Pirelli expects to see “no more than three” pit stops at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, according to Pirelli’s motorsport director, Paul Hembery.
Last year’s Grand Prix was beset by concerns over high tyre wear, with Fernando Alonso winning the race with an unprecedented four tyre stops; contrastingly second-placed Kimi Räikkönen managed to cross the line with three tours through the pit lane.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is one of the toughest circuits on the calendar with respect to tyre wear. With this year’s iteration of tyres being designed for greater durability, Pirelli is still taking a cautious approach by bringing its two hardest compounds – the white Medium and orange Hard tyre – to the event.
“It’s often said that Barcelona provides the most accurate representation of the form a season will take, because a car that performs well in Barcelona should perform well everywhere,” Hembery said in Pirelli’s Spanish Grand Prix preview media release.
“The same is true of the tyres, because the Spanish circuit is one of the most demanding circuits we race on all year.
“Long and fast corners such as Turn Three put a huge amount of energy into the tyres, as a result of which degradation is high. The track surface is also quite abrasive, and ambient temperatures can be high, which increase the workload on the tyres further. In the past we’ve seen up to four pit stops in Spain. With the changes we have made to the tyres this year, we would now hope to see no more than three for the majority of drivers.
“Following the race there is a two day test for all 11 teams and this will see Sauber, Toro Rosso, McLaren and Force India devote one day of running to conducting tyre tests at Pirelli’s behest.
“We made a solid start to our preparations for next year with the first dedicated in-season tyre tests in Bahrain,” he added. “We’re looking forward to building on that work with four teams in Spain after the Grand Prix.”
Image via XPB Images