New tyres, safety cars and rain set scene for Brazil GP finale
Insight
Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Nov 2011   |  10:57 am GMT  |  71 comments

With a fairly high likelihood of a safety car and a new tyre choice from Pirelli which brings the two compounds closer together on performance, this should be one of the most interesting races of the season from a strategy point of view. The weather forecast also adds spice to the event with a strong likelihood of showers on Saturday and Sunday.

The Brazilian Grand Prix is special for a number of reasons; set in a natural bowl around a lake in a suburb of Sao Paulo, the passionate and noisy crowd can see most of the circuit from their seat. The venue is also at one of the highest altitudes of any F1 circuit at just over 800 metres. This means that the atmospheric pressure is almost 10% less than at sea level and this cuts engine power, downforce and drag by a similar amount.

It is also the shortest lap of the season in terms of lap time, a quick lap there being under 1m 12 seconds, so the qualifying and racing have an intense quality about them. The circuit has a fast opening downhill sector and final uphill sector, with a tight infield sector in the middle.

It is one of five anti-clockwise circuits on the calendar.

Contents – the Key Strategy considerations

• Track characteristics
• Form guide
• Weather forecast
• Likely tyre performance
• Number and likely timing of pit stops
• Chance of a safety car
• Recent start performance & Pit Stop League Table

Track characteristics

Interlagos – 4.309 kilometres. Race distance – 71 laps = 305.909 kilometres. 15 corners in total. Average speed 210km/h. A classic circuit set in a natural bowl, in a suburb of Sao Paulo.

Aerodynamic setup – Med/High downforce. Top speed 323km/h (with DRS open) 311km/h without.

Full throttle – 60% of the lap time (ave/high). Total fuel needed for race distance – 144 kilos (ave/low). Fuel consumption – 2.00 kg per lap (low)

Brake wear- light. Number of braking events – 6, Time spent braking – 16% of the lap.

Loss time for a Pit stop = 15 seconds
Total time needed for a pit stop: 20 seconds

Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried): 0.33 seconds (ave)

Form Guide

The Brazilian Grand Prix is the final round of 19 in the 2011 FIA F1 World Championship. The championship was decided three races ago in favour of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who was also the winner of the Brazilian GP last season. In 2009 Mark Webber won the race for Red Bull.

Interlagos is a real Red Bull circuit, the car does well on the second gear corners in the second sector and on the higher speed turns as well, such as the crucial final left hander onto the pit straight.

Felipe Massa won the race for Ferrari in 2006 and 2008, while Michael Schumacher has won it four times. McLaren hasn’t won there since 2005 and neither Lewis Hamilton nor Jenson Button has ever won there, despite both clinching their world titles at this event by finishing in fifth place in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Only 7 drivers have finished on the podium so far in 2011 – a very low number – and if that remains the case after Sunday’s race it will tie the record low in one year, set in 1992, 2000 and 2002.


Weather Forecast

Rain showers are a common occurrence in Sao Paolo at this time of year and many Brazilian Grands Prix have experienced sudden showers over the years. The forecast for the weekend is for temperatures around 25 degrees centigrade but with storms on Friday and showers on Saturday and Sunday.

Likely tyre performance and other considerations

Pirelli tyre choice for Brazil: Soft (yellow markings) and Medium (white markings). This combination has been seen several times, but the soft tyre this weekend is a different model from the one used all year.

Pirelli has been working on a new soft compound, testing it in Germany and again the recent Young Drivers’ test at Abu Dhabi. It is slightly harder than the soft tyre that has been in use for most of this season and is closer in performance to the medium tyre, the difference being around a half a second to seven tenths.

The tyre also has better thermal durability. It should be possible to use this tyre for longer than the old soft, opening up strategic options.

The track does not have a particularly abrasive surface and the energy going into the tyres is not particularly high, apart from the series of left hand corners before the final straight. On top of that, the tyres get plenty of rest on the two long straights.

The limiting factor on this track is the rear tyre, with the stop-start traction events in the series of corners in the middle part of the lap and the last corner onto the uphill final straight.

In the event of a wet race, drivers are not obliged to use both compounds of dry Pirelli tyres. Pirelli will have full wet and intermediate tyres on hand.

During Friday practice drivers will have two sets of Pirelli’s new experimental hard tyre to try out with a view to 2012.


