Pirelli: COTA track surface 'a question mark for everyone'

Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola says teams will kick off their US Grand Prix weekend with little information... The post Pirelli: COTA track surface 'a question mark for everyone' appeared first on F1i.com.

Pirelli: COTA track surface 'a question mark for everyone'

Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola says teams will kick off their US Grand Prix weekend with little information about COTA's resurfaced track regarding tyre wear.

Formula 1's exclusive tyre supplier has nominated for Austin the three compounds in the middle of its range - the C2 hard, C3 medium and C4 soft rubber, a selection theoretically well suited to the wide range of demands imposed by the Texan circuit.

However, since F1 last visited Austin in 2019, the Circuit of the Americas has been resurfaced, and travel restrictions due to the global pandemic prevented Pirelli's engineers from measuring the roughness of the new asphalt.

All preliminary data is therefore based on information collected in 2019, which means that teams will be heading a bit into the unknown the action begins on Friday.

"Although the teams have quite a lot of experience of Austin, this year they face a track that has changed a bit compared to 2019, when we last raced here," explained Isola.

"Around 40% of the track has been resurfaced, but due to COVID-19 restrictions we were not able to send our personnel to analyse the new asphalt, so its characteristics are a question mark for everyone and we will only discover the final effects on tyres and car performance in general when we are there.

"As usual, the tyre nomination was done based on data obtained before the race, with the compounds in the middle of the range well-suited to the circumstances.

"With the championship battle so finely poised as we enter the final few races of the season, it's clear that every element of strategy will count – as we saw at the last race in Turkey."

  • Read also: Gasly fears COTA bumps will 'complicate' F1 weekend

Lack of preliminary tyre data is perhaps a secondary concern for teams and drivers who are fearing a bumpy ride around COTA following complaints expressed earlier this month by MotoGP riders.

FIA race director Michael Masi has said that US Grand Prix organisers have undertaken grinding work to smooth out depressions in the track's surface in several areas, but only Friday's opening practice session will reveal the extent of the improvements.

Finally, the weather in Texas is often unpredictable at this time of the year, with competitors facing the risk of cool temperatures or rain in the region.

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Albon: 2022 sim work and tyre experience will benefit Williams

Alex Albon says his 2022 simulator work with Red Bull coupled with his experience of Pirelli's new 18-inch... The post Albon: 2022 sim work and tyre experience will benefit Williams appeared first on F1i.com.

Albon: 2022 sim work and tyre experience will benefit Williams

Alex Albon says his 2022 simulator work with Red Bull coupled with his experience of Pirelli's new 18-inch tyres will give him an advantage next season and benefit Williams.

Albon will return to the F1 grid next year with the British outfit after spending twelve months on the sidelines.

But the Anglo-Thai driver hasn't been inactive, as he's raced in selected DTM events and, more importantly, fulfilled his duties as Red Bull's reserve while extensively collaborating on the virtual development of the team's all-new 2022 car.

Countless hours spent in the Milton Keynes-based outfit's simulator, working on this year's and next season's designs have kept Albon attuned to F1, and he believes that the time has been well spent and will provide him and Williams with an edge in 2022.

"Yes," he answered when asked by The Race if his experience of next year's car represents an advantage.

"And with the tyres as well because Williams haven’t had the fortune of being able to test the 18-inch tyre. So hopefully I can bring that knowledge to them," he added;

"It will be important to use the knowledge I’ve gained this year and use it to help them develop the car at a quicker rate next year."

  • Read also - Albon: Marko and Red Bull 'villain roles' a misconception

In addition to the virtual experience he accumulated this year, Albon will return to the fray in 2022 armed with a few precious lessons and some valuable knowledge learned during his difficult 2020 campaign with the bulls.

"There’s definitely things I could have done differently going into this year from last year, just in terms of feedback and understanding where the performance is in the car," said Albon.

"That’s really important and something which takes time and laps to understand. Each car has its own characteristics on heavy fuel, light fuel, going into qualifying, there’s lots of things that change which I feel like with the right steps I could have extracted a better performance.

"But that’s all knowledge now that I have in the bank and I feel like I can use that for next year.

"It feels like, generally speaking last year, free practices were pretty OK, it was always just the qualifying where I struggled a little bit. I know that now and I think going into next year I can use it."

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