SPA, Belgium, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Pirelli said the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix this weekend would be run on the two hardest-rubber tires available due to the length of the track.
The 4.3-mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit is the longest on the F1 tour and allows drivers to run at full throttle about 80 percent of the race, so Pirelli this week designated its P Zero Orange hard tire and P Zero White medium as the tires that will be available Sunday.
The bursts of speed and rapid deceleration heading into the turns are expected to put some precarious heat and pressure loads on the tires, which means the drivers and their anxious pit crews will be watching the rubber closely. In addition, rain is a frequent occurrence in the Ardennes and can cause hydroplaning.
"Spa is not only an epic circuit, but also one of the biggest challenges for our tires all year," said Pirelli's Paul Hembery. " Mostly this is because of the very high-energy loads that go all the way through the tires. Often, the tires are subjected to forces acting in different directions at the same time."
The Belgian Grand Prix is the first F1 event since a four-week hiatus. Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull leads the F1 season standings with 174 points. Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus is in second with 134 points and has four Belgian Grand Prix victories under his belt plus a third-place finish last year.