Pirelli expects “wide variety” of strategies at Spa

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Pirelli is providing its two hardest F1 tire compounds for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix which it believes will allow teams to pursue a range of different strategies.

The high-speed Spa-Francorchamps circuit is one of the most demanding venues F1 cars race on. Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery described it as “one of the biggest challenges for our tyres all year”.

“Mostly this is because of the very high energy loads that go all the way through the tires, both vertically – due to the big compressions such as Eau Rouge – and also laterally at fast corners like Blanchimont,” he explained. “Often, the tires are subjected to forces acting in different directions at the same time, which increases the work still further.”

“So looking after the tires is very important, particularly as it’s such a long lap. This means that there are a very wide variety of possible strategies available at Spa as well, with plenty of time to be won and lost if the right tactics are chosen.”

Drivers will have the choice of Pirelli’s hard (orange) and medium (white) tires this weekend. This will be the second race with Pirelli’s revised 2013 tires which feature last year’s construction including Kevlar instead of steel belts, and this year’s softer compounds.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”