Mario Isola says information provided by Formula 1 bosses and teams have given Pirelli Motorsport an idea of the challenge ahead this weekend in The Netherlands as the Dutch Grand Prix makes its return to the calendar for the first time since 1985.
Pirelli will bring the three hardest compounds available to them this weekend at the Circuit Zandvoort, with the white-walled C1 being the hard, the yellow-walled C2 the medium and the red-walled C3 the soft. They opted for these compounds due to the forces that the tyres are expected to be put through this weekend.
Isola, the Head of F1 and Motorsport at Pirelli, says the free practice sessions this weekend will be essential for everyone to gather data about possible strategies, including the tyre manufacturer themselves as they look to work out how demanding the track will be on their tyres.
“The Dutch Grand Prix is obviously a new challenge but thanks to the data provided by Formula 1 and the teams, we have been able to come up with a tyre nomination and prescriptions that are closely aligned to what we can expect from this exciting new venue,” said Isola.
“Being a new track, the free practice sessions will also be essential when it comes to gathering real data and formulating the tyre strategy for the race. What’s for sure is that the circuit layout is going to place heavy demands on the tyres, as can be seen from the computer simulations that we have already carried out.
“We’ve already raced at Zandvoort in the GT World Challenge this year, and this too has provided us with some useful information.”
“The main problem was the lack of visibility” – Isola on Belgian Grand Prix
Formula 1 arrives in The Netherlands straight after the farcical Belgian Grand Prix, which was run for only a handful of laps behind the safety car as heavy rain curtailed the event.
Max Verstappen was declared the winner ahead of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in Belgium as the rain was unrelenting, with the FIA doing all they could to get a race in before they conceded that it was just not a possibility.
Isola admits the lack of visibility caused by the spray at Spa-Francorchamps prevented any green flag running, and he hopes this weekend’s race at Zandvoort will see better weather.
“With the rain not improving, it unfortunately wasn’t possible to have a green flag race,” said Isola. “The main problem was the lack of visibility.
“With the full wet tyres evacuating around 85 litres of water per second at 300kph, all that water has to go somewhere. The result is the spray that everyone watching could see behind the safety car, making it impossible for the drivers to see – which is obviously a dangerous situation. On a track with plenty of elevation like this one, there is also a risk of pools of water forming in certain places, which adds to the risk of aquaplaning.
“We’ll be back racing in less than a week’s time at the Dutch Grand Prix, hopefully with better weather.”