Two weeks ago, Monza was a truly Italian fest with Luca Filippi winning on his comeback drive and Davide Valsecchi savouring another victory whilst pocketing more valuable points, with his sole title rival Luiz Razia failing to score. The DAMS driver now enjoys a twenty-five point lead over the Brazilian as the paddock flies to its last event of the 2012 season.
For the first time in GP2 history, the Series comes to Singapore to race at the infamous street circuit. This weekend will be all about novelties with a new F1 track for the GP2 drivers to learn and a new Champion to be crowned. The fight between Valsecchi and Razia is on with both men willing to battle with all their might to snatch the eighth GP2 crown! They are the only two drivers who can claim glory this weekend as the 2012 season draws to a close. If the Italian has a seventeen point lead over the Brazilian on Saturday evening, the game will be over and Valsecchi would become Champion. But this is GP2: nothing is ever over till it’s over. Nothing is predictable besides the thrill of the racing and the excitement of seeing the twenty-six cars running in the streets of Singapore!
Just like in Formula One, the GP2 drivers will have the P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft tyres at their disposal for this twelfth round. Although overall tyre wear is low in Singapore, there is a high level of thermal degradation due to the high ambient temperatures. Coupled with extremely big levels of humidity, this makes it an exhausting race for the drivers and very demanding on the cars. While the Marina Bay circuit contains the second highest number of corners of the year (after Valencia) only two of them are fast, meaning that not so much lateral energy is put through the tyres, which helps the wear rate.
The drivers have to make a mandatory pit stop during Saturday’s first race, and with the longest pit lane of the year in Singapore, strategy will become extremely important. The key decisions revolve around whether to use just one or two different compounds, when to stop, and if using the same compound whether to change all four tyres or just two, in order to save time. The teams base these crucial decisions on information they collect in free practice, and with no historical data to fall back on, the single practice session will become all the more important.
Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola said: “Singapore is a fantastic place for our second season supplying the GP2 Series to come to a close, showcasing the cars, drivers and tyres in a unique way. It’s enough to see from the number of drivers who have graduated to Formula One just how well GP2 prepares them for the pinnacle of the sport, thanks to experience of the circuits, strategy and tyres that are used at the top. Singapore will be another valuable experience for them, and the use of the two softest compounds in our GP2 range should allow them to extract the maximum performance from their cars during this very important weekend.
"Nonetheless, it will still be very important to look after the tyres in both qualifying and the race, particularly if the drivers are planning to use the supersoft at any point during the first race. Theoretically this should be the fastest way, but it will only work if the drivers make sure that their tyres are in the best possible condition. With the sessions in Singapore always coming late in the day, ambient and track temperatures tend to fall rather than rise as each session goes on, and this makes performance quite hard to predict.”