Following one of the season’s most straightforward onestop races in terms of strategy, at Monza, Formula 1 now heads to one of the most complex tactical races of the year, around the illuminated streets of Singapore.
The three softest tyres in the P Zero range – soft, supersoft, and ultrasoft – have once again been brought to Singapore, just as was the case last year, ready for a 61-lap race that normally lasts close to the full two-hour limit, with more than one pit stop.
Added to this unusual challenge are the usual considerations of a non-permanent street circuit: variable levels of low grip, street furniture such as manholes and white lines, as well as a high probability of safety cars: 100% so far in the track’s nine-year history.
Circuit from a tyre point of view
With each session starting late and continuing into the night, the pattern of track temperature and track evolution is different compared to usual daytime sessions.
With 23 corners, the tyres have their work cut out; it’s one turn after another.
While it’s the circuit with the most corners of the year, it’s also the second-slowest lap after Monaco: a unique combination.
Even at night, ambient temperatures remain high, leading to some thermal degradation.
The rear left is the most stressed tyre, which will largely dictate the number of pit stops.
Two stops won the race last year, but there were several three-stoppers as well.
Mario Isola, Head of Car Racing: “Singapore is always one of the most exciting and unpredictable races of the year, in which pit stop strategy often plays a crucial role in the outcome: also because of the near certainty of a safety car at some point during the arduous two hours. Having said that, pole position has historically had a strong influence on the race win at Marina Bay, so qualifying will be crucial as well. In order to prepare, teams will have to pay particularly close attention to the free practice data as track temperature at night will evolve in quite a different way than it does at a conventional daytime race. Understanding this will be key to getting a good handle on wear and degradation rates, and so implementing an effective tyre strategy”.
Team have generally favoured the ultrasoft tyre for Singapore, with the soft and supersoft being chosen in more modest quantities.
There are no major modifications to the circuit layout and infrastructure this year.
Pirelli’s 2018 slick tyre prototype test programme continued at Paul Ricard last week, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas driving for Mercedes and fully completing the test schedule.
Pirelli claimed its first overall FIA championship title of 2017 recently, thanks to Simone Faggioli who clinched the European Hillclimb Championship on P Zero tyres.
Pirelli’s star guest at Salon Privé in the United Kingdom was former F1 driver John Watson from Northern Ireland, well-known for his overtaking prowess on street circuits.