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Analysis of Valencia testing
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Analysis of Valencia testing
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Feb 2011   |  11:06 am GMT  |  120 comments

This week’s test in Valencia threw up some interesting talking points, some of which give us pointers to the season ahead. It’s early days to be making predictions on who is fastest, but we learned quite a lot about the new Pirelli tyres, how they will affect the racing and what some of the key talking points will be from a technical point of view. It certainly looks like Renault has moved forward, that Mercedes has some work to do and that Red Bull and Ferrari are more or less where they were last season. But the devil is in the details and it’s still too early to be sure of the details as people were at different stages, for example not everyone used KERS, which affects the final few tenths of a second per lap.

Pirelli tyres
There has been a lot of talk in the last few days about the Pirelli tyres and how the performance drops off after the initial fast lap. Whenever something is new in F1 there is always a bit of a negative reaction, especially from drivers. I remember the moaning about the comfort of the HANS device, which you never hear anyone mention now.

Pirelli is clearly less advanced than Bridgestone was in making F1 tyres and in the design of the compound and the construction there is less science at this point. THe result is that the tyres are probably a step too soft through the range. The supersoft was losing around 2/10ths of a second per lap in degradation, equivalent to 10 seconds over half a race, which is too high for F1. The soft and medium were losing around 0.05s to 0.1s per lap, which is on the high side but workable.


Pirelli are playing their cards close to their chests, saying that they are following the brief they were given to make the tyres less durable than Bridestone and thus make the racing more variable. In all likelihood they will go one notch harder on each compound by the time they specify the tyres for the season.

What is happening is that the rear tyre is proving difficult to manage. The performance is going off and once it becomes more worn it drops off more steeply. This leads to an oversteery car. The drivers say that when it starts to go it’s quite sudden, quite knife edge. Managing this degradation by a combination of driving style and set up so as not to overstress the rear tyre is going to be crucial for the season. The Ferrari looks like it is quite kind on its tyres and maybe this is an area where Red Bull will have to be careful.

The top ten drivers will start the race on the tyres they qualified on and no set up changes are allowed after qualifying. There is a school of thought that the cars which produce the most downforce at the front of the grid could therefore be likely to punish the tyre more and therefore be forced to stop earlier than the midfield cars, who might be able to go longer on a set of tyres.

A well driven midfield car therefore might have a chance to compete with the slower of the front running cars. It could be a bit of a leveller.

There is no doubt that race preparation in the teams’ simulators is more important this season than ever. It’s clear that McLaren’s strategy since the November tests in Abu Dhabi has been to develop the most sophisticated simulator model of the tyres possible. I’m told that the thing that Jenson Button was happiest about from his testing on Thursday was that the real thing was impressively similar to the McLaren tyre model. Other teams will be aiming for the same thing, but McLaren’s strategy with Gary Paffett’s programme in Abu Dhabi and Valencia, looks like it was a priority.

Drivers will spend more time preparing for each race in the simulator and a team which has a good tyre model will have an advantage over the others as they will be able to use more of their time at the race track on things like KERS or development and less time on tuning the car in to the tyres.

From what we have seen this week it is likely that most races will be two pit stops and only freak conditions – as we saw in Montreal last season – will produce races with lots of stops. It is feasible, if Pirelli goes a step harder on compounds, that one stop will be possible at some venues, which is an important variable to keep in the mix. It could be, in other words, that there will be a range of possibilities which will make for good racing. It is clear that the role of the race strategists is going to be more important than ever this year.


Innovations
What is also clear from the first test is that there are some interesting engineering challenges this season, from incorporating KERS, to the adjustable rear wing and the various parts of the floor exhausts can be blown over. Renault has innovated with its sidepod mounted exhaust outlets and it is likely that other teams will have known about it for a while and will be trying it to see if the gain is worth changing the car for. Williams too has innovated with a rear end set up which is aimed at getting as much air flow to the rear wing as possible.

The adjustable rear wing didn’t give as much of a straight line speed advantage in Valencia as many expected, it was certainly less than 10km/h. At some venues it will be more. Remember that the drivers can use it as much as they want in practice and qualifying, but only for 600 metres in the race. So most people will be working on how best to use it for lap time gain and let the racing sort itself out.

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120 Comments
  1. S.J.M says:

    James, i know its early days but has there been any information released by Pirelli or the drivers as to how quick each tyre compound will be per lap compared to the other compounds ? or atleast compared to Bridgestones of the previous seasons.

  2. Ben G says:

    I hope Pirelli hold their nerve and keep the tyres soft. The more variables in a race the better.

