GP2 and GP3 series conclude in Abu Dhabi: medium and supersoft P Zero tyres for GP2 and medium for GP3
For the final round of the 2015 GP2 and GP3 Series, the championships return to Abu Dhabi, where only the GP3 drivers’ title is up for grabs: the other champions having already been decided. The GP2 Series will use the P Zero White medium tyres and P Zero Red Supersoft tyres: with a large performance gap expected between the two compounds. The GP3 Series will use just the medium compound tyre. This will be the final race for the current GP3 car, as it is set to be replaced by a new chassis and engine in 2016. Unlike Formula One, which starts in the late afternoon and ends in the evening, the GP2 and GP3 races will be run in the heat of the day, when ambient temperatures can exceed 30 degrees centigrade. This means that thermal degradation is set to be a major factor in both series, and the key factor to deciding the strategy in GP2: where the cars have to make an obligatory pit stop in the feature race. The supersoft tyre in particular will need to be managed carefully, and is set to be used almost as a qualifying tyre. Following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, there will be a GP2 and GP3 test later in the week. Pirelli’s racing manager says: Mario Isola: “After a closely-fought season, where we have seen the emergence of some very special talent, the GP2 and GP3 series draw to a close in Abu Dhabi: a spectacular state-of-the art circuit that is quite technical, so puts the accent on a neat and smooth driving style, in order to extract the best lap time. Our GP2 tyre choice has been deliberately made in order to have a large performance gap between the two compounds, so that drivers can showcase both their speed – with the supersoft – and race craft, with the medium. Along with the varied demands of the Yas Marina circuit, this will provide an all-round test of every driver’s abilities over the course of the weekend. The medium tyre used by GP3 is approximately the equivalent of last year’s soft tyre, with all the compounds going a step softer in 2015, and it should be well suited to the characteristics of Abu Dhabi. Thermal degradation will be an important factor, but the drivers should be accustomed to this following the last round in Bahrain.” The challenge for the tyres: The track surface in Abu Dhabi is very smooth, which limits wear. It is one of the lower average lap speeds per year, with more slow corners than fast corners. The first sector at Yas Marina contains the fastest corners, the second sector is characterised by two long straights, while the final sector is all about slow and twisty corners. As a result, set-up tends to be a compromise. The quite high number of slow corners means that avoiding wheelspin and looking after the rear tyres is particularly important, as the track is rear limited. With the sessions taking place at differing times of day, drivers will have to sense how the tyres are interacting with the track on each occasion: with potentially different characteristics according to track temperature. The race and the rules: GP2
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 (medium) and two sets of the softer compound (supersoft). 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 harder compound must be returned after free practice. Qualifying takes place at 19:10 on Friday, under lights. Race One on Saturday is run at 18:40 over 31 laps 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 14:20 is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed. Race Two is run over 22 laps, with no compulsory pit stops. GP3
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: medium for this weekend. The drivers can use the tyre allocation in any way they like. Drivers are normally allowed to carry over one tyre set from the previous round for use in free practice only. This will also be the medium compound, from Bahrain last week. There is one practice session, one qualifying session and two races in GP3. Qualifying takes place at 15.10 on Friday. Race One starts at 12.25 on Saturday and lasts for 18 laps, followed by Race Two at 13.00 on Sunday (lasting 14 laps). 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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