Toro Rosso, Nurburgring, 2011

Soft tyre will be “two seconds quicker” than hard in India

2011 Indian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Toro Rosso, Nurburgring, 2011
Soft tyres are likely to be the way to go in India

The Indian Grand Prix may see some unusual strategies.

Teams are expected to find the soft tyre two seconds per lap quicker during the race.

With a long pit lane at the Buddh International Circuit, drivers may do very short stints on the hard tyres.

Pirelli are bringing soft and hard compounds to the first race at the Buddh International Circuit. However the tyre company is bringing the hard tyre as a ‘safety net’ in case the track conditions take them by surprise.

Motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “We?ve opted for a deliberately conservative nomination in selecting the hard tyre alongside the soft, simply because on a brand new circuit you are never quite sure of the exact race conditions you will encounter.”

However HRT driver Narain Karthikeyan expects drivers to favour the soft tyre: “The texture of the tarmac is exceptionally smooth compared to most circuits on the calendar, so I think that?s a plus.

“The lap time difference between the hard and soft tyres is going to be huge, maybe in excess of two seconds a lap. I?d expect the teams to use the hard as less as possible: maybe just a short final stint in the race as the benefits in lap time produced by the soft tyre should outweigh its shorter life as the track surface isn?t abrasive at all and track temperatures I think should be under 40 degrees during the weekend.”

Pirelli haven’t supplied the hard tyre since the British Grand Prix, when only one driver used it during the rain-affected race.

As drivers are required to use both tyre compounds during the race, this could lead them to doing several stints on the soft tyres followed by a short stint on hard tyres. Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa did this at the Nurburgring this year, using the harder tyres for a single lap at the end of the race.

Karthikeyan added the 600m-long pit lane will also have a bearing on race strategy: “The long pit lane will play a part in strategy as well with teams trying to get through the race with as few stops as possible.

“The layout itself is going to put tremendous energy through the tyres ?ǣ especially the banked turn ten, which is a long, multiple-apex right-hander, somewhat similar to turn eight in Turkey. The front-left will definitely experience a lot of load through there ?ǣ and there are a couple of slow speed corners that will challenge the rears on exit.”

Team will have an extra set of soft tyres to use during Friday practice.

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