2012 Season Round 7 Preview – Silverstone, Great-Britain
Davide Valsecchi’s impressive lead in the Drivers’ Standings has disappeared like snow in summer in a matter of two rounds. In the past three races, the Italian has failed to score a single point whilst his strongest title rival Luiz Razia has enjoyed a series of strong performances and added another win to his collection in Valencia. The Brazilian is now a point shy of Valsecchi.
But Razia is not the only threat for the DAMS man: in Valencia, rookie James Calado once again showed just how easily he’s adapted to GP2, adding another pole position plus another podium finish to his season’s record. The Brit is now third in the standings and hungry for more glory. Valencia was also the scene of Esteban Gutiérrez’ powerful comeback: the Mexican pocketed a long-awaited maiden Feature Race win and seems to have the right state of mind to get back in the game and add his name to the list of title favourites, along with Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde.
Round 7 of the 2012 GP2 season takes place this week in Silverstone, the temple of speed. Formula One and GP2 Series’ sole tyre supplier Pirelli has been working closely with the Series to provide the GP2 drivers with compounds as close as possible to the ones used in F1. In order to keep in line with the Series’ philosophy of preparing young drivers for the next step, it has been decided that from Silverstone race weekend onwards, each driver will be provided with an additional set of Option tyres which will bring the total sets of dry-weather tyres allowed to five.
In a change to the regulations, three sets of “prime” specification and two sets of “option” specification will be allocated to each driver before the start of the free practice session. Once used in free practice, one set of “prime” specification must be returned to Pirelli before the start of the qualifying practice session. As such, each driver will still have four sets - two sets of Primes and two sets of Options - to use freely during qualifying, Feature Race and Sprint Race.
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola said: “The latest GP2 regulations will allow the drivers to gain more experience of our tyres and how best to use them. This is a rule that will remain in place for the rest of the year. It’s going to be interesting to see which drivers and teams manage to make the most of the new regulations straight out of the box at Silverstone. The weather conditions at Silverstone can be very variable, which could clearly affect the set-up of the cars and the behaviour of the tyres from one session to the next.”