By Alex Kapadia
Pirelli has given a detailed breakdown into the challenges its tyres face during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend.
The circuit is one of the fastest and most demanding tracks of the year on the tyres, according to the Italian tyre manufacturer, due to its abrasive surface and a lap length that is second only to that of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on this year’s calendar.
The PZero Silver hard tyres and PZero Yellow soft tyres have been nominated for the race, however, with cool temperatures, cloudy skies and an uncertain weather forecast, there is a strong chance of the PZero Blue intermediate and PZero Orange wet tyres also being brought into play this weekend.
The corner numbers have all be changed due to the changes Silverstone has undergone over the years, and here Pirelli examines a few of the most demanding:
The first part of the circuit is very fast, with several rapid direction changes, which puts the emphasis on the front tyres to find the best possible grip.
Turn three is a slow corner, which relies more on mechanical rather than aerodynamic grip. The rear tyres have to find the best possible contact with the track surface, in order to gain maximum traction.
The turn-in of the car is particularly important here too, with the soft tyres in particular giving the driver the most precision and feedback at this very tricky part of the circuit.
The best grip at Luffield corner is found close to the apex. Then the drivers gradually move to the outside of the circuit in order to put all the power down for what used to be the short start-finish straight.
Copse is well-known for having a bump right in the middle of the corner, which is absorbed by the shoulders of the tyre in order to keep the car settled and still guarantee the optimal contact patch.
Becketts is an extremely demanding series of corners with an average speed of over 200kph. The aerodynamic downforce and sideways acceleration of 4G causes the tyre to progressively heat up, eventually reaching more than 120 degrees centigrade.
After Vale curve there is a fast left to right direction change, and then the drivers reach Club corner again. They hug the apex closely before getting back on the power and starting another lap…