Pat Symonds says the less restraining tyre regulations for 2016 has enabled teams to adopt more aggressive strategies by opting for quicker stints with the expensive of an extra pit stop, but he believes it could be tested in China.
The Williams chief technical officer believes tyre strategy will once again play a key role at the Chinese Grand Prix and stresses the team needs to maximise in order to be competitive.
In both Australia and Bahrain Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa have arguably been the biggest names to lose out on tyre strategy with a conservative approach on mediums and softs.
Symonds believes teams will continue to favour an aggressive strategy this season but high tyre wear at the Shanghai International Circuit could mean teams may have to compromise with a three-stop strategy.
Last year Lewis Hamilton claimed victory with a two stop race, with his first two stints on softs before switching to mediums. Massa was the highest finisher last season in fifth place on the alternative two-stop strategy (soft, medium, medium).
“The Shanghai International Circuit has quite long straights with average corner speeds on the low side,” Symonds said. “However, Turns 7, 8 and 13 do exercise the high-speed characteristics of the car. The long duration of the corners puts a lot of energy through the tyres, therefore tyre wear is generally the limiting factor for strategy choice.
“Whilst in 2015 we generally saw two-stop strategies, experience so far in 2016 shows that teams are pushing to more aggressive strategies due to the freedom of tyre choice.”