Pirelli is predicting a two-stop strategy as the best approach to winning the Singapore Grand Prix, even though there has been talk some teams may need to pit twice as often.
tire management will be a key factor in the race as the tough demands of the Marina Bay circuit have caused a number of teams to suffer high degradation of the rear tires.
Although some outfits believe that they may need to stop four times, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery thinks that things should be simpler.
"It still looks like being a two-stop race because the penalty on three stops is quite heavy," said Hembery, referring to the fact that the time lost by stopping for tires is around 28 seconds.
"Drivers will have to manage the tires very well, and you have to assume at some point you get a safety car. That will easily bring it in to two stops.
"Everyone would love that [safety car] early on, so that will take them easily into a two-stop strategy. We envisage people going on to the soft tire in the middle section - and then keeping the supersoft for the lower degradation run to the end."
Hembery believes that the crossover point of performance between the tires will be around the 10-lap mark.
"There is a 1.5 seconds per lap difference between the two compounds," he said. "The crossover point is 8-10 laps.
"There is higher degradation, of around 0.2-0.3s on the super soft and 0.1s on the soft tire. So there is a big difference there, but we have seen double that on some cars - and it will be heavily influenced by driving style."