Tyre strategy is key today – and key for 2011 too

Posted on July 25, 2010


Bridgestone are anticipating an exciting tyre race this afternoon and it’s important they are proved right.

Tyres could be key today - Pirelli should pay attention. Credit: Force India

For the first time, they have deliberately brought rubber which is two grades apart – the super soft and hard – in an effort to spice up the racing and make things more exciting. We saw this in Canada by accident to great effect when the super soft was too fragile, especially at the start, to run more than about 10 laps.

This blog has been banging on since it started about the tyre manufacturer being more aggressive in its choices. Marginal tyres, so long as they are safe, make the whole event much more of a challenge for team and driver. Make the wrong call, stop at the wrong moment, you find yourself our of position. Get it right – see the McLaren 1-2 in Canada – and the spoils are there.

Pirelli is about to take over tyre duties for Formula One. It’s vital it sees Bridgestone making a success of marginal tyres and not being afraid to see drivers struggling on rubber bearing its marque. Much better to have the top guys  seconds off the pace because of a bad decision on strategy than for snooze-fests like we saw in Bahrain.

Can Ross Brawn use unknown tyre conditions to get his cars up the grid? Credit: Mercedes GP

Mike Gascoyne is tweeting about what he thinks will happen today – essentially, the top ten have to start on the super softs, stop early and go long on the hard. Behind them, some could take a gamble, start on the hard and try to get a longish run out of the super softs in the final third of the race.

Happily, I’m sure others in the pit lane disagree and go about it differently.

People like Ross Brawn will excel at this if Pirelli keep it up next year and it’ll be nice to see some genuine strategy teamed with conditions which will require overtaking as some drivers get out of position, others wear out their rubber and more still get it bang on.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Michael Schumacher or Nico Rosberg make good progress today, so long as the overall race pace of the Mercedes isn’t so bad as its qualifying spec.

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