As Formula OneTM strongest feeder category, GP2 SeriesTM main goal has always been to best prepare young drivers who aspire to the pinnacle of motorsport. Since its inception, the Series has followed the changes that have happened in F1, and judged if they could be adapted to GP2 always keeping in line with the main objective of the Series: driver training for the final step of the ladder.
Therefore, in 2012 the GP2 SeriesTM will add two new sporting regulations, one which will impact the race strategy and test the driving skills of the racers: a new tyre rule. Just like in Formula OneTM, teams and drivers will have at their disposal two different types of dry compounds to use during a race weekend. The total of four sets of Pirelli P Zero tyres will comprise three sets of prime (harder compound) and one set of option (softer compound). As always, the teams and drivers will have to keep one set of prime for the Sunday Sprint Race. Therefore, they will be able to choose between the remaining two sets of prime and the one set of option to use either during Free Practice, Qualifying session and/or Feature Race. There will be a colour code for the different compounds. Finally, in the Saturday Race, there will still be a compulsory pit-stop in which a minimum of two tyres must be changed.
GP2 Series Bruno Michel stated: “The new tyre rule offers a fantastic opportunity to the drivers. Our Series’ main goal has always been to prepare them to Formula OneTM and so far we have been very successful at it. More than ever, tyre management is key to how quickly young drivers can adapt to the pinnacle of motorsport. However, although we will introduce a second compound, we have decided to keep only four sets of tyres per race weekend in order to control the costs. It will be interesting to watch as our teams will put in place the best possible strategy. It will add even more suspense, but it will also make tyre management all the more delicate. We’re very happy that Pirelli will help us achieve that.”
Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola commented: “Since we became sole tyre supplier to the GP2 SeriesTM, we have always been very keen to work in close contact with the organisers and meet their requests. We are already supplying an improved version of our P Zero GP2 hard compound rubber for this year’s GP2 post-season tests. This is a product with enhanced performance features, which will probably be seen on track starting from next season when the series will have new tyre rules. Having two different compounds available for each event in 2012 will certainly spice up the action and narrow the gap between Formula One and its feeder series, as the focus will not only be on tyre management skills but also on making the right tyre choice and planning race strategy accordingly. We are very satisfied with how our P Zero GP2 tyres performed during the 2011 season and we are glad to have significantly contributed to increasing the spectacle of the races. I feel confident that our P Zero tyres combined with the new tyre rules will make the GP2 races even more interesting to watch next season.”
2012 novelty in GP2 and GP3 SeriesTM
The 2012 season will also see GP2 and GP3 SeriesTM alike adopt the same point system as the one used in Formula OneTM. Therefore, the Saturday Race of both Series will award points to the Top 10 finishers (25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 points allocated). However, only the Top 8 will be reversed for the Sunday Race grid, and the Top 8 finishers will score points (15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 points allocated). There will be four points allocated for pole position and two bonus points in each race for fastest lap.