The F1 championship, where many teams involved are equipped by BMC, moves in Shanghai International Circuit for the China Grand Prix, this weekend. This track imposes unique and quite high demands on the tyres, which has led to close racing as well as plenty of overtaking in the past. But the weather can also never be predicted, ranging from bright sunshine to heavy rain: sometimes in the same weekend. This will have a significant effect on tyre behaviour and strategy, as less degradation for this season theoretically means fewer pit stops. Last year, the winner stopped twice during the 56-lap race, although most drivers did a three-stopper.
The analysis of…
Mario Isola – Pirelli Motorsport – Head of Car Racing
“We’re bringing the middle selection of compounds, but we expect teams to use mainly soft and supersoft, depending of course on the unpredictable weather: especially as the allocation is just two sets of medium. In the past, there has been some graining in China due to the long straights followed by tight corners, but we’ve seen in Barcelona testing that graining is generally reduced this year, so it will be good to have that confirmed. In case of wet and possibly cool conditions, we will supply wet weather tyres in a different compound, with the target of giving the drivers more grip.”
• Pirelli is already collecting data for the 2018 range of prototype tyres, so China will provide some useful information when it comes to defining specifications.
• There is only one non-F1 support series for the China Grand Prix, which means that not much rubber will be laid down on track over the course of the weekend.
• For the first five races the teams all have seven sets of the softest compound available, four sets of the middle compound, and two of the hardest compound.
Curiosities & numbers
1.44 bar (21 psi) Shanghai minimum starting pressures (front slicks)
1.41 bar (20.5 psi) Shanghai minimum starting pressures (rear slicks)