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Button worried fans won’t see much action at rain hit Silverstone
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Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Jul 2012   |  11:20 pm GMT  |  65 comments

Jenson Button has been managing expectations for fans who will pack the grandstands at Silverstone, as he believes that heavy rains on Friday will restrict track action.

Torrential rains are forecast for central England, with risks of flooding.

As Silverstone bosses revealed that they have extensive contingency plans in place to deal with the threat of car parks turning into mud holes with heavy rain forecast for Friday, Button says that the drivers will not do many laps in practice

“As far as I can see it’s going to rain all weekend. The problem is we are restricted in tyres we are allocated so I don’t think you are going to see much running if it rains as forecast tomorrow,” said Button on Thursday.

“Which is disappointing as we will have a lot of fans here and they are braving it in the rain. We’re not able to put on much of a show. But we’ll do as much as we can without hurting our race weekend.”

The forecast for Friday is terrible, while Saturday should be better, but a rainy Sunday is in prospect.

FIA sporting regulations say ” no driver may use more than four sets of intermediate tyres and three sets of wet‐weather tyres.” during a race weekend, unless FP1 and FP2 are declared wet, in which case an additional set of intermediates is made available, but these must be returned before the start of FP3 on Saturday morning.

Button’s point is that if we are faced with four hours of wet practice followed by a wet qualifying and a wet race, teams will have to be careful to leave enough new sets of tyres for the sessions which count, namely qualifying and the race.

And that will mean very limited running in practice.

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65 Comments
  1. t3x says:

    If this is the case, they should give the drivers more tyres if it is really wet, especially full wet tyres.

    1. Wayne says:

      For the love of God, give them a seperate allocation for testing and qualy! What’s not to like? It would do away with the madness of cars choosing not to fight for position in Q3 at the same time as ensureing action in testing. I just don’t get it, what’s the problem with this siimple solution?

      1. BurgerF1 says:

        As Pirelli has stated, they could easily provide more tires at greater cost, but that does not gurantee teams will run. Pirelli have already noted that providing extra inters for wet sessions has simply left them with more unused inters.

        If the teams are afraid there’s little to be gained in terms of set-up or testing results, they won’t want the drivers to take the chance of binning the car.

        Maybe you could couple a higher tire allocation with a minimum number of laps per session per team.

      2. Wayne says:

        “As Pirelli has stated, they could easily provide more tires at greater cost, but that does not gurantee teams will run”

        Why? If they have extra tyres for qualy and practice why would they not use them – they can’t save them for the race… Why would a team sit out of qualy with new tyres available that cannot be used the next day. This makes no sense at all.

    2. iceman says:

      Yes it doesn’t make much sense does it. For a full wet weekend they get 3 sets of wets, compared to 11 sets of slicks for a full dry weekend. You’d think they should at least get 11 sets of wets and inters in total for a full wet weekend.

      With no provision in the rules for allowing more wet tyres if more than a couple of sessions are wet, I can only conclude that the FIA assume that a fully wet race weekend will never happen.

  2. Richard says:

    But it might make it more interesting?

  3. David says:

    Well that is a nonsensical rule if there ever was one!

  4. Brace says:

    It’s retarded that you can’t use at least 5 sets of each tyre over the weekend since there are 5 sessions alone. Let alone the fact that you need more then one set for qualifying and a race each.

  5. Esplanadist says:

    Never mind limited running… will we have a race?

    Very worst case scenario: it rains hard non-stop. Can the Pirellis cope ? Probably very well. Could be a super wet race!

  6. Silas Denyer says:

    This is just insane. Is there no mechanism for the FIA to issue a waiver? Perhaps it is irrelevant, however, in case there are simply insufficient tyres? Still madness, even then; rain is hardly a freak event, is it?

  7. Irish Con says:

    At the start of the season I would of wanted a wet race being a Ferrari fan but now I want to see a dry race on a normal racetrack to see what the competition really stands like. Please please be wrong weather people.

    1. Wayne says:

      On the plus side, the weather people usually are wrong – it would be just out luck that this weekend is the one time this year they get it right!

  8. Chris C says:

    I understand the restriction on the various slicks but seriously the teams have no choice about using wet tyres. Max number of sets of wet tyres should equal the combined max number of slicks available. allowing the teams to get practice in even if it rains all three days of the race weekend.

  9. Doohan says:

    A shame for the very loyal fans of Britain.
    I hope for their sake the weather holds off during the sessions at least.
    Also maybe the introduction of a common sense rule regarding wet and intermediates, where as the teams have access to two more of each pair as surely practicing in wet conditions is much safer for the drivers come saturday and Sunday. Whilst the fans would be privy to more action.

  10. Sebee says:

    Here comes Bernie slamming Silverstone for their facilities for the public!

    1. franed says:

      Bernie forced the date upon them, to clash with Wimbledon, it has not worked, the fans are pouring in, albeit very slowly.
      It stuns me that Silverstine did not anticipate the fans would turn up, mega poor traffic control. If you have tickets for Sunday better get moving now or you will miss the race!
      I gather it’s more than two hours in the lanes queuing. Bernie would have every right to bollock the organisers, as do all those sitting outside missing what they have paid for.

      1. franed says:

        Also clashes with RAF Fairford Air Tattoo

  11. William Wilgus says:

    Perhaps those dry Arabian Peninsula venues aren’t so worthless as some claim.

    My feeble attempt at humor aside, it’s always a shame when teams and fans are denied their full expectations . . . regardless of the cause. Let’s hope the weather forecasts are at least partly wrong!

    1. iceman says:

      At least this weekend’s race shouldn’t be completely rained off, unlike the ’09 Qatar MotoGP race!

  12. Craig in Manila says:

    Sounds to me that Mr.Button is not only speaking to the fans but he is also trying to make a hinted point to the rule-makers re his views on the restrictions on numbers of available wet-weather tyres per weekend ?

  13. Ron says:

    Wet British Gp = 8th Different winner. Lemme guess..! how about Felipe Massa for a change. Boy..hasn’t won since 2008 and hasn’t been on the podium since 2011.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Very funny!!!
      Did you see the 2008 British GP?
      In a car that was one of the top 2 that year, he spun 5 times in the rain at Silverstone.
      I won’t be holding my breath…

    2. iceman says:

      Based on previous form, the only prize Massa is likely to win at a wet Silverstone is the one for most pirouettes!

    3. Andrew Carter says:

      More likely to be Raikkonen, Massa isnt considered a particularly good wet weather driver (remember his 4 spins here in 2008!).

    4. Brendan says:

      …and isn’t exactly renowned as a wet weather specialist either.

      Remember Silverstone ’08?

  14. goferet says:

    But weren’t the teams going to run the experimental 2013 tyres during Friday practice or perhaps, there are no experimental 2013 wets so that will be a no-go.

    Anyway lack of running may cause headaches for those drivers that need to find the perfect setup like eh, Jenson himself.

    Me for one, I don’t mind a Friday washout (since am not at the circuit) but what I most definitely do mind is for Sunday not to get ruined for we now understand the name of the game i.e. A slightly wet track = Red flagged race then followed by endless laps behind the safety car… Boooooo

    1. James Allen says:

      The experimental tyres were hard compound dry tyres for assesment for 2013

  15. goferet says:

    *Unprepredictability of the 2012 season*

    No driver that has topped any of the practice sessions in 2012 (especially FP2 and FP3) has gone on to win the race on Sunday.

    The only drivers to have topped a free practice session (FP1) and gone ahead to win are Lewis (FP1 Canada) and Jenson (FP1 Australia)

    However the only constant so far has been FP1 i.e. Whoever has topped that has gone on to finish on the podium 6 out of 8 times in 2012.

    Yes, it would have been 7 out of 8 times in Valencia if the good old Pastor wasn’t thinking of his upcoming nuptials when he tried to pull a sneaky past our Lewis.

  16. j says:

    I have no wish to talk about tires yet again but really?!?

    What is the point of such a strict tire restriction. The FIA needs to admit when they are wrong and give the teams enough sets to do a lot more running in FP 1, 2 and 3.

    Third drivers are rarely seen anymore and the TV coverage is laughable. Most of the time no cars bother to go out when the green light goes on to start the session.

    I payed a TON for a 4 day GP pass in Montreal 2010 and thanks to the previous tire rules we got lots of chance to take photos and watch cars on the track from various vantage points on Friday.

    These days thanks to the FIA I don’t know if it would be worth it.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      The tyre rules havent changed since 2010.

    2. mario says:

      go to a MotoGP event and watch nearly ALL the riders lined up on the pit exit revving their bikes waiting for their signal to go out on track. its like a start of a race each time.

      this new era of F1 is tiring

  17. Simon Lord says:

    I love the way this appears under the main header: ‘A great British Summer of Sport’

    I knew there was a reason I left…

  18. jago thorn says:

    When the rules have the potential to ruin the spectacle maybe they should change

  19. That’s great, isn’t it?

    We will be finally paying attention to something that really matters, i.e. not watching the empty track.

    While I understand there should be limitations and some cost control, the lack of ANY running is the most senseless thing in F1 – the teams are investing huge amounts of time, money and human resources to get what? Lack of running?
    Incorrect wet/rain settings and crash during the race?
    Half of the 10 drivers in Q3 don’t go out to save tires? Don’t go out in Q2 either, save differential, engine or gearbox.

    Tell you what – don’t come to that GP at all.

  20. Rick says:

    Tyres, tyres, tyres… This about sums up F1 whether it is wet or dry. How incrediby sad and ridiculous. How the heck did we get here?

    1. Valois says:

      We got here after the heckish aerodynamics ruling age. The solution applied now is the vanishing and scarce tyre age. Wonder what will be next.

  21. Norman Ch says:

    He should be excited, because if it rains he is in with a chance of a win. He tends to do well in changing weather conditions so he may be in with a vitory shot on Sunday.

  22. daphne says:

    Absolutely mad rules.

  23. Paul R says:

    Would it not be stupid to even run on Friday, if it is torrential, by the time it has dried up to being just “wet” on Saturday ? All it will do is chew up valuable tyres and give little useful running, data for the teams.

    As a Hamilton fan, this is very good news, I seem to remember a wet race there, not so long ago, when he lapped everybody up to third, 68 seconds ahead of P2….

    1. Valois says:

      Yeah, that sure was great driving, but he himself admits that it was a happy coincidence of factors. Let’s see how it pans out this year.

  24. Jon says:

    While I totally understand that due to cost cutting measures they need to restrict the number of tyres used throughout the weekend, perhaps when it is forecast to be wet all weekend, they should have a contingency plan.

    I’m not at silverstone sadly, but if I was, I’d be very disappointed if there was limited running during FP1, FP2 and FP3 just because they don’t supply enough tyres to the teams for the whole weekend.

    Feel sorry for the 100,000 odd fans that are at Silverstone.

  25. PeteF12012 says:

    People blame the lack of running on tyre restrictions, However it was exactly the same back when teams had plenty of tyres.

    I was at Spa in 2005 & it rained on Friday & virtually nobody came out during FP2. Similar on Friday at Suzuka in 2006 again when they had plenty of wet tyres avaliable.

    Going back even further it was the same in the early/mid 90s.

    They don’t run much in wet practice not because of tyre restrictions but because they don’t want to risk damaging the car.

    1. Valois says:

      Good point. And we’ve seen how many driver errors there were this year so far in wet conditions. That’s really risky.

    2. James Clayton says:

      Back then, though, the teams already had a good understanding of the tyres. Now, they don’t, so I think there would certainly have been *some* more running in the wet with more tyres.

      Also, were those races forcast to be wet? I don’t remember, but there’s not much point going out for a wet FP session if you’re expecting the quali and race to be dry. Here we’re expecting a wet race, so the running will certainly be useful.

  26. Chris says:

    This is very silly indeed, I mean how hard can it be to dish out a few extra wets? They are always talking up “the show”, which starts on Friday for those that have paid hard cash and taken holidays from work to attend this Great British event and we have known all week it was going to be a wet one!!! Silver Stone have made plans to cover this predicted bad wet weather, so why can’t the FIA follow suit so that “the show” can go ahead on Friday as normal?

    As one of, if not the most advanced and complex sports on the planet today employing some of the greatest minds in the world, F1 is really quite dumb sometimes.

  27. Rob Newman says:

    More tyres means more cost which is not what the teams want at this moment.

  28. Simon says:

    Clearly political as the first free practice has started and they are all going out

  29. Haydn Lowe says:

    I would imagine though that someone will have made a calculation about how many miles a wet/inter tyre will do, how many miles a car is likely to need to do over an entire weekend and married those two figures together. I can’t believe the FIA would knowingly let cars arrive at a track with insufficient rubber to get them to the chequered flag whatever the conditions. It’s part of the game to manage the resources at your disposal as best as you can surely?

  30. Ray says:

    As much as the tyres are adding to the spectacle this year, a lot of the old regulations need to go.

    How stupid is it to have just 7 sets of tyres available for a washed out weekend, to last three practice sessions, up to 3 qualifying sessions, and full race distance? Insane.

    Oh, and get rid of the necessity to use both compounds while you’re at it. We no longer need artificial requirements to pit for tyres. It’s pointless, and limits tyre strategy variation, which is bad for everyone.

  31. Paul H says:

    What is the actual reasoning behind such limitation on the use of wet and intermediate tyres? Surely as long as everyone has the same allocation then no one team gains a benefit?

    On a side note, I’m watching the practice session and with so much water around it’s brought a slightly odd question to mind – is there any drainage in the cockpit? Seriously doubt it but just looking how much water must make it in there they must be sitting in puddles and over the course of a race that must get rather uncomfortable.

  32. Nigel says:

    Ridiculous wet tyre allocation – and particularly insulting to the tens of thousands of fans who turn up on the Friday at Silverstone (unlike most other GP venues).

  33. HFEVO2 says:

    Sometimes the rules made by supposedly highly intelligent people in F1 are completely inexplicable.

    I am sure that had we been involved in approving the proposed tyre rules, almost 100% of f1 enthusiasts would have immediately said:

    “But what happens if we have a completely wet weekend ?”

    Unbelievable !

  34. Ben says:

    I love how it takes the good old British summer to show up a problem in the wet weather tyre rules! Makes me feel so proud!

    1. James Clayton says:

      Would make me feel ashamed

  35. Liam in Sydney says:

    So why do the FIA and Pirelli not have any leeway in the rules to give the teams more tyres?

    Why not give every team 1 extra set of tyres on the Friday, say these are yours for the day, and you must give that 1 set back at the end of the day? Then you would, in effect, force teams to get out there any practice on free tyres, otherwise they would lose set up time relative to competitors. And the fans at the track get to see every driver. Whats wrong with that?

  36. JeanHenry says:

    Tyres, Tyres, Tyres, I’m getting sick of the bloody word Tyres this year. Something seriously needs to be done to address this, in the dry cars do not go out in Quali to save the precious tyres for the race and now they do not have enough wets to get some practice in setting up the car for a wet race. Absolute madness!

  37. glen says:

    I’m glad I’m not at the British Grand Prix this weekend. I would be very disappointed, especially considering how much the tickets cost.

  38. Matt W says:

    Don’t know why they are concerned about saving tyres. It seems like whenever it rains on race day in this era, we end up with dozens of laps behind the safety car or a red flag.

  39. franed says:

    Any of you listening to the best commentary eg James and co on R5LSE will have heard Paul Hembury from Pirelli say several times, that the wets would easily last three days or 70 laps each in the rain.
    Nonetheless he did contact Charlie and offer another set of wets which could be at the circuit tomorrow (well reach the end of the queue anyway) However these would have to be taken from Hockenheim’s stock. This would need to be agreed by all the teams, so is very unlikely to happen.
    No, Paul was of the opinion that the real reason for not running was not lack of tyres, since they would not wear out, but tactics.
    Shifting 60Lit of water per second must put some wear on them though.

  40. HFEVO2 says:

    I have a small amount of sympathy with the BRDC because of the exceptional weather but I have an awful lot more for the fans who F1 generally treat with disdain.

    The whole F1 circus should be ashamed & embarrassed:
    Your keenest supporters pay at least £155 each for a weekend ticket. At three times the price of a ticket for the whole of LeMans week and 24 hours of racing this is pretty poor value.

    Yet after paying out this huge sum the British fans had to put up with long queues, deep mud and torrential rain only to see almost no running on Friday.

    I watched both practice sessions on TV and despite heroic efforts by James and the BBC team it was like watching paint dry.

    At least Jenson and Lewis seemed to appreciate the situation.

    Despite money having been spent, Friday was an uncanny and predictable repeat of 2000.

    If Silverstone can’t provide enough parking on solid ground it must make a contingency plan to provide additional park and ride arrangements to get fans to the circuit in these circumstances.

    If FOM and CVC didn’t take so much money out of the sport perhaps more could be spent on this.

    As for the show : Bernie, please note just how few GPs there are in countries that can attract 80,000 people on the Friday and sell out on Saturday and Sunday.

    No need to bother at the majority of races where the grandstands are empty but the European races deserve preferential treatment. FOM should ensure that a far better motorsport program is laid on to entertain F1′s most loyal fans.

    If FOM and the BRDC can’t be bothered to entertain the fans properly at Silverstone on the Friday, why not ask Lord March to organise something ?

    1. CH says:

      Had to chuckle at the Lord March comment. Best idea I’ve seen in a long time! He has more heart for the fans (as well as taste in cars that fans want to see (novel idea that)) than the current group in charge will ever have.

  41. franed says:

    So where is R5SX today? No R5L commentary. The link on the BBC F1 page just goes to a dead R5SX page. On the DAB radio R5SX has cricket.
    James what is going on is the BBC controller just using a dartboad and a blindfold to decide what to broadcast?

    1. James Allen says:

      No.We wre on R5 LIve up to the ran delay.

      Then back on for last 6 mins and for last 6 mins of Q3

  42. HFEVO2 says:

    Christian Horner has dismissed recent speculation that he is being lined up to run FOM after Bernie.

    Perhaps Lord Marsh should be asked to do the job !

  43. Adrian Harris says:

    I was one of the lucky/unlucky ones who made it to Silverstone on Friday. I firmly believ that the FIa and any other powers that be must focus entirely on the people who watch on telly and attend the event. It costs hard earned money to watch on TV and or attend the event and to see next to no running is appalling. There is nothing stopping cars from going round in the rain. Without the fans F1 is nothing. Wake up and smell the coffee FIA and teams, change this nonsense NOW!

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