The Turkish Grand Prix returns for the 2021 season and Pirelli have announced that they will bring tyres that are one step softer than in last year’s race at Istanbul Park.
Formula 1’s second visit to Turkey in two years comes after the Turkish GP’s nine-year absence from the F1 calendar. Last year, Lewis Hamilton clinched his seventh title in Turkey; this year he’s just two points ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as the two battle for the 2021 title.
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Pirelli have allocated C2 (hard, x2 sets), C3 (medium, x3 sets) and C4 (soft, x8 sets) compounds for the race weekend on October 8-10, which is one stop softer than it was in last year’s November race at Istanbul. Pirelli cited a wealth of data compared to 2020, and better surface grip as the track has been cleaned with a high-pressure water jet – with higher temperatures expected this October compared to last November.
“Turkey was one of the most dramatic and unpredictable races of last season, mostly due to a very slippery track as a consequence of low grip from the new asphalt. The slipperiness of the circuit, exacerbated by the rain, caught many people by surprise, and that’s why this year we’ve opted for a softer tyre nomination, also with the race taking place more than a month earlier, which should result in higher temperatures,” said Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing, Mario Isola.
“Following our tyre nomination, the track has undergone a high-pressure water cleaning process, which should lead to greater roughness and more grip, so there’s also the possibility that with softer compounds we will face higher wear levels compared to last year.
“That’s something we will only find out when we get there, so the work done in free practice will be very useful. Because everything was so new last year, we took the conservative option of coming with the hardest tyres. Going a step softer this weekend will probably open up the possibility of a few different strategies as well.”
The weather is another factor this season as last year’s race was hit by rain, limiting teams’ knowledge of the slick tyres’ behaviour in Turkey. This year, rain is expected to strike again, at least for qualifying day…
For more information about Pirelli’s Formula 1 tyres, visit pirelli.com.