Medium and soft for GP2 in Russia; medium for GP3
For its second visit to Russia, the GP2 Series will have the medium and soft tyre (the same nomination as last year) while the GP3 Series will use the medium tyre (compared to the soft in 2014). Effectively, the GP3 nomination for Russia is actually the same this year, because the 2015 tyres are all a step softer than their 2014 equivalents anyway.
Last year’s GP2 title was won by Jolyon Palmer in Russia, while Alex Lynn took a decisive step towards the GP3 title, so this has been a very significant race for both championships previously. The Sochi track contains a smooth surface and a wide variety of mostly medium-speed corners, providing a number of overtaking opportunities. The low abrasion of the asphalt means that tyre wear and degradation has traditionally been low. However, with the potential for unexpectedly warm weather and an increased race length on Sunday for GP3, the drivers will have to think carefully about tyre management. Pirelli’s racing manager says: Mario Isola: “As Russia was a brand new circuit last year we didn’t have much real circuit information. Now that we have some real data from the race last year, we’ve been able to fine-tune the nomination to match the specific demands of the track. Although it was brand new last year, the track surface has not evolved over the winter, so we’re expecting low wear and degradation once more. Also, the circuit has not been used much since last year, and this is one of the main reasons why the surface is not very different. The weather is generally quite mild, which should help to reduce the effects of thermal degradation, but there is the possibility of unexpectedly hot weather too. While the surface is in no way abrasive, a number of drivers were surprised last year by the amount of grip available.” The challenge for the tyres: Turn 3 is actually inspired by the famous turn eight in Istanbul Park. In Russia it is a very long left-hander that takes more energy out of the tyres than any other part of the lap. This is the biggest challenge, with the other specifics of the track only becoming evident over the course of the weekend. The track varies in width from 13 metres at its narrowest point to 15 metres at the start-finish line, providing a number of overtaking opportunities. Running in a clockwise direction, the layout consists of 12 right-hand and six left-hand corners and combines both high-speed and technical sections. The 5.853-kilometre track will be the third longest of the year, behind Spa and Silverstone. Around 1.7 of those kilometres are run on public roads, meaning that it has relatively little in common with any other circuit on the GP2 or GP3 calendar. However, it has a few points in common with the Valencia street circuit, which was used up to 2012. 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 16.00 on Friday after practice at 12.00. Race One on Saturday is run at 16.40 over 30 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 11.05 is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed. Race Two is run over 21 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 Monza. There is one practice session, one qualifying session and two races in GP3. Qualifying takes place at 09.30 on Saturday after a single free practice session on Friday at 17.00. Race One starts at 13.30 on Saturday and lasts for 20 laps, followed by Race Two at 10.00 on Sunday (lasting 15 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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