By Alex Kapadia
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel could clinch the Formula One championship on Sunday using Pirelli’s P Zero Yellow soft tyres and P Zero White medium tyres.
The German racer needs just one point to secure the title and join a very exclusive club of drivers who have enjoyed winning back-to-back championships.
Suzuka in Japan has been the scene of many battles for the championship and the demanding 53-lap race in Suzuka can be complicated by racing conditions, because the circuit’s location close to the coast means that there is a high risk of wet weather, which caused qualifying to be postponed until Sunday morning last year.
With its unique combination of high-speed corners, Suzuka puts the highest lateral loads on tyres all year, which is the main feature of the Japanese track from a tyre point of view, according to Pirelli.
The tyre manufacturer adds: “On most circuits, the straights provide an opportunity for tyres to cool down, due to the lack of sideways forces exerted on them when the car is not cornering. But the first half of the Suzuka lap in particular is just a series of fast bends, with no real straight during which the tyres can recover from the demands placed on them.
“This is what makes Suzuka especially challenging for the tyres. Driver will have to manage their allocation carefully this weekend and keep tyre temperatures under control. When working at their hardest, as is the case at Suzuka, the hottest part of the tyre tread can reach temperatures of up to 120 degrees centigrade.”