Tyres, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Mercedes and Red Bull stock up on ultra-softs for Monaco

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

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Both Mercedes and Red Bull drivers will take ten sets of the softest tyres available for the Monaco Grand Prix, Pirelli has confirmed.

The ultra-soft tyre is being used for the first time for the race at Monte-Carlo. Renault’s Kevin Magnussen will also have ten sets of the new rubber for the race weekend.

Ferrari has opted for a slightly more conservative approach, ensuring it has two sets of the hardest soft tyre compound available.

Manor pair Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto have chosen the fewest sets of the ultra-soft tyres, six, and will bring five sets of super-soft tyres.

Here are the drivers’ tyre choices for the next round of the championship:

DriverTeamTyres
Lewis HamiltonMercedesSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Nico RosbergMercedesSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Sebastian VettelFerrariSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Kimi RaikkonenFerrariSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Valtteri BottasWilliamsSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Felipe MassaWilliamsSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Daniel RicciardoRed BullSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Max VerstappenRed BullSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Sergio PerezForce IndiaSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Kevin MagnussenRenaultSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Jolyon PalmerRenaultSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Daniil KvyatToro RossoSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Carlos Sainz JnrToro RossoSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Marcus EricssonSauberSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Felipe NasrSauberSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Fernando AlonsoMcLarenSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Jenson ButtonMcLarenSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Pascal WehrleinManorSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Rio HaryantoManorSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Romain GrosjeanHaasSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Esteban GutierrezHaasSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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45 comments on “Mercedes and Red Bull stock up on ultra-softs for Monaco”

  1. After his final stint this weekend, what chance Verstappen ‘track position’-s his way to another win?

    1. @hahostolze That’s an unfair comment. I’m sure he can pole to victory. My money is on the Merc’s and Ricciardo.
      The teams that chose more than a set of Softs are over thinking Monaco, and teams that are desperate and overthink are not getting anything, look at Ferrari, look at SFI, Williams and STR all under performing, all chose the wrong tyres, all blatantly looking for that early undercut strategy. Even if you plan to 1 stop early and undercut your rivals on free air, you are probably not going to have a problem holding out the whole field on either one set of the SS or the S if you pit really early. You need to learn the US and not waste your allocation on tyres that will get you plenty of practice time but useless track time. The unknown US and the back up SS should suffice for the whole weekend.

      1. How is my tongue in cheek comment unfair but then you say the favourites are the Mercs and Ricciardo, discounting Verstappen?

      2. No simply disagree @peartree
        Despite the new Tire rules the teams still have 6 sets of Tires by the start of Q. They are just organizing how the use the remaining sets in Practice sessions. By the Start of Q most of teams will be on more or less same Allocation with most likely one here is 4 sets of US and 1 each of SS and S.
        Just have more Softs or SS doesn’t mean that teams are desperate and also just having more US means they are confident.

        1. An extra soft will allow the team to run for First 40 mins in FP1 instead of running US or SS at same time which is normally useless spec so it doesn’t matter what tire they use and use the US tire for remaining FP1 time then teams use SS and US for FP2 and from then on US all the way until Race pit stop time for most of teams or front running teams.

  2. Incidentally, who can explain to me why Monaco is so easy on the tyres? Is it just the high downforce and the low speed corners? Because I would think the track itself, being normal asphalt, would wear tyres more?

    1. The best explanation I can think of is because speeds are lower, there is less energy going into the tires in both surface energy from braking and carcass energy from cornering at speed. I also imagine that because the regular tarmac offers lower grip and friction, acceleration events are less intense, but that’s just my speculation.

      1. Actually, higher grip tarmac (generally) produces less tyre wear. This is because you tend to get less sliding, which wears the tyre.

        But yeah, Monaco’s low speed corners and high downforce levels means tyres don’t wear too much. Also, because overtaking is so difficult, if worn tyres are much less of a disadvantage at Monaco, so the speed advantage softer tyres give initially (to perform an undercut) is much more important than the rate at which they wear.

        1. @vmaxmuffin
          It’s actually the opposite: The less grip a circuit has, the less tyre wear is to be expected. Barcelona is a striking counter-example: The grip is so high there, it virtually ‘eats’ the rubber off the tyres, even if the cars hardly slide.
          Monaco is an extremely low-grip circuit. The surface is designed to withstand everyday traffic, not to offer grip for race cars, and the salty spray of the Mediterranean keeps the street extra slippery, at least on the harbour side of the track.
          It is however true that low grip levels lead to more sliding and increased tyre wear. This happens in Monaco as well, but the typical level of tyre wear is so low that you can still cover dozens of laps with a set of tyres, even if you’re sliding too much and wearing them off too quickly.
          Keeping the tyres in their optimum working temperature range is one of the major challenges in Monaco. The closer you are to the optimum temperature, the less you slide. However, the very low grip makes it extremely difficult to warm your tyres up properly. You ideally want an evenly heated up tyre, with similar temperatures in the core and on the surface. If you’re sliding around, the surface gets much hotter than the core, and the tyres start to grain.
          This is one of the reasons why we often see many successive flying laps in Monaco. One lap is seldom enough to get the tyres into the operating window, and the extremely unabrasive surface means that the tyre doesn’t degrade as quickly as you’d expect.

