Medium and supersoft compounds in GP2 for the mountains of Austria: soft tyres for GP3

The P Zero White medium and P Zero Red supersoft tyres have been nominated for Austria: a fast and flowing track that provides plenty of entertainment for drivers and spectators, with several changes of elevation and technical corners where gaining good traction on the exit is especially important. After a five-week break since Spain, the GP3 Series also resumes at the Red Bull Ring: a track that only joined the calendar last year. It’s a reasonably short 4.326-kilometre lap with the risk of uncertain weather conditions, which means that drivers will have to maximise all opportunities as they come and react quickly to changing circumstances. The GP3 cars will use the soft tyre: a versatile compound designed specifically for GP3, which can cover a wide range of potential conditions on a low-severity circuit. As is the case for GP2, the GP3 race held on Saturday is now longer than Sunday’s race.

GP2 returns in Austria

Pirelli’s racing manager says: Mario Isola: “Austria was brand new to both championships last year, so it’s a track that the teams do not have so much historical information about, although we know that it is not so demanding for tyres. Last year, which was the first season that Austria returned to the calendar, we nominated the medium and soft: a choice that was a bit too conservative. So now we have gone a step softer with the option tyre. We’ve seen in all the GP2 feature races so far this year that tyre strategy plays an extremely important role, and we’d expect that to be the case again in Austria, with a wide variety of possibilities open to the drivers thanks to the particular layout of the track and the characteristics of the compounds. In GP3, the question is more about tyre management rather than strategy, with only one compound nominated in limited quantities. Once again we have the soft tyre for Austria, but all the 2015 compounds are about a step softer than their 2014 equivalents. In the past we’ve seen wet conditions in Austria, so this is another possibility that could affect the weekend.”

...and so does GP3

The challenge for the tyres: This track is much more about longitudinal demands – acceleration and braking – than it is about lateral forces. The general demands on the tyres are quite low, as the forces going through them are contained, while the circuit offers low grip. Two of the most demanding corners at the Red Bull Ring are turns 5 and 6, which place particular stress on the tyres on the right-hand side of the car. It’s one of the few areas of the track where both lateral and longitudinal forces are at work on the tyres, taking the most energy out of them. Teams tend to run high downforce in Austria, in order to generate as much aerodynamic grip as possible. But as many of the corners are quite slow the majority of the grip is still mechanical grip that comes directly from the tyres. 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 15:55 on Friday, after practice at 12:00. Race One on Saturday is run at 15:40 over 40 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: soft 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 hard tyre from Spain. 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 24 laps, followed by Race Two at 09:25 on Sunday (lasting 18 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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