Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli suggests a one-stop strategy is set to be the fastest way to complete the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The final round of the 2020 F1 season sees another return to the 3.45-mile Yas Marina Circuit for the 12th time in the history of the World Championship.
Pirelli has brought the three softest compounds, its C3s, C4s and C5s, to the circuit, the same compounds that were used in the 2019 event.
Both Mercedes drivers, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc made it into Q3 on the Medium tyre, and therefore will take on the yellow-banded compound for the start of the race.
Those who did not make it through to Q3 will have a free choice of starting tyres for the 55-lap Grand Prix.
That includes Esteban Ocon, who will start from inside the top 10 on account of Leclerc’s three-place penalty, which will demote the Ferrari driver to 12th.
The forecast indicates that dry conditions will prevail with temperatures just dipping below 20c for the twilight event.
Pirelli’s data currently suggest the fastest route to victory would be to start on the Medium tyre and go for 18 laps before switching over to the Hard tyres to go to the end of the race.
An alternative, slightly slower, strategy will be to begin the race on the Soft tyre, then swap to the Hards on lap 14 for the remaining 41 laps.
The Italian company also believes a two-stop is possible, however, is not ideal due to the time loss in the pit lane. Should a team decide to go down this route, the suggestion is to run two stints of 12 laps each on the red-marked Softs, with 31 laps on the Hard compounds.
“Qualifying is always a very important part of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with more than half the races held here having been won from pole,” said Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing.
“The Medium yellow tyre is a very interesting compound to start the race on, with five of the top 10 qualifiers in Q2 setting their best times with this compound and four more trying to.
“We have noticed less improvement in terms of lap times in comparison to last year, perhaps also because of the absence of Formula 2 and Formula 3 support races, which means less rubber left on the track.
“But with the top three all starting on the Medium and some very fast cars on the Soft right behind them, we’re set for a tactically intriguing race: especially at the start.”