Connect with us

2015 F1

2015 Malaysian GP preview: The biggest challenges for the tyres



The Malaysian Grand Prix: an abrasive surface with high heat and humidity makes this race a true test for drivers, cars and tyres. Nearly every afternoon there is an intense downpour, making it likely to see the Cinturato tyres in competitive action for the first time this year.

The biggest challenges for the tyres:

Malaysia has got everything it takes to make life difficult for tyres: fast corners with big lateral loads, rough asphalt, high ambient temperatures and a bumpy surface (as the track was originally built on a swamp). As a result, both mechanical and thermal degradation are important factors. The cars tend to run high downforce in Malaysia, adding vertical forces to the varied demands faced by the tyres.

Because it rains almost on a daily basis in Sepang, the rubber laid down on the circuit tends to get washed away between each session. This makes the pattern of track evolution quite hard to predict, and also increases the risk of race stoppages and safety cars (the Malaysian Grand Prix has been halted early on more than one occasion). Drainage is a problem, leading to pools of standing water.

If it does rain during the race, judging the crossover point could make the difference between winning and losing. This is the point at which it becomes faster to switch from one type of tyre to another. With very little wet running so far this year, teams will prioritise gathering information on crossover points if it rains during free practice: data that could be crucial for the race.

The most stressed tyre in Malaysia is the front-left, so this is the one that the drivers will have to watch: especially at the beginning of the race when the cars are fuel-heavy and it is easy to lock up and take life out of the tyres.

Last year’s strategy and how the race was won: The top two finishers in Malaysia last year (Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg) used exactly the same three-stop strategy: three stints on the medium tyre followed by a short stint on the hard tyre at the end. They fought closely for the lead, with tyre strategy proving crucial to their battle, while the highest-placed two-stopper was Nico Hulkenberg in fifth. The race lasts 56 laps.

Expected performance gap between the two compounds

1.0-1.2 seconds per lap.

Expected weather conditions for the race

Temperatures between 24 and 34 degrees centigrade and 80% humidity, with a high risk of heavy rainfall during the late afternoon.


Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“The Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago confirmed what we saw in testing: lap times that are two seconds or more faster this year compared to last year, in every session. This exponentially increases the workload on the tyres: something that will be particularly in evidence at Sepang, which has some of the most abrasive asphalt we race on all year and a number of fast corners that take a lot of energy out of the tyres, as well as high ambient temperatures. For all these reasons, we have chosen the two hardest tyres in our range this weekend: P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium, as has always been the case in Malaysia since we returned to Formula One in 2011. We should see a return to at least two stops per car in Malaysia – perhaps more if the weather gets in the way ­– after an early safety car meant that unusually most drivers stopped only once in Australia. Wear and degradation is traditionally very high in Sepang, so managing the tyres and the strategy carefully will be key to success.”

The Pirelli team choose their race numbers: #27, Mario Isola (Pirelli racing manager)

“I would choose 27, as it was Gilles Villeneuve’s number when I was first getting into Formula One, at the end of 1980 when I was 11 years old. And from then on, I was constantly badgering my father about racing, until he gave in and bought me a kart, which I raced with number 27. Since then 27 has always been my lucky number.”


Latest Results

Latest F1 News

2018 F14 hours ago

Hamilton escapes race ban penalty for pit entry incident

Lewis Hamilton has escaped a race ban penalty following the investigation by race stewards at Hockenheim summoned him over a...

2018 F16 hours ago

Hamilton’s German GP victory under threat

Lewis Hamilton’s German Grand Prix victory is under investigation following the race stewards at Hockenheim summoned him over a possible...

2018 F16 hours ago

Hamilton wins German GP from 14th as Vettel crashes out

Lewis Hamilton started from 14th on the grid to a 66th F1 career victory, and back into the lead of...

2018 F112 hours ago

Mercedes’ paranoia: Blame and Acceptance

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have had some interesting remarks about Ferrari, after the latter’s spurt in performance at the German...

2018 F112 hours ago

F1 shocked as Ferrari president departs

The F1 paddock at Hockenheim is shocked that Ferrari’s president Sergio Marchionne has suddenly departed the team and formula one....

2018 F112 hours ago

Starting Grid: German Grand Prix

The local hero, Sebastian Vettel took his 55th F1 career pole position in front of his home crowd at Hockenheimring...

2018 F113 hours ago

Alonso says he will leave F1 before 2021

Fernando Alonso says he will not be in formula one in 2021. At Hockenheim, the paddock is abuzz with news...

2018 F114 hours ago

Wolff admits Mercedes falling behind Ferrari engine power

Mercedes has admitted it is falling clearly behind Ferrari in engine power. Lewis Hamilton’s main problem in Hockenheim qualifying was...

2018 F11 day ago

Qualifying Analysis: 2018 F1 German Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel smashed the track record, to claim his maiden pole at the Hockenheim circuit, which is a half an...

2018 F11 day ago

Ferrari can get first place tomorrow – Vettel

Ferrari qualified in pole position for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix, courtesy of Sebastian Vettel. His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen will start...

Most Popular is not affiliated with Formula 1, Formula One Management, Formula One Administration, Formula One Licensing BV, Formula One World Championship Ltd or any other organization or entity associated with the official Formula One governing organizations or their shareholders. Copyrighted material used under Fair Use/Fair Comment.

We could use the following leading F1 news sources for stories: SkyF1, BBC F1, Autosport, ESPN F1, FIA Media Center, MotorSport, JamesAllen and others leading authors blog.

All Rights Reserved © 2017 Prime Sport Media