The GP3 Series will complete an intense month of racing this weekend with their biennial trips to Hockenheim, the fourth rounds in a little over four weeks.
For GP3, they will have the soft tyres as the single compound available.
Hockenheim is not one of the season’s most demanding circuits on tyres, but it does contain a number of different challenges, with lots of traction and braking chief among them. The weather can also be a significant factor, as temperatures can be very high in the middle of the European summer, but cool and/or wet conditions are also common.
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola said: “Although, like Formula 1, we do not go to Hockenheim every year, this will be the third visit for GP3, so we know the challenges fairly well. The relatively low demands on the tyres means GP3 returns to the softest available compound, but drivers will still need to manage their tyres well, particularly at the rear under acceleration.”
The challenge for the tyres:
On the whole, Hockenheim is characterised by slow to medium speed corners connected by fast straights. Traction and braking are therefore key, with lots of acceleration and deceleration. Looking after the rear tyres is important, even though a very smooth surface helps to limit degradation.
There are some fast corners however, in particular Turn 5, a protracted left-hander that forms the longest high-speed section on the circuit and where the most energy goes through the tyres.
Weather conditions can be very changeable, with a wide range of different temperatures possible and rain also a possibility. In 2014, the Saturday races took place in ambient temperatures as high as 38 degrees, while the Sunday races were in cooler, wet conditions.
The race and the rules:
Every car will have three sets of dry tyres and two sets of wet weather tyres available for the GP3 race weekend. Only one compound is nominated: medium for this weekend. The drivers can use the tyre allocation in any way they like.
Drivers are allowed to carry over one tyre set from the previous round for use in free practice only. This will also be the medium tyre, from Silverstone.
GP3 qualifying takes place at 09:45 on Saturday morning, after a single free practice session on Friday at 17:50. Race One starts at 17:15 on Saturday and lasts for 24 laps, followed by Race Two at 09:15 on Sunday (lasting 18 laps). The grid for Race Two is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed.
Pirelli Press Release