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Malaysia GP: Preview - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
20/03/2012

The 2012-specification of the P Zero Silver, the hardest and most durable tyre of Pirelli's Formula One range, will make its debut at the Malaysian Grand Prix: a race that pushes tyres to the limits due to extremes of weather that frequently take in soaring temperatures as well as torrential rain.

The Sepang circuit is characterised by an abrasive surface that adds to the demands placed on the tyres, which have to cope with two long straights as well as several hairpins that test traction.

These extreme requirements make Sepang the ideal territory for the P Zero Silver, whose resilient qualities have inspired the recently-launched P Zero Silver road car tyre, which prioritises endurance as well as performance.

Alongside the P Zero Silver hard, the P Zero White medium tyre has been nominated for Malaysia, which was also seen in Australia. This combination best covers the wide-ranging conditions seen in Malaysia, with the Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet also ready to deal with the torrential downpours that are a common feature of the track, located just north of the equator. Even when it is not raining, humidity remains at about 80%, increasing the physical challenge for the drivers.

The increased tyre wear caused by the unique nature of Malaysia could lead to an increased number of pit stops, with three stops proving to be the winning strategy last year. However, the compounds used by Pirelli this year are generally softer and faster. The hard compound that will be seen in Malaysia this weekend is much closer in character to the 2011 medium compound, underlining the constantly-evolving performance of the P Zero covers.

Paul Hembery: "Malaysia is one of the biggest challenges that we will face all year, and that is simply down to the nature of the track and the weather. We can expect track temperatures of up to around 50 degrees centigrade and a similar performance gap between the two nominated compounds as we saw in Australia. Our target is still for that gap to be less than one second - even though there is a whole step missing between the soft and the hard compounds that we have chosen for the race. Malaysia is good for overtaking, and that should fit in well with the characteristics of our P Zero tyres, which have been specifically designed to promote overtaking through a certain degree of deliberate degradation. Tyre strategy is going to be very important, particularly when it comes to looking after tyres at the beginning of a stint. Last year the battle for the podium places went down to the very last lap, and our objective for this year's tyres is to encourage even closer racing, following the thrilling start we saw in Australia last weekend."

Although the surface in Malaysia offers plenty of grip, any rubber laid down on the track is frequently washed away by the heavy rain that falls most days, making the track 'green' at the start of each session.

The tyres on the left side of the car do the most work in Malaysia. The rear-left tyre is particularly stressed as it ensures traction, with its temperature rising to a peak of 130 degrees centigrade on the inner edge due to a lateral force of 3G.

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