Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Pirelli’s Mario Isola: “All three available Dry Compounds Came into Play”

Mario Isola believed that the degradation seen at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was lower than in previous years at the track, and the change to the C1 specification ahead of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season made it more likely that a two-stop strategy was utilised.

The Spanish Grand Prix saw the majority of drivers make two stops, although the combination of which compound drivers used was varied.  Three drivers – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team duo Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen, plus the unfortunate Lando Norris, made three stops.

Max Verstappen started on the medium compound, switched to the hard compound for his second stint, before ending the day on the softest compound on his way to victory.  His Oracle Red Bull Racing team-mate Sergio Pérez also went that way on his way to fourth place.

The other two podium finishers, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, went soft-medium-soft, while Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. went another way, starting on the soft, switching then to the medium and finally to the hard.

Isola, the Motorsport Director at Pirelli, was pleased that the medium compound in particular was more competitive than they had been expecting before the race, helped somewhat by the lower than expected temperatures in Spain.

“On a track that is particularly demanding for the tyres, we witnessed a race in which all three available dry compounds came into play, each one used extensively,” said Isola.  “The C1 covered 41.6% of the laps completed, then came the C2 (30.6%) and the C3 (27.9%).

“The decision to introduce the new for 2023 C1 specification compound meant that a two-stop strategy was on the cards and was used by most of the teams. Compared with our pre-race predictions we saw that the Medium was more competitive, partly down to the track temperature being significantly lower than during last year’s race.

“Initial analysis suggests that degradation on all the compounds was lower, even with the softest C3. Notable examples of this were the first stints for the two Mercedes drivers with Russell doing 25 laps and Hamilton 24, or [Fernando] Alonso’s middle stint (25 laps) running a heavy fuel load and yet running at a pretty competitive pace.”

Credit: Pirelli Motorsport