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Strategy update: Front right tyre holds key to success and failure at Monza
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Sep 2012   |  10:25 am GMT  |  21 comments

The outlook for the Italian Grand Prix is very interesting, with signs that the key to the race will be for teams to gamble on getting to the finish without over stressing the front right tyre.

Monza is a one stop race, always has been because the pit lane time is long, due to the fact that the cars staying on track are travelling very quickly. A one stop strategy this year looks like it is 10 seconds faster than a two stop.

However the other problem with Monza is that the temperature of the inside shoulder of the front tyres gets very high with the high wheel speeds and the shouder wears more than the rest of the tyre. This is exacerbated by the tyre scrubbing across the surface of the track through the long right handed Parabolica corner. Trying to do one stop with these tyres means doing around 24-25 laps on the medium in the first stint and then 28 or 29 on the hard tyre on the second stint.

The concern is that in the closing five or six laps some cars will show a white line on the inside shoulder of the right front tyre – it will be clearly visible from the on board cameras – which means the driver should pit immediately as the rubber has worn down to the nylon.

This would wreck a one stop strategy and teams must decide whether to risk that or to go for two stops.

Mercedes, who gambled on one stop in Spa and were forced to make a late stop, look certain to set out with the intention of stopping twice. Both drivers have saved a set of medium tyres, which you would only do if you planned to do two stints on mediums and one on hards.

Will anyone else copy them? or will they try to make it to the finish?

The result could be quite seriously affected by anyone who tries but fails to do a one stopper.

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YES yes yes yes!!!!!!!

You demand 5th/6th from ALO, given the circumstances. He deliveres 3th!!!!!!!!!!!! Yees!

Bring Back Murray

So this race isn’t going to be about driver or team skill, just on pure luck that your front right tyre is going to hold?


Have the teams done any testing with less negative camber on FR to try and offset the tyre wear?


Why the front RIGHT? It’s a clockwise circuit and Parabolica – and Curva Grande – are right-hand corners.



Because of the camber in the setup, I believe the reasoning is that the inside shoulder of the right front will be scrubbing the most as the car “leans” left on a right turn, the camber will be exacerbated while the left wheel’s camber will be effectively less during the turn.


Answer is in the piece


‘However the other problem with Monza is that the temperature of the inside shoulder of the front tyres gets very high with the high wheel speeds and the shouder wears more than the rest of the tyre. This is exacerbated by the tyre scrubbing across the surface of the track through the long right handed Parabolica corner.’

if this is the explanation you refer to – i still don’t understand I’m afraid!

surely this is the case with the front left as well – and the front left is going to be the more heavily loaded tyre for the duration of the race.

could you explain further?


Hi Jonnyd,

What’s happening is that that when the cars go down the straights it is the inside edge of the tyre that gets most distorted and heats up. As Parabolica is a right hand bend the cornering force is pushing the tyre from the left, which works the outside of the left side and the inside of the right.




There were signs of this wear after the race, but it didn’t cause any dramas, luckily. It was however something that needed managing


Just as important as the direction of the track (i.e. right or left turns) is the set up of the car, such as camber and toe of the wheels.


I have played around with your stategy calculator, and I would go for a two-stop strategy over a one-stop strategy.

I would go for as a regular front-runner, meaning that I am using all my option tyres, plus one set of prime tyres in qualifying, is using option, option, prime, and pitting on lap 18 and 36.

Compared to your default strategy, I could be right behind you with 3-4 laps to go, and have 3 or 4 chances to pass you in the DRS zone. I wouldn’t have to worry so much on tyre wear, thermal degradation to be precise, and with the chances of a safety car being statistically very low at 43%, this should mean I should make my strategy work over yours, assuming we are running at the optimum speed for our strategy, and running in a similar car to each other.

This means I should beat you in a straight fight for the race victory.


The prime set is a new set just to confirm.


Play it safe be aggressive and do 2 unless there is a safety car intervention


Did you get a chance to spot the front right tyres of the Mclaren and Ferrari drivers? Anyone kinder on front right?

I can see Massa getting a good start and holding out the Mclarens


James, do you think alonso saved a set of options?


Typo ?

“. . . the other problem with Monza is that the inside shoulder of the front tyres gets very high with the . . .”

should there be a temperature in there somewhere ?

And . . .

“. . . which means the driver should put immediately as the rubber has worn down to the nylon.”

put = pit ?


Aren’t you the observant one?


Just trying to help . . .

When I read something I generally read it properly 😉


Could easily see this race develop to something like canada..Some cars could pull it off while some others run the risk of getting overtaken by the 2 stoppers.I think cars with more downforce like the ferraris have to pit twice.


More downforce=less tire wear.

So a higher downforce car would likely go for a 1 stop strategy because it can preserve its tires better.

Sliding the tires across the track on a lower downforce car will wear the tires more quickly than a higher downforce car gripping the asphalt.


Dear PhysicsGeek,

Seriously, have you thought about this for more than 5 seconds?

Ignoring significant set up considerations such as car balance and spring rates, have you thought about how drivers drive? If we take two cars from the same team with different wing levels, such as McLaren at Spa. The car with less wing will have a greater top speed due to the reduced drag, or depending on gearing hit it earlier. To make up time the driver on the car with more downforce will have to go around the corner more quickly than the driver in the low downforce car.

Hopefully, at this moment you’ve woken up to the idea that the amount of sliding will be basically the same. The greater downforce car will place a greater load on its tyres when it slides. Which generates more heat and more wear.

Even when the tyres are not sliding (both cars below their limits), the greater downforce will cause more wear as the contact patch is rotated as the tyre rolls in a corner, and more heat will be generated due to camber and toe settings.

You might like to think about how the Red Bulls in 2010 and 2011, when they had the most downforce, had much larger performance advantages in qualifying than in the race. If you come up with engine modes or driver talent as your answer, I’d suggest looking harder at the other teams with comparable engines.



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