Pirelli's Motorsport Director Paul Hembery believe some teams will take advantage of the change in the tyre regulations for 2016 to split their strategies amongst their drivers in an effort to maximise their chances of at least one strong result.
With largely stable regulations across the board for 2016 in preparation for rounded modifications in 2017, attention has instead been paid to tyre allocation for the coming season, with the teams being granted further choice on compounds.
As part of the shake-up, Pirelli now allocates three compounds for each grand prix, with two nominated for use in the race, as well as a compound to be used at least once in Q3. Teams can then make their own choices for the remaining sets for each driver, with nominations being made eight weeks before the start of a European race and 14 weeks for an overseas race
So far, teams have made their allocations known for the opening three rounds, with Pirelli announcing its compounds for Russia yesterday, and though Hembery told Crash.net
he has not been made aware of what has been chosen, he says he is 'led to believe that there are variations'.
Indeed, though Hembery anticipates teams will follow a similar pattern with their choices, he is optimistic that the likes of Force India and Sauber could use it as an opportunity to take more risks, even going as far as to put different drivers on different compounds to mix things up as they were able to in 2012 and 2013 during the 'higher degradation' era.
“It's an in an interesting change for the teams having the ability to choose the compounds for each race,” he said. “I am sure that is going to throw up a few variations in the first races and that could lead to some different strategies on a race weekend.
“During the year that will normalise a little bit as teams get to understand where other teams are, you tend to find the teams that are very close together in performance will follow as well as they can to their competitors.
“Hopefully it will lead to something like in 2012 and 2013 where Force India, Lotus (now Renault) and Sauber were able to take a different approach and divide strategies between cars to provide them with a result which was in excess of where they qualified. So that is the real hope and it could be pretty good if a few teams do split strategies between the drivers
“I don't know when we are allowed to see the team choices. It is the FIA that announces the choices made by the teams, I am just led to believe that there are variations. That will provide that element of surprise.”