Medium and hard compounds for GP2 at Spa, medium compound for GP3
For one of the biggest driving challenges of the year, Pirelli has nominated the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium tyres for GP2, while the GP3 drivers will have just the medium compound at their disposal. Exactly the same nomination has been made for the high-speed demands of Monza, which follows two weeks after Spa. Spa is one of the toughest circuits on the calendar, due to the amount of energy put through the tyres and the varied demands of the track, both in terms of lateral and longitudinal forces. Variable weather is another important consideration, on the longest lap of the season. With the Formula One feeder championship sessions often taking place either early or late during the day, the GP2 and GP3 drivers are more likely to encounter cool or changeable conditions: and unlike Formula One, there is no intermediate tyre. This means that the GP2 and GP3 wet tyres have been developed to run in dry conditions up to a certain point as well, if the team strategy or race circumstances demands it. Pirelli’s racing manager says: Mario Isola: “The task of the GP2 and GP3 tyres at Spa is in some ways very different from that in Formula One, increasing the demands on our product in certain respects. For example, GP2 has only five sets of tyres for the entire weekend, so the mileage required for each set is higher than that needed for a set of Formula One tyres. One aspect that is the same for both is the actual circuit, involving high-speed, multidirectional forces, which make Spa such a thrilling experience for drivers and spectators. Our nomination ensures that drivers in both championships will be able to push to the limit, showcasing their talents on a circuit that rewards bravery. Variable weather is a common occurrence so we are likely to see rain tyres at some point, even though the abrasiveness of the surface means there is always quite good grip even in the wet. Spa is the longest lap of the year and this will clearly have an effect on strategy in GP2: with a brave strategy, there is potential to gain plenty of track position for drivers who are willing to gamble. With both championships starting to draw to their conclusions, every advantage gained will be crucial.” The challenge for the tyres: The tyres in Spa have a big job to do under acceleration and braking – as well as resisting a significant lateral load in high-speed turns – as the low-downforce set-up used to achieve high top speeds in Belgium reduces aerodynamic grip. At high speeds, an aggressive set-up can theoretically cause blistering, as heat builds up around the edges of the tyres that are most closely in contact with the track surface. Pirelli issues recommendations about maximum camber angles, in order to prevent this happening. Managing tyres over the course of just one lap is as crucial as managing them over the course of a race: the lap is so long that there are many variables in terms of temperature and grip over the 7.004 kilometres. 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 (hard) and two sets of the softer compound (medium). 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 25 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 10:35 is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed. Race Two is run over 18 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. All the GP3 compounds carry yellow markings. Drivers are allowed to carry over one tyre set from the previous round for use in free practice only. This will be the soft compound, which was used in Hungary. 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 and lasts for 13 laps, followed by Race Two at 09:25 on Sunday (also 13 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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