McLaren has chosen contrasting tyre picks for the second race for the United States Grand Prix. All other F1 teams participating in the event have opted to use Ultrasoft compound at the Circuit of the Americas, but McLaren has instead decided to edge toward Soft tyres with Fernando Alonso personally opting for six sets of yellow-banded tyres.
In a similar situation, both McLaren drivers took five sets of the softest compound on offer from Pirelli at the United States race, which was the fewest of any F1 drivers, with only Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo being the closest, both taking six sets for their Renault-powered vehicles.
The choice comes after the Japanese Grand Prix where McLaren had admitted that they had expected better performance from their MCL33 car using harder compounds. Sporting director Gil de Ferran conceded that they had made the wrong call. In a statement to reporters, de Ferran had explained that they had believed their car would work better with harder compounds, but during the actual race they realised that they had made the wrong choice.
The United States track shares many of the same characteristics of Suzuka, which is made up of high-speed corners, and it could have left McLaren in the same situation.
The FIA rules states that Pirelli selects its compound options 15 weeks in advance, and both teams and drivers need to make their choices 14 weeks ahead of the event, giving them a week to confirm selections.
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