The Singapore Grand Prix marks the third appearance of the year for the P Zero Pink hypersoft tyre (after Monaco and Canada) and it’s also the fourth race of the year where there’s a ‘step’ between the tyre nominations. The hypersoft and the ultrasoft will be seen at the Marina Bay circuit, but then there’s a jump to the soft (missing out the supersoft): the first time that this particular combination has been seen. The defining characteristic of Singapore it that it’s the championship’s only night race, which of course presents some unique challenges of its own – as well as a stunning spectacle.
The Marina Bay Street Circuit from a tyre point of view:
• The night race means that the usual pattern of track and temperature evolution, typically seen in an afternoon race, isn’t followed.
• Singapore has the most corners of any track in Formula 1, 23, which means that the tyres are working constantly over the course of a long lap.
• It’s also a street circuit, which makes it very ‘green’ in the first session, and also means that teams have to cope with the usual street furniture on city tracks. The lap is anticlockwise.
• Last year’s Singapore Grand Prix was wet for the first time in the history of the race: Lewis Hamilton won the race with a one-stop strategy, going straight from intermediate to ultrasoft on lap 29.
• Singapore has a 100% safety car record, which has a big influence on strategy, and the race ofter runs to the full two-hour time limit.
• The rear-left is the most stressed tyre at Singapore, which is the second-slowest lap of the year after Monaco.
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola comments on what to expect ahead of the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix in terms of tyre management: “We have chosen the hypersoft for Singapore, which should open up a number of different possibilities for strategy, depending on the tyres chosen by each driver. By factoring in a ‘step’ in the tyre nominations, we also hope to achieve evenly-spaced gaps between the performances of the different compounds. A number of different tactical permutations are possible, also influenced by safety cars and all the other unpredictable elements that come with a street circuit. From our point of view, although the lap is quite slow, the tyres have to cope with high ambient temperatures and humidity, a very high number of corners, and the usual hazards of a street circuit such as unforgiving barriers and variable grip. The fact that the race is run at night adds an extra variable to the usual calculations as well.” – Mario Isola explained, as reported earlier today by Pirelli’s official website.
• The P Zero Pink hypersoft is seen for the first time in Singapore, meaning that the softest nomination is in effect two steps softer than last year’s equivalent (as all the 2018 compounds are all one step softer than their 2017 counterparts anyway).
• Inaugurated in 2008, the Singapore Grand Prix celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2018.
• Last year, the circuit record was broken (in qualifying by Sebastian Vettel): with the introduction of the hypersoft, expect to see that benchmark fall again this year.
• Pirelli’s 2019 development programme will continue next week, with Ferrari and Mercedes testing slick tyres on Thursday and Friday at Paul Ricard. Last week, McLaren’s Lando Norris completed 254 laps, testing wet tyres at the same venue.
Min starting pressures (slicks)
18.5 psi (front) | 17.5 psi (rear)