Tyre behaviour can have a big impact on performance in FIA Formula 3, and this weekend’s World Cup in Macau is no different according to the frontrunners.
The 10-lap qualification race around the Guia circuit had six uninterrupted laps of green flag running, equating to just under 13 minutes for the leading drivers.
They enjoyed being able to push without the expected levels of tyre degradation, and Hitech GP’s race winner Luke Browning explained how it felt from the cockpit.
“The micro-macro – being the two ways that you can describe the track surface – is super low here, it’s one of the smoothest circuits we race on on the calendar. And therefore having the medium tyre here was a pretty sensible option,” he said.
“Especially with the walls being so close, having a lot of deg may have been pretty tough. And we didn’t have that today, so I think Pirelli did a really good job. We had some overheating, but we weren’t through the tread depth at all. I have to say it was a thoroughably enjoyable feeling, the grip through them, and it was enough to propel me [to victory] today.”
His team-mate Alex Dunne [pictured top] finished second in what was his F3 debut and his first ever race on a street circuit.
“Two weeks ago I didn’t even know if I was going to be doing the race, and then now to be here in my first F3 race and finish on the podium is a special feeling,” said Dunne.
“I would say I kind of went into that race a little bit blind. Never really experienced it fully before. The car is good, and with the car being good it makes my life a little bit easier with the deg. The deg here is definitely a lot lower than what you would see at other tracks in F3, which is probably helping me a little bit for being my first race.”
Gabriele Mini finished third, and echoed the top two while revealing another challenge with the tyres.
“We were expecting much more degradation than what we had today. We did all the laps in a row and we never suffered any real graining or degradation. Of course it was not easy to put them up to temperature. I remember during the safety car wheelspinning still in third gear before restarting, which of course is never ideal.
“But in the end it was not an issue. And same thing, we just had a bit of overheating but no big degradation. Tomorrow will be different with new tyres and with hopefully a few more laps without safety cars.”
He added he will be looking at the data of his team-mates at the Prema-run Theodore Racing to see “if they’re doing something better or something to make the tyres work properly” compared to his driving.