Perez strategy surprises Pirelli
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembrey admitted he was surprised that rookie Sergio Perez was able to pull off a one stop strategy at the Australian Grand Prix.
The majority of drivers opted to make two stops, with some making three as they experienced a drop off in performance from the Pirelli tyres. But Perez originally finished seventh after only changing tyres once, although his Sauber team was later disqualified for a rear wing technical infringement. Despite lower than expected levels of degradation, Hembrey admitted that Pirelli itself had been surprised by Perez's strategy.
"We were all looking and saying 'He [Perez] has to stop, surely'. We actually thought the numbers were wrong and we had missed a stop," Hembrey is quoted by autohebdo.fr. "His driving style was a key factor, as well as his car. But I would be surprised if we see it again,"
Pirelli's former test driver Pedro de la Rosa agreed, telling La Sexta: "I can assure you that in Malaysia there will be 3 or 4 stops, just one I see as impossible."
Prior to the race weekend the teams had voiced their concerns over the rate of degradation and unpredictability of the new tyres, but the new compounds held up well, opening up the strategic possibilities. Hembrey said that the manufacturer had enjoyed a smooth weekend, and was pleased with its Formula One return.
"We had no issues whatsoever and the degradation was less than expected meaning that most drivers - including the top three - chose a two-stop strategy as we had predicted," Hembrey said. "We also saw a wide spread of strategies ranging from one stops to three, giving the teams the opportunity to think creatively about their race management. I'd like to thank all the teams and drivers for their support as we built up to our race debut and we hope that the action has rewarded their faith in us."
One criticism that did arise came from spectators, who had difficulty distinguishing between the hard and soft compounds. The soft compound was marked with yellow lettering, while the hard used silver, and Hembrey admitted that Pirelli might have to revisit its colour choices.
"With the yellow markings, I think, there was no problem, it could be seen," he told Auto Motor und Sport. "With the black tyre, I think the silver (markings) was a little more difficult. But if that's my biggest problem, I'm very satisfied."
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