    1. Henry says:

      I second this. They really should try not to succumb to the inevitable pressure from teams and engineers to toughen the compounds. I am already dreading the moaning that could come from the paddock.

    2. JJ MUPPET says:

      I fully agree, but fear they will not have the nerve. It would make for such better racing.

  3. ogi says:

    Hello James,
    is it posible to know from Valencia test in wich tyres for example Michael did long stint because I noticed that tyres was not marked?
    How the tyres will be marked (to know wich compound they use)? In the same way like Bridgestones?

    1. Mario says:

      I’ve heard the “Pirelli” marking will be of different colours (yellow, red and blue and yellow for wet tyres).

  4. Alan Dove says:

    On the tyre thing – Is it not true that higher downforce cars are kinder on the tyres? Could we not see the cars at the front just leap of into the distance while midfield cars struggle?

    1. Tom says:

      Presumably there’s a balance – too much downforce and you can work the tyres extremely hard, too little and you can be sliding around. Both would affect their lifespan.

      1. Jon says:

        It’s never as simple as this in either direction. Alot more goes into it than tyres and downforce.

        Camber? Caster? Weight distribution? Aero loadings front to rear? Toe in? Ride heights? Rake angle (ride height balance front to rear). Diff settings? Tyre pressures? Gear ratios? Springs? Dampers? Anti roll bars?

        There’s a million different factors. And then how all of those things are paired up with your individual cars needs. What works for Williams, won’t work for McLaren and vice versa.

        A car with more downforce could wear it’s tyres less, or it could wear it’s tyres more depending on all of the factors and comprimises in place.

      2. Tom says:

        It’s never as simple as that in a sport which spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year on tenths of seconds? I had no idea.

  5. Galapago555 says:

    “…Remember that the drivers can use it [the adjustable rear wing] as much as they want in practice and qualifying, but only for 600 metres in the race…”

    Where did you get that info? I’ve been searching through the Sporting Regs and can’t find it. Btw, when are they going to announce the “overtaking areas” for first races?

    As a side note, James, I remember that you promised to make available a screensaver with all the banners that appeared on top of your site during last season. Will you keep your promise? :-D

    1. James Allen says:

      Ah yes, thanks for reminding me. I have it. Will make it available shortly.

    2. unoc says:

      I believe it has been announced along with the 600 metre info that the straights will the home straight in Bahrain and Australia with the back straight in Malaysia taking the role then. I think, might have been china though.. can’t remember.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        Where? Struggling with the 2011 Sporting Regs, and can’t find anything…

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Well, finally I found something. Here’s a very interesting article on this topic:

        http://bit.ly/fxd7WL

    3. Robert McKay says:

      ““…Remember that the drivers can use it [the adjustable rear wing] as much as they want in practice and qualifying, but only for 600 metres in the race…””

      Only if they’re behind someone and close enough, of course…

      Certainly it will be interesting to see how the drivers adjust from having the freedom to use the wing in quali to only having it at set times in the race.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        “Only if they’re behind someone and close enough, of course…”

        And two laps after the start of the race or after a restart following a SC period, of course…

  6. chris green says:

    Sorry to keep harping on about the tyres – they are crap. there is no easy way to say it. It’s typical of F1 these days because no one wants to pay for

    tyres. The reason the tyres are cheap (i.e free )is because they don’t work properly. This company has never covered itself in glory in F1.

    1. Henry says:

      why do you come to this conclusion? I am just interested, it seems a bit radical to come out with, espeically as you propose no argument or evidence to back your comments up. Softer tyres which wear quickly will be good for the sport. and they are bound to be marginally off the pace after years out of F1. Expecting them to be immediately as good as bridgestone, especially if they are trying to create a different tyre, is the opinion of a fool.

    2. Marty McSuperFly says:

      I’m sure all the hard working engineers and chemists in Milan will be thrilled with your insightful comment.

      Not wanting to troll, but what would you have Pirelli or the FIA do?

    3. Andy C says:

      Interesting viewpoint. On what basis to you back it up.

      Paul Hembery has already said they are working to a different spec and have designed them to last a shorter period than bridgestone. The drop off is as they believed it would be.

      What is a good tyre anyway? In my view its one that doesnt last the whole race, and that makes multiple different strategies possible.

      I’ve no interest in 1 stop races being the only way unless you get a puncture.

    4. Mark Crooks says:

      I wasn’t aware you are such an expert on F1 tyres. The Pirelli tyres on my car work just fine, so that must make me an expert. So I say they aren’t cr@p :-)

    5. John M says:

      That seems awful harsh for so early in the testing season.

