The FIA Formula 2 Championship and GP3 Series will be back in action at Sochi, with the two championships supporting the Russian Grand Prix for the first time since 2015 as they reach the penultimate stage of the season.

The challenge

• The Sochi circuit gets limited use over the rest of the year, so starts out very ‘green’ at the start of the weekend with offering limited grip.

• The most demanding corner for the tyres is Turn 3: a long left-hander with multiple apexes, where there are sustained lateral forces. Traction is the significant feature over the rest of the lap, with braking being less predominant and severe.

• Wear and degradation levels are generally low, while ambient temperatures are relatively mild.

The tyres and strategy

• The P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft tyres have been nominated for F2. These are the two softest compounds in the F2 range, as previously seen in Monaco and Austria this season.

• In F2, each driver has five sets of slick tyres to use over the weekend: three soft and two supersoft. They also have three sets of wet-weather tyres. During race one, where there is a mandatory pit stop, both compounds have to be used unless it is declared a wet race. Pit stops are optional in race two.

• Just one tyre is nominated for each GP3 round: at Sochi it’s the soft which has been used on three previous occasions in 2018. Drivers get four new sets of slick tyres plus two sets of wet-weather tyres as well.

What happened last time?The support series last appeared in Sochi three years ago. Alexander Rossi won a shortened feature race, starting on the soft tyre and switching to the medium. He held off Stoffel Vandoorne, who went on to be crowned champion with fourth place in the sprint race won by Richie Stanaway. Both GP3 races took place on Sunday, with Luca Ghiotto and Jimmy Eriksson the winners using the medium tyres.


Mario Isola, Pirelli head of car racing: “With Formula 2 and GP3 returning to Russia after three years, it can almost be considered as a new race for most of the drivers. Even with the asphalt being four years old now compared to the last time the F1 support championships came here, there is still comparatively little grip. Dialling the tyres into the circuit and understanding its characteristics quickly to maximise the grip potential is going to be very important. In line with the approach we’ve taken to Formula 1, the compounds are also softer this year, which should hopefully help to spice up the action.”


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