GP2 and GP3 head into unknown territory in Austria
As usual, two tyres are nominated for GP2 this weekend: P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft in Austria. The GP3 crews will have just one compound at their disposal, which is the soft.
|GP2 resumes after Monaco|
The Red Bull Ring at Spielberg is a brand new venue and as such represents something of an unknown quantity for all the drivers and teams, as nobody has tested there. Pirelli however has made use of simulation data for this track, previously known as the A1 Ring, which consists of two main straights plus a tight and twisty technical section. To cater for these varied demands, the medium and soft tyres in the range will be the most suitable.
Pirelli’s racing manager says:
Mario Isola: “For only the second time this year, we have GP2 and GP3 competing together, so it should be a busy weekend for us. That work is intensified because nobody really knows what to expect from this circuit. As a result, free practice will become even more crucial than usual, as the teams will have to ensure that they collect enough data to be sure of working out the best race and qualifying strategies before Saturday. The weather can be a very big variable in Austria, so if conditions are unrepresentative during Friday, this could interrupt their plans. In GP3, we’re confident that the soft tyre should cover all the conditions we might find, which can range from sunshine and warm temperatures to cool and cloudy weather. Having used the hard tyre in Barcelona, this will be the first time that GP3 uses the soft tyre this year, while for GP2 this will be the first experience of the medium.”
The challenge for the tyres:
The biggest challenge is the fact that this is a new circuit, so nobody starts off at an advantage in terms of experience. The track is quite short, so qualifying in particular should be extremely close, and it is a mixture of full throttle and heavy braking, which puts high longitudinal demands on the tyres in particular.
Turns 5 and 6 are the two biggest areas of work for the tyres, with lateral and longitudinal forces acting on them at the same time.
Located in the Styrian mountains, the weather around the circuit is extremely variable and hard to predict, with a reasonable chance of rain that could lead to Cinturato wet tyres being seen for the first time this year in GP2 and GP3.
|GP2 resumes after Monaco|
The race and the rules:
Every car will have five sets of dry tyres and three sets of wet weather tyres available for the GP2 race weekend.
The five sets of dry tyres comprise three sets of the harder compound (hard) and two sets of the softer compound (soft).
The drivers can use their tyre allocation in any way they like, but at least one set of each compound must be used in the feature race (unless it is a wet race). One set of the hard compound must be returned after free practice.
Qualifying takes place at 15:55 on Friday. Race One on Saturday is run at 15:40 over 40 laps (173 kilometres) and each driver must complete one compulsory pit stop. This cannot take place within the first six laps.
The grid for Race Two on Sunday at 10:35 is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed. Race Two is run over 28 laps (121 kilometres), with no compulsory pit stops.
Every car will have three sets of dry tyres and two sets of wet weather tyres available for the GP3 race weekend. Only one compound is nominated: soft in Austria. The drivers can use the tyre allocation in any way they like. All the GP3 compounds carry yellow markings.
There is one practice session, one qualifying session and two races in GP3.
Qualifying takes place at 09:45 on Saturday morning, after a single free practice session on Friday at 17:50. Race One starts at 17:20 on Saturday, followed by Race Two at 09:25 on Sunday. The grid for Race Two is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed.
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