Pirelli director of motorsport Paul Hembery thinks teams are going to face an interesting challenge with tire strategies in qualifying because of the big time difference between the two compounds.
The Italian tire maker has brought the soft and the hard compound for the inaugural event in India, and early data has suggested that there could be as big a gap as two seconds per lap in pace disparity between the two types of tire.
Such a time difference could force even the fastest of teams to use up a valuable set of soft rubber in Q1 - which could leave them unable to save new sets for the race, but also make it harder for teams at the back of the grid to get within the mandatory 107 per cent limit.
"There is a huge difference in time, around two seconds," said Hembery about the hard/soft tires. "It is going to make for an interesting challenge."
Hembery says the fact there is such a large time difference between tires will provide Pirelli with valuable data about what impact it has on qualifying and the race by having such gaps.
"We've said all along that now the championships have been won, some of these things that we are doing are trying to look at preparation for next year," he explained. "We have two phases of the race: we have the qualifying and then we have the race itself. And we are trying to understand what teams do when there are big gaps, small gaps, or when there is reduced wear, like in Korea where we went with the super-soft and the soft.
"It is very hard from our point of view to try and plan ahead without the ability to test a lot. It is only in racing conditions that we get a good understanding of how they are going to behave."
Pirelli is predicting that the soft tire will be the compound of choice for the race, with each set expected to last between 18 and 25 laps. Drivers are expected to switch to the hard tire right at the very end of the race.
"It is going to make for an interesting last 10 minutes of the race," Hembery said.