F1: Teams left with lots to learn about supersoft tires on Saturday

Marcus Ericsson leads a pack of cars on the soft tires during practice for the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix.

Al Staley

A lack of running in Monaco on Thursday means that Saturday will be very much a step into the unknown for the F1 teams – and all will have a lot of work to do in FP3.

The red flag early in FP2 and subsequent rain meant that nobody was able to run the supersoft tire, while the generally cooler conditions also meant that the teams still have a lot to learn about the soft, as the weekend is expected to be warmer.

Nevertheless, the early indications are that it will be a straightforward one-stop race, despite extensive resurfacing potentially changing the nature of the track.

“It’s obviously a very low impact circuit, the lowest impact circuit we’ve got all season,” said Pirelli’s Paul Hembery. “It’s really a question for the teams, wanting to know where they will have to do their changes to do a one-stop race.

“I’m sure some might try and do two if they feel they can do something with the traffic, but we feel that the surface information we got from the first session that even though there’s new asphalt it’s not had any great impact on the wear levels here.”

The likelihood is that drivers will run a series of laps in qualifying on the supersoft: “Historically that would be the case. On the soft tire we saw that wear levels were very, very low, extremely low, so we anticipate seeing something similar with the supersoft. It would be more of a case at what point they want to do the changeover [in the race], and that’s what they will be trying to find out on Saturday morning.”

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Prior to his arrival, Hembery had hoped that the resurfacing might generate thermal degradation and potentially open up multiple stop strategies.

“It doesn’t appear to be like that. I am disappointed, unfortunately. Maybe we could have a little bit of rain during the race!

“It’s very low wear and abrasion, so it will follow the format that we’ve seen in previous years. I would love to see [a repeat of] the year when we had — before that red flag — the top three cars with one on a three, one on a two, and one on a one-stop strategy. That would be the dream, but it’s not going to happen.”

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