    2. The cars are running maximum downforce but since its so low speed the actual downforce produced from the cars is way less than lets say Spa and Monza.

      Also what a shocker that all the teams want the softer tyres all the times. Pirelli is doing a super poor job as usual.

    3. @hahostolze 1. Short straights and tight corners, less energy less tyre wear
      1.1 Low speed, low aero grip more reliance on tyre grip hence softer tyre choice
      1.2 Twisty nature results in cars running as much downforce as possible as drag is not as important
      1.2.1 Maximum downforce, relatively less sliding therefore better tyre life
      1.3 Tight corners more traction needed, softer tyre choice
      1.4 Low abrasion asphalt (road tarmac is not as rough) better degradation

      It’s all intertwined.

    4. Simply the combination of less Heavy braking zones(only 1), smooth tarmac, more traction oriented than corner oriented, High DF, less cornering speeds @hahostolze

  3. ColdFly F1 (@)
    17th May 2016, 12:40

    That’s a huge difference between what VES/KVY ordered and what they get.
    Not sure to what extent they were involved personally, and if this makes them both unhappy (the cars of course also have different requirements and ‘sweet spots”)

    1. Teams pick. Drivers have no say.

      1. @jureo I believe they do. Hence why Palmer’s choices are different from Magnussen’s

        1. Nah thats not @fer-no65.
          Its kind of similar to What Ros and Ham had back in Australia for the first time. The team want to run different kind of programs, Mag has one extra US and Jo has one extra SS. They might run mag on US for entire FP1 or FP2 and Jo the other way around to understand the long runs or so.

        2. “Hence why Palmer’s choices are different from Magnussen’s”

          That has no bearing on whether it is a personal or a team choice. Teams will given different allocations to drivers so they can run different allocations during practice to maximize data gathering at tracks where they are uncertain what the best strategy will be. Also I believe during last weeks press conference Kyvat said the tyres were a team choice not a driver choice.

          1. Well, the driver is part of the team. I am sure input would be taken from all relevant parties.

          2. Well the driver aint very relevant when it comes to technical things.

    2. Think in this case it was more the team, STR probably going safer, for the one stop, which might help them get ahead of similarly paced teams. Also, the RBR is better on its tyres than (any?) most cars, better than the STR.

    3. Pickr made according to the car so Kyvatt pick which Verstappen will use is probably best suited for the Red Bull and vice versa.

  4. I would like to believe the new tyre might make the race more interesting but it’s likely we’ll still see a 1 stop race with driving similar to 2013 where the two Mercedes cruise holding track position with the Red Bull’s pinned to 2nd places gearbox.

    It’s never been a kind track to Hamilton though, with his current run of results I can’t imagine it’s a great track to be arriving at hoping to turn things around for him

    1. Sport is very strange so I think this is the race he will win. He normally seems to have something happen here mentally as he seems to want to win Monaco so badly. This year he will win in my opinion and it will really change his season.

    2. Except he was more than 20 seconds ahead last year when the SC came out.
      But i believe it will be a great fight, and Red Bull might get involved.

      1. @edmarques

        And then he pitted and lost 2 places. As I said it’s never been kind to him and I don’t mean that to say he isn’t a capable driver on the track, just that fortune rarely smiles on him there. I think he almost wants it too much and winds up letting little things set him back. And it’s a track you can’t then race your way back out of a hitch, you’re stuck behind a car.

  5. One set of softs and one of supersofts will probably be enough for the race, so the teams will then choose the ultrasofts for the remaining sets. It may backfire in the race if track position is key and a 1-stop strategy is not possible with ultrasofts. Well anyway, it will be an interesting race.

  6. For a 1-stopper, you will have to go US-S , a US-SS 1-stopper won’t work, I feel.
    For a 2-stopper, you could do US-US-S or US-SS-SS.

    So in either of the US-S, US-US-S or US-SS-SS scenarios, Mercedes and Red Bull will have to go blind on the supersofts or softs straight in the race. (as they have only 2 sets and 1 set respectively). Little tricky there.

    I think the first Ferrari victory at Monaco might just happen after so many years!!

