It will be a testing time for the tyres at the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend, when the action takes place on the epic Suzuka circuit.
Pirelli is taking its two hardest tyres in the Formula One range, the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium for what is commonly regarded as a drivers circuit with flowing corners and a non-stop series of demands to cope with.
The track surface is also relatively abrasive, which means that wear and degradation is high. Initial forecasts suggest cool weather, which is the norm for Japan at this time of year. However, heavy rain showers have been a feature of Suzuka in the past, so a wet race could still be on the cards.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli tyres, commented: “Japan is one of the highlights of the year, not just for ourselves but for the whole of Formula One. The fans are absolutely brilliant, with huge enthusiasm and knowledge of the sport, which is almost unparalleled anywhere in the world.
“Suzuka is a real drivers’ circuit, and because of that it is a considerable challenge for the tyres, with some of the biggest lateral energy loads of the year. As a result, it would probably be realistic to look at between two to three pit stops, with tyre management forming a key part of the race. However, we’ll obviously know more about that after free practice.
“It’s a track where several forces are often acting on the tyre at once, and the increased torque but decreased downforce of this year’s cars will only place more demands on mechanical grip. If a tyre can perform well in Suzuka, it can perform well almost everywhere.”