Renault F1 team could be forced into worse Singapore GP strategy

Carlos Sainz Jr believes his car's inability to look after its tyres will force the Renault Formula 1 team into a disadvantageous strategy for the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix

Renault F1 team could be forced into worse Singapore GP strategy

While F1 tyre supplier Pirelli believes that a two-stop strategy is optimal, any multi-stop strategy carries the risk that a driver might get bogged down in traffic on the hard-to-pass street circuit.

Many teams have expressed a preference for a theoretically slower one-stop strategy - which may only be possible for those starting outside the top 10.

Renault's RS18 is less sympathetic to its tyres than many competitors, which enables its drivers to unlock one-lap pace but at the expense of rapid degradation when attempting longer stints.

The issue is more acute on Pirelli's hypersoft compound, introduced in Monaco this year.

"No one wants to stop twice and it's looking likely for us as things stand," sainz Sainz.

"But we'll work to see how we can fix that degradation. We know it's there. We know it's been there all season and we know we have improved, but it's still our weak point.

"Even at Monaco we saw people starting 11th so they didn't have to start on the hypersoft, and they finished the race ahead of us - who were in Q3.

"It will be a dilemma. I trust we can take a step forward and improve the degradation because what a driver wants is to always extract the best in qualifying and then do your race."

The arrival of the hypersoft has shaken up the strategic picture in Singapore.

After spending much of the season complaining about lack of differentiation in pace between Pirelli's different tyre compounds, drivers are having to grapple with a scenario in which the performance gap between the compounds is much closer to that which they have been demanding.

In Friday's free practice sessions many teams registered almost 1.5 seconds difference in lap time between the soft, ultrasoft and hypersoft.

The situation is roughly analogous to the grands prix in China, Germany and Hungary, where Pirelli also skipped a 'step' between compounds in a successful bid to encourage divergent strategies. In Singapore it has opted not to bring the supersoft.

"If they start the race with the hypersoft, the quicker strategy is two-stop, with two sets of hypersofts and one set of ultrasofts," said Pirelli motorsport manager Mario Isola.

"I believe in that case they start on hypersoft, they put the ultrasoft in the second stint, and the hypersoft again at the end because the car is much lighter, and the drivers are able to control the degradation much better.

"If somebody outside the top 10 starts on the ultra, they can maybe try a one-stop strategy with ultra and soft. But on paper it's not the quickest one.

"One stop, with the hypersoft and a very, very long stint on the soft, I don't think is a good strategy in terms of performance.

"There is the potential risk of blisters [on the soft] similar to what we saw in Monza and Spielberg."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Stuart Codling
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