Pirelli: Valencia emphasis on qualifying
18 June 2012 – Although the behaviour of this year’s Pirelli tyres has resulted in much action during Grands Prix, the tyre manufacturer is sure that qualifying will still be the biggest factor at this weekend’s European Grand Prix. Although the race is staged on a street circuit, track temperatures are set to be some of the highest for the season.
“Valencia could not present a bigger contrast to the street circuits that have come before it: the track is faster and the temperatures higher, with plenty of energy going through the tyres,” explains Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery.
“What it has in common with the others is the difficulty of overtaking, which will put the emphasis on qualifying.
“We are expecting a fairly straightforward race, with either two or three-stops depending on which tactics the teams use – although one team tried a one-stopper last year as well. The weather should be consistently warm throughout the weekend, which should lead to fewer variables in terms of temperature, so there probably won’t be many big surprises to emerge.”
Valencia also marks the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona that the Super Soft compound – used in Monaco and Montreal – will not be on-track.
“We’ve used the combination of Soft (yellow markings) and Medium (white markings) more than any other line-up so far this year, as it has shown itself to be a perfect compromise between performance and durability, allowing drivers to show their speed when they need to but also benefit from longer stints in the race,” Hembery adds.
In last year’s first European Grand Prix since Pirelli returned to the sport, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull enjoyed a clean sweep of pole position, race victory and fastest lap.