      For me, I’m all for tires that aren’t as durable as the Bridgestones. I’d much rather have drivers fighting tire degredation and being forced to manage them. I thought that last year it was crazy that the softer tire option could run nearly an entire race. If there’s going to be arbitrary rules about pit stops (which I’m not really in favor of) then at least have the tires wear out faster.

    6. Knuckles says:

      Where you asleep when everyone complained that the option Bridgestones lasted nearly a whole race, and when the FIA asked Pirelli to build tires that go off much faster?

      People like you are the reason why Bridgestone played it the way the did to the detriment of the sport. Sad.

    7. Jon says:

      Your delusional mate, sorry.

      Pirelli are following the directives given to them upon entering F1 in 2011.

      They are providing tyres that will serve the entertainment of the racing (and the fans enjoyment) in a better way.

      Even Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the extra stops that will be required.

      In this way they are better serving F1 then Bridgestone last season, who were only interested in their own reputation.

      Get it straight.

  7. Ian Rees says:

    Thats what we want from the tyres some varation!! Last years tyres were boring with soft compound tyres lasting the whole race and 1 stop stratagies !! What we like with f1 is the overtaking caused by some one possibly on worn to some one on new tyres and more pitstops means more strategy thinking remember shuey 4 stops in France!! I think weak tyres are better f1. And will bring out the best in the drivers like button but Lewis and vettal might struggle at first!!

    1. Mario says:

      On the other hand the last thing I’d like to see is the drivers cruising the cars in order not to harm the tyres, or being constantly reminded by their engineers that they need to be careful.

      I like the more aggressive style of Hamilton, Vettel and others alike, the is more vigour and youth to it. It adds to the spectacle.
      Jenson Button’s driving style reminds me of a M&S shopping trip, but I know some people admire it. Ideally, would be nice to keep both.

      Having a tyre that works only for some and not the others, or forces certain style of racing would not be good. But let’s give Pirellis a chance to show what good they can bring to the sport.

      1. ian rees says:

        I tottally agree with you mario, i don’t want to see people cruising around!!! And don’t get me wrong i love hamilton’s style, (not so much vettel reminds me of a young shuey who will take you off the track to win!!) but would it not be interesting to see if a car on new tyres and a 1sec a lap faster catch up to slower car who has done a less stop!!! It’s all about stratagy this year and can forsee that with Ross Brawn at helm (i hate to say it) but mercedas might have a great chance!!! But will support Mclaren all the way!!

  8. snafuracer says:

    Nice overview, James. To me, it looked like a shakedown for everybody, just to get used to the tires, which obviously will play great role this season. One of the big losers of those tires, I think, will be the drivers with aggressive style, like Alonso and Kubica, which both have expressed concerns over sudden drops in tires’ performance, resulting in peaks and drops within 2-3 seconds amplitude. On the other hand, Massa and Button looked quite happy about the new rubber, so .. it’s getting interesting.

    1. Karas says:

      I think you’re wrong about the drivers. Kubica and Alonso are the most balanced out there. Guys with really aggressive driving style are certainly Hamilton and Kobayashi, also Vettel but to a lesser extent. On the other side of the spectrum is Button who can really gain with the new regulations. He lacks some qualifying speed, but the new regulations (rear wing and KERS) and his formidable overtaking he can cope with the potentially lower grid position, his remarkable tire management can fundamental though.

    2. Dave C says:

      So you’re saying Alonso’s style is more aggressive than Hamilton’s? If there’s anyone who struggles with tyre degradation more than anyone is Hamilton.
      Button should be happy dunno about Massa.

  9. Mattoz says:

    I am very surprised that the use of the adjustable rear wing is permitted during qualifying. It makes sense to allow the drivers to get used to it in practice, but why qualifying? This rule was bought in to enable cars to overtake on one part of the track. Why not just ban it for qualy, as every driver will be pressing the button to adjust the wing on every straight – pointless…

    1. murray says:

      The wing only trims if there’s a car less than a second in front – which might lead to some interesting team-ordering jiggery-pokery going on in qualifying…

      1. murray says:

        …and if it activates, the car will be going slightly faster down the straight, so the braking distance will vary. Indiscriminate button-pushing isn’t going to improve performance.

      2. James Allen says:

        NO, that’s not true. Drivers can use it whenever they want in qualifying.

      3. murray says:

        Thanks for the correction, James. Anywhere on track, too? No zoning?