Number and likely timing of pit stops

The pit lane at Interlagos is quite short and the time needed for a stop is only 15 seconds plus the stationary time. The indications, with this in mind and with the likely behaviour of the tyres, are that two stops will be the way to go.

However the new soft tyre will be capable of longer runs than its predecessor and with the high likelihood of a safety car, we may see teams try some one stop strategies as this can be greatly helped by a safety car deployment. Some teams will probably split the strategies (see notes under Safety Car below)

Overtaking at Interlagos isn’t too much of a problem, thanks to the long uphill straight leading to the Senna S. And with the DRS wing it should be even more possible this year.


Chance of a Safety Car

The chances of a Safety Car are high at 71%. The Safety Car has been used in seven of the last ten races. It is often called into action on the first lap, as it’s a short lap with 24 cars charging into tight corners.

This makes the Safety Car an important element to factor into Race Strategy planning. It encourages teams to hedge their bets and split strategies with one car doing a conventional two stop plan and the other on a one stop, which would benefit from a safety car. This is because a safety car would close up the field reducing any time loss and if timed well, would allow a one stopping car to effectively get a free pit stop.

Recent start performance

Starts are a critical part of the race and strategy can be badly compromised by a poor start, while good starts can make strategists change their plans in the hope of a good result.

In Abu Dhabi, the winners off the line were Liuzzi, Barrichello and Kobayashi (gained 5 places) and Alonso (gained 3 places). The losers were Senna (lost four places), and Vettel who retired after a tyre deflated suddenly after the first corner.

Below is a chart showing aggregate 2011 start performances. Places lost due to contact with other cars or incidents at the start are counted, those where a car has retired without contact are not. Drivers have gained (+) or lost (-) places off the start line this season on aggregate as follows:

Gained places

+29 Schumacher *

+19 Glock
+18 Liuzzi

+16 Kovalainen
+15, Buemi #
+13 Alonso***
+12 Ricciardo
+8 Di Resta, Massa
+4 D’Ambrosio, Heidfeld ******
+3 Kobayashi**
+2 Trulli

Lost places
-2, Chandhok,

-3 Vettel ######
-7, Rosberg*****
-8 Hamilton, Maldonado
- 9 Sutil ##,
-11 Button, Alguersuari####

-12 Perez ###
-16 Petrov,****,
-20 Senna, Barrichello #####

- 23 Webber

* Schumacher had one bad start in Australia, losing 8 places but since then has been the season’s outstanding starter. He gained 9 places in Spa and four in Monza.

** Kobayashi lost 10 places in Spain, prior to that he had gained 8 in 4 starts. He lost 7 places in an incident at the start in India.

*** After losing places in the first three races, Alonso has reversed that trend. His starts in Barcelona and Monza were outstanding.

**** Petrov had a good record until he lost 4 places at the start in Valencia. He was on a +2 balance before Monza where he was taken out at the start.

***** Rosberg lost four places at the start in Silverstone and was on a +6 balance before Monza where he was taken out in the first corner

****** Heidfeld had gained 20 places but lost 12 at the start in Germany

******* Di Resta had consistent start form and gained 7 places in the first nine races, but lost 12 at the start in Germany.

# Buemi made up nine places at the start in Hungary having started 23rd on the grid

## Sutil had a positive start balance until Hungary where he lost 12 places at the start

### Perez lost nine places off the start in Hungary.

#### Alguersuari was doing well with a +6 record prior to Spa, where he was hit by another car and lost 18 places. In Monza he gained 7 places at the start.

##### Barrichello lost 7 places at the start in India

###### Vettel had a non-contact puncture and retired on lap 1 in Abu Dhabi

Pit Stop League Table

Of course good strategy planning also requires good pit stop execution by the mechanics and there have been some amazing performances; we have seen tyre stops carried out in less than two and a half seconds this year.

The league table below shows the order of the pit crews based on their average time for a stop in this year’s world championship, taking out anomalies.

1= Red Bull Best
1= Mercedes Best
3 McLaren + 0.3s
4 Force India + 0.4s
5 Ferrari + 0.5s
6 Renault + 0.9s
7 Williams + 1.1s
8= Lotus + 1.3s
8= Sauber + 1.3s
8= Toro Rosso + 1.3s
11 Virgin + 1.6s
12 HRT + 3.2s

The UBS Strategy Briefing is prepared by JA on F1, with input and data from engineers and strategists of F1 teams.

