Friday, July 19, 2024

Pirelli’s Mario Isola: Circuit Zandvoort “one of the most traditionally demanding tracks on the calendar”

Pirelli Motorsport Director Mario Isola announced that the tyre manufacturer has selected the C1, C2 and C3 tyres for the Dutch Grand Prix, describing the host venue, Circuit Zandvoort, as a notably “unique” track on the schedule. 

“The second half of the season gets underway with a unique race. The Dutch Grand Prix takes place in Zandvoort: one of the most traditionally demanding tracks on the calendar that returned to the Formula 1 schedule three years ago on the wave of all the local support for Max Verstappen, who repaid his fans amply with a pair of victories from the last two races. 

Circuit Zandvoort is characterised by its winding layout and heavily banked turns, making it a tough track on the tyres. Isola attributes this to the “higher speeds” reached by the cars on the banked portions. 

“It’s a very twisty track with two banked corners – Turn 3 and Turn 14 – that are steeper than Indianapolis, by way of comparison. On corners like this the stress on the tyres is greater than it would be through normal corners, as the vertical forces increase with the much higher speeds due to the banking.” 

Due to the high levels of stress placed on the tyres at Zandvoort, Isola explained that they will be bringing a hard, durable compound step as they did last year. The main change to be considered is that this year’s C1 is a new fixture, which is softer than that of last year’s C1, now labelled C0. 

“We’ve brought the same tyres as 2022, at least as far as the names are concerned: C1, C2, and C3. However, the current C1 is actually a new compound for this year, positioned between the C2 and the previous C1, which is now called the C0.”

Isola said that the safety cars brought out at last year’s race saw several teams utilize all three compounds, which he feels highlights the versatility of Pirelli’s compound options in Zandvoort. 

“Last year, in a race that was characterised by two neutralisations, no fewer than 14 drivers – including the top three – used all three compounds, underlining the wide variety of options available to the strategists on the pit wall.”

Credit: Steven Tee / LAT Images / Pirelli Media