Analysis of Pirelli’s decision on crucial tyre change
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Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Apr 2013   |  10:23 am GMT  |  202 comments

After weeks of speculation, Pirelli has today announced that it is changing one of the F1 tyres in its range from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards.

The hard tyre will be changed to be closer in specification to the 2012 tyre, which would make it more durable. It will likely have a larger working range, so will be more versatile. It was the preferred race tyre in Bahrain at the weekend for most teams.

This is a surprise change in some ways, as there was speculation that the soft tyre would be the one to face changes. It proved troublesome in China as it lasted only a handful of laps in the race and the performance difference between it and the next tyre in the range was too great, leading to a lobsided Grand Prix.

The Italian company has come in for criticism from some teams and fans for providing tyres which degrade too quickly and changing the nature of F1 racing as a result. Pirelli says that it is fulfilling a brief given to it by the FIA and by F1 promoter Bernie Ecclestone to challenge the teams and to provide entertaining racing.


Pirelli has always maintained that of the 11 F1 teams, eight support their 2013 products and do not want anything to be changed, but lobbying from the two Red Bull teams as well as from Mercedes’ Niki Lauda (even if it is not clear that others in the Mercedes management agree with his position) has been strong from Malaysia onwards. They were looking for bigger changes than the ones announced today and will be disappointed. But as Red Bull has won half the races and taken half the pole positions this season so far and comfortably lead the championship, they are in a strong position.

There will also have been discussions in the post race debrief at Pirelli’s Milan Headquarters of the failures of the tyres on Lewis Hamilton’s car and Felipe Massa’s car in Bahrain. Hamilton’s tyre was a medium compound, whereas Massa’s were both hard compound and although debris was blamed for the failures, no doubt the tyres will be reviewed in light of what was learned from the Massa experiences.

Pirelli’s Paul Hembery said of the change, “After evaluating tyre performance over the balance of the first four races, we took the decision – in consultation with all of the teams – to change the hard compound from Spain onwards, as we did in Barcelona two years ago when we also introduced a new hard tyre for the rest of the season. This latest version of the hard compound is much closer to the 2012 tyre, with the aim of giving the teams more opportunity to run a wider range of strategies in combination with the other compounds, which remain unchanged.”

For Spain, the hard and medium tyres will be used, the same as in Bahrain, but with the new spec hard tyres.

Pirelli also announced the compounds for the next three races; For Monaco, the soft and supersoft tyres have been selected. This is the same choice for Monaco as the last two seasons, to cope with the low grip street track surface.

In Canada the teams will use the medium tyre and the supersoft; the idea being that these two compounds have a low working range and as the Montreal race is quite often cold, they should cope. Graining can be a problem when the temperatures are low.

Teams will also have an extra set of tyres for Friday morning drivers to use, which will help with development of the drivers but also of any small changes in the tyres.

* Pirelli’s Paul Hembery will appear on the new JA on F1 podcast #4 which will be released after this weekend.

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  1. 180110 says:

    The most important line was “Teams will also have an extra set of tyres for Friday morning drivers to use..”

    1. Sebee says:

      If I may remind everyone…

      Bahrain 2012
      Pole: Vettel @ 1:32.422
      Race: Vettel @ 1:35:10.990

      Bahrain 2013
      Pole: Rosberg @ 1:32.330
      Race: Vettel @ 1:36:00.498

      Where is the problem exactly? Quali faster, race 0.88s per lap slower than last year with a hotter track and no blown defusers.

      Everyone makes it sound like suddnely F1 is 15 or 20% slower than last year – which it clearly is not. FYI – so far about 1% slower race times than 2012, and usually faster quali. No one was crying foul last year. How with these nearly identical times has F1 changed so drastically that all these keyboard warriors are declaring F1 done, cooked, over?

      Sorry if some of you feel that all those guys on the pit wall should be able to have their F1 screens in Picture-in-Picture mode with Coronation Street on, since the tires are so predictable there is no reason to stress or pay attention.

      Conspiracy Theory #32
      Some other motor racing series is mobilizing their quite limited fan base to go to forums and make posts about how F1 is done, cooked, over. Be gone Tractor Pull Fans! :-)

      1. Pfft says:

        Difference is they are not racing, they are cruising to a delta. So were they last season, so your argument is invalid.

      2. Sebee says:

        What kind of delta are you talking about?

        The kind they used to race to when 5 engines failed during a GP?
        The kind of delta they used to race to when they didn’t know if their transmission or hydraulics would last a GP?
        The kind of delta we had where just about every component could and did fail?

        My argument states that cars in 2013 are as fast or faster as previous years based on lap time and race time. What do you care if they have to work harder and make an extra pit stop vs. last year? I don’t see anyone complaining that 24hr LMP cars have to make an extra stop of get more tires. I am surprised that fans want less activity on track.

        Everyone has some romantic vision of perfect racing that simply cannot be realized unless the cars are all perfectly 100% identical. Is that the goal? Can’t you guys see that F1 cannot and will not ever be perfect? Enjoy its flaws as they have always been. I think its quite good now in fact.

      3. Andrew M says:

        I wasn’t a big fan of 2012 tyres either :)

      4. F1 Badger says:

        Watch the races. There’s the problem!

      5. Stefanos says:

        2012 was still Pirelli tyres, no? And, in case you are not following the discussion, it’s the consistency of the tyre that’s the issue, not top speed…

      6. Sebee says:

        So the drivers are able to go as fast or faster than 2012 and clearly attack as Vettel, Kimi, Alonso and others have shown, but have to work harder for it over the GP distance along with less routine strategy for us to watch and more “edge of the knife’ strategy to replace it.

