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Belgian GP: Preview - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
23/08/2021

Formula 1 is back after its summer break with compounds in the middle of the range for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps: the first race of the second triple-header of the 2021 season. In Belgium, the C2 will be the P Zero White hard, the C3 will be the P Zero Yellow medium, and the C4 will be the P Zero Red soft. This is the same nomination as last year, which was a step softer than the tyres nominated back in 2019.

Spa, well-known as one of the most exciting tracks on the calendar, contains a wide range of different demands over the longest lap of the season.

Track Characteristics

Spa - located in the foothills of the Ardennes - is of course synonymous with changeable weather, which can also vary on different parts of the circuit. Although last year's race was dry, there's always a high chance of the Cinturato wet-weather tyres making an appearance at some point over the weekend.

The forces put through the tyres at the Belgian Grand Prix are high, especially at the famous Eau Rouge-Raidillon complex, where the tyres are subjected to a fierce compression and heavy g forces over one of the fastest parts of the track.

The Kemmel Straight at nearly 800 metres long, has the effect of cooling the tyres down, which affects grip through the following corners. In fact, from the exit of La Source all the way to Les Combes (which follows the Kemmel Straight) is a distance of just over two kilometres without any braking.

Last year's Belgian Grand Prix was won with a one-stop medium-hard strategy: the same tactic selected by all three podium finishers. They switched during a lengthy safety car period from lap 11 that heavily influenced the strategy, with all but two drivers stopping under the safety car.

Mario Isola: "The Belgian Grand Prix marks our third visit to Spa within a month in very different contexts, following the Spa 24 Hours, the Ypres Rally Belgium - which had its final day at Spa - and now Formula 1. The challenges of this track, especially when it comes to the weather, are well-known, as are the loads placed on the tyres.

"Last year the top three qualified on the medium tyre, while the soft offered a good step up in grip but required more management, and so was not considered to be an optimal race tyre. The majority of drivers went from medium to hard, with the pit stop dictated by the safety car at lap 11 for most of them. So we could see an interesting mix of strategies this year."

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