Pirelli expects Istanbul energy loads to challenge tyres

Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola says Istanbul Park’s high energy loads will submit tyres to a maximum level of stress at this weekend’s Turkish GP.

Formula 1 returns to the Western Asian country for the first time since 2011. Pirelli has extensive knowledge of the Istanbul Park venue, one of Hermann Tilke’s finest designs, but not of the circuit’s new asphalt.

That unknown coupled with the 5.33km circuit’s challenging characteristics decided Pirelli to supply to teams the three hardest compounds in its range – C1, C2 and C3.

Like in Portugal, drivers will all get seven sets of soft, three sets of medium, and three sets of hard. Compared to the usual allocation, drivers will therefore receive an extra set of the C3 hards to help them contend with the track’s high traction, downforce and lateral forces.

“Turkey is yet another new venue on this fascinating 2020 Formula 1 calendar, and although it’s a place that we’ve been to before, to all intents and purposes we can consider it as a brand new circuit for us: especially as we don’t have experience of the new asphalt,” Isola explained.

“For tyres, we expect Turkey to be a challenge in terms of energy loads, which is why we have shifted the allocations towards the harder compounds – just as we did in Portimao, even though the new asphalt might be less severe than we were expecting.

“As has often been the case this year, the information gathered in free practice will be absolutely crucial, in terms of assessing not only degradation, but especially wear on such a demanding layout.”

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One of Istanbul Park’s main features is its famous and demanding multiple apex Turn 8 left-hander that will put a huge amount of energy through the tyres.

Isola reckons the long fast sweep will now be taken flat out by F&’s drivers.

“Of course, no mention of Istanbul Park would be complete without talking about Turn 8: which this year will probably be taken flat-out by the latest generation of high-downforce Formula 1 cars, increasing the loads on the tyres accordingly,” said the Italian.

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“It’s not going to be an easy race for them, so finding the right level of tyre management will be critical.”

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