Final tyre allocations good for McLaren?

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

McLaren struggled with the super soft tyres at Interlagos in 2007
McLaren struggled with the super soft tyres at Interlagos in 2007

Last week Ferrari suggested the harder tyres Bridgestone have brought to some races have played into McLaren’s hands.

If that is what’s going on the red team are likely to be disappointed by the tyre allocations for the final race of the season where Bridgestone again are bringing a harder set of tyres than last year. Is this more good news for McLaren?

Bridgestone has announced it will take its medium and soft compound tyres to the season finale at Interlagos.

Last year it brought its soft and super-soft compounds to the circuit. But McLaren in particular ran into problems with tyre wear with the super-soft tyres on the newly-resurfaced track.

Bridgestone has previusly confirmed it is also bringing harder tyres to the Belgian and Italian rounds. The McLaren is known for being particularly hard on its tyres and that is especially true of Hamilton. So, on the face of it, Bridgestone bringing harder tyres to the races is good news for the team.

However the Hungarian Grand Prix demonstrated that track temperature has as big a role to play in the balance of power between McLaren and Ferrari.

Bridgestone’s Hirohide Hamashima explained what happened at Hungary, where McLaren excelled early in practice but Ferrari thrived as temperatures increased at the track:

Basically the Ferrari has more of a tendency to understeer than the McLaren. The McLaren is a little bit oversteery. When the tyre has good grip, the car with the oversteer tendency will be quicker over a single lap than a neutral or understeering car.

But when you think about racing conditions – especially with the temperatures we had at the Hungaroring ?ǣ then an oversteering car will have heat generating at the rear much higher than the understeering car.

Looking at Hungary and Hamilton’s car behaviour, after a few laps he struggled with oversteer – so he was making lots of counter-steering movements. On the other hand the Ferrari had a good balance after a few laps. That’s why the temperature is making a difference.

The tyre allocations for the final races are as follows:

Race Prime tyre Option tyre (white stripe)
European Grand Prix, Circuito Urbano Valencia (street circuit) Soft Super-soft
Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps Hard Medium
Italain Grand Prix, Monza Hard Medium
Singapore Grand Prix, Singapore (street circuit) Soft Super-soft
Japanese Grand Prix, Fuj Speedway Medium Soft
Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai International Circuit Hard Medium
Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos Medium Soft