    1. No. This is chassis and Suspension track, Ferrari is good in aero and chassis and they are improved significantly but still they are behind Merc and RBR.
      Also if track Position is King in Spain its highly premium or emperor in Monaco. You just can’t overtake here also to other point about Merc and RBR going blind they will test the SS Set 2 in FP2 in long run which is the reason why they brought it.
      Still if Ferrari wins in Monaco that would be awesome but i some how doubt that as they dont have the equipment to get into Front row / Pole .

      1. Can we have a Red Bull perform an undercut by pitting relatively early and then making the tyres last?

        1. @hahostolze
          I think Monaco favours Overcut than Undercut because simply the fresh tires will be colder compared to older but warmer tires. this is same mechanism since 2011 or 2012. Now with Ultra Soft in the Mix its more or less will be same unless we get surprised by the pace and degradation of Ultra Soft which forces them to 2 stop than one stop.

      2. Ferrari were significantly worse than Mercedes and Red Bull (and got even beaten by a McLaren) in the third sector at Barcelona which is somewhat similar to Monaco (slow an twisty) so under normal circumstances I have my doubts they’ll even make it to the podium.

        1. @casjo
          The Compromise on 3rd sector for barcelona differs from Monaco entire track. Its like saying Manor was fast in straights so they might get Podium in Monza. Also they have gone wrong some where in setup as we’ve never seen in a dry session a team couldn’t even able to match their FP3 fastest time let alone better it.
          The Monaco track differs from Spain as we all know so its a different ball game entirely would that mean Ferrari will not be on Podium can’t say its 50/50 between RBR and Ferrari.

        2. @casjo
          I don’t think you can compare Catalunya’s sector 3 to Monaco, even though they’re both rather slow and twisty. The main reason for Ferrari’s relative misery was their struggle with tyre temps. The seem to have gone the wrong way with their set-ups, which meant that the tyres would overheat near the end of the lap, making them slide and lose valuable time.
          Overheating your tyres in Monaco, however, is very hard to achieve. I also think it is unlikely that Ferrari will repeat their setup blunder. They, or at least Vettel (Räikkönen tends to qualify horribly in Monaco), will be back in the battle for the podium, even if Red Bull are confident they will challenge the Mercedes. Their chassis performance is a bit of a modern myth, insofar as it’s usually blown way out of proportion. They were a second down on pace last year in Monaco, behind Vettel. Their engine has made significant gains since then, but that doesn’t account for much in Monaco.

      3. But they can’t test the SS in FP2. They have only two sets of them and both will be required in the race (in a US-SS-SS strategy).
        Unless they are planning for a US-US-SS strategy in which they will have data on every tyre via free practice.

        Who knows, maybe they will go blind. Mercedes went blind on the mediums in Australia after the restart and it worked fine for them.

        1. No team will do a 2 stopper they wil go slow enough to make the strategy work remember 2013 at one stage Caterham was faster with harder tires vs Merc on Softer tires. Such slow they will go if they want to.

  7. Well, if Fernando’s opinion is correct about MaLaren having the third best chassis, then theoretically he should finish 5th or 6th in Monaco, since it’s not a ‘power circuit’. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    1. I think Alonso is talking about GP2.

    2. I think they should be able to jump Force India and Williams, possibly Toro Rosso. They might be close to Ferrari, but probably still behind.

  8. I expect a wet race…

  9. Just saw the tweet from @keithcollantine regarding Motorsport Manager – can’t wait to hear what they’ve been up to! Brilliant little free game on ios or Android if anyone hasn’t played it yet.

  10. With the expected strategy be a 1-stopper US-SS, it’s surprising to see some teams choosing more than 1 Softs.

    Maybe they’re concerned that a US-SS strategy wouldn’t make it to the end, or are thinking about pitting super early to “undercut” their opponents on a struggling Ultra Softs, bolt on the Softs, and use the nature of the Monaco track to defend themselves against cars with faster tyres.

    So I think one softs for data collection in FP sessions and one for the race is what on the minds of Ferrari and Williams right now, but three Softs for Toro Rossos and Force Indias are just too many.

  11. Race: Start on ultra softs. Open as large a gap to the cars behind as possible, then pit (preferably 1 lap earlier then the car ahead). Change to the super softs. Push like crazy on the out-lap to overtake. Coast to the finish.

    1. @me4me
      The undercut doesn’t usually work in Monaco, because it takes more than a lap to get the tyres heated up.
      Also, the first pit stop window tends to be pretty large. It might be a valid strategy to pit as soon as there is a sufficient gap behind you, but then the second stint might become too long to make it to the finish line in one piece. Meanwhile, other drivers might decide to try to make it past lap 30 on the Ultrasoft, holding the early stoppers up when their lap times start going up.
      It might be just as valid a strategy to wait patiently behind the car in front of you and then unleash whatever life is still in the tyres in the next 2 or 3 laps.

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