Medium and soft for GP in Hungary: hard for GP3

Hungaroring is a tight and twisty circuit making it one of the more technical tracks that GP2 and GP3 will race on this year. The P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres have been selected for GP2 (like Formula One) while the hard tyre is nominated for GP3.

GP2 at Silverstone

Hungaroring is renowned for being a real challenge for the driver, car and tyres as they are always working hard, with just one short straight opposite the pit lane. Overtaking is tricky, making qualifying all-important. The GP3 nomination takes two steps up this year, with the hard tyre nominated instead of the soft tyre last year. This is for two reasons: firstly, Saturday’s race is now 25% longer than it was previously, which requires a more durable tyre. Secondly, all the GP3 tyres this year are a step softer than they were in 2014. Not only is the circuit tough, but the weather also provides a big challenge, as it is often extremely hot in Budapest in July. This has a significant effect on thermal degradation, although rain has been seen in the past as well. As a result, the GP2 and GP3 teams will have to be prepared for anything, as the season reaches its halfway point before the summer break. Pirelli’s racing manager says: Mario Isola: “There is little rest for the tyres at Hungaroring apart from the pit straight, meaning the tyres are constantly working hard from corner to corner and operating at the top of their working range. As a result, we have selected the medium and soft tyres for GP2 and hard for GP3, in order to find the right balance between performance and durability. The drivers will also need to have a significant input in managing their tyres, to have the performance to take advantage of any overtaking opportunities that arise towards the end of the races in particular. The weather is going to play a big part and we are expecting high temperatures, which obviously have an effect on thermal degradation. Hungaroring is not easy to overtake on, so tyre strategy is going to be key for all the GP2 teams. With the move to a longer race on Saturday, the GP3 drivers benefit from the hard compound this year: however, this is still roughly equivalent to last year’s medium as all the GP3 compounds have become softer in 2015.” The challenge for the tyres: The Hungaroring is a permanent circuit built in 1986 but in many ways its characteristics are similar to those of a street circuit. It’s a tight and twisty track with 14 corners and an average speed in the region of 180kph: this makes it the second-slowest circuit of the year after Monaco. The cars actually spend a lower proportion of the lap on full throttle than they do even in Monaco. The large number of narrow corners and big steering inputs mean that the edges of the tyres are subjected to peaks of temperature and wear. The tyres can sometimes overheat more on a slow and twisty track than on a fast and flowing track.

GP3 at Silverstone

The circuit is not extensively used for many other races during the year, which means that the surface is often ‘green’ at the start of the weekend. As more cars run through the track a clean line emerges, but because there is only one clear line around the narrow circuit, a lot of dirt, dust and marbles accumulate off the racing line, making the problem of overtaking even harder. 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 medium compound and two sets of the soft compound. 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 15.55 on Friday, after practice at 12.00. Race One on Saturday is run at 15.40 over 37 laps and each driver must complete one compulsory pit stop. This cannot take place within the first six laps. Unlike Formula One, the drivers do not have to start the race using the tyres they qualified on. 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, 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: hard for this weekend. The drivers can use the tyre allocation in any way they like. All the GP3 compounds carry yellow markings. Drivers are normally allowed to carry over one tyre set from the previous round for use in free practice only. This will be the ‘superhard’ compound from Silverstone. 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 22 laps, followed by Race Two at 09.25 on Sunday (lasting 17 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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