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'Black gold' - a key factor in Sunday's race

7 July 2012

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has confirmed to Crash.net that the marque's wet weather F1 tyres - labelled Cinturato Blue - are able to last for approximately 60 laps at the venue of the British Grand Prix.

This is the result of simulation work done by Pirelli, which also shows that the intermediate tyres - Cinturato Green - will last 20-25 laps around Silverstone. The teams could do one stop tomorrow, but Pirelli expects at least two pit-stops per car during the race.

All this is theoretical, of course, as the British weather could either turn worse or perhaps even improve. Whatever happens though, it is unlikely to cause a situation when one tyre option is enough.

If the rain worsens, a safety car period or a red flag are all viable options.

Meanwhile if the track dries up, the cars will switch to the soft (yellow) or hard (silver) Pirellis. Hembery reckons that the option tyres (the softs) are 0.7-1.2 seconds faster per lap than the primes (hard compound).

The only time these two compounds have been used this weekend was during the final free practice session this morning and it is interesting to note that Lewis Hamilton's tyres were a lot cooler than Fernando Alonso's at the end of their runs. This can be caused by the fact that Ferrari currently seems better at 'switching on' its tyres than McLaren.

McLaren introduced an adjustable front brake caliper for Silverstone, which allows them to modulate the temperatures dissipated towards the tyre itself, but it seems that they couldn't make it work as much as they hoped. This and the unfortunate situation when Jenson Button missed the optimum lap-time moment in Q1 left him in 18th and Lewis in eighth position on the grid.

Pirelli has been testing dry and wet weather compounds at Spa-Francorchamps last week with Toro Rosso refugee Jaime Alguersari (driving a 2010 spec Renault), and it is widely reckoned in the Silverstone paddock that apart from the unpredictable weather, Pirelli's finest will make a major impact on tomorrow's race.


by Zoltan Karpathy


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