Lotus expecting a variety of strategies in India

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Lotus’ trackside operations director Alan Permane has said that he is expecting a greater variety of strategies at this year’s Indian Grand Prix thanks to Pirelli’s change in tire allocation for the event.

Next weekend will see Pirelli bring the soft and medium compounds to Buddh International Circuit, forcing teams into making more than one pit stop as they did at last year’s race where the hard compound tire was used. In Permane’s opinion, this will give teams more choice and more of a chance to catch the front-runners.

“The change from hard and soft compound tyres last year to medium and soft this year should make for quite a different race, where we saw one-stop strategies driven by the hard tire allocation,” Permane explained. “Last year the performance gap between the tires meant that everyone qualified on the soft and raced on the hard after a single stop. This year, the soft and medium compound open up the strategic permutations.”

The backend of the 2012 season saw a string of one-stop races due to the conservative nature of the Pirelli tires. In order to remedy this, the Italian manufacturer created more aggressive tires for 2013, causing a series of problems during the first half of the year that came to the fore at the British Grand Prix. The tires are now safe, but Permane believes that the changes made will still have an affect on strategy in India.

:With this season’s tires also being a step softer than last year’s soft tyre, we have softer tyres to both qualify and race with. It could be a far more interesting race with strategy split between two and three stops,” he said.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”