2011 Canadian Grand Prix
Pirelli’s PZero Red Supersoft back in action
What’s the story?
Pirelli’s new supersoft tyre made a thrilling debut in Monaco and now the same two nominations return for the Canadian Grand Prix: the PZero Red supersoft tyre and the harder PZero Yellow tyre.
Like Monaco, Canada is a semi-permanent facility but the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is faster with a low-grip surface: two parameters that have a far-reaching effect on tyre wear. There are also areas of heavy braking and maximum traction, which are also important parameters when it comes to tyre behaviour.
Consequently long stints of more than 50 laps on the PZero tyres, as seen in Monaco, are unlikely and instead there will be a return to wheel-to-wheel sprint racing.
Tyre wear is a critical factor at the Montreal circuit, traditionally making Canada one of the most entertaining races of the year. Since its inauguration in 1978, the track has undergone a number of changes, notably some resurfacing before last year’s grand prix and the addition of some new and higher kerbs in 2005: both of which influence the way that the tyres behave. With the track hosting only two major races per season – Formula One and NASCAR – there is a marked evolution in terms of grip over the course of the weekend as more rubber gets laid down on the surface.
On Friday, drivers will be given two additional sets of Pirelli’s new medium compound slicks to evaluate for the future during the two free practice sessions.
Pirelli’s motorsport director says:
Paul Hembery: “Monaco was a fantastic race, with three drivers battling closely for the win even though they were using three very different strategies. From the data we can see that Sebastian Vettel’s tyres would have gone the distance if he had continued to drive on them in the same way that he had been doing up to the red flag period. This means that he could have covered 62 laps, the equivalent of more than 200 kilometres, on the PZero Yellow soft tyre, with an extremely close finish.
We’re unlikely to see a one-stop strategy this weekend
The characteristics of Canada mean that we’re unlikely to see a one-stop strategy this weekend, but we’re hoping that the racing will be just as close and that the opportunities for overtaking will give teams even more possibilities than Monaco in terms of race strategy. The pure performance of the PZero tyres was demonstrated by the fact that we were able to set the fastest-ever qualifying lap of Monaco, adding to our record of success, which now includes more than 50 grand prix wins throughout our time in Formula One.”
The men behind the steering wheel say:
Rubens Barrichello (Williams):
“The Montreal circuit can be hard on tyres because the cars run on low downforce and the tarmac is quite low grip. The track has some change of direction, is very hard on brakes and has two hairpins that make good traction very important. Turn One, for example, is a corner that you carry a lot of speed into and then you brake hard into the hairpin in first gear. The minimum speed is low but traction is hard on tyres. There are a lot of hard braking areas throughout the lap. I love the circuit and racing there is always good. I look forward to racing on the Pirelli PZero tyres in Canada.”
Technical notes and tyre choices so far:
Canada is one of the most complex tracks of the year to predict due to its wide variety of grip levels and inconsistent surfaces. This results in a high and sometimes uneven amount of tyre wear, putting the accent firmly on durability and strategy.
Michael Schumacher has dominated the Canadian Grand Prix in the past, winning seven races in Montreal. The next most successful driver in Canada who is currently competing is Lewis Hamilton, with two wins. It was also where the McLaren driver took his first pole and first win.
Last year there were 61 pit stops in Canada, working out at an average of 2.5 per car.