Pirelli boss Paul Hembery has said the compounds they will take to the inaugural Indian Grand Prix this weekend will help them 'make some decisions about their strategy' for next season.
Pirelli has nominated the hard and soft tyres for the 17th round in the F1 2011 World Championship and in contrast to the norm, the Italian company will actually provide all the teams with an extra set of softs on Friday, to allow them to 'maximise their running' and to provide 'valuable information for the future'.
“We've opted for a deliberately conservative nomination in selecting the hard tyre alongside the soft, simply because on a brand new circuit you are never quite sure of the exact race conditions you will encounter,” Hembery said.
“But we've structured the allocation in such a way that we think the teams will run more on the softer tyres, particularly because we are bringing an extra set of soft compound tyres for Friday.
“This will help us to make some decisions about our strategy for next year, particularly after we saw the excellent durability of the softer compounds.
“It's too early to talk about the number of pit stops we expect this weekend, but we anticipate a reasonably significant lap time difference between the two compounds.”
Narain Karthikeyan meanwhile, who will make a one-off return for his home race with HRT replacing Vitantonio Liuzzi [see separate story - click here
], believes that competitors will use the hard compound as little as possible.
“This is going to be one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar and, as new tracks are always a bit of an unknown I can understand the choice of compounds Pirelli has made,” he continued. “The texture of the tarmac is exceptionally smooth compared to most circuits on the calendar, so I think that's a plus.
“The lap time difference between the hard and soft tyres is going to be huge, maybe in excess of two seconds a lap. I'd expect the teams to use the hard as less as possible: maybe just a short final stint in the race as the benefits in lap time produced by the soft tyre should outweigh its shorter life as the track surface isn't abrasive at all and track temperatures I think should be under 40 degrees during the weekend.
“The long pit lane will play a part in strategy as well with teams trying to get through the race with as few stops as possible. The layout itself is going to put tremendous energy through the tyres - especially the banked Turn 10, which is a long, multiple-apex right-hander, somewhat similar to Turn 8 in Turkey
“The front-left will definitely experience a lot of load through there – and there are a couple of slow speed corners that will challenge the rears on exit. So overall it will be a great challenge for the tyres and it'll be interesting to see how it pans out,” he summed-up.