Tyres to play a key part in Monte Carlo
After an exceptionally warm winter so far, temperatures have plummeted in the French Alps, bringing snow and ice to the Monte Carlo stages in the last few days.
This week kicks off with minus 10 degrees and colder in the Hautes-alpes. Good, that makes tyre choice more straightforward. It’ll have to be the stud.
But that weather was Monday. Thursday and Friday? Five, six, seven, maybe even 10 degrees. The ice and snow will melt during the day, but what time will it start freezing again. And at what altitude. Which tyre now?
The drivers will have 20 soft and 24 supersoft compound tyres to chose from. On top of that, there’s the heavily treaded winter option – with 12 of those available. Or there’s that tyre with a stud. Twenty-four of these can be used. But, if is that’s not complicated enough, a driver can only use a maximum of 39 of those 80 tyres during the event.
Michelin tyre technician Hugues Pierron admits this week is the most stressful of the season for him: “The Monte is incredibly complex. You have to select the best tyres for up to three completely different special stages. You can never select the perfect tyres for all three stages. What you are looking for is the perfect compromise.
“That is why we have our people who are able to tell us accurately that it is snowing at kilometre one, that the route is drying out from kilometre six, and that there are patches of black ice from kilometre 20 to the finish. We are then able to make the tyre selection together with the driver.”