Pirelli’s fake new F1 tyre leaves fans praying for rain in Canada

The Gilles Villeneuve circuit is not known for being a classical flowing race track. In fact it has been described as F1’s version of a go-kart track due to its stop start nature which in fact is something Lewis Hamilton likes about the place.

“Montreal has always been a good track for me”, says the world champion, “so hopefully I’m able to shine like I did the first time I went there in that great city atmosphere.”

You could argue Hamilton has performed better in Montreal than at any other of the established venues having won the race 4 times in 8 attempts, retired on 3 occasions and made the third step of the podium the other time. Second only to Schumacher in terms of wins in Montreal, Hamilton surprisingly has yet to win back to back victories on the Ile de Notre dame.

During the Pirelli era, dry races in Montreal have generally been two stop affairs, though in 2015 Pirelli were heavily criticised for delivering a predominantly one stop race strategy despite nominating their two softest compounds available for the GP weekend.

This year Pirelli have nominated their three softest tyre compounds for the upcoming Canadian GP and whilst most teams have elected to take more of the new ultra-soft tyre than any other compound, there is a high probability even a dry race may again be a one stop affair.

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Last time out in Monaco, Lewis Hamilton completed a one stop race which included a final stint of 47 laps on Pirelli’s new ultra-soft tyre. This new compound was supposed to be short in range yet Lewis completed more than half race distance on his set of ultra soft tyres. Hamilton joked that Pirelli’s new ultra-soft tyre was in fact “a super-soft with purple paint”.

The Montreal circuit, like Monaco, is low grip and early simulations suggest a top ten starter would be capable of beginning the race on an ultra-soft tyre and completing over 30 laps. The predicted cold temperatures make the degradation of tyres even less likely and the teams had their first taste of what was ahead this weekend as they awoke this morning to a temperature of 8 degrees Celsius and rain.

Rain may well be the best hope for an interesting race at the 2016 Canadian GP, because even if the Pirelli ultra-soft tyres aren’t capable of delivering a one stop race, drivers could elect to do as Daniel Ricciardo did in Monaco and run the super soft tyre in Q2 and then the Ultra-Soft in Q3 for grid position alone.

On the upside, the Gilles Villeneuve circuit is statistically the least important pole of the season, with just a third of races since 2000 being won from the front of the starting grid. So even if Hamilton claims top spot on Saturday and his fifth consecutive front row start in Canada, the probability of another win for the world champion is just over 30%.

If Pirelli do fail us again then another statistic may spice things up on Sunday. The likelihood of a safety car in Montreal is 60% and this combined with one of the shortest pit stops on the calendar will see some teams gamble on a strategy change should Bernd Mylander and his Mercedes GT S be called into action. William Hill are offering 1/3 on a safety car along with some other interesting bets such as Joylon Palmer being the favourite to retire first – Jonathan will be displeased.

William Hill Canadian GP bets on offer

The likelihood of Mercedes again suffering brake failure difficulties in Montreal has receded with the cold weather forecast, and the driver the bookies believe to have the best chance of beating Lewis and Nico to the top step of the podium is Daniel Riciardo. Poor, poor Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel.

8 responses to “Pirelli’s fake new F1 tyre leaves fans praying for rain in Canada

  1. Is it true that the Ultra Soft’s have a higher optimum working temperature than the Super Softs and Softs? I seem to remember one of the commentators mentioning this at Monaco, and we saw Hamilton’s troubles getting them up to temp.
    If it’s a cold sunday that could cause some issues for the teams that haven’t chosen many super’s (Renault, Haas, Merc and the Red Bullies).

    • Google F1 tyres catalogue Pirelli for tyres optimum working range.
      The Canadian GP has only the 10th highest average speed, and most of the corners are low to medium speed, the tyres in Canada are not especially heavily loaded through the turns, and the track surface itself is not abrasive, the teams have traditionally not needed a tyre with a particular stiff construction in Canada, in fact Montreal has been one of the easiest races in terms of tyre wear, it’s usually been far harder to deal with brake wear and fuel management than tyres.

      • Thanks for that info salvuborg! The tyre info seem more in line with what you would naturally assume (harder compounds handling higher temps), so maybe Hamilton’s issues getting the tyre into working range were more of a car/setup thing… I guess the main reference point for comparison was Ricciardo’s Red Bull, which seems to have really great downforce, maybe helping it get heat into the tyres quicker.. Anyway we will surely get our answer on sunday, as the forecast temps are low and there should be plenty of cars starting on the ultras!
        Despite Pirelli’s stats, I’m still not 100% convinced.

      • Also, found some interesting words from Grosjean, in a article title “Cool Canada giving Formula 1 drivers tyre headaches”:
        ‘Asked about the strategy of having elected to focus on the ultrasofts, Grosjean said: “On paper they are lower working range and quicker warm up, but it was the opposite in Monaco – which doesn’t make us smile too much here.’

  2. Bring back the days of 4 stop races in Canada ! Those made for some very entertaining racing. A 1 stop borefest will have me changing channel to the football I think..

  3. Further to the tyre temperature information requested. ideal operating temperature window (in C*) of each compound.
    Hard. high working range 105-135
    Medium low working rang 90-120
    Soft high working range 100-125
    Super soft. low working rang 85-115
    Ultra soft. low working rang 85-115

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