How Pirelli plan to spice up the Australian Grand Prix, ‘more options available in terms of strategy’
After last season’s one-stop Australian GP where every single driver went with a hard-medium combination, this season Pirelli have gone one step harder with the soft tyre in the hope of spicing things up.
Last season Charles Leclerc won the Australian Grand Prix from pole while Alex Albon scored his first point as a Williams driver when he put in a 57-lap stint on the hard Pirelli tyres.
While there was a fair amount of drama, most notably Max Verstappen’s fiery exit, it was fair to say it wasn’t the most exciting race.
So, this season Pirelli have opted to go one step harder with their soft compound in the hope of enticing the teams into trying different strategies.
“For the Australian Grand Prix we chose the same trio of compounds as in 2019,” explained Mario Isola, Pirelli’s motorsport director.
“After a couple of years of absence from the Formula 1 calendar due to the pandemic, last year we opted for a jump in compound, bringing the softer C5 together with the C2 and C3.
“The 2022 race, won by Charles Leclerc, was only one stop and the teams all chose to mount hard and medium, relegating the soft to qualifying only.
“In the coming weekend, the teams will instead have C2, C3 and C4 available, thus allowing them to have more options available in terms of strategy, at least on paper.”
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“We expect a high evolution of the track over the course of the weekend, as traditionally happened in Melbourne, while the forces affecting the tyres are average,” he added.
“The track is very smooth and even the corners are now faster after the changes introduced last year, thus facilitating overtaking and the show.”
Pirelli’s intermediate and perhaps even the full wets could also come into play with rain forecast for Friday’s practices as well as Saturday’s qualifying.
Last season the layout of the Albert Park circuit was tweaked with seven corners modified and two removed.
The most notable change to the circuit was the removal of the chicane at Turn 9 and 10 to create a sweeping right hander.
Pierre Gasly said at the time he enjoyed the changes as “it’s definitely a lot faster, which is always something personally I like because you really feel the potential of these F1 cars.
“Going through corners at 200-250km/h is always a unique feeling which you can only feel in a Formula 1 car. Quite challenging at the same time and definitely more bumpy than we expected.”
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