McLaren drivers warn tires will be key Tire degradation could play a big role in the outcome of the Turkish Grand Prix next weekend, according to McLaren's Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
The tires have been the talk of the town as their durability and wear in the first three races of the season forced several teams to rethink their strategies. You only have to look at the Chinese GP for a case in point. Hamilton won the race on a three stopper after Red Bull's decision to pit Sebastian Vettel twice saw him lose valuable time to the McLaren driver in the latter stages of the race.
Button feels strategies could have an even bigger impact in Turkey as the high-speed Istanbul Park circuit will be very demanding on the Pirelli rubber.
"After the race in China, I think there'll once again be a lot of focus on tire durability and drop-off next weekend," he said. "Looking at the track configuration, our simulations suggest that Turkey will be a critical test for the tires - particularly the front-right, which will be placed under considerable load through Turn Eight.
"It's a high-speed, multi-apex turn with a lot of loading, so I think we'll spend part of Friday monitoring the loads through the tires to make sure we can achieve a safe and achievable balance for the race before we head into qualifying on Saturday.
"I don't think it's an under-estimation to say that tire wear will probably determine every team's race strategy. It will be important to run the tire within a safe operating window, and that's likely to determine when and how often we stop during the grand prix."
His team-mate Hamilton also emphasized the importance of looking after your tires, especially at Turn Eight.
"Of course, everyone talks about Turn Eight, which is a fantastic corner, but I also love late-braking into Turns Nine and 12, because you can get the car into the corner while still carrying quite a bit of speed; and getting it right is really satisfying," he said.
"For this race, I think we'll be seeing drivers working quite hard to look after their tires throughout the race, particularly in Turn Eight, which is fast and bumpy; it's one of the most demanding corners for tires anywhere on the calendar." Planet F1