2021 Styrian and Austrian Grand Prix Tyre Compounds: For the second and third instalments in Austria of the year’s first triple-header, Pirelli has made two separate tyre nominations on the same track (as was also the case last year at Silverstone). For the first race at the Red Bull Ring, known as the Steiermark Grand Prix, C2 will be the P Zero White hard, C3 will be the P Zero Yellow medium, and C4 will be the P Zero Red soft. At the Austrian Grand Prix, held just one weekend later on an identical track, P Zero White hard will be the C3, P Zero Yellow medium will be the C4 and P Zero Red soft will be the C5: the softest combination in the Pirelli range.
These two separate nominations have been made to create a differential between the two races, providing some strategic variation with the introduction of the softest compound for the second weekend.
The Red Bull Ring is a compact and rollercoaster track, with a frantic and quite short lap characterised by one corner after another and several changes in elevation. Despite that, it’s not especially demanding on tyres, which is what makes it possible for the softest tyres in the range to be used.
Red Bull Ring Track Characteristics
The short 4.3-kilometre and 10-corner lap means that traffic is often a problem, and this is a factor when it comes to race and especially qualifying strategy. Because of the short and flowing lap, the performance gaps between the compounds tend to be quite small. The majority of corners are right-handers, but the two most demanding corners are actually left-handers: which means that the unloaded tyres go into them relatively cold each time.
The first back-to-back race on the same circuit this year means that teams will have plenty of data and opportunity to maximise the potential of the tyres – especially during the second weekend. As a result, the teams will concentrate especially on the softest C5 tyres when it comes to preparing for the Austrian Grand Prix.
In the past, this has been a one-stop race on paper – apart from the occasions when a safety car has prompted drivers to take a ‘free’ pit stop. This is set to be the case again at the Steiermark Grand Prix, but the softer nomination a week later could push teams closer to a two-stopper for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Mario Isola – Pirelli Head of F1 and Car Racing
“Once again after last year Austria hosts a back-to-back race, which means that the teams have plenty of data on this track and recent experience of how to deal with its particular challenges and tactics. However, having two different tyre nominations is a first for the Red Bull Ring, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the teams get to grips with the softest C5 tyres for the second race weekend – and how the new selection influences strategy in order to create different opportunities compared to the preceding Steiermark Grand Prix.”