Chinese Grand Prix Preview: Shanghai 12-14 April 2013

MEDIUM AND SOFT PIRELLI P ZERO COMPOUNDS FOR CHINA Milan, April 8, 2013 – Pirelli has nominated the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres for China: the first time that this combination makes an appearance this year. China is well-known for its smooth and sweeping track layout with moderate ambient and track temperatures, which makes it ideal territory for this combination. The flexibility of the medium and soft compounds also mean that several strategies are open to the teams, and in the past the top positions have been decided through the use of extremely wide-ranging race tactics. Rain – a notable feature of the first two races held so far this year – is also not an uncommon occurrence in China, so we could see the appearance of the Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet tyres once more. Pirelli’s motorsport director says: Paul Hembery: “China has often produced some of the best races of the year, where strategy has been at the forefront of the action. With all our compounds having got softer this year the degradation is deliberately more extreme leading to increased performance, but history has shown that it never takes too long for the teams and drivers to get on top of the tyres. Shanghai is less aggressive on the tyres than the last round in Malaysia but we would expect to see the majority of competitors go for three stops although some may try two. Last year we had a new winner with Mercedes and Nico Rosberg, who were able to get the most out of their tyres from the very beginning of the weekend in order to spring a surprise. That goes to show exactly what is possible with the correct tyre management at this point in the season.” Pirelli’s brand ambassador says: Jean Alesi: “China is a circuit that is again not very typical of the others, and although I never raced there myself, it looks like a great track. From a tyre point of view, the drivers will have to find the best compromise between performance and degradation, which is exactly the way that it has always been in Formula One. I raced through many different tyre regulations and suppliers during my career – even in the era of qualifying tyres – and while they all had different aspects, Pirelli is the company that has supplied the most entertainment to all the fans: so far we have seen two fantastic races. This is exactly what was asked, and in my opinion just what the sport needed. One thing that doesn’t change at all is that the best teams will always be the most successful, so there is no point for anybody to complain because this will always quite rightly be the case, whatever you do with the regulations.” The tyre from a circuit point of view:

  • China puts plenty of energy through the front tyres in particular, due to the number of high-energy corners – such as turn one, which is almost a full circle – and the heavy braking areas, which causes weight to transfer towards the front of the car. The most stressed tyre is the front-left, with China featuring the heaviest braking seen all year.
  • The other key corner from a tyre point of view is turn 13: a long right-hander, just before the main straight, which is slightly banked. The loading on the tyres is steadily increased throughout this corner as the cars accelerate out of it.
  • Last year, the medium and soft compounds were also chosen for the Chinese Grand Prix. The race winner (Rosberg) adopted a two-stop strategy, starting on the soft and then completing two stints on the medium. The second and third placed finishers (Button and Hamilton) stopped three times: starting on the soft, changing to the soft again, and then completing two final stints on the medium. The fourth-placed driver (Webber) also stopped three times but did just one stint on the softs followed by three on the medium, while the fifth-placed finisher (Vettel) stopped twice on a similar strategy to Rosberg.
  • Further information on Shanghai and the demands it places on tyres can be found on a 3D animated video that is copyright-free for media use on Pirelli’s Formula One website: www.pirelli.com/f1pressarea

Technical tyre notes:

  • The medium compound, with its low working range, is expected to have a good warm-up even in low temperatures, guaranteeing better consistency of performance and more contained degradation. The soft tyre, with a higher working range, works in a different way. In cold atmospheric conditions it takes slightly longer to warm up, especially at the front. But it will then ensure stronger grip with more accentuated degradation and a useful working life of around 14 to 16 laps.
  • The performance gap between the medium and the soft compound in China is expected to be between 0.5s and 0.6s per lap.
  • Throughout the banked Turn 13, with maximum downforce pushing onto the car, the contact patch of the tyre can increase to twice the size that it is while the car is stationary.

The tyre choices so far:

  PZero Red PZero Yellow PZero White PZero Orange
Australia Supersoft   Medium  
Malaysia     Medium Hard
China   Soft Medium  

Meet the Pirelli F1 Team: Piero Losi, Head of Design and Product Development Piero joined Pirelli back in 1987 in the research and development department for road car tyres, starting to work within the pre-development division from 1995. As a passionate enthusiast it wasn’t long before he made the move to motorsport, where he headed up Pirelli’s circuit racing department from the end of 2001, working mainly in endurance racing series. One year later he went back to his first love of research and development – but this time in motorsport, looking at the latest advances in competition tyres and pushing the boundaries of technology. Piero has been involved in Pirelli’s Formula One project from the very beginning but does not travel to all the races as his team chiefly focuses on development back at base in Milan. Pirelli in China:

  • Pirelli has been present in China since 2005, when the company built its first factory for radial truck tyres in Yanzhou. Since then, the factory has developed into a major international production hub. Pirelli set up a second factory in the region, producing tyres for premium cars in 2007. Production of car tyres in China more than doubled last year.
  • Pirelli has met with plenty of recognition in China last year. The Italian firm won the ‘Best Enterprise Brand Image Award’ at the 2012 China Finance Summit, while plaudits for the newly-launched Cinturato P1 in China (Pirelli’s ecological tyre) included the ‘Fuel Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Tyre of China 2012’ award from Motor Trend magazine.
  • Pirelli China’s activities last year included events such as Premium Experience Days, Maserati Trofeo, Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Ferrari Challenge Asia, China Rally and Subaru Driver Championship.

Other news from Pirelli:

  • Nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb, who won three of his titles with Pirelli from 2008 to 2010, was re-united with the Italian tyres when he won on his FIA GT Series race debut, driving a McLaren MP4-12C run by his own team. Loeb and Alvaro Parente clinched the qualification race, while the championship race was won by Frank Stippler and Edward Sandstrom in a WRT Audi R8 LMS.
  • American GP3 driver Conor Daly, who went fastest in the first pre-season test in Barcelona and finished sixth in the Pirelli-backed series last year has been offered a drive in his country’s most famous race. Daly will drive in the Indy 500 next month for the A.J. Foyt Racing team.
  • More than 180,000 visitors dropped in at the Hangar Bicocca last year: Pirelli’s dedicated arts and cultural centre in Milan. In total, the Hangar Bicocca hosted 70 events over the course of the year, involving the work of 285 artists’ studios.
  • Pirelli has announced the winners of an international competition involving students from around the world. Each entrant had to pick a word or phrase that best describes the values of the future, and explain why. The winning words will be illustrated and incorporated into Pirelli’s annual report, while the 10 winning authors will also receive work experience with Pirelli in Milan. Among the judges was reigning Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel. The 10 values chosen were honesty’, ‘switching point of view’, ‘curiosity’, ‘flexibility’, ‘simplicity, ‘fraternity’, ‘perseverance’, ‘empathy’, ‘humility’ and ‘innovation’.