By Alex Kapadia
The Formula One teams and Pirelli take a step into the unknown this weekend with the inaugural United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas – a newly-built track that has never been raced on before.
Pirelli is bringing the P Zero Silver hard and P Zero White medium tyres, a reasonably conservative compound choice for a circuit where there are still a number of unknown factors when it comes to tyre performance.
The teams will be given an extra set of the hard tyre for today’s two free practice sessions in order to help them learn the all-new track.
Paul Hembery, director of motorsport for Pirelli, said: “Austin is one of just three new tracks for us in Formula One competition this year, alongside Bahrain – which we’ve tested at previously – and Hockenheim, where we previously raced in GP3.
“So in many ways America will be the biggest challenge for us of the year, but stepping into the unknown is a situation that we are used to: last season the majority of tracks were completely new to us.
“We’ve chosen the hard and the medium compounds as we think it will be quite a demanding track, based on the asphalt samples and simulation data we have gathered.
“Naturally we’ve leaned towards a slightly more conservative choice in order to cover every possibility at a brand new circuit, but the tyre choice in Abu Dhabi was also conservative and yet we saw one of the most exciting races of the year.
“We’re all absolutely delighted to be returning to America with Formula One: it’s a crucial market for us as well as being the home of many of the most enthusiastic fans out there. We’ve felt a huge buzz about this race, and with the championship so finely poised it couldn’t come at a better time.”