Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery says that the Circuit of the Americas will provide the tyre supplier with one of its biggest challenges of the season this weekend.
The Texas venue will make its debut in F1, with Pirelli having announced that it will provide teams with its hard and medium tyres for the first race on American soil since the 2007 race at Indianapolis.
Pirelli will provide an extra set of hard tyres for teams to use on Friday as drivers learn the new circuit and Hembery said the step into the unknown would make the weekend a challenge.
“Austin is one of just three new tracks for us in Formula One competition this year, alongside Bahrain – which we've tested at previously – and Hockenheim, where we previously raced in GP3,” he said. “So in many ways America will be the biggest challenge for us of the year, but stepping into the unknown is a situation that we are used to: last season the majority of tracks were completely new to us.
“We've chosen the hard and the medium compounds as we think it will be quite a demanding track, based on the asphalt samples and simulation data we have gathered. Naturally we've leaned towards a slightly more conservative choice in order to cover every possibility at a brand new circuit, but the tyre choice in Abu Dhabi was also conservative and yet we saw one of the most exciting races of the year.
“We're all absolutely delighted to be returning to America with Formula One: it's a crucial market for us as well as being the home of many of the most enthusiastic fans out there. We've felt a huge buzz about this race, and with the championship so finely poised it couldn't come at a better time.”