HARD AND SOFT 18-INCH TYRES FOR FORMULA 2 AT BARCELONA, HARD TYRES FOR F3
Following back-to-back events at Silverstone, the FIA Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships move on together with Formula 1 to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The Barcelona track has similar characteristics to Silverstone with a high number of fast corners, and both championships will have the same tyre compounds available as last weekend in Britain – in the new-for-2020 18-inch size in F2 and the classic 13-inch size in F3.
• The many high-speed corners around the Barcelona circuit put considerable lateral forces through the tyres. The long Turn 3 right-hander is responsible for the greatest loads.
• Normally the Spanish Grand Prix weekend takes place in May, usually in warm temperatures. The August date in this year’s revised calendar will almost certainly make temperatures even higher on this occasion. That will make thermal degradation more of a factor in tyre management.
• Usually, both F2 and F3 conduct testing at Barcelona early in the year, but that was not possible this year. As a result, teams will go into the weekend with less data about how the tyres perform there, especially in F2 with the new 18-inch compounds introduced for this season.
The tyres and strategy
• The P Zero White hard and P Zero Red soft tyres have been nominated Formula 2 in Barcelona. This will be the third occasion this combination has been used in 2020 (after round one in Austria and round five in Britain) with a two-step gap between the compounds.
• In F2, each driver has five sets of slick tyres to use over the weekend: three hard and two soft. They also have three sets of wet-weather tyres. During race one, where there is a mandatory pit stop, both compounds have to be used unless it is declared a wet race. Pit stops are optional in race two.
• One slick tyre is nominated for each F3 round: At Barcelona, the hard tyre is nominated for the fourth time in six events so far this season. This is the same nomination used at the circuit in 2019.
• F3 drivers get three sets of the hard tyres at the start of each weekend, plus one carry-over set from the previous round (which must be returned after free practice), which this weekend will also be the hard compound as used at Silverstone. There are two sets of wet-weather tyres available as well.
What happened last year?
Nicholas Latifi, now racing in Formula 1 with Williams, won the F2 feature race after starting on the soft tyre and switching to the hard tyre at the earliest opportunity. He trailed Guanyu Zhou for much of the race, but used greater pace to make a pass for the victory before the end. Eventual champion Nyck de Vries won the sprint race, with all cars on the hard tyres. Barcelona hosted the first ever round of the new-look F3 championship with Robert Shwartzman and Jehan Daruvala – both now competing in F2 – sharing the wins.
Mario Isola, Pirelli head of car racing: “With five rounds complete, both the Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships are closely-balanced after some great racing so far. This has especially been the case in F2, with a number of different drivers coming to the fore on the new 18-inch tyres. Barcelona is a demanding circuit where tyre management is always important, and that is likely to be particularly true this year with the higher temperatures that are expected with the change of date. With an extra step between the compounds nominated for F2, we should get a continuation of the exciting wheel-to-wheel action we’ve seen between drivers on different strategies. Hard and soft is the same nomination as we made for the most recent Silverstone race, but Barcelona is very different, so it will be interesting to see the comparison. In F3, the hard tyres should again allow the drivers to race each other until the end while also needing to manage them carefully, learning important skills for the future.”