Pirelli Japan Grand-Prix preview

Pirelli Japan Grand-Prix preview

04.10.2016: F1 JAPAN GRAND PRIX Round 17 of 21 Suzuka, Japan, 6-9 October 2016

F1 JAPAN GRAND PRIX  Round 17 of 21
Suzuka, Japan, 6-9 October 2016




Coming straight off the back of the Malaysian Grand Prix, the Japanese Grand Prix uses exactly the same three nominations: P Zero Orange hard, P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft.


Another thing that the Japanese Grand Prix has in common with Malaysia is the fact that two sets of the hard compound have been nominated as mandatory sets, meaning that the hardest compound will definitely be used at some point during the race by every driver.


Suzuka is one of the most atmospheric races of the season, with an old-school feel thanks to its fast corners and small run-off areas.


Just like Malaysia, there’s a strong possibility of rain featuring during the weekend: but unlike Malaysia the track is quite narrow, which makes overtaking more difficult.





THE CIRCUIT FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW:



•    Track temperatures can vary massively, from very warm weather to cold and wet conditions.


•    Teams tend to run a high downforce set-up to maximise speed through the fast corners.


•    Plenty of energy goes through tyres because many corners are very long, maximising loads. The famous 130R, for example, contains the highest continuous g-force loading of the year.


•    There are few longitudinal forces: instead Suzuka is all about lateral loads through corners.


•    These factors tend to lead to high levels of wear and degradation, with more than one pit stop.


•    Track evolution can be hard to predict: strategy also needs to remain flexible because of the possibility of safety cars and relative difficulty of overtaking at Suzuka.





THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS:



•    Orange hard: will definitely be used for the race, as it is nominated twice as an obligatory set.


•    White medium: drivers have selected between one and four sets of these, with different ideas.


•    Yellow soft: this is the first time that the soft has been seen in Japan; will be quick in qualifying.





HOW IT WAS A YEAR AGO:     
    


•    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won with a two-stop strategy, starting on medium, switching to medium again on lap 16, then hard on lap 31. The 53-lap race was dry after a wet Friday.


•    Best alternative strategy: the big majority of drivers adopted a two-stop strategy, but a medium-hard-hard run allowed Nico Rosberg to undercut his key rivals and move up to second.





PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR:
                

    
“Suzuka is a race that everybody looks forward to coming to: there’s little left to say that hasn’t been said already about the amazing welcome we receive each year from the Japanese fans and the depth of their enthusiasm and knowledge.


For the first time we bring the soft tyre to Suzuka, which should provide a different aspect to the strategy, so we may have some tactical thinking right from qualifying on Saturday.


Whatever happens, we’ll be seeing the hard tyre used during the race, as was the case in Malaysia, and also high wear and degradation: which always additionally provides varied strategic opportunities.”





WHAT’S NEW?  



•    There are no major changes to the infrastructure or track in Japan this year.


•    The race takes place one week later than it did last year, returning to its 2014 calendar slot.


•    The FIA has confirmed that drivers will have the same allocation of tyres for next year’s first five races rather than choosing: two sets of the hardest compound available, four sets of the medium compound available, and seven sets of the softest compound available.





OTHER THINGS THAT HAVE CAUGHT OUR EYE RECENTLY:


•    Ferrari has gone for the most aggressive tyre choice with nine sets of the soft. In particular, Sebastian Vettel is the only driver to have selected just one set of medium tyres in Japan.


•    Pirelli was appointed as the exclusive tyre supplier to the Macau F3 Grand Prix this year.


•    Pirelli was also revealed as the exclusive tyre partner of the newly launched Electric GT Championship in Ibiza: a new European series that will use Tesla racing cars next year.





 TYRES NOMINATED THIS YEAR:

     Purple    Red    Yellow    White    Orange


Australia         Supersoft    Soft    Medium     
Bahrain         Supersoft    Soft    Medium     
China         Supersoft    Soft    Medium     
Russia         Supersoft    Soft    Medium     
Spain              Soft    Medium    Hard
Monaco    Ultrasoft    Supersoft    Soft          
Canada    Ultrasoft    Supersoft    Soft          
Azerbaijan         Supersoft    Soft    Medium     
Austria    Ultrasoft    Supersoft    Soft          
Great Britain              Soft    Medium    Hard
Hungary         Supersoft    Soft    Medium     
Germany         Supersoft    Soft    Medium     
Belgium         Supersoft    Soft    Medium     
Italy         Supersoft    Soft    Medium     
Singapore    Ultrasoft    Supersoft    Soft          
Malaysia              Soft    Medium    Hard
Japan              Soft    Medium    Hard
United States         Supersoft    Soft    Medium     
Mexico         Supersoft    Soft    Medium     
Brazil              Soft    Medium    Hard
Abu Dhabi    Ultrasoft    Supersoft    Soft          
 
 
 
   

Anthony Peacock - photo Pirelli

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04.10.2016 / MaP

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