The next round of the GP2 and GP3 Series will take place at Monza this weekend, the home of Pirelli's headquarters, and the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium have been selected for GP2, together with the medium compound only for GP3 this year.
Monza has some fast corners, long straights and heavy braking, all putting extreme demands on the tyres and meaning that they often reach their highest operating temperatures.
Not only this, the weather in Italy is expected to be hot, putting further demands on the tyres, which is why the hard and medium compounds have been selected for GP2. Traction and braking are the keys to success at Monza, so the drivers will have to use their tyres in a way that optimises these two important factors.
Mario Isola, Pirelli racing manager: "This year's GP2 and GP3 championships have provided lots of excitement: as the season is coming to a close it is still all to play for. Tyre strategy will be key to success once more in Monza for GP2, while in GP3 it will again be a question of tyre management over the course of the weekend. Monza is famously a very fast and demanding circuit but we are confident that our nominations are the best options for both the GP2 and GP3 races, which will take in a wide variety of racing conditions.
In GP2, it's going to be interesting to see the effect of the DRS system at Monza, which is in place for the first time this year. In GP3, we've gone with a very soft choice: as this year's medium compound is broadly equivalent to last year's soft. This should lead to greater degradation and close competition all the way to the finish of each race. Monza is very close to our hearts as it takes place close to Milan, the home of our headquarters. We are also looking forward to seeing the new generation GP3 car for next year, which will be unveiled at Monza."
The challenge for the tyres
Monza is known for many fast corners but also the requirement for heavy braking at the first chicane. The circuit also has many kerbs: drivers hit these hard and fast, so the tyre has to absorb a lot of impact on each lap. In any single-seater, GP2 and GP3 included, the tyre actually forms an essential part of the suspension travel, on top of its other roles.
The cars run low downforce at Monza, in order maximise top speed on the long straights. This means that mechanical rather than aerodynamic grip is key when it comes to direction changes.
The three areas that work the tyres hardest at Monza are the first chicane (characterised by heavy braking), the Variante Ascari (with rapid changes of direction) and the famous Parabolica: a long and open corner that generates big lateral forces.