      4. James Allen says:

        Zoning only in the race

    2. ja9ae says:

      I suppose one could view qualifying as trying to return the fastest possible time each team & driver can achieve, and so yo would want all possible advantages to be given to drivers.

    3. Andy says:

      Why not in qualifying? Why should it be banned during qualifying?

    4. James Bond says:

      Good point…

    5. Hadn’t thought of that, but it is a good point. If the adjustable wing is simply an artificial speed booster put in place to make overtaking easier, why allow it’s use in qualifying? Good point…

    6. Mark Crooks says:

      I think its a good thing, afterall we want to see the cars go as fast as possible and see the ultimate flying qualifying lap.

      Afterall it wasn’t as much fun in the old qualifying format seeing the cars go slower in Q3 because of the additional fuel.

    7. Dan says:

      If they couldn’t use it in qualifying, there is a good chance teams would be unwilling to compromise qualifying pace over the ability to overtake in the race.

      Now they have to set their gearing to get the most out of using the rear ring in qualifying, hence getting benefit from it when they do use it in the race and not just hitting the rev-limiter.

    8. Knuckles says:

      If they didn’t allow it in qualifying then the teams would not set up their gearing for its use. This would mean that in the race nobody could go faster despite deploying the wing because they would hit the rev limiter in 7th gear.

  10. kowalsky says:

    renault and mclaren seem the most agresive in design. I love the renault livery, and i hope they can become the third team this season in front of mercedes, which it seems could be a great fiasco, and the last year of the great schumacher.

  11. steakbearnaise says:

    @James Allen – what is it in particular from Valencia that makes you convinced most races will see 2 stops, and only freak races will have more?

    I remember ten and more years ago the teams would often say at some of the tracks that the fastest way around the full race distance was by stopping 3 times – the question was then whether you’d be able to get the timing right and/or overtake the 2-stoppers. Schumacher did this memorably a few times. I would have thought that with the tire drop off this season, and KERS and adjustable wings hopefully allowing for more overtaking, that 3 stop races might again be a reasonable tactic for some temas.

    Interested to hear why that wouldn’t be the case this year, at least for some of the races.

    1. James Allen says:

      Talking to F1 engineers who were at the test and work on the cars

    2. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

      The three stoppers sometimes made sense when you would carry less fuel. Moot now.

  12. Henry says:

    I personally think that tyres with a fast drop off, and fast degradation, will be great for the racing. Cannot wait to see how this affects the car design trends over the season: should be very interesting.

  13. kowalsky says:

    and what about the problems some drivers had with the fronts. Do the pirelli solved that? We need schumi on the pace, otherwise… bye bye baby.

    1. Knuckles says:

      After the December test Massa was very happy about his front tyre problem disappearing. Also see http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/89284

    2. Jon says:

      Can’t expect miracles. Schumi is past his peak and there is little chance of Mercedes delivering a car on par with Ferrari, McLaren and Redbull. Even if they did, Nico is no slouch and the best Schum could hope for is probably breaking even. He’s definately capable of that.

      However if Schumacher is the only reason for tuning in, you will most likely be left dissappointed. Vettel is the new German #1.

      Both in car speed, and also his own speed.

  14. unoc says:

    I like the tyres. If the tyres are harder to control then more skill will be required to put the power down without wheel spin. In which case if one car is following another and the one in front has slightly more wheel spin it will be catchable. Hence better overtaking.

    I think the pirellis will be great. I have wanted a soft tyre and this looks great. We can hopefully get a few 2 pit stop stratergies vs 1 pit stop or maybe a 3 vs 2. The drivers who can drive fast while mainting tyres and then when they do go off, driving with them well will win. i.e. the best driver skill wins! Which is better than whoever has purely the best car wins regardless of anything here say.

    Another thing to add is that drivers are saying that while thetyres do go off, they are then very stable once off. Slow, and not grippy, but stable. Which means it will be all about skill not just luck of the draw.

    Top stuff Pirelli!

  15. William Wilgus says:

    I believe the movable rear wing is turning out to be a joke. With a ‘reported’ gain of 10 KPH or less and only being able to use it in the last 600 meters, what good is it?

    1. Rich C says:

      I’m starting to wonder as well.
      SOme back of the envelope calculating:
      they will spend approx 5-8 seconds in that 600 meter zone. A car wi +10 klicks will only gain about 50-80 feet during that time. Since the 1-sec behind limit translates into +- 200ft deficit then they may *not catch them up completely if they’re 1 sec adrift – unless the draft effect is *enormus.
      SO, how much *is the draft effect worth?

