• Monaco Grand Prix

Repeat of 2011 Monaco thriller possible - Pirelli

ESPNF1 Staff
May 25, 2012 « Bitter row overshadows US Grand Prix preparations | Mercedes' form will return - Brawn »
Pirelli has brought the soft and super-soft compounds to Monaco © Sutton Images
Related Links

Pirelli tyre boss Paul Hembery believes a one-stop strategy could be possible during Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, meaning there is a chance of a repeat of last year's thrilling battle between Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.

Vettel won the 2011 race with just a single pit stop ahead of Alonso on a two-stop strategy and Button on a three-stopper. The trio had been lined up for a grandstand finish with Vettel struggling on his tyres while the two behind pushed hard on their fresher rubber. However, a red flag neutralised the race and allowed them all to change to a new set of tyres and Vettel to completed the final laps with relative ease.

This year the teams have struggled to understand the degradation of the tyres and they were not helped in their preparations for Sunday's race by rain during second practice on Thursday. Hembery said there was still a lot to learn about the super-soft tyre in particular, but that Pirelli's data suggests, purely from a wear point of view, a one-stop is possible.

"We really have a very rough indication of the wear levels and the performance of the super-soft, but certainly it's looking like a one-stop will be possible in terms of wear from the estimated life we've got over the tyres," Hembery said.

The question will be whether drivers can manage the performance loss that comes from the degradation and hold track position ahead of drivers on fresher tyres who have opted for a two-stop or three-stop strategy. Hembery said the teams would have a lot of work to do in final practice to get their heads around the super-soft compound.

"FP1 is normally when they are all messing around and trying to get an idea of where they are with the car and it's normally FP2 when you start to see the more significant work with low fuel and then with high fuel looking at degradation and wear levels. We only saw glimpses of that work so FP3 is going to be busy on Saturday."

This is the first race the teams have used the super-soft tyres this year, but on the plus side the compound has not changed from last year.

"Here the super-soft is last year's tyre essentially, although the profile has changed and there is more footprint," Hembery added. "It will be interesting when we start seeing some full runs and long runs on the super-soft tyre to see how that compares with last year."