Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has said that he expects tomorrow’s United States Grand Prix (live from 1pm ET on NBC) to be a one-stop race thanks to the durability of the tires brought to the race at the Circuit of the Americas.
The Italian tire manufacturer has brought its hard and medium compound tires to the race as per 2012, where race winner Lewis Hamilton and the majority of other runners utilized a one-stop strategy. Although Hembery thinks that some drivers could try and make a two-stop strategy work, he believes more will stop just once.
“From what we can see so far, we could well be looking at a one-stop race for most runners, as was the case last year, although some may try two stops if they feel it offers a speed advantage,” Hembery said. “Wear and degradation is where we would expect it to be: the medium tire will be the one to qualify on, while we’re seeing very little degradation on the hard tire – which is just under a second slower than the medium tire at the moment. That’s a big enough gap for strategy to make a difference, particularly for the drivers who start outside the top ten and are not obliged to begin the race with the tires they qualified on.”
Hembery also believes that the predicted increase in temperature will help the teams as the track becomes grippier in the second grand prix held at the circuit.
“We saw a wide variety of weather conditions today, but we’re expecting temperatures to climb over the rest of the weekend, which of course makes it more difficult for the teams when it comes to predicting tire behaviour and therefore strategy. In addition, we saw the track evolving throughout both sessions, with the times getting progressively faster.”
Pirelli is expected to sign a new contract to continue as Formula One’s tire supplier in 2014 despite a turbulent year.