RED FLAGS AND SAFETY CARS IN FORMULA 2 AT MONACO
The most prestigious event of the Formula 2 calendar is Monaco, and it’s also one of the most complex races, with frequent stoppages and delays thanks to the unforgiving barriers. This was the case once more, with a red flag that caused a re-start on Friday (when the Feature Race took place) and a safety car on Saturday for the Sprint Race. The P Zero Red soft and P Zero Purple supersoft were nominated: the softest tyres in the range.
Feature Race, the winning strategy: ART Grand Prix’s Nyck de Vries won an interrupted race from pole, starting on the soft tyre. But the race was split in two by a red flag on lap 19. So as it turned out, the winning strategy was effectively soft-soft-supersoft, with de Vries changing his tyres during the red flag then having to pull out as large a gap as possible before making a mandatory pit stop under racing conditions.
Nyck de Vries: “I knew we had the pace, but a red flag halfway through the race was far from ideal because we only had 19 laps left to make a 25-second gap. We were forced to put our other set of soft tyres on during the red flag to have new rubber and enough pace to pull a gap before making another stop. I think we really deserved this one.”
Feature Race, alternative strategy: The red flag effectively made any successful alternative strategies redundant, as a number of drivers were classified a lap down after the re-start, making any attempt to catch up impossible. Mick Schumacher, whose incident triggered the red flag, was one of the drivers to pit early in what could have been an effective alternative strategy, going from supersoft to soft.
Sprint Race, what we learned: The Sprint Race was held on Saturday afternoon after Formula 1 qualifying, with all the drivers using the soft tyre from start to finish. Once again the polesitter won the race, although this time it was a little more straightforward, despite two safety cars. Arden’s reigning GP3 champion Anthoine Hubert took his first Formula 2 win, holding his nerve and maintaining his advantage after the safety cars, but it was a photo finish, with Carlin’s Louis Deletraz drawing almost alongside at the finish.
Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola: “In many ways, this was a typical Monaco weekend: a very unpredictable pair of races that were characterised by unforeseen circumstances. When it’s like that, it's a question of reacting calmly to changing race conditions and managing tyres to suit them: both Nyck de Vries and Anthoine Hubert achieved this perfectly, with a thrilling finish on Saturday. The strategy and outcome of the Feature Race the day before was particularly complex, with a number of different options tried, and two tyre changes seen in the race for all the competitors, as a result of the red flag”