Pirelli has revealed the final three tyre choices for its inaugural season as the exclusive tyre supplier to F1, with the 'soft' compound remaining a favourite as it features in the options for India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.
At the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, which takes place at the end of this month, the yellow-banded soft tyre will be used along with the 'hard' option, while, for the final two grands prix of the season, the 'medium' compound will be the alternate choice. The announcement, which came on the eve of qualifying in Japan, means that the soft tyre will now feature at all 19 races on the 2011 schedule, The medium and hard options will have appeared seven times apiece, with the supersoft being chosen at the remaining five races, including for Korea next weekend.
With the brand-new Buddh circuit near Delhi in India having its first grand prix this year, the hard and the soft tyres have been nominated in order to cater for every eventuality and strategy. Initial impressions suggest that the Indian asphalt is quite abrasive with high ambient temperatures expected. The hardest tyre in Pirelli's P Zero F1 range is designed to cope with these extreme conditions, while the soft tyre guarantees the best possible performance. However, contrary to convention, the soft tyre has been nominated as the 'prime' in India with the hard tyre as the option, which allows the teams to run more sets of the quicker tyres during free practice.
“India is a big unknown for all the teams and ourselves, so we will also be taking the most durable hard tyre in order to cover every base," Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Humber commented, "Abu Dhabi is much more familiar territory for us, where we know that the medium and the soft tyre will suit the circuit well. As for Interlagos, we're aiming to end the season on a high. The combination of medium and soft rubber has given us some close racing in the past, lots of overtaking and provided some good opportunities for interesting pit stop strategies.”
Pirelli already has quite a significant amount of data from Abu Dhabi, where the F1 teams tried out the Italian manufacturer's tyres for the first time last year, before a final pre-season private test at the Yes Marina circuit. The combination of the medium and soft tyres, already used in five races this year including Japan, should be well adapted to the varied characteristics of the Abu Dhabi track, while Interlagos, which will bring the season to a close in November, also contains a wide range of speeds and corners, once more making the adaptable medium and soft tyres the ideal choice.