        Forgive the run on sentence above, but I ask again…where is the problem?

      7. Erik says:

        Disagree… It’s the lack of consistency that’s providing the entertaining season we’re having. Remember the beginning of last year?.. 6 winners or whatever in the first 6 races? Then by the end of the season everyone had the tyres figured out and the races got boring again. I say it’s the same for all concerned and it’s up to the teams to work it out. The tyres are just a limiting factor on ultimate performance in F1, just like the restricted engines, gearboxes are used to a ‘delta’ to make sure they last the entire season. Do you think that teams ask their drivers to turn their cars down at the end of races only because of tyres? No, they turn the engines down and drive to a lap speed because they are trying to save the engines, gearboxes, etc. But for some reason everyone has their panties in a bunch over the tyres. I swear this sport is a contradiction of itself sometimes.

        Why would you want the tyres to be predictable and consistent?.. It will only lead to Red Bull or whoever dominating again. I would rather see a mix of winners during the season. The cleverest man on he day wins. Look at what Raikonen can achieve in a Lotus.

        If you think that F1 is the ultimate formula being let down by tyres you are mistaken. The ultimate F1 would have V12 engines, 25,000rpm, 1500bhp, with tyres twice as wide, ground effects, active suspension, etc. But none of these are there because the sport keeps adjusting the rules to tame the cars and keep them going at a lap speed so that we get 1.5hrs of racing on tv and no less – so nothing to do with ultimate performance.. So lay off Pirelli, they are only doing what has been asked of them – spice up the racing. You should be thankful they aren’t the hard Bridgestones which did nothing but create an F1 train for 1.5hrs where no one could pass.

      8. Sebee says:

        Eric,

        Interesting point about turning down the engines. I don’t think it’s been brought up. Great point!

      9. Hezla says:

        @Erik +1
        Your comments are spot on. Pirelli is only doing what they have been asked to do.
        F1 in the 00′s where the most dull races to watch.

      10. MarkedOne8 says:

        Absolutely agree with Erik. Pirelli > Bridgestone! Full stop.

      11. Sebee says:

        Erik,

        By the way…I remembered this video while wondering to myself what a 25K RPM V12 would sound like.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VXEDUVkbt8

      12. Janis says:

        Didn’t you notice really?
        This 1:36 lap by Vettel was a one off, at the very end of the race, to demonstrate what is possible if you don’t have to look after tyres all the time.
        His “normal” lap times at this very stage were in the 1:38′s – and the others couldn’t manage even that, circulating in 1:39′s or 1:40′s.
        So, the race was significantly slower now than it was in 2012 – when BTW Pirelli’s trick tyres were also used.

      13. Sebee says:

        Janis,

        With all due respect, the difference over race distance time in this case was 50 seconds total vs last year in Bahrain as you can see above. 1:36 is race distance in Hours:Minutes.

        Check out China 2012 vs China 2013 – the race distance time is IDENTICAL!

      14. shortsighted says:

        I have been reading the comments, especially those from Sebee, who does not seem to take seriously the complaints from World Champion drivers like Schumacher, Hamilton, Vettel. These are knowledgeable drivers to say the least, much more than people like us. If the tires do not allow them to drive as fast as they can, what sort of racing tires are they?

      15. Sebee says:

        shortsighted,

        Wouldn’t you complain if you had to work harder for same results?

        I say let them all complain, just not in public. Remember how the drivers complained about the life saving HANS device being forced into the safety rules?

        To address each of the complainers you mention.

        Schumacher – OK, he can say whatever he wants. He’s earned it. Doesn’t mean I have to agree with it. Plus, what was he going to do, blame the Mercedes for being a brick 3 years in a row?

        Hamilton – suck it up. Your pole time was faster than last year and you’ve been plenty active on track. You also proved to be quite racy, so…suck it up.

        Vettel – suck it up – times 2. You’re a 3X WDC, you’re leading the table, you’re not allowed to complain in public about anything. Also, what do you call that stuff you did at the start of Bahrain GP? In English it’s called racing agressively for position.

        shortsighted, don’t be so…. :-)

      16. shortsighted says:

        I wonder why Sebee is so sure of himself, not having driven on these tires. There are many other factors that can give a faster lap time despite the inadequate tires. Complaints from drivers who have had first hand experience of these tires will help to improve the sports, which Pirelli is finally trying to do by changing the compound of the hard tires. So what are you talking about, Sebee?

      17. Sebee says:

        shortsighted,

        I am sure of myself because I like what I see as a viewer. I think others do as well. Of course the cars could go faster. Check out what Erik said above. That and some of my other comments will tell you perhaps the logic of why the cars have to drive to a target time.

        Faster lap time = more laps to fill GP time slot = more fuel = bigger tank and heavier cars = not moving towards fuel efficiency. It is simply not the direction F1 heads toward.

        You want 300km GPs to be done in 55 minutes?

      18. Ricardo says:

        I don’t think the problem was, at any moment that cars were running slower this year. The problem is a) tires so fragile that no one dares fight for position on track b) tires that last so little after qualy that cars have to come in so soon that one of the team drivers is sacrificed by having to stay out another lap or wait in queue for a tire change.

        For Bahrain, Pirelli brought a harder tire than it had previously planned and we saw actual fighting in the race and between team mates while China went more like a procession with Massa, Rosberg and Grosjean condemn to come out behind trafic after the first change. That is the kind of racing Pirelli, the FIA and Ecclestone should worry about.

        I don’t think they have to change the tires (unless they start tearing apart for no reason) but the decision to bring harder tires was beneficial for the race and should be considered more often.

      19. Sebee says:

        OK, let me show you the other side of the coin in your argument. Tell me what you think about it.

        You’ve got DRS for all the back and forth. And then you’ve got strategy and smart driving to setup that opportunity for the last pass. Maybe the driver ahead will drive smart and be able to squeeze out of his car, tires, etc. whatever is needed to defend. Or maybe differing strategy will bring two guys together at the end on different strategies, but they guy in P2 will only have one shot at the pass.

        I know there is an argument to be had for ability to make a few attempts at the ultimate pass. But imagine the pressure when you know you’ve got 1 shot only! Sure, you could have a best of 7 world cup championship final, or you 1 shot at it only. Neither is right or wrong. It’s just different.

        As for pit early for those in top 10…well, it does bring the P11-15 into the mix doesn’t it? Suddenly it’s not just 2 cars car racing for it up front, it’s all kinds of battles on the track that are taking place.

        How much of Vettel did you see during Bahrain GP exactly?

        Do you know why you saw so much of Schumi’s perfection back in his day? Yup…nothing else was going on. May as well watch the guy who looks like he’s on another planet.

      20. Craig D says:

        China wasn’t a procession. The too easy DRS meant overtakes were a breeze. The front runners on soft had no trouble scything their way back through.

        And though the hard tyres were used in Bahrain, if they were so hard, teams wouldn’t have made 3 stops. Well, to be more specific it was thermal degradation they suffered from rather than wear, but they weren’t ‘hard’ in the sense of having a long duration of performance. So what I’m saying, is that the Bahrain tyres were still relatively quite ‘soft’ and still led to an exciting race.

    2. Seán Craddock says:

      What’s the FIA’s definition of a Friday driver is what I want to know. Some sites are saying it’s a driver that hasn’t raced before. Whereas others are saying Heikki could use the tyres at Caterham

      1. James Allen says:

        I asked about this in Bahrain and there doesn’t seem to be any restriction. It’s TBC, but the feeling was there’s no reason why Kovalainen shouldn’t get an extra set of tyres. THey may well be development tyres as the year goes on

  2. Andy says:

    This is unacceptable political manoeuvring by Pirelli, prompted no doubt by Red Bull’s lobbying. The eleventh-hour changes to tyres in Bahrain handed Red Bull the race and these changes will doubtless have the same effect on the championship. Can Ferrari deploy their technical veto here, for the good of the sport?

    1. Sven says:

      I think Lotus are the ones benefitting from it most. Now they can probably even do only 1 stop.
      Red Bull had problems with softer compounds, not the hard compound that got changed.

      1. Anon123 says:

        Not really, the teams that have worked so hard to have a car that’s good on it’s tyres won’t have as much of an advantage. Imagine if Mercedes start 2 stopping with their pace.

      2. Doobs says:

        If Lotus can’t get heat in the tyres then they’ll just get graining issues

    2. Andrew M says:

      I don’t think this counts as a technical change.

    3. Well says:

      Actually, this decision is a slap in the face of the teams that protested against Pirelli tyres. They wanted the soft tyres to be changed, not the tyres they did well on.

      This is the most manipulative and dare I say, almost chantage-like scheme, we have seen in this sport. I.e., “you complain about our product? Then we will change the tyre you were doing well on to make it less suitable for you.”

      1. Yago says:

        I see a lot of people, like yorself, think this change is a “slap in the face” of Mercedes and Red Bull. But the hard compound is going to be the most used in the races, as it was last year, by quite a margin, so the change Pirelli is doing is going to have more impact than changing any of the softer compounds. Mercedes and Red Bull are going to benefit a lot from this. And I belive this decision is going to be more decisive than people think.

      2. Pfft says:

        Nope, Pirelli is changing the tyres that benefitted RBR and Mercedes the most. The 2 teams that were complaining. It is Pirelli putting up their middle finger to them.

        The other teams struggled on the harder tyres, they could not run them as long. Pirelli is now helping those teams, not RBR and Merc.

      3. James Allen says:

        Not so sure about that. It’s not what they wanted but it’s a step in the direction of 2012 tyres back again..

      4. Yago says:

        The harder the tyres the better for the cars with the most outright speed, as degradation will not have as great an impact. What I belive Pirelli is doing is making the hard compound to have less degradation, by going 2012 direction as James pointed out. Therefore mercedes, red bull and probably ferrari in a lesser extent will benefit from this over other cars as lotus and force india.

      5. Craig D says:

        I really don’t think Pirelli are doing this in response to any team(s). It’s just that with the data from the first races they believe one of the more 2012-like tyres will be better suited for the conditions of the European races. They’re still maintaining their general concept.

        Plus the changes appear minor so I don’t know what the problem is. The ones who wanted a big change probably have more to complain about than those thinking it unfair to have any of the tyres changed at all. And as James said, they did this in 2011 and I don’t recall many complaints then.

      6. KRB says:

        Soft was the tire used most often last year. This year the medium is the most used tire.

      7. Yago says:

        I meant the tyre most used as prime tyre. I can be wrong and it could have been the medium, but for sure it was not the soft.

    4. hero_was_senna says:

      Ironic that Ferrari’s veto is wanted now, yet for some years people have been suggesting an unfair playing field.

    5. Equin0x says:

      Handed Redbull the race? You mean Vettel’s ability won himself the race right? Remind me again what happened to Webber?

      1. Sebee says:

        Did you know that Vettel is the only “pure” 3 Time WDC?

        As in, after winning his first, he continued to keep going with the next two, to make his first 3x WDC. No other previous triple or more WDC has won his 3 in this fashion. All others one one, or two in a row, then pause, then third. Fangio, Schumi, Prost…every one of those took a pause year before reaching 3rd.

        Just a bit of Vettel history in the making.
        :-)

        P.S. Of course should he win a 4th…that will be a new bench mark and first time it has been done ever as well. And just look at the grid to see who he’s done it agains! OUCH!

      2. Brettus says:

        [Mod]. To win 3 world championships in a row and still have people question if it was more the car is hardly “pure” .
        That title would have to go to Fangio, 5 world championships with 4 different teams.
        Plus both Fangio and Prost won a title with a world champion team mate. And just look at the grid and see who they raced against! Ouch!
        The purest of racing drivers pre-dates F1, that would be Nuvolari.

      3. Doobs says:

        It’s all about the car. If he won separate championships in different cars and/or teams, then it’s more of an achievement in my book.

      4. James Allen says:

        2011 was maybe, but 2010 and 2012 were a dogfight against ALO and others

      5. BW says:

        Checking cars he’s done it with and cars he’s done it against would also tell a story.

      6. Anne says:

        WHAT!?!?!? Drivers like Fangio or Clark drove without blown diffuser, without KERS, without DRS and with manual gearbox. How dear you to say that what we have now is “pure”?

        It hasn´t been pure for a long time unfortunatelly.

      7. Spinodontosaurus says:

        All about the car eh? You mean like very other champion ever, pretty much?

        Oh but, that <3 tenths advantage Vettel had in 2011 is obviously bigger than it used to be, because, you know, F1 is bad know and Vettel can't race.
        Except it is smaller.

        He didn't even HAVE a car advantage in 2012!
        [mod]

      8. K5enny says:

        DRS has never been to Vettels advantage….

        It gives the sunday drivers the chance to overtake the fastest driver driver

    6. Dave C says:

      I thought all the Hamilton fans wants the tyres changed? Coming up with excuses like the tyres are ruining the racing? Whats the problem now?

      1. Hal says:

        Give it a rest mate.

    7. franb says:

      Ferrari might not have any complaints considering that they were on the receiving end of two blowouts that could best be desribed as “questionable.”

    8. Phill says:

      Absolutely correct. Red Bull complain, Bernie listens, Bernie complains, FIA listen, FIA complain. That is all that this is. Disgrace that a single team should have such an impact!

    9. John L Sharp says:

      Spot on

  3. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    Can hardly see how is this going to make F1 more interesting. From now on every track where hard tyre is used is going to be a Red Bull win. Looking forward to Monaco…

    1. Heinz says:

      Monaco was easy peasy for RB [Webber], not so all others. Lotus esp fared badly, though KR had steering and other issues and managed only small points reward.

      Again S and Super S this year. Last chance for Webber to leave F1 as one of the top Monaco specialist?

    2. franb says:

      It should help because there was no noticable difference beteeen the hard and medium performance. They last the same the pace is the same. They had to do something although the real problem is the softs. If they make a harder hard that has less grip it will open up more strategy. Monaco should be interesting though. The softs lasted for a few laps. The super softs might disintegrate by the end of the pit lane.

  4. Bjornar Simonsen says:

    Where is the analysis? Been reading statements of facts so far only.

    1. Sri says:

      Agree. I thought we will get to know with teams will benefit and which teams may lose.

      1. James Allen says:

        That will follow in the JA on F1 podcast out Monday

    2. Luca says:

      indeed – going by a lot of the comments, i dont think most people (and myself included) really understand what these changes mean in regards to how the tyre will behave, how the degredation will be impacted etc…

      Also, i dont think a lot of people understand how the tyres have changed between last year and this year and what the overall impact is to the cars aero, drive and the impact to a drivers use of the tyre.

  5. i really don’t understand the logic behind pirellis changes. it is the soft and the supersoft that are the major contributors to the ‘farce’. if i understand it correctly the soft this year is last years supersoft..if so, then the this years supersoft must be even worse than anything we have seen so far?

    1. Andrew M says:

      Me neither. Surely this makes it *more* inviting to sit out qualifying and do as little time as possible on the the softs (and presumably super-softs), because the hard tyre will be a step more durable again?

      I wonder if the tyre failures had anything to do with the decision; tyres degrading and “improving” the show are one thing, tyres delaminating and pitching drivers off the road are quite another.

    2. Martin says:

      The only logical reason that comes to my mind is to make the harder tyre worse and less desirable for most of the teams.

      My thinking on Bahrain was that Vettel was able to use the greater downforce in the Red Bull and the Renault engine characteristics for better traction and acceleration out of all the slow corners. New tyre grip overcame the traction issue for Mercedes in qualifying. The lack of high speed turns limited the wear penalty from having more downforce.

      Turns 3, 4 and 9 in particular are going to take a lot out of the Red Bull’s tyres in Barcelona. I cannot see how the medium would ever have been the favoured tyre for Red Bull at Spain, but this change may mean that the medium might be the better race tyre for them. Which means we are again/still talking about Pirelli, which if Oscar Wilde is to be believed must be better than the alternative…

  6. Spinodontosaurus says:

    Erm, so the ‘problem’ tyre is the Soft, whilst the Hard has been good in the races it has been used in so far this season.
    Yet it is the Hard that gets changed.

    I don’t have anything against Pirelli, besides from the joke that was China, but this decision is just plain bizarre imo.

    1. Anil says:

      But the teams, other than RB and Merc, vetoed changes to those tyres.

    2. Craig D says:

      It’s track specific too though. The short lasting soft in China won’t likely behave the same at say, Silverstone.

      1. James Allen says:

        It won’t appear at Silverstone, I imagine. Medium and hard I would guess

      2. Craig D says:

        Ok. I just picked a track at random as an example! Just trying to suggest that a tyre needn’t behave the same at all tracks.

  7. Anne says:

    Is it possible that some teams like Lotus would be fine with only one pit stop in Barcelona?

    In Monaco despite soft and super soft I still think that winning the pole will be the most important thing.

    Canada could be tricky. Medium, superfoft and temperatures. Rain could be an unexpected guest like in 2011

    1. Martin says:

      One stopping for Lotus seems pretty unlikely to me. The hard, which is likely to be the preferred race tyre due turns 3, 4 and 9 causing a lot of wear in Spain, is still likely to be less durable than last year’s hard compound. Last year the fast way was three stops and the only driver who did less than that was Hamilton, starting from the back and running off strategy to get into the points.

      In Monaco, I believe Pirelli is trying to ensure there are at least two stops for everyone. The key to that race will be getting far enough into the race to be able to stop and not come out into traffic – the initial temptation will be to try to make an undercut, but as Alonso showed last year, stopping later might be an advantage. Tyre warm up was a problem last year that may not be applicable this year with the new construction.

      Cheers,
      Martin

    2. aezy_doc says:

      unexpected but welcome!

  8. Irish con says:

    I think the tyres should have a 2 second gap between the hard tyres and the super soft and the other tyres in the middle evenly spaced out and Pirelli take tyres to each weekend that will make it a 2 stop race or push and make it a 3 stop race. That way we will still have a great Saturday which has been affected some weekends with the tyres. And will mean that on the Sunday the guys can race instead of letting people past because if they fight the people trying to overtake them they ruin there tyres and have to pit. Aslong as its not a boring 1 stop race or a ridiculous 4 or 5 stop race I think most people would be happy.

    1. Quade says:

      I don’t get why a three-stop race is more entertaining than a one-stop. I surely don’t derive much entertainment from pitstops. What fun is there in seeing four guys change the tyres?

      1. Anne says:

        I agree. I don´t want to watch pit stop either. But I don´t want to watch a driver win the pole and the race unchallenged because nobody can overtake him nor anyone can overtake anyone else.

        The irony is we are supossed to se Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton and Vettel fighting for the win, overtaking each other all the time in every race on track. Well we don´t see that. He watch a lot of pit stop

      2. Quade says:

        I’m fully with you.
        But if anything, the tyres stop drivers from driving hard enough to make many overtaking moves, or to fight; thats because they are told to drive within a Delta to preserve the tyres. The drivers themselves complain about that. Remember Jenson asking for permission to defend his position in China?

        What makes overtaking difficult is aerodynamics. And that has been fixed in current cars with DRS and very big front and rear wings. Aerodynamics will also take a further bashing with the 2014 spec; bigger engines, repositioned exhausts (to eliminate any blowing), all on cars using the 2012 aero spec with much lower noses than today.

        With the above, quite clearly, the tyres are just there to dumb down F1 and create a silly “show.” We should see Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton and Vettel fighting for the win more and more from 2014 without the nasty tyres, just by eliminating aerodynamics as much as possible.

      3. Craig D says:

        It’s not a pitstop itself that brings excitement but the variable strategy it can generate, which is increased with more pitstops due to the greater number of permutations of executing a race. Of course, there’s a limit. You don’t want drivers pitting every 8 laps say, and 4 stops is a bit too much. I think a mix of 2 or 3 stop strategies is ideal over a 100 minute race and are a good way of breaking a race up into ‘chapters/acts’.

        A lot of overtaking is generated from cars being at different pace levels throughout a race by being on different strategies. You didn’t get so much in the Bridgestone 1 stop days because of this.

        Now some will say, well I think that’s artificial and uninteresting watching a car on options overtake a car on slower primes, or a car get past another because his tyres are 5 laps younger. For me, that misses the point, and what’s interesting is seeing how these strategies converge in the final few laps. Who got it right? Was someone on 3 stops scuppered by not being able to get out of traffic or clear a 2 stopper in an earlier stint? It’s about who can execute their race the best, and who can deal with unseen obstacles that crop up, which keeps the team on their tyres and tests who’s good at adapting in the heat of the moment.

        I liken a race that would have super durable tyres and everyone doing 1 stop (within a lap of each other) as a chess match where every piece is a Queen. Sure everyone has the most powerful piece / performance at their disposal but it would be a lot less interesting and require less thought than normal chess with pieces of varying power / performance, which challenges you to know when and how best to utilise your ‘power / performance.’

      4. Craig D says:

        *on their toes

      5. Quade says:

        I don’t get your point about variable strategy, if Pirelli can force 3 or four pit stops.
        Quite clearly, a team would love the freedom to choose the number of pit stops that suits their cars handling, rather than having it forved down their throats by a 3rd party tyre manufacturer with a quite bizare definition for the word, race.

        In the days of durable tyres, before Pirelli came on the scene, cars already typically did 2 or 3 stops per race.
        Pirelli have only come in to cloud up the situation with tyres that are so ridiculous that drivers are known to have done only a single lap on a compound on race day. Thats “strategy” for you.
        The difference between then and now, is that drivers could push throughout the race and thrill the fans, now they just drive as slowly as they can get away with to save tyres.

        Without the current ridiculous tyres and their artificial strategy creation, racing would be much more exciting than it is now.

      6. Craig D says:

        @Quade. A team does have the freedom of strategy, if their car is up to it. Lotus are often able to make 1 stop fewer than others. They have the choice to do the same number of stops as the others and push harder on each stint if they wanted but in certain it’s not best for them. Same case was with Sauber a number of times last year. So there is an element of flexibility to those that can utilise it.

        Of course, the strategists work out what’s the quickest way to do each race so they will arrive at an optimum number of stops but that’s not a fix. It was optimum to stop once with Bridgestone.

        Cars did 2 or 3 stops before because of refuelling, it was nothing to do with the tyres. It’s faster to build a car with a smaller fuel tank and do 1, 2 or 3 stops depending on the track.

        With very durable tyres there’s no strategy at all, like we often had in 2010. Everyone does one stop, at a similar time to cover each other off. There’s no alternative quicker way to do the race. Nobody wants to see a 2010 Abu Dhabi Alonso situation again. Yes we have DRS now but for me that’s more artificial.

        I’m not saying you don’t get exciting races with one stops or with hard tyres, but I definitely believe many traditional tracks, which used to be utter bores have the potential to be far more exciting thanks to the current rules. Ones such as Barcelona and Valencia last year, for example. If it’s not pure enough for you then nothing anyone can do I’m afraid.

    2. Elie says:

      Isn’t that what we have now 2-3 stops

  9. colin grayson says:

    not surprised that the teams are in agreement with this change
    whereas the soft struggled in very high temperatures , it should be fine at the normal european levels

    on the other hand whereas the hards were fine at the high ambients , they needed changing for european temperature …not a surprise as pirelli did the same thing 2 years ago

    people don’t seem to realise the basic problem for pirelli …they have been asked to provide tyres that are marginal for all the races , but 4 compounds doesn’t actually allow that ; if they could design , manufacture and test about 8 tyres it would be possible …providing the long term weather forecasts were accurate enough to bring the right tyre ….unfortunately the cost would be unacceptable

  10. goferet says:

    Hmm… Strange decision by Pirelli.

    From what I gathered, nobody had really complained about the performance of the hard tyre, more so no top team had suffered any performance related problems with the hards.

    So yes, lots of fans are scratching their heads at this one because the tyre that solely needed a make over was the softs (and maybe the medium for Lotus)

    The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the soft tyre will make very few appearances in 2013 and maybe only restricted to the strict circuits where degradation isn’t that much of a problem.

    Anyway it’s good news for the purists that we will be getting the 2012 hards back for this can only mean flat out racing towards the end of each race (where they appear) e.g. India 2012, Austin 2012 etc

  11. Ed says:

    Cue the Red Bull dominated bore fest for the rest of the season then. How did this change get approved if 8 of the 11 teams were happy with the current spec? Do changes to the tyre specs / regs require sign off from all of the teams?

    1. Anil says:

      Huh? Red Bull were complaining about the soft and super soft tyres as they were too hard on them! The hards are being made more durable as they were too close to the medium tyre performance.

      Red Bull must be pretty frustrated by the news and Merc too…good news for lotus and Ferrari though!

      1. Ed says:

        I read this the other way around. Red Bull and Merc have been hard on the tyres in the first 4 races. Therefore any move to make the tyres harder and more durable will benefit those teams. Lotus and Ferarri are already kinder to the tyres, so having harder tyres that RB can get into the operating window and run for longer removes the Lotus / Ferrari advantage.

        Red Bull really wanted the soft tyre changed so this isn’t all good news for them. But I still think that overall this will help Red Bull in a season where they have already won 50% of the races.

        Merc chew up their rear tyres no matter what the compound so not sure this will really help them that much.

      2. Ricardo says:

        You read it wrong Ed. They are taking away performance from the tire RB and Merc favour.

      3. James Allen says:

        No, I think it helps most teams except Mercedes, as the temperature operating window is being lowered.

        The Merc gets the hard tyres up to temperature more easily than others, but then pays for that in the race by overheating the tyres.

        It certainly will work for Massa (Alonso has been more able to deal with it on the Ferrari), Lotus and Red Bull

      4. matthew says:

        but in the race didnt the hard start working for merc when it got cooler?also the hard lasted well for merc in bahrain,atleast it did on lewis’s car.it was the mediums they struggled with.
        i personally think the softs needed to be changed

    2. Quade says:

      If removing artificial barriers to racing means Red Bull domination, then so be it. In fact, I’ve been slowly coming round to believing the conspiracy theory that the tyres are meant to slow Red Bull down, because of Paul Hembery’s unceasing hinting at two teams in his arguments. If that is really the case, then F1 is becoming a terrible thing.

      By the way, I’m no Red Bull supporter. I’m just a fan for pure, unadulterated, uninhibited racing.

      1. Mike says:

        Can you tell us what pure unadulterated uninhibited racing is and when exactly that ever existed in F1?

      2. Quade says:

        Simple.
        Check the era’s when tyres allowed for driving on the limit throughout the race and when teams could choose their tyre supplier.

      3. Ed says:

        The trouble is that everyone’s definition of good racing differs. Some like to see lots of passing (DRS assisted or not). Some like the strategic element. Some like to see flat out raw speed. Personally I like close, hard battles for position between cars, with drivers working for overtakes. Seeing RB romp off with the win unchallenged each week just doesn’t do it for me. I don’t mind if they win every race, but I want it to be edge of the seat stuff, wheel to wheel and a good fair fight.

      4. Sri says:

        I have the same question like Mike’s. What is pure unadulterated uninhibited racing and when it ever existed in F1. As some hints: DRS, fuel-saving mode, team-orders, pit-stop manipulations for the two drivers in same team, breaking the engine seal to benefit team-mate, one team having special rights in FIA in the past at least, and many more.

      5. Quade says:

        This is a strange way of seeing the World. Its like a man commits murder today and his lawyer comes up and argues that it isn’t wrong, because people killed animals in the past.

      6. Sri says:

        Quade, Agree. Admire your optimism.

      7. Anne says:

        I don´t think the tyres mean to slow RB down. It´s about creating more overtakes and more drama if you want. But FIA should change rules and not tyres

  12. Stephen says:

    IMO the 2012 product was fine, it was the overly-conservative selection from the four hard compounds, particularly in the second half of the season, that drew criticism.

    I think 2013′s tyres are too extreme, we’re going to see races like Bahrain with mad short dashes on the options to fulfill the reg’s and then run 90% of the race on the hard tyre. The options have lost all race-worthiness, they’ve become a ‘quali-tyre’

    1. Quade says:

      I can’t recall any complaints about the tyres in the second half of the season. In fact, all the memorable races of last season occurred in the second half and its easy to see why. The second half of 2012 gave us real racing, something we hadn’t had in a long time.

      1. iceman says:

        It is pretty subjective what one considers memorable though. I would say Alonso in a mediocre Ferrari holding off the charging Perez to win in Malaysia to be one of the memorable races of last year; as were Rosberg’s and Maldonado’s first wins in China and Spain.

      2. Quade says:

        Several people would point out those exact same races as excellent examples of how tyres have been used to manipulate recent F1 results. Perez on the podium was one of the strangest sights in F1 ever, a position that most would argue, was thoroughly undeserved and beyond Perez’s talent level.

      3. Stephen says:

        Yeah, I understand Quade’s response though, it’s a fair comment. I still prefered the start of the season, I found it captivating to have such a seemingly level playing field, with Williams Sauber and Mercedes all having their days.

        But I go back to my original point about the 2012 spec tyre – I think Pirelli have tried to fix something that wasn’t broken. 2012 spec tyre’s with maybe a more aggressive compound choice at some tracks would have sufficed.

  13. DB4Tim says:

    …and RED BULL wins

    1. Me says:

      …and what’s the problem with that…

      If you’re an F1 fan, and they’ve designed the best car, what’s the problem?

      1. Anne says:

        If you´re an Arsenal or Liverpool fan I don´t think you will be happy seeing Manchester United winning the Championship despite the fact you might feel a great respect for Sir Alex Ferguson. So people who are not Red Bull fans won´t be happy if RB wins the championship

      2. Me says:

        Football?… who cares about football?

        So not F1 fans then, just fans of one particular F1 team, they have to win above all else?

      3. Anne says:

        Well there are casual fans, die hard fans. And there are fair whether fans. They are fans of RB because they win. So if Mercedes wins 5 straight championships, they will be Mercedes fans then?

      4. Quade says:

        Exactly.
        Don’t give us fake racing, let the fastest car win.

      5. Sri says:

        You meant “let the fastest car-minus-tires package win”. Ideally a car should include tires in definition. So any car that takes care of tire-wear and also wins is the best package. An analogy to your wish would be let the human being with better torso win the athletic race as legs are not part of the body.

      6. Ricardo says:

        It is the wrong analogy Sri. Because the legs are “made” by the athletic racer in the sense that he “trains” them. It is more like Pistorious and a few others are training for the paraolympics and then the organization decides which type of leg implant they should use. I’m not saying tyres should be changed just that yours is a wrong analogy.

        The question is, are the softer tires harming the show. In my opinion they are, and if the team that leads the table is saying they are, it should be considered, even if they have their own agenda because, guess what? So do all the teams that voted against even if, or particularly because, they are losing.

        Someone said Pirelli tried to solve a non existing problem and I believe he/she is right. But it is too late to go back on that, tires should not be changed back now but the audience should be assured that tires that can’t even last 5 laps after qualy or do not allow on track fighting for position should be eschewed.

      7. Quade says:

        Lets take your analogy to its logical conclusion. A runners torso is an integral part of the runner, just as a cars engine is an integral part of the car. Conversly, a runners shoes are not a part of the runners body, just as much as tyres are a 3rd party component of a car.

        Ussain Bolt is the fastest man on Earth, but his running shoes are also part of the package. No?

        What would you say to Bolt being given paper boots he’d have to change halfway to the line (or as many times as he wears them out) just spice up the “show?” Afterall, shoes are shoes, just as tyres are tyres.

        The above analogy sums up why todays F1 is artificial and beginning to look like dumbed down, roll the dice fun.

      8. Craig D says:

        But how do you define what the ‘fastest car’ is? You can have a car that’s epic on one lap with low fuel but terrible on full tanks. You can have one that is less good in qualifying but incredibly consistent and fast over a race distance.

        Someone could design an utter beast of a car that punishes the engine, has an ultra light gearbox, with suspension that works the tyre to its maximum. But that’s no good if its burned through its rubber by lap 7 (or halfway through a quali lap even!), or if its engine and gearbox can only last till half the race, or the ultra-light suspension fails before the finish.