      1. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

        Thanks for that calculation. You are supporting my view that that rule is the silliest, amongst many silly ones we’ve seen lately.

        Having the movable wing makes sense – like KERS it’s vaguely road-relevant as it reduces fuel consumption (or increases speed). But the rule is contrived and probably unworkable. Not to do with proper racing.

      2. Jon says:

        If a car is 1 second behind it doesn’t deserve to overtake the car infront.

        In the last 5 years, cars have been able to get within .5 if they are fast enough, compared to the car infront. Double diffusers are banned, downforce is reduced so that should be again possible this season.

        This system is not intended to “gift” a position by allowing an easy overtake. It is in place to give a final boost in situations where overtaking was near impossible, in order to make it possible.

        Still need to follow the car infront closely, still need to get a good corner exit, and still need to slipstream and outbrake that car in the next braking zone. Otherwise it’s cheap and artificial and worthless. Like the KERS overtakes of 2009.

        And it will be tweaked on the fly by FIA because different tracks have different levels of impossibleness.

  16. F1a says:

    Ian – you know that Hamilton’s reputation for tire-wear ended early 2008?

    You know that all through 2010 he never used tires worse than Button? And won in Canada on awful tires? Care to cite any actual examples of Vettel and Hamilton being worse than their team-mates on tires?

    1. TheLegend says:

      Spain, both of them had problems that ended with Hamilton’s puncture and accident and Vettel’s problems and pit stop, pushing Fernando from 4th to 2nd.

      1. Robb says:

        Actually, Hamilton’s crash in Spain wasn’t a tire issue, it was a wheel failure due to an improperly tightened wheel nut on the last pit stop. This was McLaren’s conclusion after investigating it over the following week.

    2. Drew says:

      Turkey 2010. After Webber and Vettel crashed, button was only able to catch Hamilton because Hamilton abused the shit out of his tyres, and couldnt push as hard. Whereas Button had looked after his, and was able to push hard as shit

      1. Trix says:

        Emmmm

        Not true. In Turkey, Button was able to catch Hamilton cos he was conserving fuel and thought the racing was over. Also, in Spain, it was a RIM FAILURE and not a tyre failure. We need to check the facts before we propagate any falsehood around here. By the way, as soon as Hamilton had re-passed Button in Turkey, he was immediately much faster than Button had been when chasing him. Consider the fact too that Hamilton had been pusing like mad to try and get past Webber then Vettel while Button (as usual) as waiting to see if anything would go wrong. At Canada, when it “seemed” like Button was catching Hamilton at the end, Hamilton immediately set a lap 6 tenths faster than Button (on the second to the last lap).

        Facts people, FACTS!

      2. TJS says:

        how do you know what is fact? sure, the mclaren PR machine would like you to believe that spain 2010 was “debris related” but come on… the tarmac is not debris!

    3. Jon says:

      Melbourne last year, Hamilton and Webber made extra stops and caught Alonso and Massa and co at 2 secs a lap, and 2 laps after catching them Hamilton went onto the radio saying the tyres were gone. Meanwhile the cars infront had been out there the entire time on the same tyres. There was no mention from Webber of his tyres being worn even though he tailed Hamilton through the whole stint.

  17. Hector says:

    Hi James, I will appreciate if you can explain in some detail the use of the KERS during a race, because if a car is trying to attemp a pass, the car in front can use the Kers to compensate, and make more difficult the move for the car behind?. Great web site. Best Regards

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, but it’s the same for both cars, as long as both have KERS. The adjustable rear wing can only be used by the car following

      1. Bottle says:

        Oh dear. The more I hear about the adjustable rear wing and the attendant rules about pre-determined overtaking zones, the more it strikes me as an artificial and unnecessary gimmick that doesn’t belong in Grand Prix racing.

      2. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

        Here here!

  18. steve_muzzy says:

    slightly off topic but have you see nthe new McLaren? Very interesting shape in the sidepods and 2 air intakes on the enginer cover – wonder what trick they have up thier sleeve this year?

  19. Marty McSuperFly says:

    Nice article, thanks.
    James, do you think that the difference with the tyres, compared to last season anyway might be a might be a philosophical difference between the two companies. Bridgestone being Japanese and perhaps more conservative, whereas Pirelli might be willing to take some more risks? I seem to remember that in 1997, the Goodyear tyre cut-up quite badly, even at circuits without a normally high tyre attrition rate; whereas the Bridgestones were generally more durable, although seemed a darn sight quicker too.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think that is a fair assessment

      1. Jon says:

        I think a fairer assessment is that the teams ASKED Pirelli to make their tyres like this.

