Italian GP: Preview - Pirelli


For Pirelli's home race - on one of the fastest tracks of the season - the three compounds in the middle of the range have been chosen: the most popular selection of the season. The P Zero White hard is the C2, P Zero Yellow medium is C3, and P Zero Red is the C4.

The same compounds were selected for the last two years at Monza, offering a good balance for all the different demands of the Italian Grand Prix.

Monza is the second race this year that will host the new sprint qualifying format, pioneered at the British Grand Prix in July. As a result, the usual tyre allocation has changed. Rather than having 13 sets of tyres for a weekend, there will be 12 sets. These will consist of two sets of P Zero White hard, four sets of P Zero Yellow medium, and six sets of P Zero Red soft. In addition to this, the teams will have up to six sets of Cinturato Green intermediates and three sets of Cinturato Blue full wets available in case of wet weather conditions.

During Friday qualifying, only the soft tyre can be used. In sprint qualifying, drivers will have a free choice of tyres with no obligatory pit stop. At the end of this race, they will hand back the set of tyres that has completed the most laps. Tyre rules for the grand prix on Sunday remain unaltered, apart from every driver having a free choice of tyres for the start.

Track Characteristics

Monza is best-known for its flat-out straights preceded by heavy braking areas, but with some slower and more technical sections as well.

The long straights also have the effect of cooling down the tyres, which can affect the precision of the turn-in during the following corners. But this of course depends also on the weather, which can vary at this time of year.

The teams run a low downforce package at Monza, in order to minimise drag and so maximise top speed on the straights. This puts the emphasis more on mechanical rather than aerodynamic grip.

The long straights also make it advantageous to try and gain an aerodynamic tow on the straights, which a number of the drivers tried last year during qualifying.

The Italian Grand Prix was delayed by a red flag last year, which disrupted the planned tyre strategy, making it effectively a 26-lap sprint race on fresh tyres at the end (with the top six all selecting the medium). The year before at Monza, using the same tyre nomination, soft to hard was the winning strategy - although the other two drivers on the podium went from soft to medium.

Mario Isola

"We have seen from the past that a number of different strategies are possible at Monza, and with sprint qualifying adding another big variable into the mix, the teams are forced to re-think their entire tyre strategy for the weekend. It's a rear-limited circuit with the focus on traction, so the particular challenge is to stop the rear tyres from sliding and overheating too much, as the low-downforce set up means that there is not much pushing them into the ground. The weather plays a part as well, as this issue is emphasised if temperatures are higher."

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 07/09/2021
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