Pirelli equips F2 drivers for Spa with medium and soft tyres, GP3 with medium
Milan, August 22, 2018 – Spa-Francorchamps hosts the return of FIA Formula 2 Championship and GP3 Series action following the summer break: the first of four events between now at the end of the season that will decide the champions in the two Pirelli-supplied feeder series for Formula 1.
• Spa is a circuit that subjects tyres to many different forces. High-speed bends like Pouhon create large lateral demands, while elevation changes like at Eau Rouge make for significant vertical loads. There are also high braking and traction forces in and out of the slower corners, such as the Bus Stop chicane at the end of the lap.
• Setup is a compromise between the need for maximum speed on the straights and high downforce through the corners. Those opting for a low-downforce setup will be more reliant on the tyres to provide mechanical grip in the bends.
• The weather can change quickly at Spa, and rain can sometimes fall over some parts of the circuit and not others, making tyre choice tricky.
The tyres and strategy
• The P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres have been nominated for F2. This combination has been seen twice this season already, in Bahrain and Barcelona.
• In F2, each driver has five sets of slick tyres to use over the weekend: three medium and two soft. They also have three sets of wet-weather tyres. During race one, where there is a mandatory pit stop, both compounds have to be used unless it is declared a wet race. Pit stops are optional in race two.
• Just one tyre is nominated for each GP3 round: at Spa it’s the medium. Usually, drivers get three new sets of dry tyres plus one carry-over set from the previous round for use in practice, but instead of carrying over the soft from Hungary, teams will get a fourth new set of the medium compound. There are two sets of wet-weather tyres as well.
What happened last year?
Charles Leclerc claimed F2 pole position on the wet tyres and then won the feature race on the road, starting on the softs before switching to the mediums. When he was excluded for a technical infringement, the win instead went to Artem Markelov, who used the alternate medium-soft strategy. Sergio Sette Camara won the sprint race on medium tyres. George Russell, the current F2 points leader, won the main GP3 race, with Giuliano Alesi taking race two.
Mario Isola, Pirelli head of car racing: “Spa is one of the biggest and most enjoyable challenges of the year for a driver and also one of the most high-energy demands for the tyres, so managing them properly will be extremely important. An alternative strategy can work there, but often the most important consideration is to be reactive, as circumstances can change very quickly.”
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