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71 Comments
  1. Mark says:

    A real race circuit with real fans. :-)

    1. Werewolf says:

      Absolutely.

    2. wayne says:

      Could not agree more!

    3. madmax says:

      Agree.

      There is something severely wrong in the design phase when majority of the time all the old circuits are way better than all the new ones.

      Not only is it a great circuit for racing but chance of rain really adds to it every year.

      Also don’t need the DRS at this circuit unlike all the new ones which also says something.

      1. DMyers says:

        Hear hear! If DRS should be available anywhere, it should be the straight between the Senns S and Subida do Lago (turns 3 and 4 for the non-romantic F1 fan). If it’s anything like how it was at Spa, using the DRS on the main straight will make it far too easy, especially for faster cars.

      2. Chris H says:

        Which is exactly where it’s been placed for this year.

      3. DB says:

        Completely agree with the placement of DRS. Is it set already?

      4. Steve says:

        1. The DRS will be on the straight between turns 3 and 4.

        2. Remember to take off your rose-tinted glasses. The only reason that the “Old” circuits survive is because they were good – so the “old” circuits which survive are the better circuits that were built – there are many a stinkers that have dropped off the calendar… Magny Cours for one!

    4. Sebee says:

      Nowhere else will you experience what happens at a grandstand at Interlagos. I have no idea how those grand stands manage to survive the weekend party each and every year!

      1. Scott says:

        Doesn’t sound like the sort of grandstand I’d want to anywhere near! I think I’d have enough excitement running the gauntlet into the track each day – ask Jenson.

      2. Sebee says:

        Jenson’s problems could all be solved with a small investments of his large retainer into a little bit of security. No one guards you on the way to work each day – you’re responsible for getting there. Right?

        As for the grandstand action, I’ve seen carnival drummers, dances, Michael Jackson, Merlin Monro, and Elvis. Twice. Yes, he’s alive. The dancing and grandstand vibration is unbelievable. This was all before I even had a chance to enjoy my first breakfast beer.
        A few chaps from UK and Ireland even loosened up a bit, put down their large lens Nikons and got into the groove.

        My point – being in a grandstand at Interlagos is part of the awesome F1 weekend experience. No stiff quiet crowd here waiting for the sound of an F1 engine to show a sign of life. I won’t name places. :-)

      3. mattnz says:

        Jenson is “at work” from the moment he hops on the plane to head to the fly-away races. It’s McLaren responsibility to sort out his security and make sure he has a safe work environment

  2. Dominic J says:

    With showers expected, what chance would you give to a surprise pole, like Hülkenberg’s last year?

    Also, with rain likely, will everyone start on softs, or is the difference between the tyres not enough to affect the calculation?

  3. Werewolf says:

    It looks like De la Rosa needs to develop the pit crew as well as the car!

    1. Phil C says:

      That’s what I was thinking! I can understand Virgin being 1.6 seconds off the best on average, they’re only half a second off Williams, and just 0.3 off Sauber.

      But 3.2 seconds slower on average for HRT? How can they be that slow? Or is it just because they are at the back, so it doesn’t matter to them?

  4. Born Racer says:

    It’s curoious to read such large gaps in the average pit stop times. Although I’m always impressed by the sleight of hand effect of the teams’ work, I hadn’t realised that HRT, for example, are so much slower. That’s too much of a difference, because there’s very little technological reason why they can’t be much more even, isn’t there?

    1. Seán Craddock says:

      I agree, but I suppose it might not take into consideration time they spent letting cars through.

      You must remember that HRT are always lapped, so if there’s a car close on pit exit, they might as well hold the car rather than wait on track to let it through.

      I remember in Abu Dhabi Webber was close to the back of the HRT coming into the pits and even though he had a problem and the HRT was finished earlier, they still held the car so they didn’t have to let Webber through on track

  5. Born Racer says:

    Yeah, Mark, the circuit is simple and yet superb. All the off-camber stuff and the way the twisty bits are full of life, plus the topography give the track drama.

    1. Jack says:

      It is such a good track, and yes a simple layout, sweeping corners, built on a hillside = brilliant track. Don’t really get why this idea can’t be repeated on modern tracks. Theres only 12 real corners for a modern F1 car, Valencia has 25…and which is best..

