Wednesday, 31 October 2012 14:17

Pirelli Ready For Circuit of the Americas

Pirelli’s simulation work using data obtained from a visit to the track during its construction means that the Italian firm is well prepared for Formula One’s first race at the Circuit of the Americas, which will be officially opened this weekend.

 

The Texas circuit will host the United States Grand Prix from November 16-18 this year. Last season, practically every circuit was new to Pirelli but this year there are only two: Hockenheim in Germany and the Circuit of the Americas. Bahrain was also a new experience for Pirelli in competition, but the Italian firm had tested there in the past with plenty of information to fall back on.

Circuit of the Americas in Austin is the most complex new track of the year for Pirelli, as it has never been raced on before. Understanding the nature of a new surface is always complicated, particularly when there is no previous data.

To prepare for the inaugural grand prix, two of Pirelli’s engineers inspected the Circuit of the Americas while it was being built over the summer, looking at the track surface and layout in detail.

They brought with them sophisticated laser measuring equipment in order to assess the abrasiveness of the circuit by examining closely the spacing and shape of the stones that make up the aggregate. Several readings were taken from the machine, in order to ensure an accurate representation. Using these readings a virtual representation of the track from the tyre’s point of view can be created on computer.

Together with some asphalt samples from the new venue, this allowed Pirelli to calculate the likely wear rate and the effect of the asphalt and ambient temperatures on the tyres at different points on the circuit.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “There’s no doubt that preparing for a circuit that is completely new is more difficult than going to one of the established venues. However, we now feel fully ready for this magnificent track, where we will bring the P Zero Silver hard and P Zero White medium tyres. The technology and know-how that we have at our disposal means that we can forecast some very accurate predictions without actually having raced at a circuit these days, thanks to the preparation work from our engineers.”

Circuit of the Americas president Steve Sexton concluded: “The sophisticated technology that Pirelli is known for has allowed them to be a market leader. Their analysis of our brand new track can help provide race strategy predictions that should assist drivers and teams toward achieving success at our circuit. We look forward to their continued work at Circuit of the Americas.”

Pirelli has named the tyre compounds it will supply to the teams for the final three races of the season.

In Abu Dhabi, the soft and medium tyres will be available to the teams who have had extensive track time at the Yas Marina circuit due to the Young Driver Test days. Track temperatures are also relatively low during the grand prix in Abu Dhabi as darkness falls until the race's finish under the floodlights.

For the United States Grand Prix the medium and hard compounds have been nominated. Pirelli admits that it has taken a relatively conservative approach to its first race at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, with its engineers saying they expect "significant energy loads" to be put through the tyres.

The season finale at Interlagos will also see the medium and hard compounds supplied. On the three previous occasions that Pirelli has selected the medium and hard tyres this season - in Malaysia, Belgium and Italy - a McLaren has taken pole position, winning two of the races.

Last modified on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 14:27
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