Pirelli is taking its hardest tyres to the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend to tackle one of the most demanding tracks of the season.
The P Zero Orange hard tyres and the P Zero White medium tyres have been nominated to cope with the anticipated high track and air temperatures at the Bahrain International Circuit.
With a track surface that is frequently made dirty by sand from the surrounding desert, Bahrain is a fast, flowing and technically demanding circuit, which made it the perfect test venue for the Italian tyres manufacturer when it was preparing for return to F1.
Traction and braking are the main demands of the 5.412-kilometre variable width track, with tyres degradation expected to be reasonably high – which is why the two hardest compounds of the range have been nominated.
Last season, the medium and soft tyres were selected – but this year’s tyres are all much softer than their equivalents last year, so in effect the 2013 hard tyres are more similar to the 2012 medium.
Paul Hembery, director of motorsport for Pirelli tyres, explained: “Bahrain was one of the very few circuits that was entirely new to us in competition last year, although we know it well from testing.
“It’s one of the most demanding tracks of the year for the tyres, mostly because of the high ambient and track temperatures.
“We expect about three stops per car, although we’ll have to wait to get some running in on Friday before we can look at the data and make a more accurate prediction.
“One of the main challenges of racing in Bahrain is that the track evolution is very hard to predict, depending on how much sand is blown onto the circuit.
“From what we saw last year though, there will be plenty of scope for different race strategies, which can even allow drivers who have not qualified as well as they hoped to recover during the grand prix.”
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team