Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has predicted that three stops will be the norm during the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend.
For the first time this year, the Italian tyre manufacturer will provide teams with a choice of the white medium compound tyre and the yellow soft tyres – a selection which is set to provide teams with varying strategy choices ahead of the third race of the campaign.
With different tactical approaches having been the norm in Shanghai in the past, Hembery said he predicted an interesting race ahead with it likely that teams would go for three stops to get the most from the tyres at their disposal.
“China has often produced some of the best races of the year, where strategy has been at the forefront of the action,” he said. “With all our compounds having got softer this year the degradation is deliberately more extreme leading to increased performance, but history has shown that it never takes too long for the teams and drivers to get on top of the tyres.
“Shanghai is less aggressive on the tyres than the last round in Malaysia but we would expect to see the majority of competitors go for three stops although some may try two. Last year we had a new winner with Mercedes and Nico Rosberg, who were able to get the most out of their tyres from the very beginning of the weekend in order to spring a surprise.
“That goes to show exactly what is possible with the correct tyre management at this point in the season.”