What tyres will the drivers and teams have for the 2021 United States Grand Prix?
The United States Grand Prix returns this weekend after a year away, and Pirelli have announced their tyre allocation for the Circuit of The Americas race.
Just six points separate the championship leaders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen heading to the United States, with F1 returning to Austin after last year's race was called off due to the global pandemic. Now it's back with a partially new surface – around 40% of COTA having been laid with new asphalt – and potential for high drama.
Pirelli have confirmed the same nomination as it was in the 2019 US Grand Prix, with C2 (hard, x2 sets), C3 (medium, x3 sets) and C4 (soft, x8 sets) tyres in use this weekend for each driver.
The circuit has been resurfaced in numerous places including the start-finish straight to the Turn 1 exit and Turns 15-19, with depressions in the asphalt having been fixed to even out the surface.
"Although the teams have quite a lot of experience of Austin, this year they face a track that has changed a bit compared to 2019, when we last raced here," said Pirelli's Head of F1 and Car Racing, Mario Isola.
"Around 40% of the track has been resurfaced but due to COVID-19 restrictions we were not able to send our personnel to analyse the new asphalt, so its characteristics are a question mark for everyone and we will only discover the final effects on tyres and car performance in general when we are there.
"As usual, the tyre nomination was done based on data obtained before the race, with the compounds in the middle of the range well-suited to the circumstances. With the championship battle so finely poised as we enter the final few races of the season, it's clear that every element of strategy will count – as we saw at the last race in Turkey."
Support this weekend comes from W Series and the Formula 4 United States Championship.