Pirelli has outlined that a one-stop strategy will be the quickest approach for Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix.
Pirelli has brought the Hypersoft, Ultrasoft and Soft compounds to the Sochi Autodrom, with either of the last two mandatory for one stint of the race.
The quickest strategy is expected to be an Ultrasoft / Soft approach, with a pit stop coming after 15 of the scheduled 53 laps.
It expected a one-stop Hypersoft / Soft strategy to be “very close” in terms of race time to the aforementioned approach, with a stop coming after just nine laps.
The Mercedes and Ferrari drivers will use the Ultrasoft tyres for the first stint after safely negotiating Q2 on the purple-banded compound.
The remainder of the top 10 – the Haas, Force India and Sauber drivers – will launch on the pink-banded Hypersofts, with the other half of the field permitted free choice from the three compounds.
Pirelli has also outlined that a two-stop strategy is possible though is slower than a one-stop approach.
A Hypersoft / Soft / Soft option (seven laps before two 23-lap stints) and Ultrasoft / Soft / Soft approach (10 laps before two 21- and 22-lap stints) are the optimum two-stop strategies.
“Strategy was clearly at the forefront of qualifying,” said Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing Mario Isola.
“We’re going to see an interesting situation with the top four cars starting on the Ultrasoft tyre, immediately followed by six cars behind them starting on the faster Hypersoft.
“If you add in to this the number of cars starting out of position due to grid penalties, with a completely free choice of tyres, then we could see a big mix of strategies.
“The Ultrasoft starters can target a one-stop race, but the situation for those starting on the Hypersoft is less clear cut, even though they should be much quicker off the start line.”
A one-stop strategy has historically been the optimum approach at Sochi.