Teams chose to evaluate the medium compound tyre in first practice before trying out the soft Pirelli tyre in the afternoon. The former looks set to be the optimal race tyre due to the high wear rates and blistering on the softer compound.
The difference between the two compounds is around eight tenths. Pirelli say their compound nominations for this year’s Indian Grand Prix were slightly more aggressive in comparison to the last two visits to the Buddh International Circuit.
Hembery said after practice two: “Essentially we went for softer compounds this time as in 2012 the Indian Grand Prix was just a one-stop race, and the combination we brought this year allows for a two to three stop strategy. After what we have seen today, wear and degradation is generally in line with our expectations but there have been some issues with blistering on the soft compound while some drivers ran up to 24 laps on the medium tyre.”
He added: “The medium seems set to be the optimal race tyre, while the soft tyre should be the one to qualify on, as it has been about 0.8s to a second per lap faster up to now. Assessing the drop-off in performance will be the key to formulating the strategy and the timing of the first pit stop.
“Consequently, some teams will also be evaluating the potential benefits of starting on the medium. However, the track hasn’t finished evolving yet, so the final decisions won’t be taken until after free practice tomorrow.”
The medium and soft compound tyres haven’t been paired together since the Hungarian Grand Prix in July.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic