JUNE 20, 2011
Pirelli predicts high wear rates in Valencia
F1 tyre supplier Pirelli has predicted high wear rates in this weekend's European GP at Valencia. The Italian company will take its revised medium compound (white) tyre to the race, with the soft compound (yellow) used as the option rubber.
The medium is the tyre tested during free practice in Montreal. Despite there being just one step between the two tyres for the third successive race (the supersoft and soft were used in Monaco and Montreal), Pirelli's motorsport boss Paul Hembery predicts that there will still be a second per lap performance difference between the tyres.
"The wear on this circuit is likely to be quite high because of the track layout, the nature of the surface and also the weather conditions, which should be very warm," he says.
Valencia has little in common with other street circuits, with a wide variety of corners and a relatively high proportion of the lap spent at full throttle, together with a smooth surface. Its stop-start nature and frequent changes of direction place heavy demands on the tyres under traction and braking, while there is also very little adhesion to provide lateral support in the corners.
"We've seen some fantastic street races so far this season, with the last grand prix in Canada being one of the highlights," says Hembery, "so we hope that Valencia will continue this pattern although it's notoriously difficult to overtake there."
Valencia has the highest number of corners on the F1 calendar.
In the three grands prix held there so far in Valencia, pit stops have been relatively infrequent - an average of 1.2 per car last year. That could change this time around.