• Indian Grand Prix

Pirelli 'conservative' for India

ESPNF1 Staff
October 24, 2011 « New Jersey announces 10-year deal from 2013 | Mumbai planning Formula One circuit »
Pirelli has enjoyed a successful return to Formula One in 2011 © Sutton Images

Motorsport director Paul Hembery said that Pirelli has been "conservative" with its tyre choices for the Indian Grand Prix due to the unknown of racing on a new circuit.

Pirelli has been widely praised for improving the quality of racing this season with its rapidly degrading tyre compounds, and for the last race in Korea it took what it called an "aggressive" strategy in supplying both the soft and supersoft compounds. For India, however, Pirelli has aired on the side of caution, taking the soft and hard compounds, and Hembery admitted a lack of previous information had forced the approach.

"We've opted for a deliberately conservative nomination in selecting the hard tyre alongside the soft, simply because on a brand new circuit you are never quite sure of the exact race conditions you will encounter," Hembery said. "But we've structured the allocation in such a way that we think the teams will run more on the softer tyres, particularly because we are bringing an extra set of soft compound tyres for Friday."

Hembery said that the combination should help Pirelli analyse what will be the optimal two compounds for next year's race, but that at present even the most likely strategy this weekend was still unknown.

"This will help us to make some decisions about our strategy for next year, particularly after we saw the excellent durability of the softer compounds. It's too early to talk about the number of pit stops we expect this weekend, but we anticipate a reasonably significant lap time difference between the two compounds."

Narain Karthikeyan, however, believes the hard tyre will barely be used due to the smooth track surface and a "huge" difference in the tyre compounds.

"The lap time difference between the hard and soft tyres is going to be huge, maybe in excess of two seconds a lap. I'd expect the teams to use the hard as less as possible: maybe just a short final stint in the race as the benefits in lap time produced by the soft tyre should outweigh its shorter life as the track surface isn't abrasive at all and track temperatures I think should be under 40 degrees during the weekend. The long pit lane will play a part in strategy as well with teams trying to get through the race with as few stops as possible."