    2. Michael says:

      Why aren’t more tracks built in these natural amphitheatre type of locations? It seems like such an obvious solution to the problem of sight lines. Plus, the gradient changes make for fantastic racing. That first corner left-right-left downhill cascade that feeds in from the monumental, sweeping uphill start straight has to be one of the finest passing places in all of motorsport. Absolutely my favourite circuit.

  6. Lindsay says:

    Can you tell us the average pitstop time for Mercedes and Red Bull?

  7. Rob Newman says:

    Interesting. I think DRS will be effective here. With just 16% of breaking, drivers will have to be very smart on using KERS because harvesting KERS will be difficult.

    1. Sam says:

      Drivers are limited on how much KERS they can use anyway. It won’t make a difference.

      1. Phil R says:

        It did in 2009, they struggled to harvest enough to use the full allocation each lap. Will be interesting to see how it pans out this year, for instance with the Red Bull team…

  8. Forzaminardi says:

    A great track and what i’ve always liked about Interlagos is that even sitting watching on TV, you get a real sense of ‘being there’ because the crowd is very passionate, close to the track so in TV view and most of all, NOISY! I remember the days of Rubens scoring pole and you could hear the crowd cheering even on his car camera. With Rubens, Massa and Senna on the grid I’m sure the fans will be out in force once again.

    On that note it is heartbreaking for me to think this looks like being Rubens’ last race. In a minor way it is very sad that he never got to win at home as if anyone busted a gut to give the Brazilians someone to cheer after Senna died, then it was him. Who can forget his tears of frustration in 1995, his joyous performance for Jordan and Stewart in ’96 and ’99 and the heartbreak of ‘the one that got away’ when he ran out of fuel while leading for Ferrari. A great driver and a very special character in F1, I hope he can pull something out of the bag and get a result for Williams last time out.

    1. Mark says:

      Yes, the passion of the crowd coming through the TV is something that is sadly lacking these days for most races. :-( The local character is also usually missing, the location of most of the races is pretty unidentifiable from the TV pictures alone.

    2. Jon says:

      I think Rubens is in denial regarding racing next season. He is still hoping on getting a seat. Now that Kubica is not ready for the start of the season there may be a slim chance, but there is too many hungry young racers out there I think.

    3. Jack says:

      I think Rubens could be at Juncao on the last lap with a 30 second lead and still retire before the finish line such has been his luck at Interlagos. But rain opens up all sorts of possibilities…A Barrichello podium?..I really hope he gets a decent result here and then calls it a day. HRT or Virgin/Marrusia are the only places I can see a seat for him next year..

  9. Tommy K says:

    Other than Silverstone, this is the race I most look forward to every season. What a track, and some great racing is always guaranteed.

    Good insight into the race James, keep it up.

  10. kidVermin says:

    A thought occurs to me, I read that Pirelli destroy all tyres at the end of the Grand Prix weekend even the unused sets, I understand the need to protect secrets and my assmption is that it is probably cheaper that way than to take them back to the Factory or even to the next race.
    Pireli take the Wet and The Intermediate Tyre to every single race. If the bit about them destroying tyres at the end of weekend is true, thats a lot of waste every week that these guys go racing. If the race is DRy, Full Sets of unused Wet Tyres are destroyed, and f the weekend is Wet or a mix then its the reverse.

    (Yes the tyres represent millions of Euros in development to the Tyre manufacturers but as a single example, is this how far we have come just for entertainments sake)

    1. Chapor says:

      In terms of pure transport costs it would actually make sense to just destroy them. I work with airfreight quite a bit and it is hellishly expensive just to get a small part flown in. If I have to think that they have to fly two or three containers on a plane, the costs of destroying the tyres and making new ones comes cheaper than to transport them all over the world from race to race. Think about it, when a shipment leaves a country, it needs to have export permits, the containers containing the tyres have to get inspected/x-rayed, the documentation for the customs is quite a bit and cost a fair penny. The transport to the airport, then from the airport to the venue. If you had to sort out the unused tyres, pack them, go through the whole process of having to declare them again, get space booked on a flight since you never know how many tyres you will have to fly out again, transporting them to the airport, paying clearing agents for the involved paperwork. Never mind the time it takes to get all the paperwork done and if there are delays, then the tyres will be late for the next race. It is just easier to prepare a new shipment of tyres from the factory and just fly them once to the venue and be done with it. I can imagine that it is a logistical nightmare… Hope that this didn’t bore you to much. :-)

      James, can you maybe do an article on the logistics of F1 transportation during the long Winter break? Would be interesting.

