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Race pace ANALYSIS and strategy predictions for Miami GP

Race pace ANALYSIS and strategy predictions for Miami GP

F1 News

Race pace ANALYSIS and strategy predictions for Miami GP

Race pace ANALYSIS and strategy predictions for Miami GP
Shubham Sangodkar

A very green track with a newly paved surface meant that times were tumbling throughout the weekend at the Miami Grand Prix as the track gripped up, and it was difficult to get a feel of the pecking order because the times all depended on when teams started their race simulations.

“The new asphalt is very smooth and slippery," chief engineer of Pirelli Simone Berra noted. "Offering little mechanical grip but at the same time good adhesion, which increasingly improved as conditions got better."

Add to this the high possibility of rain during the race and a shortened pit lane, and we have all the variables for an exciting and strategic race. Let us look at the race simulation data from FP2 to see who is looking hot in the race.

Potential race pace for the top 4 teams

The race pace on this track needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, since we had dropping track temps and a rubbering tarmac leading to higher track evolution than usual. This meant the timing of the run was possibly the biggest differentiator.

However, data shows that the Mercedes' race pace doesn't look as bad as their qualifying positions, so expect them to move forwards in the race. This track is hard on the tyres, with signs of graining present on both the front and the rear, which means the race would be a good test to see if Ferrari have gotten on top of their race pace issues.

The one who looks really competitive is Alonso, setting impressive lap times on the hard tyre, which would be valuable data for all the other teams. Starting P2 and with top speeds comparable to Red Bull this weekend, can he have a shot at the victory?

Potential race pace for the midfield

Qualifying threw in some surprises, with seven teams in the top 10. Let us see who would be able to hold their positions and could fight for the last couple of points.

Alpine, with both Gasly and Ocon, seem to be very competitive this weekend. Topping the midfield, their aero update package from Baku seems to be working and they look as competitive as Mercedes in race pace.

In case there are any incidents, Williams, Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri are the favourites to capitalise, while McLaren are an unknown in terms of race pace and Haas might find themselves going backwards after an impressive qualifying from Magnussen.

Race Strategies

The main limitation of this track with regard to tyres is overheating rear tyres and graining on the fronts. According to Pirelli, they observed that there was graining on the soft and mediums on both the front and the rears, but the hard was a very consistent tyre.

Strategy 1: One Stop : Medium – Hard

As was the case last year, the fastest race strategy is a one-stopper starting on the mediums and switching onto the hards. The pit window for the hard, in this case, would be between lap 12–20, but this might change if some drivers try to pit early to undercut, which will create a chain reaction of pitting early like last weekend, making the stint on the hard tyres more tricky.

Strategy 2: Two Stop: Medium – Hard – Soft

The slight shortening of the pit lane opens up the possibility of a two-stopper, but we’ve also seen a bit of graining on the softs over long runs. Starting on the medium, switching to hard between laps 10 and 16, and finishing on the soft from laps 35 to 43 is how this would pan out.

The teams will have to consider the strong possibility of a safety car, given that the last Miami Grand Prix was stopped twice plus the high chance of rain during the race tomorrow.

Strategy 3: Two Stop: Soft – Medium – Hard

If it rains before the race begins and clears out at the start of the race, and provided the track is not an ‘intermediate’ tyre condition, the soft would be the best tyre to start on because of the grip level offered and tyre temperature requirements.

In this case, teams would have to be on their feet to make the call on when to switch to hard or medium tyres. This would be the defining moment in the race if it comes to it.

Shubham Sangodkar | Aerospace Engineer with Masters in Racing Car Design | Ex-F1 Aerodynamicist | F1 Career Counsellor

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