• United States Grand Prix

Teams could be caught out - Hembery

Chris Medland November 13, 2012 « HRT put up for sale by owners Thesan Capital | McLaren to power FIA Formula E Championship »
Paul Hembery: "I think it will always catch a few people out, a new circuit" © Sutton Images
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Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery believes some teams could be caught out by the new Circuit of the Americas this weekend.

The United States Grand Prix takes place on the new circuit for the first time, with Pirelli supplying an extra set of hard tyres on Friday to help the teams learn the track. However, Hembery thinks the teams could be surprised by the abrasive nature of the track surface and despite choosing the hard and medium compounds he expects a two-stop race will be the optimal strategy.

"I think it will always catch a few people out, a new circuit," Hembery told ESPN exclusively. "Certainly from the layout it looks very interesting, and from the surface data we have it's certainly not in the group of circuits with a smooth surface - the Korean, Indian and to an extent Abu Dhabi are all in that ballpark - but it should enable us to get back to a two-stop race."

Hembery admitted that while the strategies have been less challenging for teams at recent races, tyre management shouldn't be central to the racing at the end of the season.

"You can never please everyone, so we just try to do what we feel is the right balance. Maybe we could have been a little bit more aggressive but at the end of the day we've only got four compounds to choose from. It's a combination of the last three circuits being - in terms of surface - quite comfortable from a compound point of view and the teams and drivers at the end of the season having obviously worked really hard to minimise degradation and wear.

"So it's a combination of many factors, but equally we're at the business end of the season. I don't think anybody wants us all to be talking about tyres at this point of the season, it's the wrong balance. It's all about cars and drivers now."

Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1 Chris Medland, who in his youth even found the Pacific GPs entertaining, talked his way in to work at the British Grand Prix and was somehow retained for three years. He also worked on the BBC's F1 output prior to becoming assistant editor ahead of the 2011 season