ERJ staff report (TP)
Milan, Italy – Pirelli says this week’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai will be dominated by strategy.
The firm said its P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tires will be the best choice for the varied demands of the Shanghai circuit – held 17-20 April.
Even using several different strategies, drivers have often ended the race in close formation, setting up a “thrilling” finish. With a smooth surface and some sweeping corners – including the banked Turn 13 – a versatile tire combination is well suited to the varied demands of the circuit.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director, said: “With this being the third race featuring the combination of medium and soft this year, coming shortly after the Bahrain test, the teams are beginning to accumulate more knowledge of how our tires work with the complex 2014-specification cars.
“As a result, tire strategy is starting to become a bigger factor in the races. China is a circuit that has showcased the effectiveness of a good tire strategy in the past, so the teams will be hoping to put their data from the first part of the season to good use and explore some of the strategy options available with our latest-generation P Zero tires.
“We’ve seen changeable weather at Shanghai before, so as always the ability to assimilate information quickly according to changing circumstances will be the key to getting the most out of them.”
Tires are allocated to the teams randomly with the help of a bar code, a process carried out by the FIA: the sport’s governing body. The bar code is the tire’s ‘passport’, which is embedded firmly into the structure during the vulcanisation process and cannot be swapped. The code contains all the details of each tire, making it traceable throughout the race weekend with Pirelli’s RTS (Racing Tire System) software.
The FIA receives a list of the bar codes and then allocates each bar code – and therefore each tire – to every team at random. Pirelli itself is not involved in this process at all, meaning that the Italian firm cannot influence which tires are allocated to which teams – although a rigorous quality control process ensures that all the tires leaving the factory are entirely identical. Once at the circuit, the tires are then distributed to the teams in strict compliance with the list that has been previously prepared by the FIA. The bar codes allow both the FIA and Pirelli to ensure that the right teams, according to the regulations, are using the correct ones.
Last year, Fernando Alonso won the race for Ferrari with a three-stop strategy, starting from third on the grid with the soft tire, then completing three stints on the medium. Jenson Button finished fifth for McLaren with a two-stop strategy.
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Press release from Pirelli