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Singapore GP: Preview - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
16/09/2019

From the flat-out straights of Monza, Formula 1 now leaves Europe for the remainder of the season and heads to its only full night race: Singapore. For the street circuit with the most corners of the year (23) the three softest compounds in the P Zero Formula 1 range have been chosen: C3 as White hard, C4 as Yellow medium, C5 as Red soft. The stop-start Marina Bay layout is renowned for its low-grip conditions, with teams running high downforce to help increase cornering speeds on the second-slowest lap of the year after Monaco.

The nomination is broadly the same as last year, when soft, ultrasoft and hypersoft were chosen. These were well-suited to a demanding race, which Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won with a single-stop hypersoft-soft strategy - although a number of other strategies were seen as well.

Singapore has a 100% safety car record thanks to its tight confines and unforgiving barriers, meaning that strategies have to be flexible to capitalise on any opportunities that arise.

With the circuit used just once a year, on public roads, there is a high degree of track evolution as well as the usual street furniture as manholes and white lines that can alter grip levels.

It is a tough race mechanically due to the heat and humidity, with very little ventilation and cooling due to the track characteristics.

With the race taking place at night, the usual patterns of rising and falling track temperatures during the afternoon are not seen. With some practice sessions taking place earlier, it is not always easy to get an accurate read on the likely race conditions.

Pirelli successfully completed its first test of 18-inch Formula 1 tyres last week at Paul Ricard in France, with Sergey Sirotkin driving for Renault. At the same time, Mercedes undertook the final 13-inch development test for next year's tyres, with Esteban Ocon at the wheel.

Mario Isola: "It is hard to think of a bigger contrast to Monza than Singapore, so the teams will have a significant reset as we head into the final long-haul leg of the season. The unique challenges of Singapore are quite well known to them though, so they will have a good idea what to expect as they dial themselves into the track on Friday.

"We've seen in the past that there is scope to vary the strategy, and with overtaking quite tricky at Marina Bay, teams will be carefully assessing the ways in which they could potentially take advantage of strategy to move up the order. Especially considering the very high likelihood of safety cars there, which can change the complexion of a race. It is going to be interesting to see if anyone tries to qualify on the medium rather than the soft, to add flexibility to the strategy, given all the variables.

"There are some quite different tyre choices among the drivers, so we might see some alternative approaches."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Stitch431, 17/09/2019 7:19

"With RB and Mercedes both on different tire strategies, it will be interesting to see which one is best.
Off-topic: I just read Jean Todt and the FIA stated, they will implement a "maximum lap time" for qualifying to prevent the Monza scenario to be repeated. In itself, not a bad idea. However, this is yet another rule without linking it to a clear consequence that applies equally to everyone.
Example: we'll enter a maximum lap time of let's say 93%.
Imagine Hülkenberg does not make that time. What will be his punishment?
And what if Leclerc does not make that time at Monza Mr. Todt?"

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