Home Featured Pirelli’s tyre choices potentially a big challenge for F2 drivers in Jeddah

Pirelli’s tyre choices potentially a big challenge for F2 drivers in Jeddah

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Pirelli has nominated its medium and supersoft compounds for Formula 2 in Jeddah, returning to the choice it went for two years ago.

Back in 2021 there was a lack of data to determine which compounds were appropiate as the circuit had never held racing.

Following F2’s Jeddah triple-header, Pirelli decided it would swap the supersoft for the more durable soft tyre when the series returned there in 2022. Despite the circuit’s smooth surface lessening degradation, high-speed turns and very high temperatures meant it would still be an issue in races and so the soft would be more appropiate.

That decision has been reversed for 2023, and rookies will likely not try the supersoft until qualifying as it was not used in testing or Bahrain’s season opener. Formula Scout asked F2 sophomore Ayumu Iwasa how long he expected it to last in the races.

“Oh, let’s see. It’s not clear, because we used the soft and medium last year. So I cannot imagine how long can we use the supersoft in the feature race,” he replied.

“But it was already not so easy with the soft, so I think it should be difficult, but still the track is easier than Bahrain in terms of the roughness. We will see in free practice and qualifying, and then after we will decide.”

He added that experienced drivers and teams “don’t have a real reference” to the supersoft’s durability around Jeddah as “there was so many safety cars” during 2021’s races.

“We have [the supersoft] available in practice; I don’t think many people will use it in practice,” Ollie Bearman said to Formula Scout.

“But if you look at Bahrain free practice to qualifying, laptime difference is around five seconds. I expect a similar kind of laptime difference from practice to quali here. It doesn’t really matter what compound it is, it’s more about the delta laptime.”

The pair were also asked about thermal management, as air temperatures are set to surpass 28°C even for sessions held at and after dusk this weekend.

“The temperature is similar to Bahrain, or even higher, but I don’t think that management will be more difficult than Bahrain, because of the track [surface],” said Iwasa.

“But still it should be difficult because it’s a very high-speed track. So I will destroy the tyre more. And also in the race, if I follow behind a car, I will lose downforce and then I will slip the tyre. I need to think about the strategy of my driving approach. The sprint race should be a really good reference for the feature race.

“But also temperature between the two [races] is different. So the race of last year will be a good reference for me because I have experience.”

“Track temp is going to be really high,” added Bearman. “Luckily qualifying is at night, or during sunset, as is the sprint race. So that’s a little bit cooler, also for the drivers. But the feature is going to be [1:35pm], maximum track temperature.”