Pirelli is predicting a two-stop Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend due to the softer 2013 compounds in comparison to those used at the track in 2012. Last year’s race saw the majority of the field make just one pit stop.
The medium and soft compound tyres will be brought to the Yas Marina Circuit, the same combination that was used at the Indian Grand Prix last weekend. Tyre wear and degradation is not expected to cause too much concern with Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery even suggesting a one-stop race could be possible.
Unlike most races on the 2013 calendar, the track temperature falls during the 55-lap race rather than rise. This has a big effect on the tyre wear and degradation rates during a race. Explaining the unique challenges of the race weekend, Hembery said: “The way that the track temperature falls in Abu Dhabi obviously has an effect on both wear and degradation, meaning that teams are able to do longer runs even on the softer compound later in the race.”
The Brit is expecting some interesting strategies to be used during the race: “There are some important implications for strategy here, which means that it’s often possible to try something different in Abu Dhabi than you would in other places, which might well pay off at the end of the race.”
The Yas Marina Circuit is one that Pirelli know well after completing numerous tyre tests there. Explaining the options for strategy he added: “When it comes to the actual venue, Yas Marina is one of the most modern and spectacular circuits of the year with a number of different technical challenges that test most aspects of a tyre’s overall performance. Tyre wear and degradation isn’t especially high here: last year, when we also nominated the medium and soft, most drivers just stopped once. As the compounds are generally softer this year we’d expect two stops this time, although it’s quite possible that some teams might try just one.”
We will witness a high degree of track evolution over the race weekend due to the dusty characteristics of the circuit and as more rubber is laid down.
Image courtesy of Pirelli Media