Pirelli explains how it prepares for new F1 venues

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Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery took the opportunity of the recent Autosport show to detail the process through which the tyre manufacturer goes to pick the right compounds for F1's new circuits.

For each event, the Italian company needs to nominate three compounds several weeks ahead of time. However, Pirelli, which has been the sole supplier since 2011, cannot always base its choice on previous seasons, as highlighted by this year’s inaugural Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

To that end, it will thus follow the same procedure as when preparing for the latest additions or returns to the F1 calendar, which include Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, Austria’s Red Bull Ring, Russia’s Sochi Autodrom, and Mexico’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“We send a team out there, we do a lot of measurements of the surface itself,” Hembery said at the AIS. “We take laser measurements of the surface, we take mouldings. To simplify, it’s like putting play dough down and taking a plaster mould of the surface.

“We then take that back and input it in our model, which is based on an average Formula One car performance. Then we have the second layer, so we know the forces being generated and we have a temperature model that simulates the absolute performance, the wear life and degradation map.”

Pirelli’s tyre selection can vary over the years though, with the Milan-based firm usually going for a conservative approach ahead of a new grand prix. For instance, Pirelli went one step softer in his nomination for last year’s Russian Grand Prix after noticing it had been too cautious for the inaugural 2014 event in Sochi.

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