2022 Italian Grand Prix - Preview
THE TYRES ON TRACK
- Formula 1 returns to Imola, one of Pirelli’s two home races (alongside Monza), with the C2, C3 and C4 tyres nominated for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as P Zero White hard, P Zero Yellow medium and P Zero Red soft respectively. This is the same nomination as was made for Imola last year, although the compounds are of course different with the latest generation of 18-inch tyres.
- The tyres are all-new but the Imola track is just as it was at this time last year, with a narrow, old-school feel. The asphalt dates from 2011, which makes the 11-year old surface reasonably abrasive. That’s why we don’t see the same double step between medium and soft as we had in Australia a couple of weeks ago: the more mature surface at Imola generates more grip and therefore more heat in the tyres, requiring a more robust softest compound.
- The forces at work on the tyres are generally equal between lateral and longitudinal, making it a flowing track where drivers need to find a good rhythm. It’s particularly important to get good traction out of the final Rivazza corner in order to have a strong run down the start-finish straight before a heavy braking area into the first corner: a key overtaking opportunity.
- Imola marks the first sprint session of the year, with rules that are slightly revised compared to last year, including more points on offer. From 2022, pole position will be recorded as the driver who goes fastest in Friday’s qualifying session – and this driver will be the recipient of the Pirelli Pole Position Award. The tyre rules are the same as last year’s sprint events though. Rather than having 13 sets of tyres for a conventional weekend, there will be just 12 sets. These consist of two sets of P Zero White hard, four sets of P Zero Yellow medium, and six sets of P Zero Red soft. In addition, the teams will have up to six sets of Cinturato Green intermediates and three sets of Cinturato Blue full wets available in case of wet weather.
“Imola is an old-school, challenging track, where overtaking can be tricky, also because the circuit is quite narrow in places. So the strategy is likely to centre around avoiding traffic, and effectively the teams start from scratch here in terms of tyre knowledge – as the compounds are completely different this year, and last year’s race also began on the wet-weather tyres, before being interrupted by a lengthy red flag period. Generally speaking, Imola is a medium severity track for the tyres, and it’s a venue that is used quite frequently. This means that we might see a little less track evolution than we’ve been accustomed to at other circuits as the track is well rubbered-in already: the first round of the Pirelli-equipped GT World Challenge took place at Imola last month, which gave us some useful data. These are just some of the factors that the teams will have to take into account when establishing the tyre strategy for the opening sprint session of the year: another first for the 2022 season.”
- Formula 2 will support a Formula 1 grand prix at Imola for the first time since 2006, when the championship was known as GP2. The P Zero Yellow medium and P Zero Purple supersoft tyres have been nominated. This will be the debut for the revised supersoft for 2022, featuring optimisations to improve resistance. Each driver has five sets of slick tyres (three medium and two soft) to use across the weekend, with a 25-lap sprint race to take place immediately after Formula 1’s sprint on Saturday and a 35-lap feature race on Sunday morning.
- This will be the first time that the modern Formula 3 championship has raced at Imola. The P Zero Yellow medium compound is the sole nominated tyre for the first time this season, with drivers having four sets to use over the weekend. The sprint race takes place on Saturday morning and the feature race on Sunday morning.
- FORMULA 2 AND FORMULA 3
Last week an in-season test took place at Barcelona with the hard and soft Formula 2 tyres: the same nomination as for the races at the Spanish circuit next month. In the break since the first round at Bahrain, two in-season F3 tests have also been held at Jerez and Barcelona, both using the hard tyre.
Rally Croatia, the third round of the WRC, takes place during the same weekend as Imola: the first pure asphalt event of the championship, for which the hard and the soft P Zero tyres are available. The latest version of the hard tyre was put through its paces at the first of three in-season development tests this year, which took place with Toyota in Croatia before the start of the rally.
- HISTORIC RALLY
The new Pirelli P7 Corsa Classic D3B tyre for historic rally cars made its debut at the Costa Smeralda rally in Sardinia recently. This is a hard-compound tyre for dry asphalt, built for some of the most iconic cars from the golden age of the sport, such as the Lancia Delta. Two-time world champion Miki Biasion helped to launch the new product.
- FERRARI CHALLENGE
The Ferrari Challenge, also exclusively equipped by Pirelli, continued with one of its most famous rounds in America, at Daytona. The winners included Manny Franco (Trofeo Pirelli) and Brian Kaminskey (Coppa Shell), from a field of more than 60 cars.