The penultimate round of the 2016 F1 world championship takes place at the intense, rapid and colourful Interlagos circuit this coming weekend and although resurfaced relatively recently, it still provides a massive challenge with a constant series of high-energy corners and the potential for some very high temperatures.
As a result, Pirelli, the series sole tyre supplier, will have the P Zero Orange hard tyre making its final appearance of the 2016 season alongside the medium and the soft: a combination last seen in Japan.
Interlagos is the second-shortest lap of the year, but probably the most intense as the cars are constantly cornering and dealing with traffic and this adds to the demands on the tyres. The resurfacing a couple of years ago increased grip levels and smoothed out the bumps.
A very wide variety of weather conditions are possible, from intense heat to heavy rain, so wet weather tyres may be called upon at some stage over the weekend. As it is one of the few anti-clockwise circuits on the calendar, with the right-rear tyre doing the most work, tyres are often subjected to combined lateral and longitudinal forces, which increase demand.
“We’re seeing the hard tyres in Brazil for the first time since 2013, which should prove to be very effective against the high-energy demands of the track,” said Pirelli’s Paul Hembery. “In 2015 we had a three-stop race, so with the increase in performance and downforce this year, taking a harder tyre – which has nonetheless been a very rare occurrence this season – was the only sensible option to offer a number of different strategy variables."
"Balancing its durability against the extra performance of the softer compounds will hold the key to the race tactics. The weather will obviously play a big part in these calculations too.”