Tire strategy in the race: and what happens after the first stint?

(Motorsport-Total.com) – “It should be a good race, with a little less perfection than usual.” This is how Ferrari sports director Laurent Mekies sums up the initial situation before the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring (follow Formula 1 2020 in the live ticker!). Because training on Friday was completely canceled, the teams on site have significantly less experience with their Pirelli tires than under normal circumstances.

Tire change at Valtteri Bottas

Which tires should I take with me for my first pit stop? That is still unclear …

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In addition, the Nürburgring was last part of the Formula 1 calendar in the 2013 season, so the data from seven years ago is not too fresh and therefore not relevant for today’s race (follow live here!).

Mekies is therefore expecting “surprises because nobody had the opportunity to do long runs,” he explains. For the teams it is therefore a matter of finding out as quickly as possible in the early stages of the race how the track is developing and which tires make it necessary.

Drive into the unknown at the Nürburgring

Pole man Valtteri Bottas from Mercedes makes it clear: According to the timetable, only the first few meters run in the Eifel Grand Prix. “If [nach dem ersten Stint] If you take the soft tire down in the race and put on a new set of tires, then you don’t know how these new tires will behave, “he says.


A Nürburgring lap on the Mercedes simulator

Esteban Gutierrez drives a lap on the Nürburgring in the simulator of the Mercedes team and explains the pitfalls of the famous track

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“Because we drove so little, there are a lot of unknowns for each team. There is not a lot of data for driving in such temperatures, apart from the winter tests.” And it will be cool in any case: According to the current weather forecast, it will probably stay at just under ten degrees Celsius, at most.

“The front tires,” says World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, “usually suffer a little more from such conditions. That makes it easier for you to understeer. And if there is a safety car phase, it will be difficult to get the tires back on To get a window of action. When it’s cooler, you can drive a little longer with the tires. “

Pirelli recommends two tire changes

All of this has to be included in the strategic planning. And according to the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli, the strategists are challenged today more than usual: The supplier believes that a two-stop tactic will prove to be the fastest option in the race.


Photos: Grand Prix of the Eifel


If you set off on soft tires, switch to medium on lap 19 and do 22 laps, you can end up using soft again for 19 laps. This is “theoretically the fastest strategy,” explains Pirelli. Alternatively, two stints with medium tires would be possible, but a little slower.

A one-stop tactic with medium or hard first and vice versa in the second stint would, according to Pirelli, be significantly slower than the other proposals, but basically also feasible. And: “The data indicate that a one-stop tactic with medium and soft will not be possible.”

Pirelli sports director Mario Isola also says: “We have to wait and see what happens after the first stint. Protecting the tires will be decisive. Because it could be a race that we don’t know how it will develop, with uncertain weather conditions. “

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