GP2 and GP3 preview: Silverstone 28-30 June 2013
Silverstone – the second home of Pirelli – marks the fifth round of the GP2 series and the third of the GP3 series. For GP2, Pirelli has nominated the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium compounds. For GP3, a brand new super hard compound will be available following Pirelli’s decision to create a more durable compound for the forthcoming races. This does not replace the existing hard compound, but is instead in addition to it. Only the one compound will be supplied to GP3 at every race as per the regulations. Silverstone is a high-paced, demanding track that challenges both man and machine, so the increased durability of the new super hard GP3 tyre will prove a welcome addition over the weekend.
Pirelli’s racing manager says:
Mario Isola: “We’re set for another busy weekend with the GP3 crews using the new super hard tyre for the first time in competition. The new GP3 car this season is a lot faster than first anticipated and after analysing the data we have reacted accordingly. Thanks to its increased durability, the new super hard compound will be ideally suited for Silverstone but tyre management will still be an important consideration. With the likes of GP3 drivers such as Tio Ellinas testing a Formula One car recently, it is becoming increasingly important to allow the drivers in our feeder series an even bigger chance to go closer to the limit. For GP2, we are bringing the hard and medium tyres – a combination we have not had in GP2 so far this year. Silverstone is a track that is quite abrasive in the parts that have not been resurfaced, and it demands a lot from the tyres, so the medium and hard compounds seemed the natural choice. We have seen a variety of strategies used this year already, and tyre management is set to play an important role once again this weekend.”
The challenge for the tyres:
The fastest and most demanding corner at Silverstone is Turn 9 (Copse), which the cars take at high speed, generating substantial lateral force. Tyre tread temperature can exceed 100 degrees centigrade at this point, making good lateral grip essential.
As well as several high-speed corners, Silverstone is often characterised by a wide variety of climatic conditions where ambient temperatures can range between 15 to 30 degrees centigrade. This could mean that the wet-weather tyres come into play once more.
Although partially resurfaced in 2011, the track surface at Silverstone can be quite abrasive, which further increases tyre wear. The tyre structure must also cope with extended periods when the cars are at top speed and full throttle simultaneously.
The race and the rules:
Every car will have five sets of dry tyres and three sets of wet weather tyres available for the GP2 race weekend.
The five sets of dry tyres comprise three sets of the harder compound (hard) and two sets of the softer compound (medium).
The drivers can use their tyre allocation in any way they like. One set of the hard compound must be returned after free practice.
Race One on Saturday is run over 170 kilometres or one hour and each driver must complete one compulsory pit stop during which a minimum of two tyres must be changed.
The grid for Race Two on Sunday is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed.
Race Two is run over 120 kilometres or 45 minutes, with no compulsory pit stops.
Every car will have three sets of dry tyres and two sets of wet weather tyres available for the GP3 race weekend. Only one compound is nominated and for Silverstone it will be the new super hard compound. The drivers can use the tyre allocation in any way they like. All the GP3 compounds carry yellow markings.
In addition to the above allocation, each team will carry over one set of tyres from the previous race. This carried over set of tyres will only be used during the free practice and will be returned to the tyre manufacturer afterwards. For Silverstone, the set carried over will be the medium compound following the stand-alone GP3 race in Valencia earlier this month.
There is one practice session, one qualifying session and two races in GP3.
Qualifying takes place at 0845 on Saturday morning followed by Race One at 1620 (which lasts 15 laps or 30 minutes). Race Two is on Sunday at 0825 (which also lasts 15 laps or 30 minutes). The grid for Race Two is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed.
Silverstone will always be fondly remembered as the host of the first ever official FIA Grand Prix back in 1950. The 5.891 kilometre circuit was opened as a World War Two airfield in 1943, and is named after a nearby village that bears the same name. Two new grandstands were opened at Silverstone last year, allowing a viewing capacity of over 120,000. Last year, Esteban Gutiérrez (Lotus) – who went on to win the Pirelli tyre management award – and Luiz Razia (Arden) were the GP2 winners at Silverstone. The GP3 winners were Antonio Felix de Costa (Carlin) and William Buller (Carlin).
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