the P Zero White hard until the flag.
An alternative would be to run the P Zero Red soft for between 18 and 24 laps after the start, before switching to hard. This could be the best way for the drivers starting from the front as the soft tyre could help them get off the line perfectly and maintain their starting positions. However, choosing this strategy option would require them to manage their tyres on the opening laps to extend their first stint.
The two-stop strategy is not out of question either, but it is definitely slower. However, a driver that is out of position on the starting grid and can execute overtaking manoeuvres on a track that is known for being a circuit where overtaking is at premium, can chose a two-stopper. It could see these drivers start on the soft compound before making the switch to the Hard compound on Lap 16 and finishing the race on the mediums.