Pirelli says its distribution of tire compounds for the Indian Grand Prix could form the basis of its 2012 strategy – if it proves successful.
The usual practice is for teams to get five sets of the softer of Pirelli's tire choices each weekend, and six of the harder – but some of these tend to be unused. For India, the allocation will be the other way around, with six softs and five hards provided.
Pirelli's motorsport boss Paul Hembery says the results of that choice this weekend will help the firm plan what to do in 2012.
"We've opted for a deliberately conservative nomination in selecting the hard tire alongside the soft, simply because on a brand-new circuit you are never quite sure of the exact race conditions you will encounter," he said. "But we've structured the allocation in such a way that we think the teams will run more on the softer tires, particularly because we are bringing an extra set of soft compound tires for Friday.
"This will help us to make some decisions about our strategy for next year, particularly after we saw the excellent durability of the softer compounds."
HRT driver Narain Karthikeyan reckons the difference in speed between the hards and softs will be dramatic.
"The lap time difference between the hard and soft tires is going to be huge, maybe in excess of two seconds a lap," he said. "I'd expect the teams to use the hard as less as possible: maybe just a short final stint in the race as the benefits in lap time produced by the soft tire should outweigh its shorter life as the track surface isn't abrasive at all and track temperatures I think should be under 104 degrees during the weekend."
Hembery agreed that this was likely.
"It's too early to talk about the number of pit stops we expect this weekend, but we anticipate a reasonably significant lap time difference between the two compounds," he said.