Tyre Me Out

The good news is that the Chinese Grand Prix was not a one-stop race. That means there is still room for tyre strategy to play a role on Sundays. Last year in Bahrain, most of the drivers made 3 stops. We’ll see how the harder compounds this year change that, if at all.

Pirelli is bringing the same compounds to Bahrain that it did last year: Medium, Soft and Supersoft. Because Pirelli is still understanding how these new tyres work, it is not yet allowing drivers to select how many of each compound they are given for the race weekend. For the first five races, each driver is receiving two of the hardest compound (Medium), four of the middle compound (Soft) and seven of the softest compound (Supersoft).

Last year, the higher degradation tyres did not last very long in the desert heat, even though the race is run in the evening to avoid the highest temperatures. The Supersoft could only go 10 to 12 laps, while the Softs lasted a bit longer, 15 to 20 laps. The Mediums, which were not favoured, did not last much beyond the Softs while providing less grip.

Much will depend on the track temperature this weekend and your correspondent is not in the business of providing weather forecasts. However, if asked, two stops is the best guess here. We’ll see when the lights go out.


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