      1. James Allen says:

        Yes, good idea thanks

      2. terryshep says:

        Excellent comment. Can you say what sort of oversight would be needed during the destruction process? I presume that Customs would want to be sure they were destroyed and not sold off the back of the lorry?

      3. Sebee says:

        Hey hey hey…wait a minute…now that’s an idea.

        Used F1 tires for sale!
        Used F1 tires for sale!

        Right at the front gate of the circuit entry gate. Get your souvenir now!

        Hello sir, any luggage to check-in?
        Yes please – 2 slick tires.

        What wife wouldn’t want an F1 tire based coffee table in her living room?

      4. Chapor says:

        If the tyres came in custom exempt, then a customs official would have to be present and make sure the correct amount of tyres are destroyed. And in terms of secrecy, I doubt that Pirelli would want to sell their tyres off the back of a truck to Pete Anybody. If the tyres came in and custom duties and import tax was paid, no government official needs to be present.

        And Sebee, I do not know of any woman that would NOT want a F1 tyre based coffee table or light fixture in their living room… lol

      5. Sebee says:

        Chapor,

        I thought about the secrecy point. Realistically – does any tire manufacturer really not know how to make an F1 racing tire? What level of secrecy can you expect when I have picked up rubber bits all over the tracks I’ve been to after a race. As for construction – surely it can’t be that complicated to figure this out. So in the end, I think the secrecy is not a huge concern. Let’s not forget they are the only tire supplier, no tire war going on here. If there was, OK – no selling of tires at the front entrance for those that would want a coffee table. But as it stands, you win the F1 tire supply tender, you get to sell tires by front gate. :-)

        Also – I very much like your light fixture idea. What else can be done with an F1 tire? I think a high performance Tree Swing would be awesome.

      6. terryshep says:

        What about them bundling a damper pushrod (or pullrod, if a Red Bull part) with a tyre as a fitness aid? Instead of the boredom of simply pounding the pavement on your 10 mile run, bowl the tyre along, controlling cornering, etc, with the push/pullrod. Keeping the speed down to jogging pace should enable you to preserve the tyre performance and even get several runs out of it.

      7. Wild Man says:

        Since getting the tyres back to the factory is not as time critical as getting them to the race, Pirelli could use sea-freight & save some money. That is if they had to or want to take them back.

        However, it does raise an interesting point. How much “rubbish” is left behind when F1 leaves town and how much do they take back with them? I expect that most of the parts etc would go back (due to the sensitivity of the material).

      8. Phil R says:

        Thats probably why they send them by boat…

      9. Kieron says:

        That is a fair insight into the costs, but what of the waste and the energy taken to produce new tyres? F1 isn’t all green (and that isn’t it’s point) but there is amove towards more environmental thinking such as KERS and smaller engines. What’s the point if it just sweeps other issues under the carpet?

    2. tony says:

      Wet tires are reused not destroyed

  11. Jon says:

    The safety car has ruined too many races this year, I hope there isn’t one this weekend. It ususally takes too long for the leader to catch it up, a couple of laps some times, so it isn’t doing it’s job of providing protection of the marshalls on track. The safety car periods have been too long due to this time to catch up. We want to see racing not formation driving, if we wanted that we would watch NASCAR in ovals!
    The safety car should wait at the end of the pit lane to come out just infront of the leader. Could also have a second safety car half way round the lap. This could reduce safety car periods b a couple od laps, it would also make teams think twice about pitting during safety car periods in case they lost too much track position.

  12. goferet says:

    Oh, hadn’t realized Interlagos was built around a flipping lake for I sure haven’t ever seen water any where near that track.

    Okay, so looking forward to this classic for thankfully we have some showers & since we aren’t expecting hurricane like conditions I say, the damp-meister from Frome has this in the bag.

    Yes, this used to be a Red Bull track but this year, Red Bull haven’t been strong at their traditional tracks plus Vettel failed to beat Schumi record of race wins in a season so he’s going to fail to beat Mansell’s record of pole positions too.

    Schumi has had the most wins of anybody at Interlagos with 4 victories but that’s mainly because this track wasn’t on the calendar for 10 years (1980 – 1990)

    Now am thinking maybe this is the most challenging driver’s track on the calendar seeing as no driver (even the relentless Schumi) has ever dominated this track

    More Interlagos Stats:

    Apart from Schumi, no driver has won at Interlagos more than twice.

