Everything is ready for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which will see Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen running together on the front row. “Tomorrow tire management will be crucial“, predicted the world champion. Thermal degradation, which has been at the heart of the team’s concerns for much of the season, takes a backseat at the Nevadan. The main limiting factor appears to be graininess, which makes that likely Racing focused on double stops. Pirelli chief engineer Simone Pira explains possible strategies for the third Grand Prix in Las Vegas.
Engineer Berra, what are the expected strategies in the race?
He added: “Compared to what we expected on the eve of the match, the teams’ performance was good Towards the use of harder compounds. Soft materials cannot be completely eliminated a priori, but they suffer more from deterioration, as well as having lower mechanical resistance to the grains. As the track is not yet in stable conditions and is not fully rubberized, soft tires will be avoided in the early part of the race. It can be an option in the second half when the track has more rubber and the grip level will be enough to reduce slip and grain. Medium and hard materials have proven to have slightly greater mechanical resistance, especially hard ones. Some teams have kept the two sets of hard tires for racing, while those who have tried them have already seen that they are more consistent, suffer less from grit and allow you to push more and manage less.”
“In theory, single stops and double stops are very close in terms of strategies, and there is not much difference. Currently, given the track conditions and high level of granularity, we expect this to be the case.” Two-stop race. In fact, many teams kept both sets of hard tires available. We think the Medium-Hard-Hard strategy is a little faster than the Medium-Hard-Medium strategy, but both are very close. We imagine the single station as being medium hard. Then there is the double stop option which also involves going soft, doing the medium-hard soft, thus reserving it for the final stint of the race. Don’t expect many spins on the soft: 10-15 passes at most. As for the remaining windows, we expect the first lap to be between laps 10 and 17, while the second is expected to be between laps 30 and 37. In the case of a single stop, the tires will be changed between laps 17 and 23, but it means doing a good intermediate stint in the first part of the race with a lot of grit.”
Since temperatures are so low and it is difficult to warm up a tire immediately, would stopping early to perform an undercut actually be beneficial?
“We expect it to be less aggressive here than at other tracks, especially when we get into the harder compounds in the second part of the race. The hard tire takes a few laps to get up to temperature and the circuit design certainly doesn’t help the tire warm up. However, the undercut is still a tool , because if the deterioration is high, having a new tire still guarantees a significant advantage. I do not rule out a priori that deterioration is not beneficial. However, this could be one of those circuits where if one rotates the tire correctly during the period, when the car stops “In front of him, he can still control it and pass.”
There is a lot of talk about pills. Is thermal degradation still a limiting factor?
“It takes more in the background. However, it is related to the grain. Having grain means loss of control, so slipping a lot and this leads to overheating. But compared to other races, the excess heat does not reach the core of the tire, but is limited to the surface part. The limiting factor is mechanical degradation, which does not allow a uniform distribution of the tire’s contact patch on the ground, affecting the level of grip.”
Does tire management mainly affect the rear axle?
“It’s not just about the rear axle. The front has to be managed differently than in other races, meaning it needs to maintain its temperature, that’s the crucial issue. With severe wear during racing, there is a risk of losing temperature, which increases the risk Close. This is especially true on the straight: on the strip, the front tire cools to 35 to 40°C, 5°C more than on the Baku straight. The temperature of the front must be maintained, while the rear must be turned in the opposite direction. It should be managed especially in the traction phases coming out of slow turns, such as 1, 3, 4, 9 and 12. We have seen many riders slip too much at those points, which leads to overheating, which generates grain which in turn leads to slip. “Self-wise, but both axes must be managed.”
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