2011 Canadian Grand Prix Pirelli’s PZero Red Supersoft back in action

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What’s the story?

Pirelli’s new supersoft tire made a thrilling debut in Monaco and now the same two nominations return for the Canadian Grand Prix: the PZero Red supersoft tire and the harder PZero Yellow tire.

Like Monaco, Canada is a semi-permanent facility but the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is faster with a low-grip surface: two parameters that have a far-reaching effect on tire wear. There are also areas of heavy braking and maximum traction, which are also important parameters when it comes to tire behavior.

Consequently long stints of more than 50 laps on the PZero tires, as seen in Monaco, are unlikely and instead there will be a return to wheel-to-wheel sprint racing.

Tire wear is a critical factor at the Montreal circuit, traditionally making Canada one of the most entertaining races of the year. Since its inauguration in 1978, the track has undergone a number of changes, notably some resurfacing before last year’s grand prix and the addition of some new and higher curbs in 2005: both of which influence the way that the tires behave.

With the track hosting only two major races per season – Formula One and NASCAR – there is a marked evolution in terms of grip over the course of the weekend as more rubber gets laid down on the surface.

On Friday, drivers will be given two additional sets of Pirelli’s new medium compound slicks to evaluate for the future during the two free practice sessions.

Pirelli’s motorsport director says:

Paul Hembery: “Monaco was a fantastic race, with three drivers battling closely for the win even though they were using three very different strategies. From the data we can see that Sebastian Vettel’s tires would have gone the distance if he had continued to drive on them in the same way that he had been doing up to the red flag period. This means that he could have covered 62 laps, the equivalent of more than 200 kilometers, on the PZero Yellow soft tire, with an extremely close finish. The characteristics of Canada mean that we’re unlikely to see a one-stop strategy this weekend, but we’re hoping that the racing will be just as close and that the opportunities for overtaking will give teams even more possibilities than Monaco in terms of race strategy. The pure performance of the PZero tyres was demonstrated by the fact that we were able to set the fastest-ever qualifying lap of Monaco, adding to our record of success, which now includes more than 50 grand prix wins throughout our time in Formula One.”

The men behind the steering wheel say:

Rubens Barrichello (Williams): “The Montreal circuit can be hard on tires because the cars run on low downforce and the tarmac is quite low grip. The track has some change of direction, is very hard on brakes and has two hairpins that make good traction very important. Turn One, for example, is a corner that you carry a lot of speed into and then you brake hard into the hairpin in first gear. The minimum speed is low but traction is hard on tires. There are a lot of hard braking areas throughout the lap. I love the circuit and racing there is always good. I look forward to racing on the Pirelli PZero tires in Canada.”

Technical notes and tire choices so far:

Canada is one of the most complex tracks of the year to predict due to its wide variety of grip levels and inconsistent surfaces. This results in a high and sometimes uneven amount of tire wear, putting the accent firmly on durability and strategy.

Michael Schumacher has dominated the Canadian Grand Prix in the past, winning seven races in Montreal. The next most successful driver in Canada who is currently competing is Lewis Hamilton, with two wins. It was also where the McLaren driver took his first pole and first win.

Last year there were 61 pit stops in Canada, working out at an average of 2.5 per car.

The tire choices so far:

 

PZero Red

PZero Yellow

PZero White

PZero Silver

Australia

 

Soft

 

Hard

Malaysia

 

Soft

 

Hard

China

 

Soft

 

Hard

Turkey

 

Soft

 

Hard

Spain

 

Soft

 

Hard

Monaco

Supersoft

Soft

   

Canada

Supersoft

Soft



 

 

Pirelli in Canada:

Pirelli has been present in Canada for a number of years, but the Italian company only has one manufacturing facility in North America. Appropriately enough this is in Rome – but Rome, Georgia.

Pirelli won the Canadian Grand Prix in 1991 with Nelson Piquet in a Benetton-Ford, from eighth on the grid. It was the Italian company’s last win in its previous era of Formula One and Piquet’s second victory with Pirelli.

Due to the cold winters in the Quebec region (where the grand prix is held) in particular, some of Pirelli’s best-selling tires in Canada include the Sottozero range. These include the Winter Carving Edge, a studdable tire for Canada that was developed and tested in the Arctic for maximum control and stability.

 

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