    Brazilians have won at Interlagos 6 times. Fittipaldi, Aryton & Massa each winning twice.

    Since it’s inaugural race in 1973, only 10 times have drivers won from pole & in the last 10 years, only Massa has won from pole – Twice

    Mclaren have won Interlagos 7 times while Ferrari 8 times. Newey cars have won there 7 times & all Newey victories bar Webber & Vettel have been from pole.

    No team has won at Interlagos three races in a row bar Ferrari (2006-2008) thanks to local hero Massa

    Only Schumi (Benetton) & Hakkinen have won back to back races at Interlagos + Only Montoya & Fittipaldi have won back to back races in different teams.

    1. Niall says:

      I appreciate that there’s not a lake within the track, but think about what “Interlagos” means…between the lakes. So I would assume that there’s plenty of water/lakes around the track.

      1. DB says:

        Interlagos is not the official name of the track. It’s the name of the neighbourhood it’s in. You can see there’s plenty of lakes surrounding the area it: http://g.co/maps/mpjd5.

        PS: The track’s name is José Carlos Pace, who was a Brazillian driver from the 70′s who sadly died in a plane crash.

      2. Ricardo Henrique says:

        Hello!

        I’m brazilian and maybe I can explain better about the name Interlagos. Niall is right about it means “between the lakes”, there are two big reservoirs of water near of circuit.

        DB is right too, because of the first settlers called the neighbourhood of ” Interlagos” because it was placed ‘between the lakes’.

        The circuit is about 40 to 50 Km from the sea in a straight line, and there are a group of Mountains called ‘Serra do Mar’ alongside of the coast that block the clouds in this region. For this reason the weather is so instable.

  13. Seán Craddock says:

    James, have there been any changes made to the circuit since last year, at the last corner in particular?

    I remember there were talks to make changes to the track to make it safer after Gustavo Sondermann and Paulo Kunze were killed at the circuit earlier this year

    1. Trent says:

      Yes, apparently minor changes this year and major ones next year, altering the pit entry plus providing run off on the sweeping left hander.

    2. Ricardo Henrique says:

      Seán,

      It was made a minor changed, a chicane few meters before the pit entry, but it’s not used for F1 races, just for motorcycle races and other categories.

      Maybe next year they will change the pit entry and disassemble two grandstands near of the place that Sondermann an Kunze were killed, to build a better run-off area.

  14. Sam says:

    I do not think there is such thing as a “Red Bull track” anymore. We’ve seen this season that Red Bull is strong at all types of tracks, whilst no longer being hugely dominant at the aero tracks like Suzuka and Hungaroring.

  15. Richard says:

    A short lap, but a great circuit. – I hope McLaren can win, but it plays to the strengths of Red Bull. Not sure how Ferrari will perform on the tyres with a harder soft, and medium tyre being used, but I expect Alonso to get a good start. Pole I expect will be between Vettel and Hamilton. – I hope Hamilton gets it and wins the race, but rain and safety car could seriously mix things up which makes for an exciting weekend. – After this just what are we going to do till March!

  16. Rossy Boy says:

    James, just out of interest, where do you get the safety car percentage chance from? Do you go back to the last ten races for example and work it out that way?

    1. James Allen says:

      From one of the strategy engineers. They do a statistical analysis, based in last 10 years I think

  17. Sebee says:

    Here is hoping for some F1 rain Gods miracle that Rubens pulls a Fisi this weekend and goes out on a high!

  18. Ward Safi says:

    I was wondering if you could just say the average start gain/loss of each driver, rather than having to put endless footnotes for each drivers total start gains. Maybe a weighted average depending on the start…

  19. Andrew Carter says:

    I’m not sure we need a harder tyre from Pirelli. Given how they’ve been holding up extremely well in the last few races, I’d rather they went softer.

  20. eric weinraub says:

    Lets not slag Reubens off too much…. He is one of 2 drivers left from the Senna era along with Michael Schumacher. When they both go, we will truly be locked into the era of DRS/KERS etc. He has won more races than all but a handful of drivers… including several who have driven for top teams including Massa, Kovaleinen. I am not a huge fan but his achievements deserve proper recognition. I will never forget his first win in Germany. I will never forget that horrible day in Imola. I will never forget his moments in Brazil only to have the car let him down. If this is it, I for one, wish him well.

