GP2 Series tyre suppliers Pirelli say that they have selected its P Zero medium slicks for this weekend's British round at Silverstone and say that this is "a daring decision" designed "to spice-up the action."
Silverstone is known for a wide mix of corners, abrasive surface, fast speeds and high lateral and longitudinal loads, so the choice of the medium compound rather than the "safe" harder compound is going to make it a challenging event for teams and drivers in managing their tyres for the full race distance.
"The medium compound is a tyre on which you can push for an ultimate one-off lap time and will last for anywhere between 10 to 20 race laps, depending on the track - before dropping away and becoming difficult to manage," said iSport driver Sam Bird who is looking forward to his home round of the GP2 season this weekend.
"Nobody knows exactly how long a set of slicks will last [at Silverstone] so for sure it's going to be a learning curve for everybody," continued Bird, who described Silverstone as "a fast and flowing circuit, unlike some of the tracks we have just visited" - such as the much-maligned "dull" Valencia street course two weeks ago.
The teams have already tried out the medium compound at Silverstone during the pre-season testing. "I look forward to driving the medium tyre again at Silverstone," said Bird. "The tyre should make the racing very exciting."
Pirelli's Racing Manager Mario Isola himself declared that the tyre supplier's intent with this choice was "to spice-up the action and meet the expectations of the series' organisers. Specifically, the tyre choice for GP2 is a daring decision," he said.
"Tyre management will be a key factor because the drivers will have to take extremely good care of their tyres if they want to be competitive and give a hard time to their rivals," Isola continued. "We foresee a different result in terms of tyre wear in comparison to that experienced on other circuits ... This is likely to result in the tyres wearing out in an even way instead of mostly in the inner part of the cover, as in Valencia, because of the camber effect."
Pirelli have already fielded the medium compound in 2011 for in the season opener at Istanbul, but the company believe that the characteristics of Silverstone make the call between hard and medium tyres rather more borderline in terms of the durability/grip balance. Pirelli say that the GP3 series will be provided with their hard compound version tyres, but say that these are similar to the GP2 medium compound slicks in terms of tyre durability.
Barcelona saw Pirelli go for the hard compound, while the unique Monaco circuit saw what is likely to be the only outing of the supersoft compound of the year in GP2. The tyre choice for Valencia was the soft compound.