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Series revamps points and tyre rules for 2012
4 October 2011
The GP2 and GP3 Series are to introduce a new championship points-scoring system for the 2012 system to bring them more into line with the F1 system, following the unification of the GP2 Europe and GP2 Asia series.
The Saturday feature race will now score 25pts for the winner, with 18pts for second place, 15pts for third, and then 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2pts with 1pt for tenth position.
The Sunday sprint race will give points for the top eight positions, starting with 15pts for the winner, 12pts for second place and 10pts for third; then 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1pts. The top eight grid positions for the sprint race will continue to be set by reversing the top eight finishers in the feature race.
There will also be 4pts awarded to the driver who takes pole position at the end of qualifying on Friday, and 2pts bonus in each race for the driver setting the fastest laptime.
In addition, GP2 will also be introducing the concept of a "soft option" tyre to the series for the first time, with the announcement that Pirelli will now be supplying two types of tyres for the teams to use during the race weekend - albeit in very restricted quantities.
Teams will receive four sets of tyres that will need to last them for the Friday morning free practice session, qualifying and the two races themselves. Three of four sets of Pirelli P Zero tyres will be the compound that Pirelli nominate as the prime tyre choice for that race, but the fourth will be a softer compound option visibly differentiated by colour.
"Our series' main goal has always been to prepare them to F1 and so far we have been very successful at it," said GP2 Series CEO Bruno Michel. "More than ever, tyre management is key to how quickly young drivers can adapt to the pinnacle of motorsport."
The move will put a premium on drivers' tyre management and conservation skills throughout the weekend, and should also prove a fascinating strategic component as teams will have to work out how much of a speed improvement the soft option compound comes off versus how quickly it wears down. The soft option tyres are usually faster, so teams might use them for qualifying; but others may prefer to use them during one of the races instead.
Teams will still have to make a mandatory pit stop and change at least two tyres during the feature race, and one set of prime tyres must be reserved for the sprint race.
"Although we will introduce a second compound, we have decided to keep only four sets of tyres per race weekend in order to control the costs," added Michel.
Pirelli's Racing Manager Mario Isola was also looking forward to the impact of the sorter option on race weekends. "Having two different compounds available for each event in 2012 will certainly spice up the action and narrow the gap between F1 and its feeder series, as the focus will not only be on tyre management skills but also on making the right tyre choice and planning race strategy accordingly," he said.
"I feel confident that our P Zero tyres combined with the new tyre rules will make the GP2 races even more interesting to watch next season."
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