Tire strategies for Abu Dhabi GP

Tire Strategies
Tire Strategies

The optimal strategy for the 55-lap Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a one-stopper, but there are several interesting variations on this theme as the pit stop window is quite wide.

There are two one-stop strategies that work almost equally well: soft for seven to 14 laps, combined with hard for 41 to 48 laps. Alternatively, medium for 10 to 18 laps, combined with hard for 37 to 45 laps.

It's then going to be down to the individual race circumstances for each driver to decide when is the best time to stop.

What's slower is a one-stopper using the soft for 18 to 22 laps followed by the medium for 33 to 37 laps. That requires a bit too much pace management (to keep the soft alive) to be consistently fast, so expect the hard to be a key ingredient for any one-stopper.

A two-stopper is about as fast on paper, but it's not going to be a favored tactic due to the problem of getting through traffic on a track where it's not particularly easy to overtake. But if anyone wanted to try it, the best way would be to do two soft stints for seven to 10 laps each, plus a hard stint of 35 to 41 laps. In the end, a two-stopper using any combination of the tires available would theoretically result in a broadly similar overall race time, if the stops are made at the right moment.

KEEP AN EYE ON

  • Falling temperatures. Track temperatures fall dramatically during the race as evening sets in: this has the effect of extending the second stint.
  • A wide pit stop window. There are many options when it comes to the timing of the pit stops, meaning that drivers can come in when it suits them best to gain an advantage. Expect the stops to be quite spread out tomorrow.
  • Traffic. It's not easy to overtake at the Yas Marina circuit, so traffic could have a big effect on the strategy and race outcome.
  • Valtteri Bottas. Unusually, a Mercedes starts at the back of the grid following a penalty for Bottas. He has one of the fastest cars out there, also with a new engine, so watch his progress.

MARIO ISOLA – HEAD OF F1 AND PIRELLI RACING

"With a wide pit stop window, tomorrow is set to be a tactical race and the strategy has already begun with the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel taking a different approach to the other frontrunners by opting for the soft tire in Q2. The medium runners should be able to go for a longer first stint, but the soft runners – making up the majority of the top 10 on the grid – should be quicker at the start. Under race conditions, the performance gap between medium and soft should be something in the region of half a second per lap. This provides an interesting mix, so it should ultimately come down to strategy to make the difference."

Tires Remaining for Race
Tires Remaining for Race


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