Following Monza, where the two hardest compounds of the Pirelli F1 range were nominated, Formula One now heads to Singapore where the two softest compounds in the range will be present: P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft.
Singapore is a street circuit, but a highly unusual one. The race is run entirely by night, which means that track and temperature evolutions are somewhat different to the normal course of a grand prix weekend. Nonetheless, ambient temperatures are still generally high, which along with the enclosed nature of the track in the heart of the city, means that this is one of the most physically demanding tracks of the year for the drivers.
Traction and braking are the key elements to the Marina Bay street circuit, and there is also a bumpy surface, which makes finding consistent traction all the more difficult. As well as that, there is the usual street furniture including painted white lines and manhole covers that can catch drivers out and provide an extra hazard for the tyres. Singapore has more corners than any other track on the F1 calendar, creating yet more work for the tyres.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: "It's always a great pleasure for us to come to Singapore, which has consistently proved itself to be one of the most spectacular races of the year. Racing under the lights in such a vibrant city provides an amazing atmosphere that showcases Formula One at its very best. The unique nature of the race at night obviously has an impact on the tyres, and we’ve selected the two softest tyres in the range for their rapid warm-up and high levels of mechanical grip: vital characteristics on a street circuit. This is actually a step softer than last year, when we nominated the medium and supersoft, so we should see some interesting tyre strategies with teams taking full advantage of the performance on offer. There's traditionally quite a high incidence of safety cars, so every strategy has to be flexible enough to bear this eventuality in mind as well. With the championship seemingly getting closer, all the signs suggest that we're in for an exciting and unpredictable race."
Jean Alesi, Pirelli consultant: "I've never actually raced in Singapore but my impression is that it's a bit like Monaco, with its capacity to transform a simple mistake into an absolute disaster, given how little run-off there is. Here you also have to add in the high ambient temperatures and high humidity, plus the fact that you are racing at night while keeping to a European timetable. So it's easy to see how physically fatiguing the race can be for the drivers. From a technical point of view, the most important aspect is to have a car with the best traction possible. Consequently it's important to look after the rear tyres, otherwise you lose a lot of time coming out of the corners (which are nearly all slow corners in Singapore). This can really compromise your race if you are not careful."