        It’s not like they all asked for Bridgestone clones and this is Pirelli’s “attempt” at a Bridgestone clone.

        As far back as Bahrain last year (post race), Whitmarsh was asking for weaker tyres in order to spice up the racing. Horner had earlier asked for this but everyone assumed it was because the Redbull is hard on it’s tyres and everyone was looking for their own interests. After Bahrain it was clear that Redbull wasn’t hard on it’s tyres, however Bridgestone didn’t want to comprimise it’s reputation for the sake of the sport.

        Pirelli is willing to do that. They should be praised.

        Canada wasn’t Bridgestone saying “here you go, here’s some better tyres”, it was an unintentional folly due to the tarmac surface and the fact that they hadn’t raced there in a few years, however it DID show how much of a difference weaker tyres would make.

        I couldn’t even tell you what country Pirelli are from, but I can tell you for sure they aren’t British because they are getting a short end of the stick at the moment. :P

      2. Marty McSuperFly says:

        Yeah good point.
        Suppose there is a difference also in being the sole supplier rather than a competitor.

        I wasn’t inferring that you could tell what nationality the company is from their behaviour of competitiveness, just that Japanese firms are historically more conservative in their approach to risk. At least that’s what I got from my reading of ‘The Toyota way’.

        Although I’ll glady be proven wrong.

  20. Have they decided on how they are going to ‘mark’ each compound? My idea would be to to change the colour of the logo from Yellow to another colour ie red as I notice sometimes they use red on a yellow back ground

    1. TheLegend says:

      That’s exactly what they are going to do. Yellow, red, blue and white if I remember correctly.

    2. Knuckles says:

      Red “Pirelli” for super-soft, white for soft, blue for medium, yellow for hard, yellow for full-wets, and red for inters. At least that’s what I read

    3. Rich C says:

      That shade of yellow looks awful. Is it Pirelli’s co colors?

    4. jose arellano says:

      thats how they are going to do it actually

    5. Davexxx says:

      I just hope they also put a coloured band around the circumferance of the tyre – which you can see from on-board cameras – and not just have the coloured name on the sides, which on TV you often can’t make out when a car whizzes by at speed.
      Wouldn’t it be great if in this great technological age they could colour the actual RUBBER in differnt colours?!

  21. ahmed says:

    James, just wondering how Schumacher feels about the new tyres, no that he has had a full day on the near final spec of Pirellis how is he finding them, are they to his liking?

  22. JezW says:

    In order to spice up the pit stops (of which i hope will be more this year with a more marginal tyre) is there any milage in reducing the number of pit crew members invloved in a stop, to 6 for example? ie one person front/back of car and just one person on each wheel only to remove and replace the tyres??

    1. Rich C says:

      No no! It can’t be done!
      It would be too much like copying all the *other racing series that use *less than 20 ppl to make a pit stop!
      This is the *pinnacle! We need *more ppl out there, not less!

    2. Jonno says:

      The only point of that suggestion is to introduce the possibility of an overtake being made due to a error made by a mechanic.
      That’s not racing and it’s most certainly not fair to put extra pressure on a team member who isn’t going to receive the rewards of those who the business out on the track.

      1. JezW says:

        @Jonno
        Point 1 – Errrr YES!
        Point 2 – and here’s me thinking that F1 IS a TEAM sport… pit crew/driver/mechanics/factory workers etc they win together as well as loose together.

        @RichC
        Fair point

  23. StefMeister says:

    Not so sure I like the idea of really high wear tyres to be honest, At least not the way its been done.

    A Montreal type situation is fine when it happens as it happened last year, That been the harsh winter’s forcing a specific type of track surface to be laid to prevent the break-up we had seen in previous years.

    The problem I have with this & where I think it becomes a type of gimmick is when the same situation is forced simply because some think we need to ‘artificially spice up the show’.

    I don’t like the idea of race’s & at the end of the day championships been decided purely because of who kept there tyres in one piece more often than others. Im not keen on the idea of artificially forcing pit stops, I think its bad enough we already have a mandatory stop (To run both compounds), If we end up with drivers been forced to make 2 or 3 stops simply because the tyres fall to bits after 10-15 laps then Im not intrested anymore.

    I think everything’s going too far in the wrong direction now. Everyone has become too obsessed with ‘improving the show’ and I feel there doing it at the expence of the actual racing.

    yes its the same for everybody and tyre management has always been a part of racing, The part where I think this has become a bit of a gimmick is that they intend to intentionally make tyres wear a lot faster than they could purely to try & force drivers to have to make more than 1 pit stop because they have deemed that this is more entertaining.

