By Alex Kapadia
Tyres strategy will play a critical role in the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend, according to Pirelli.
The Italian tyres company is taking its new supersoft tyre – which made a thrilling debut in Monaco -and the harder PZero Yellow tyre to the Montreal circuit.
Like Monaco, Canada is a semi-permanent facility but the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is faster with a low-grip surface: two parameters that have a far-reaching effect on tyre wear. There are also areas of heavy braking and maximum traction, which are also important parameters when it comes to tyre behaviour.
Consequently long stints of more than 50 laps on the PZero tyres, as seen in Monaco, are unlikely and instead there will be a return to wheel-to-wheel sprint racing.
Tyre wear is a critical factor at the Montreal circuit, traditionally making Canada one of the most entertaining races of the year. Since its inauguration in 1978, the track has undergone a number of changes, notably some resurfacing before last year’s grand prix and the addition of some new and higher kerbs in 2005: both of which influence the way that the tyres behave.
Paul Hembery, director of motorsport for the Italian tyres company, said: “Monaco was a fantastic race, with three drivers battling closely for the win even though they were using three very different strategies.
“From the data we can see that Sebastian Vettel’s tyres would have gone the distance if he had continued to drive on them in the same way that he had been doing up to the red flag period. This means that he could have covered 62 laps, the equivalent of more than 200 kilometres, on the PZero Yellow soft tyre, with an extremely close finish.
“The characteristics of Canada mean that we’re unlikely to see a one-stop strategy this weekend, but we’re hoping that the racing will be just as close and that the opportunities for overtaking will give teams even more possibilities than Monaco in terms of race strategy.
“The pure performance of the PZero tyres was demonstrated by the fact that we were able to set the fastest-ever qualifying lap of Monaco, adding to our record of success, which now includes more than 50 grand prix wins throughout our time in Formula One.”