Medium and soft tyres for GP2: softs for GP3 at high-speed Monza

GP2 at Spa-Francorchamps

Straight after Spa-Francorchamps, the young drivers competing in the GP2 and GP3 Series will race at another classic venue this weekend: Monza. At the home event for Pirelli, the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres will be available for GP2, with GP3 set to use the soft compound only – at the fastest venue. The Monza circuit is known for its long straights, high speeds and heavy braking. There are also several fast and long corners. Together, these factors place significant demands on the tyres. Monza is the fastest lap of the season, with an average speed of 228kph on the quickest lap in GP2 qualifying last year. It’s also the final European round of the series for both GP2 and GP3, before the two championships are reunited for the last round of the year in Abu Dhabi. Pirelli’s racing manager says: Mario Isola: “The Monza weekend is always a special one for us, taking place close to our home in Milan. By nominating the medium and soft tyres for GP2 and the soft for GP3, we have gone one step softer than last year in both series (although in GP3 all the tyres are a step harder this year, so actually we have a similar choice but under a different name). This should make tyre management an important factor for the drivers to consider, and create close racing at a circuit where the long straights and heavy braking zones present good opportunities for overtaking. In GP2, the nature of the circuit will open up different possibilities for strategy, while in GP3 tyre management will be key, with a number of different forces acting on the tyres.”

GP3 at Spa-Francorchamps

The challenge for the tyres: At Monza, the teams set the cars up with very low downforce in order to maximize their speed along the straights. This means that through the corners the emphasis is on mechanical grip from the tyres rather than aerodynamic grip. There are a number of different forces being applied to the tyres during the lap, including heavy braking at the first chicane. At Ascari there are three changes of direction in quick succession, while the Parabolica at the end of the lap is a very long corner creating sustained lateral forces. Throughout the lap, but particularly at the chicanes, the drivers make heavy use of the kerbs, giving the tyres some big impacts to absorb. Next year, the layout of Monza is due to change significantly, with a brand new first corner. As a result, this should be the final race held on the ‘classic’ Monza configuration. Warm weather tends to be the norm at Monza, adding a thermal element to tyre degradation. However, in early September, anything is possible. 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. The feature race on Saturday at 15:40 lasts 30 laps and each driver must complete one compulsory pit stop. This cannot take place within the first six laps. Unlike Formula 1, the drivers do not have to start the race using the tyres they qualified on. The grid for the sprint race on Sunday at 10:25 is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed. It 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: soft for this weekend. The drivers can use the tyre allocation in any way they like. Drivers are allowed to carry over one tyre set from the previous round for use in free practice only. This will also be the soft tyre from Spa. 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 17:15 on Saturday and lasts for 22 laps, followed by Race Two at 09:15 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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