2023 Spanish Grand Prix - Preview
MARIO ISOLA - MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR
Mario Isola: “Barcelona is the perfect test track”
“Traditionally, Barcelona has been one of the most popular venues for testing: both for cars and tyres. It’s a complete track, featuring several different types of speeds and corners, and it also has a very long straight. As a result, aerodynamic efficiency is key to being competitive. The final sector has been modified for this year, reverting to the original layout without a final chicane. This makes it a much more flowing track now and also adds to the entry speed onto the main straight. There are two corners, Turn 3 and Turn 9, which are particularly demanding in terms of lateral forces exerted on the tyres. We’ve chosen the same three types of tyre as the season-opener in Bahrain, but it’s important to remember, when comparing to last year, that this year’s C1 is an entirely new compound, specifically designed to bridge the gap between the hardest tyre in the range (now called the C0) and the C2. In theory, this should hand the teams a wider range of strategic choices, given that the hardest available compound last year wasn’t used at all in the race. Another novelty is the chance that the drivers will have during the first two free practice sessions to try out two additional sets of hard tyres that feature the new construction that will be used from the British Grand Prix onwards. Apart from the use of some new material, which has already been homologated following an extensive test programme, the latest specification is identical to the previous version. Initially this was scheduled for 2024, but its introduction has now been brought forward to make the structure more resistant to fatigue, as the loads generated by the current cars have already reached the targets set for the end of the season after only a few races. This new construction has no impact though on the technical parameters or performance of the tyres. We also continue our 2024 testing campaign after the race, with Mercedes and Ferrari running over two days as we develop the compounds and constructions for next year.”
THE TYRES ON TRACK
- The teams will have the C1 as P Zero White hard, C2 as P Zero Yellow medium, and C3 as P Zero Red soft at their disposal in Barcelona.
- The Montmeló track has undergone a major modification this year. The final chicane (Turns 14 and 15) that was introduced in 2007 has now been removed, with the track reverting to its original configuration. Other improvements concern the first corner, with a wider escape road and new barriers.
- This key change to the final sector will make it more flowing and less severe for the tyres in terms of traction. The left-hand corners are mainly taken at low speed, while the right-handers tend to be flat-out.
- Last year, Red Bull’s race winner Max Verstappen used a three-stop strategy like most of his rivals, alternating between soft and medium. With the introduction of the new hard tyre, this now adds another strategic factor into the mix.
Frederik Vesti (Prema Racing) claimed victory in the Feature Race in Monaco and with it the Formula 2 drivers’ championship lead. The Dane, on 89 points, will come to Barcelona with a five-point lead over Theo Pourchaire (ART Grand Prix) and 20 points over Ayumu Iwasa (DAMS). For Barcelona, Pirelli will bring the P Zero White hard and P Zero Red soft compounds.
After Monaco, Gabriel Bortoleto continues to lead the drivers’ standings with 73 points. Gabriele Minì (Hitech Pulse-Eight) used his win in Monaco to climb to second place, 17 points behind the Trident driver. Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix) dropped to third place with 47 points. The F3 compound chosen for Montmeló is the P Zero White hard.
Pirelli will be busy on four different fronts next weekend. In addition to the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, there is the Italian round of the World Rally Championship in Sardinia and the second round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup at Paul Ricard in France. There will also be the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna round of the FIM Superbike World Championship at Misano in Italy. All these championships are exclusively supplied by Pirelli, underlining the prominence of the Italian tyre manufacturer all around the world.
Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a company with deep Italian roots now recognised all over the world for its cutting-edge technology, capacity for innovation, and the quality of its products. Motorsport has always played an important part in Pirelli’s strategy, following the ‘race to road’ philosophy. The company has been engaged in motorsport for 116 years and today supplies tyres to more than 350 championships on both two and four wheels. Pirelli pays constant attention to the most efficient use of natural resources and energy, aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
Pirelli has been Global Tyre Partner of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 2011. The company also supplies championships including FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, FIA World Rally Championship and GT World Challenge, alongside numerous national series.