After two races in the middle of the series where the same tires (C2, C3 and C4) were recommended, the hardest C1 cemented P Zero White hard, C2 compounded P Zero Yellow medium and C3 compounded P Zero Red soft tires were selected for Portugal. The characteristics of the track were decisive in the selection of tires recommended with the same options in 2020. The Portimao track is back on the racing calendar, shortly after it was first included in the Formula 1 program last October.
One set of hard tires was added to the tires allocated for Portugal (and Turkey) last year, while one set of soft tires was reduced. This year, returning to the season-long standard in Portugal; eight soft, three medium and two hard tire sets are allocated.
At this time of the year, the weather can be quite hot in the Algarve. Especially in the area away from the sea where the runway is located, the temperature can be expected to exceed 20 degrees. Last year the race was run in cool conditions and occasionally in light rain.
Portimao resembles a classic track, although it opened relatively recently, like 2008. The layout of the track, where the changing slopes are abundant, is also not forgiving. The fact that the track is quite wide enables different sequences and also helps in crossings.
The track, which includes different types of curves as well as a long straight, tests the car's full competence. It demands intense braking while placing lateral and longitudinal demands on tires. The track, which hosted the first Formula 1 race last year, was used for tests in previous years.
One of the toughest turns, the Portimao turn is similar to the Acque Mine in the Imola Grand Prix. In addition to these two middle right turns, many of the bends on the Portimao circuit are blind, adding to the difficulty.
The ground, new to last year's race, surprised by its very low grip. Road holding may have increased as the asphalt matured this year.
Lewis Hamilton broke the record by taking 2020 championships of his career in the 92 race, where his one-stop and medium-hard strategy won. The low enough tire wear and deterioration allowed Esteban Ocon to complete 53 laps with a middle tire.
Mario Isola- F1 and Auto Racing Director
“Tire management and ensuring that harder compounds can be used within operating ranges was one of the key themes of the Portimao race last year for some reasons. This year, however, different weather conditions and possibly changing runway surface may be a different challenge. The new tire structure performed well in the first two races of 2021. Now, the hardest dough of the series is on the track for the first time. These options were chosen to respond to the unique demands that the track imposes on tires and increases with warmer weather. In last year's race, all three doughs were used with different strategies. The weather was cool and windy, with occasional light rain; The runway conditions also varied during the weekend. "While the new ground was the main factor affecting low grip, warming and graininess were the two determining factors in terms of tire performance."