May 21, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT
The Monaco Grand Prix has traditionally been a “one-stop” race but Pirelli expect drivers will have to make more than one visit to the pits on Sunday.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said “strategy will become even more important than usual” at Monaco because of the difficulty of overtaking on the narrow, two-mile track.
All of the points-scoring drivers in last year’s race made a single pit stop. Most started on the super-soft tires and switch to the soft compound. Pirelli will bring the same tire mix to this weekend’s race.
However the first year of ‘Pirelli era’ racing at Monaco in 2011 saw the top three drivers all adopt different strategies. Sebastian Vettel won the race having pitted once, Fernando Alonso stopped twice and was second, and Jenson Button finished third after three pit stops.
Hembery says it’s unlikely we’ll see a repeat of the four stops seen in the Spanish Grand Prix, but is expecting more action in the pits at Monaco than last year.
“In Monaco we’d expect an average of two pit stops per car, because in complete contrast to the last race at Barcelona, Monaco has very low tire wear and degradation.
“This doesn’t make the race any less strategic however, as in the past we have seen drivers trying completely different strategies yet ending up very close to each other at the finish.
“The last race in Spain was won from lower down on the grid than it has ever been won before, so it will be interesting to see if this pattern can repeat itself in Monaco.”
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