Pirelli: COTA offers teams plenty of possibilities

© XPB 

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said that he is looking forward to seeing what variety of race strategies the teams come up with this week in the United States Grand Prix.

The tyre provider bringing P Zero White (medium) and P Zero yellow (soft) tyres to the Circuit of the Americas, well known for its spectacular elevation changes of up to 40 metres and its uphill run to the distinctive turn 1 hairpin.

"It’s a track that contains a bit of everything in terms of what it asks from the tyres, so we’ve brought the soft and medium compounds, which are versatile enough to cope with a wide range of demands and weather conditions," said Hembery, adding that he expected a performance difference of around eight tenths of a second between the two available compounds.

"The track configuration and tyre choice offer plenty of opportunities for overtaking and strategy, with a reasonably short pit lane time loss too.

"We could be on for quite an unpredictable race, which is what people want to see. It’s rarely an open and shut competition, as we saw from the wide variety of strategies used last year."

Last year, Lewis Hamilton won for Mercedes from second on the grid with a two-stop strategy when in previous years the winning strategy in Austin had routinely been a one-stopper

Adding to the excitement of the weekend is the possibility that Hamilton could well clinch his third world championship in Austin on Sunday.

"With the driver’s championship entering a decisive phase there’s obviously going to be a lot of attention on the race, and we can think of no better place to showcase Formula One," said Hembery.

"The United States always offers us a very warm welcome and a fantastic race weekend," he added. "America is a crucial market for us so it’s very important for us to have a race there."

The track contains an big variety of corners, which incorporate some of the best elements from other circuits, making it a wide-ranging challenge that tests every aspect of tyre performance.

In total there are 20 distinctly styled corners, including the tricky uphill braking area for the unusual turn one at the highest point of the track, giving the anticlockwise circuit a very different feel from the norm.

The track limits are deliberately wide at the corners, in order to encourage different lines and provide opportunities for overtaking. There are three long straights that tend to cool down the tyres, making the braking areas critical, as tyre temperature will have dropped slightly which affects the turn-in into fast corners, as the compound has to get back up to temperature very quickly.

In the past, track temperatures at Austin have varied from 18 to 37 degrees centigrade within one day, making tyre temperature management a vital skill.

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