  21. kidVermin says:

    The Supersofts are soft enough, In my view the softs and the medium are good enough. For Next year I’d rather see them ditch the Hard Compound completely and we have 3 to mix and match for the season.

  22. Richard says:

    Interesting comments from McLaren’s Jonathan Neale about tyres. I’m sorry guy’s but this is not F1 motor racing on tyres that are so easily ruined by spirited driving. The only way to consistently win GP’s and therefore the championship is to lead from the front. Mr. Neale comments about a driver that dances about in the slip stream of another car trying to overtake will almost certainly ruin his tyres. – WELL THAT’S NO GOOD!!! What we want is plenty of genuine wheel to wheel action. The whole thing is far too constrained and artificial. If you ask me it’s time to get back to basics.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Well thats no change as following a car closely would ruin the Bridgestone front tyres as well. The only way to change that would be to get rid of downforce all together, and we already have that, its called Formula Ford.

      1. Richard says:

        There’s a world of difference between Bridgestone and Pirelli in terms of degradation particularly in a high heat environment. There’s no need for DRS just simply restrict downforce by limiting the size of wings that can be employed which would throw the emphasis on mechanical grip with durable tyres. – Then we could race properly instead of it being in the hands of the best aerodynamicist.

      2. Raymond U says:

        They’d just make more downforce-heavy diffusers and chassises then. Wings aren’t the primary contributor of downforce

      3. Richard says:

        Indeed they would try other means, and of course the floor and diffuser would also need to be controlled. – It’s possible, just needs the will to do it. Ferrari would be happier!

    2. Richard Mee says:

      ‘kin A!

      And Mr Carter – with respect, Formula Ford do not run >800BHP with Kers and £million chassis.

      Keep the glamour. Keep the exclusivity. Constrain the aero and loosen drivetrain development/testing options.

      Let’s just give it a try.

  23. Nuno says:

    James,

    Just in another subject…what is your view on what is going on between Renault and Kubica’s manager. Seems like there is some “lost in translation”…the Team was saying that Kubica said that he will not be ready to race in 2012, and his manager just came out saying that information is not correct and that the contract expires this year and not in 2012 as per Renault.

    1. Sebee says:

      Nuno,

      If I may – because I’ve been following this in Polish media closely.

      My personal feeling is that it’s not looking good for Robert’s comeback. They are trying to put a brave face on it and ofcourse the whole Ferrari thing is always there. What has been most telling for me is the admission that Robert has not spoken about this directly much, no access to him has really been granted, and he has admitted that this – understandably – has been very hard on him. I’m worried about the toll all the surgeries have taken on him physically and mentally. I’m concerned about the pain killers, bed time he’s spent, his overall strength. You don’t loose these things quickly at his age, but you don’t regain them overnight either.

      Then again, we can speculate and express our personal views all we want. In the end they are not relevant to the situation because we have no real facts. We have a somewhat selfish interest to see Robert deliver some entertaining drives. And he likely wishes to oblige – because it’s his passion too. But at this time we have to just hang tight and see what happens. This is one of those situations where only time will provide answers. In the big picture we have to admit the incredible efforts that have been made to ensure that Robert even has a working hand and that even the possibility of his comeback still exists. For the rest, lets hope best things really come to those who wait.

      1. terryshep says:

        Thoroughly agree. If the power of thought can do anything, I’m certain there isn’t any one of us here who doesn’t wish the best for him. I’d be happy to hear that he was blasting round Fiorano in a Ford Escort, never mind an old Ferrari.

  24. Eduan says:

    If it is gonna rain…. then Schumi to do the impossible…. WIN!!

  25. Lynn says:

    James, any news regarding Force India, Renault, Toro Rosso & Williams 2012 drivers line-up?

  26. Olivier says:

    hello James,

    We’d still have a thrilling season ending if the drivers would be battling for silver and bronze.

    So, how would it work?

    1. Every driver has a number that will stick with him throughout his career.

    2. Keep the point scoring system as it is.

    3. The World Champion gets a number in Gold. The runner up gets a number in Silver. And the third placed driver in the Championship will drive with a number in Bronze the next year.

    Driving with a Golden, Silver or Bronze number will indicate that you belong to the top three drivers of the grid.

    On a second note, it could be exciting to change the Gold/Silver/Bronze numbers through the year. Depending on your Championship position. It’d be a bit like wearing the yellow shirt in the Tour de France.

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