Thrilling racing at Pirelli’s debut in Australia
Pirelli’s first race of its three-year agreement to supply Formula One has provided close competition, two to three pit stops per car, and a total race time that was three minutes quicker than last year underlining the performance of the PZero tyres.
This year’s PZero tyres have been designed to combine technology with entertainment, contributing some breath-taking duels from the start to the finish of the Australian race and plenty of overtaking.
Prior to the race Pirelli predicted two to three pit stops for most runners, and this proved to be exactly the case. Eleven of the 16 classified finishers, including race winner Sebastian Vettel, stopped twice, with five finishers stopping three times and one driver – 21-year-old rookie Sergio Perez – stopping only once en route to seventh place.
The podium finishers, from three different teams, all stopped twice. All the top three finishers started the race on soft option tyres and ended it on the harder prime, having completed their first two stints on the option tyres. This turned out to be the most effective strategy in Albert Park, which has unique circuit characteristics, as it is only a semi-permanent facility.
It was the very first race finish in Australia for Red Bull’s reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who started from pole position after driving the fastest-ever lap of Melbourne in qualifying and concluded: “We have to make some compliments to Pirelli.”
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said: “What a fantastic race! Australia had everything: the quickest lap of Melbourne ever seen in qualifying, plenty of on-track battles, close competition, and some thrilling overtaking manoeuvres. At the end of it we have three drivers from different teams standing on the podium, all of whom performed outstandingly. I think that the same can be said of our tyres too: we had no issues whatsoever and the degradation was less than expected meaning that most drivers – including the top three – chose a two-stop strategy, as we had predicted. We also saw a wide spread of strategies ranging from one stops to three, giving the teams the opportunity to think creatively about their race management. I’d like to thank all the teams and drivers for their support as we built up to our race debut and we hope that the action today has rewarded their faith in us. I’d also like to thank all our people at Pirelli: this exciting start has only been made possible by their unstinting hard work since our agreement was confirmed just nine months ago in June. We’re not about to rest on our laurels though: we’re already thinking ahead now to the next race in Malaysia, which will provide us with a new and different challenge.”