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Pirelli Japan Grand Prix preview
Suzuka, Japan,
6-9 October 2016

THE CIRCUIT FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW:
•    Track temperatures can vary massively, from very warm weather to cold and wet conditions.
•    Teams tend to run a high downforce set-up to maximise speed through the fast corners.
•    Plenty of energy goes through tyres because many corners are very long, maximising loads. The famous 130R, for example, contains the highest continuous g-force loading of the year.
•    There are few longitudinal forces: instead Suzuka is all about lateral loads through corners.
•    These factors tend to lead to high levels of wear and degradation, with more than one pit stop.
•    Track evolution can be hard to predict: strategy also needs to remain flexible because of the possibility of safety cars and relative difficulty of overtaking at Suzuka. 

THE THREE NOMINATED COMPOUNDS: 
•    Orange hard: will definitely be used for the race, as it is nominated twice as an obligatory set.
•    White medium: drivers have selected between one and four sets of these, with different ideas.
•    Yellow soft: this is the first time that the soft has been seen in Japan; will be quick in qualifying.

HOW IT WAS A YEAR AGO:    
•    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won with a two-stop strategy, starting on medium, switching to medium again on lap 16, then hard on lap 31. The 53-lap race was dry after a wet Friday.
•    Best alternative strategy: the big majority of drivers adopted a two-stop strategy, but a medium-hard-hard run allowed Nico Rosberg to undercut his key rivals and move up to second.

PAUL HEMBERY, PIRELLI MOTORSPORT DIRECTOR:        
“Suzuka is a race that everybody looks forward to coming to: there’s little left to say that hasn’t been said already about the amazing welcome we receive each year from the Japanese fans and the depth of their enthusiasm and knowledge. For the first time we bring the soft tyre to Suzuka, which should provide a different aspect to the strategy, so we may have some tactical thinking right from qualifying on Saturday. Whatever happens, we’ll be seeing the hard tyre used during the race, as was the case in Malaysia, and also high wear and degradation: which always additionally provides varied strategic opportunities.”

WHAT’S NEW?   
•    There are no major changes to the infrastructure or track in Japan this year.
•    The race takes place one week later than it did last year, returning to its 2014 calendar slot.
•    The FIA has confirmed that drivers will have the same allocation of tyres for next year’s first five races rather than choosing: two sets of the hardest compound available, four sets of the medium compound available, and seven sets of the softest compound available.  

OTHER THINGS THAT HAVE CAUGHT OUR EYE RECENTLY:
•    Ferrari has gone for the most aggressive tyre choice with nine sets of the soft. In particular, Sebastian Vettel is the only driver to have selected just one set of medium tyres in Japan.
•    Pirelli was appointed as the exclusive tyre supplier to the Macau F3 Grand Prix this year.
•    Pirelli was also revealed as the exclusive tyre partner of the newly launched Electric GT Championship in Ibiza: a new European series that will use Tesla racing cars next year.

TYRES NOMINATED THIS YEAR: 
                                 Purple            Red             Yellow       White         Orange
Australia                                         Supersoft    Soft           Medium    
Bahrain                                           Supersoft    Soft           Medium    
China                                              Supersoft     Soft          Medium    
Russia                                             Supersoft     Soft          Medium    
Spain                                                                    Soft          Medium      Hard
Monaco                    Ultrasoft        Supersoft     Soft        
Canada                     Ultrasoft        Supersoft     Soft        
Azerbaijan                                      Supersoft     Soft          Medium    
Austria                      Ultrasoft        Supersoft     Soft        
Great Britain                                                        Soft           Medium     Hard
Hungary                                          Supersoft     Soft          Medium    
Germany                                         Supersoft     Soft          Medium    
Belgium                                           Supersoft    Soft           Medium    
Italy                                                 Supersoft     Soft           Medium    
Singapore                 Ultrasoft        Supersoft     Soft        
Malaysia                                                                Soft          Medium     Hard
Japan                                                                    Soft          Medium     Hard
United States                                  Supersoft      Soft          Medium    
Mexico                                             Supersoft     Soft           Medium    
Brazil                                                                    Soft           Medium     Hard
Abu Dhabi               Ultrasoft          Supersoft    Soft

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