Pirelli Motorsport will go somewhat into the unknown this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas after being unable to do their usual pre-race analysis of a new track surface due to COVID-19 restrictions in the United States of America.
Formula 1 has not visited the track since 2019 having been forced to cancel the race last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and since they last raced there, around forty percent of the track surface has been resurfaced in a bid to reduce the bumpiness of the venue.
Usually, Pirelli would send a team to analyze the new surface but in 2021 this was not possible, so they will do most of their learning this weekend alongside the teams.
“Although the teams have quite a lot of experience of Austin, this year they face a track that has changed a bit compared to 2019, when we last raced here,” said Isola, the Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli.
“Around 40% of the track has been resurfaced but due to COVID-19 restrictions we were not able to send our personnel to analyze the new asphalt, so its characteristics are a question mark for everyone, and we will only discover the final effects on tires and car performance in general when we are there.
Isola says strategy will play an integral part in the battle for the World Championships this season, and both the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Red Bull Racing will need to get the best use out of the C2, C3 and C4 compounds Pirelli will bring to the Circuit of the Americas this weekend.
“As usual, the tire nomination was done based on data obtained before the race, with the compounds in the middle of the range well-suited to the circumstances,” declared Isola.
“With the championship battle so finely poised as we enter the final few races of the season, it’s clear that every element of strategy will count – as we saw at the last race in Turkey.”