PIRELLI EQUIPS FORMULA 2 AND A NEW ERA OF FORMULA 3 AT BARCELONA
The Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona will herald the dawn of a new era as the inaugural FIA Formula 3 Championship season begins alongside FIA Formula 2, with both categories exclusively supplied by Pirelli.
• The Barcelona circuit features many fast corners that put considerable lateral forces through the tyres. The greatest energy is created through the long Turn 3 right-hander.
• A new surface was laid before last year’s races that is much smoother, offering more grip with less wear and degradation. However, this has started to mature, making the circuit more similar to how it was before.
• Both Formula 2 and Formula 3 conducted pre-season testing at the circuit, but the race weekend is likely to take place in warmer temperatures, where thermal degradation could be more of a factor.
• The new Formula 3 series has attracted a capacity grid of 30 cars. Getting a traffic-free lap at the right moment in qualifying could be crucial to a strong weekend.
The tyres and strategy
• The P Zero White hard and P Zero Red soft tyres have been nominated for Formula 2 in Barcelona: the first time that this nomination has been made in 2019. This is to cope with the high-energy demands of the Barcelona circuit, but also to create a two-step gap between the compounds and encourage different strategies.
• In F2, each driver has five sets of slick tyres to use over the weekend: three medium and two soft. They also have three sets of wet-weather tyres. During race one, where there is a mandatory pit stop, both compounds have to be used unless it is declared a wet race. Pit stops are optional in race two.
• Three slick compounds have been developed for the new Formula 3 car: P Zero White (hard), P Zero Yellow (medium) and P Zero Red (soft).
• One slick tyre is nominated for each F3 round: for the opening round in Barcelona, it’s the hard. Drivers get four sets of dry tyres (as there is no carry-over for round one) and two sets of wet-weather tyres. They can use their allocation however they like.
• F2 teams ran the medium tyre during their Barcelona test, so will need to gather information on the hard tyre during free practice. F3 teams, on the other hand, have testing data from the hard tyre at the circuit.
What happened last year?
George Russell won the F2 feature race, starting on the medium tyres before pitting for the soft tyre on lap 25. Nyck de Vries pitted on the same lap and finished second, while Lando Norris used the alternative strategy – starting on the soft tyre – to finish third. Jack Aitken won the sprint race, when all drivers used the medium tyres.
Mario Isola, Pirelli head of F1 and car racing: “We’re looking forward to welcoming the brand-new Formula 3 championship to the grand prix weekend. We’ve designed new tyres for the car, with a bigger emphasis on oversteer to prepare drivers for Formula 2 and Formula 1. Barcelona is a track that we and all the teams know well from testing: it’s traditionally been quite demanding on tyres, so tyre management and strategy can make a difference. However, we’ve noted that since being resurfaced last year, the track has begun to evolve and mature again, so it will be interesting to see what type of a difference that makes this weekend.”
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