    Another problem I see is that we could see more marbles (Apparently been a lot more than usual at Valencia the last 2 days) which will hinder the racing. If you look at Montreal in 2006 where the tyre wear was bad we ended up with so many marbles offline that actual racing became impossible as going offline even by an inch put you straght in the wall.

    It is not any one thing (like the hideously gimmicky AWR) it is the whole view that racing itself is not enough, and that the competition has to be stage-managed to make it more entertaining. The focus has shifted from racing to entertainment, and if it keeps shifting this way, there soon won’t be any real racing.

    1. NamedMyKidAyrton says:

      I happen to disagree, but you do bring up an interesting point regarding the marbles maybe affecting driving. I did not, however, hear any reports of an excess appearance of marbles at Valencia.

      To anyone who attended: Is it true? And if so, was it happening to the extent that drivers would feel forced to stay always on the racing line?

      1. StefMeister says:

        I read about the marbles here:
        http://bit.ly/dWpWp9

        And also saw a picture showing a lot of marbles here:
        http://bit.ly/eBHFGO

  24. RPSeymour says:

    I’m a bit puzzled at to the point of being allowed to use the rear wing openly in qualifying. I understand they will all have the same availablility but surely the point of the rear wing is to aid overtaking not to add unrealistic speed. On a track like Monza with four very long straights I can imagine the lap time difference between qualifying and race to be dramatically different.

    1. Knuckles says:

      Otherwise the 7th gear would be too short and they’d hit the rev limit when deploying the wing.

      1. Thats doesn’t answer what I’m saying. I understand the rev limit issue, but why be able to use the system openly in quali. Why not void it in qualy and only use it in the race. It is afterall a system to allow overtaking.

      2. Knuckles says:

        I don’t get what you are saying. When you understand the rev limit issue, then why ask? :) What am I missing?

        I see it like this:
        when you disallow the wing usage in qualy then they will set up the gears so that, as usual, they hit the limiter on the longest straight with the normal wing setting.

        Remember that no changes are allowed to the gearing after qualy starts. So in the race they cannot go faster despite deploying the wing, because they are rev limited when they do

      3. Knuckles says:

        Also, I doubt that the wing flap makes much difference in Monza, they hardly even run a flap that can be moved. Remember that most didn’t even bother with an f-duct last year in Monza, which could even be used at will during the race.

    2. Jonno says:

      I like the idea. I expect to see midfield cars at the front of the grid, because they’ve setup the cars to do well in qualifying. Come the race they will be picked off by those who are running the right race settings.
      Let’s hope the midfield drivers are sensible.

  25. Ralph says:

    Mattoz – See this link for reasons why allowing the adjustable rear wing in qualifying may be vital!

    http://hopkinsonf1.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/why-adjustable-wings-neednt-affect-gear-ratios/

  26. Piotr says:

    James,

    Could you please get someone to draw a sketch of the new exhaust by Renault? What is the big difference? Can it be copy quickly?

    Cheers

  27. Andy C says:

    Very clever launch today by the men from Woking.

    At first glance I was thinking they were reckless by taking parts of the car uncovered, then I realised the engine and back end were all dummies.

    Car looks great though.

  28. Pawel says:

    Do you agree Renault innovative exhaust could increase tyre degradation by even overheating floor and other elements close to floor?

  29. Mark Crooks says:

    I have just seen the first photos of the new Mclaren and boy does it look the business. Of all the new cars this certainly looks the best with lots of innovative features similar to the Renault (not lotus)

  30. Frankie says:

    I just don’t see that greater down force causes greater tyre wear, all empirical data shows the opposite! Additionally we know that getting the tyres at their optimum operating temperature is vital in squeezing time out of the track. The less down force, the slower the car will go or the more the tyres will slip and grain.

    If the implication is that because the front grid cars can go that bit faster and will causing the tyres to suffer, I just cannot see the rational. There’s nothing stopping anyone at the front of the grid conserving their tyres as any middle order car may and always have the upper hand because of their superior down force.

    I cannot remember any previous situation when greater down force has been added to the car and it has increased tyre degradation for the same operating parameters. I can only remember or theorise the opposite to be true? The only thing I can remember is where the wheel geometry has been changed to get heat into the tyres. But the increased wear from this change in geometry was paid back from the increased performance from the temperature increase?

