Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery believes the race strategy variety will be a key element to the Chinese Grand Prix after the tyre manufacturer's new regulations have provided a shake-up in the opening two races.
After the FIA approved the new regulations for 2016 it has enabled teams to choose how many sets of the designated three compounds picked by Pirelli each driver will have for each race weekend. Two sets are still mandatory to pick for the weekend and at least one of these sets must be used during the race but the teams can choose which one.
As a result, the opening two races of the season have seen teams opt for varying strategies which has consequently helped some teams profit at the expense of others.
With the ongoing rule changes to qualifying and the 2017 regulations dragging the sport through a public crisis the tyre rule tweaks have come as welcome relief to spice up racing.
Hembery says the variable and quickly changeable conditions in Shanghai means split strategies between teams is highly likely which should therefore have the same desired result witnessed in Australia and Bahrain.
“Shanghai is likely to be quite a cool race, although the nature of the place means that anything is possible, so teams will have to keep an open mind on strategy and carefully correlate the data captured in practice to the eventual race conditions,” Hembery said. “The three compounds selected have led to a number of different tactical permutations up to now, and we expect an ample variety of strategies once more in China.
“China is a very different type of circuit to the two that we've visited up to now this year, yet the tyre nomination is the same, which underlines the adaptability of our product under a wide range of circumstances.”
Last year Lewis Hamilton claimed victory in China with a two-stop strategy with his two opening stints on softs before completing the race on mediums, albeit with tyre life extended due to a late safety car.