Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli claims a two-stop strategy is set to be the only way to get to the finish of the Sakhir Grand Prix.
The penultimate round of the 2020 F1 World Championship sees a revised 2.2mile layout of the Bahrain International Circuit set a brand new challenge for the teams and drivers.
Pirelli has kept the same three C2, C3 and C4 compounds for the shortened layout of the Bahrain venue – which has never been used for any other motorsport event until this weekend.
Only the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and George Russell made it through to Q3 on the Medium tyre and therefore will take on the yellow-banded compound for the start from the front-row of the grid.
Those who did not make it through to Q3 will have a free choice of starting tyres for the 87-lap Grand Prix.
After rain had threatened last week’s event, The Sakhir Grand Prix will remain a dry affair with zero per cent chance of rain currently forecast.
Pirelli’s data currently suggest the fastest route to victory would be to run one stint on the Hard for 35 laps and two 26-lap spells on the Medium compound.
An alternative strategy will be to run two stints of 33 laps on the Hards with a 21-lap run on the red-marked Softs.
The Italian manufacturer also believes a 25-lap run on the Mediums with two 21-lap stints on the white-marked Hard tyres could be just as fast.
According to Pirelli, using a combination of all three compounds would likely result in the slowest strategy.
“It was a very open qualifying session because of the very short lap, which meant that traffic was an issue and any mistakes were magnified, with the cars being so close together,” said Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing.
“Finding a gap was crucial, and all three sessions were extremely closely-fought, which should make for an exciting race.
“The two Mercedes in first and second will be the only ones in the top 10 starting on the Yellow medium tyre, so it will be fascinating to see if they can turn that into an advantage for the Sakhir Grand Prix; especially at the start, with so many cars on the faster soft tyre immediately around them.
“All three compounds performed well, with a two-stopper set to be the quickest choice.”