  31. Robert says:

    how are they going to get around the KERS problem? Mainly that every driver, give or take, will use it at the same point of every lap making in null and void.

    1. Rich C says:

      Some will have a better KERS than others and go faster, just like those with a better engine will go faster.

  32. Charlie Kirk says:

    Jake H mentioned the new McLaren had TWO air intakes.. not sure on what the second was for – any more news?

    1. Mark Crooks says:

      It actually has four by the looks of it, the traditional intake, then two at the side that are either intakes or the exhaust (they are keeping it secret right now). Then there is another intake right behind the drivers head which is apparently for the hydraulics/electrics and/or KERS

      1. Charlie Kirk says:

        Thanks Mark.. can’t wait to see how this plays out

      2. StefMeister says:

        The 1st air intake is the standard one above the drivers head & thats for the engine.

        The 2nd is directly below that & is for KERS.

        The 3rd is on top of the engine cover behind the roll bar & this is what directs air to cool the gearbox, Oil & Hydraulics. This intake exits the car at the back of the engine cover & feeds air through the rear wing.

        You can see all 3 air intakes in this pic:
        http://bit.ly/hIzwWi

        And you can see the exit for the 3rd intake at the back of the engine cover in this pic:
        http://bit.ly/i45yqC

      3. Kyle says:

        Actually there appears to be three air intakes at the rollhoop section of the car.

        There is of course the main rollhoop air intake and directly below it, a secondary intake which feeds the KERS unit. The third which is directly above/surrounding the rollhoop intake feeds the gearbox and hydraulics.

  33. Gav says:

    i hope merc can get michaels car up to speed, having him challenge the younger drivers will make great watching.

  34. paul says:

    why is 2/10ths of a second per lap too much? in nascar on some tracks old tyres can be 3seconds slower, on a 25-50 second laptime depending on track. that would scale to 9seconds on some f1 tracks :).

    remmber before every race teams said soft tyres would last x laps (normaly 10 or 12), and then carried on to lap 20 quite happily, and some ran even longer without issue

    1. Jon says:

      Tyres are stressful for teams, it’s alot easier for us to sit back and laugh at them for getting their panties in a bunch, but it makes them nervous and they always “err on the side of caution”. As being caught out by worn tyres can really ruin your race and get you out of sync in the stops. Check out Vettel in Monaco in 2009.

      In some situations tyres “fall off a cliff” and that is what the teams aid to avoid. When they know the tyres are more durable, they can afford to be less paranoid about it.

      1. Jon says:

        Their paranoia = our entertainment during the race. As others have said, hopefully Pirelli holds strong on their nerve.

  35. AlexD says:

    James,as you are close to the action…do you here whispers and suggestions from teams…on which car might be the fastest?

    I have a feeling that Newey did it again…

    1. Jon says:

      Helmut Marko said to the press that Redbull would lap everybody if they raced today, but Helmut Marko has been known to run his mouth in the past. Whether it’s true or not, it’s a really silly thing to say after one test.

      Can’t judge McLaren yet, but Ferrari and Redbull are fast and reliable as expected.

  36. Nathan says:

    the thing with the tyres is there is meant to be degredation, the bridgestones were bulletproof and it hurt the racing bigtime…..

  37. Paul Kirk says:

    Something I’m struggling to understand is how can they programe precise tyre characteristics into a simulator? Eg, how they degrade, or stability under braking, or diferent compounds/constructions, etc. Does anybody know where I can research this?
    PK.

    1. Frankie says:

      I would not have thought it to be that difficult. In testing you monitor the down force, pressure, temperatures and see what grip you get for various surfaces. This will correspond to a wear rate. Then factor in the effect of the tyre sliding and the subsequent graining and you are not far off.

      One of the big issues all the teams don’t seem to have a handle on is the effect of laying down more rubber in the race and where the balance point tips, especially where you have a variation in the other major factor, temperature.

  38. David Smith says:

    James,

    Slightly related to testing in a way.
    Something I noticed on a photo of Schumacher’s Crash Helmet is the Bridgestone Logo?
    Is this a personal sponsorship?

  39. chris green says:

    I ‘ve read all the posts re tyres – I stand by my comments. No one wants tyres that are good for a lap and then fall off a cliff. It turns the racing into a lottery. We want to see real racing – not a procession of drivers trying to manage shot tyres.

    Everyone seems to like drivers who have a spectaculsr style – Rindt – Peterson – g Villeneuve – Senna – Hamilton – Vettel. These guys get people excited. They shouldn’t be overly penalised because the tyres have to be overly managed.

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