F1′s tyre supplier predict that a two stop strategy starting on the mediums, switching to the prime tyre on lap 20 and then pitting for another set of hard compound Pirelli tyres on lap 37 is the quickest way to win the race.
Paul Hembery, their motorsport director, commented after qualifying and said: “It’s been an action-packed day at Suzuka, which is a sign of just how challenging this circuit is. There has been quite a high degree of track evolution over the weekend so far and we’d expect to see two pit stops in the normal course of events tomorrow.
The smaller difference also had an impact during qualifying: “There’s a much smaller lap time difference between the two nominated compounds than we’ve had in the previous two races, which clearly had an effect on the strategy as it made it easier for the frontrunners to get through Q1 using the hard compounds, as we saw with Grosjean’s impressive run through Q1.”
He feels that strategy can make a real difference in the race: “This opens up different strategic possibilities for the race tomorrow, with a number of options potentially paying off. The times are actually very close, so there’s an opportunity for strategy to really make a difference. Although this is a very demanding track for tyres, with the highest lateral energy loads of the year, wear and degradation is where we expect it to be: we saw in qualifying that times didn’t drop off significantly even with used tyres.”
Image courtesy of Pirelli Media.