A Formula 1 car in the pits
- The 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix could be completed on just one pitstop.
- The quickest option will be to start on the Medium tyre before switching to the Hard.
- Drivers effectively have four race strategies, provided it is a clean race without incident.
Most drivers completed the 2022 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on a one-stop strategy. With Pirelli bringing the same tyre compounds to the 2023 race as last year, it is expected to be the case again.
FOLLOW | LIVE: 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
From the data gathered from pre-race simulations, the three practice sessions, and qualifying, the quickest race to the flag will be to start the race on the Medium tyre before switching to the Hards. However, there are three other strategies they could opt for.
Accidents, crashes, or the safety car’s deployment could impact the strategies below.
Possible race strategies: 2023 Saudi GP
Strategy 1: Medium – Hard, pit window: Laps 18 – 25
Strategy 2: Soft – Hard, pit window: Laps 13 – 20
Strategy 3: Hard – Medium, pit window: Laps 21 – 35
Strategy 4: Medium – Soft, pit window: Laps 28 – 36
Why not start on the Softs?
The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is one of the quickest tracks on the F1 calendar and the fastest street circuit in the world, with F1 cars reaching an average speed of around 250km/h. Given its high-speed nature, grip and traction are not of cardinal importance, and because of it, the track’s surface is not too abrasive on the tyres.
But, this high-speed nature will see teams throw caution to the wind using the Soft tyre.
READ: Pirelli brings quick(er) tyres to Saudi GP, but predicts one-stop race is possible
The Softs are the quickest tyre, but they also wear out quicker. Starting the race on this tyre (Strategy 2) and with cars filled with full fuel loads, the exercised forces will see the tyres lose all their performance, possibly forcing drivers to pit before the predicted pit window.
It could even force a team’s hand to enforce a two-stop race.
Starting on the Mediums will at least partially minimise the effects of tyre graining in the all-important opening phase of the race, allowing the chance to manage the different strategies better.
Discussion about this post