A avenue circuit often favours observe place, and the most recent one on the calendar is not any completely different, so we check out what which means for the completely different strategic choices which might be out there to the groups forward of immediately’s inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
What are the possible methods for the frontrunners?
It is a fairly easy equation for a lot of the vehicles on the entrance, with the medium compound the beginning tyre and a one-stop technique the purpose.
By beginning on the medium tyre, the groups have opened up extra flexibility for his or her first stint, with a really perfect pit window of between Lap 21 and 26 earlier than switching to the arduous tyre and going to the tip of the race. The flexibleness comes on account of the arduous being predicted to have the ability to do greater than that distance, so if there’s an incident that necessitates a cease after Lap 15, we might nicely see the hards placed on at that early stage.
And an incident might nicely be possible on the road circuit, the place the probabilities of a Security Automobile are increased. Now we have no historic information for an F1 race in Jeddah, however Saturday’s two F2 races each required Security Automobile interventions.
Whereas an early Security Automobile may make the arduous stint an extended one, the frontrunners all have a second set of mediums tyres (or a set of softs) out there to make use of on the finish of the race if there is a late interruption that gives a free pit cease.
How about the remainder of the highest 10?
Solely Lando Norris undoubtedly has to do one thing completely different out of the highest 10, as he was the one driver to reach Q3 on the soft compound, and due to this fact begins on that set. Norris wanted the softs to make sure of a spot within the high 10, however the draw back is he would not have the pliability that the vehicles round him have for his first stint.
Norris might want to do some tyre administration to attempt to make his softs final till round Lap 17, when he might purpose for a one-stop technique switching to the arduous compound. He ought to get a little bit of a achieve off the road that might assist his observe place, however his first stint tempo might take a success.
A special technique Norris does have open to him – though it is unlikely – is soft-medium-medium, as he has two units of medium tyres left for the race. The 2-stop just isn’t prone to be the preliminary plan for anybody as they prioritise observe place, however Norris might additionally go soft-hard-medium if there’s an early Security Automobile, profiting from the possibility to eliminate his tender tyres on the first likelihood.
What are the choices for the underside half of the sphere?
The medium tyre remains to be prone to be the popular beginning compound even for these exterior the highest 10, due to the pliability talked about above. Groups with a free selection of tyres typically wish to do one thing completely different from these forward, particularly the place overtaking is tough, with a view to attempt to achieve observe place by means of technique. However the tender requires an excessive amount of tempo administration on excessive gas, and the warm-up on the arduous tyre would make the primary few laps tough for anybody within the pack.
The likes of Aston Martin may nicely take into account the arduous tyre to start out on, nonetheless, as a result of they’ve little to lose and probably lots to achieve. The opening couple of laps could be powerful however as soon as the tyre will get as much as temperature it’s a very constant compound to run on, and each Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll – seventeenth and 18th respectively – have little or no observe place to lose at the beginning.
The consistency and longevity of the arduous would allow them to run lengthy and achieve positions as different drivers must make pit stops earlier than them, plus any surprises when it comes to tyre life could be more cost effective as they’d be planning to make a pit cease anyway, whereas these operating the hards to the tip could be determined to keep away from a second cease.
That is an necessary consideration given the dearth of lengthy operating that now takes place on a Friday, which suggests the longest stint seen on the arduous tyre up to now is nineteen laps, and something past that’s an informed guess.
With each driver having two units of mediums out there as nicely, an early Security Automobile might see the hards ditched on the first likelihood to run two stints on mediums – of round 20-25 laps every – and the necessity to run two compounds efficiently achieved.
Wait, however what’s the climate doing?
A bit like Qatar, there aren’t any surprises in terms of the climate. Jeddah has seen notably constant circumstances all through the race weekend up to now, notably in terms of the solar taking place. The temperature has not dropped considerably between operating in sunshine or operating beneath floodlights, with air temperature nonetheless remaining above 30C.
Which means the observe temperature stays fairly excessive, and drivers do must be cautious of sliding that might result in overheating. One distinctive side of the Jeddah observe are the lengthy sweeping sections that embrace two DRS zones, with solely the pit straight an precise straight.
Ought to a following automotive lose downforce even in these areas, the tyres can slide barely and that can trigger the floor to overheat, requiring them to drop again to search out clear air.