        Such a car could be a rocket ship but it’s the fastest overall package that matters. What I’m saying is that someone might, for example, not like that a car such as Merecedes can qualify on pole but go backwards in a race. Well that’s a car that’s only fastest in such conditions (maybe its drivers are faster then too), but that’s not unfair or artificial. The best package needs to be good across a wide range of ‘operating conditions’.

        So you want the ‘fastest’ car to win. Well the fastest car has won each time.

        —————
        Re the analogy:
        Tyres are arguably the most important component of a race car. They’re the only parts in contact with the ground. The car won’t go without wheels and tyres, just like it won’t go without an engine. You can run without shoes. So tyres are an integral part of the package just like your feet and legs are. Therefore the designer needs to be able tune all components to work together to create the fastest car both in qualifying and the race. That’s why teams invest so much in tyre simulation tools. Good shoes enhance your running obviously, but you don’t need to tune the fitness of your body to a particular set of trainers (well at the very elite level there may be an aspect of that perhaps but it’s not an integral component to how your body/package needs to be ‘tuned’ to). You do need to ensure the car/body works is in tune with the tyres/legs however.

        Having said all that, I don’t particular like the analogy as it’s a little confusing haha!

        Finally, F1 has always involved conservation. The ones who think there’s no pushing from drivers during a race at all anymore is a concept I think many have exaggerated somewhat, and more importantly the belief that drivers didn’t manage a race before. Do you think Alain Prost pushed his car to the maximum lap after lap after lap and won 4 Championships that way?

        Each to their own though.

      9. Sri says:

        @Quade:
        As Craig said one can run without shoes also, while you cannot drive a “car-minus-tires” without tires. In many people’s definition (I think), “car-minus-tires” is not a car at all. So legs are the best analogy for tires. Suppose you go to market to buy a road car and are told that you will be given a very fast car, but you need to change tires every week while there is another car that runs a bit slower but it will have a tire-life much longer. What will you buy – the choice is obvious? Regarding the legs getting trained along with torso point in tire-scenario, the teams have also all the tire-data of previous year and also from one race of last year where they tested this year’s tires. So if some teams don’t use that data for their benefit, it is their problem. FIA or others need not sympathize with them for their fallacy. Some others did use that data very well, so why penalize them?

      10. Quade says:

        Sorry, but Craigs argument destroys itself. I will take the most visible bomb first-

        Craig D: “The ones who think there’s no pushing from drivers during a race at all anymore is a concept I think many have exaggerated somewhat…”

        It isn’t the fans thinking drivers arent pushing; its the drivers themselves complaining about it. So far, that includes front runners like Vettel, Webber, Lewis, Rosberg, Massa, Button, Perez, Di resta etc. Just last week, in his BBC column, Lewis compared current racing to the past in negative terms because of the ridiculous tyres. Before that, Webber had called it WWF. We’ve even heard drivers routinely asking how well they are keeping their speed down to a tyre whispering lap delta, or if they are permitted to fight! In a “race?!”

        What can fans add to the negative impression and the tyres have on the drivers?

        Yes, all cars need tyres. They just don’t need the sort of silly rubber Pirelli is providing.

        I keep asking what the purpose of the current tyres is, since they do absolutely nothing to enhance the racing. What their purpose, aside from adding an element of Webbers WWF?

      11. Quade says:

        @Sri
        Road cars can run without tyres, even if very slowly and with difficult handling. Tyres help cars go faster just as running shoes help runners go faster; they are equivalent.

        Unlike F1 and its tyre monopoly, runners are allowed their choice of shoe (including ten toes :) ).
        Also, they are not forced to make shoe changing stops due to rapidly wearing shoes. Anything in that direction would be artificial for the same reasons F1 tyres force artifice on the sport.

      12. Craig D says:

        @Quade
        You misread me. Of course drivers complain. Of course they’re not able to go flat out all the time but I don’t agree that at any point in a race, a driver is not giving his damnedest. It’s just you can’t get away with being like that the whole race, in the same way you can’t have your engine turned up to max from start to finish. You don’t like that, fair enough but in what we lose in that, for me we gain in the added dimension to the racing, which you don’t seem to see or appreciate.

        In Bahrain, Vettel was pushing hard in his first stints. Yes he had clear air, so what. You had Mercedes pushing hard mid race in Malaysia with the engineers telling them there’s no tyre worries. Kimi was able to set fastest laps at the end in Melbourne. Towards the end of stints you get the calls of, we’re pitting in a few laps, let’s finish these tyres off, etc.

        It’s no different to having to control your fuel and engine revs. You can run a high engine power for a while but couldn’t do the whole race on that. When the engine is turned down, the driver is limited. So they have a fixed amount of peak engine performance to use in a race. They can only drive to the maximum of the package at that time even though there is in fact more potential in the car to go faster. The turbos next year will enhance this characteristic further. In fact the engines are very limited on fuel so we could get even more conservation from the less advanced engines!

        So, likewise they have a fixed amount of tyre life to use. Drivers aren’t going to like it because unlike flicking a switch to limit the engine, they have to limit themselves. They can’t ‘switch’ the tyre performance down but still push, so they feel cheated. I understand that. Whenever I was in karting championships all I cared as a driver was to be to push and push and push. That is pure, absolutely. But an F1 race is and should be more complicated than a kart race.

        And of course they’re not likely to like it but if you’re a driver

        I guess that’s the thing for me. I view these limited tyres as just another limitation such as fuel consumption, peak engine performance, ensuring you don’t over use your brakes (which isn’t so much an issues these days but used to be) and are restriction put in place by the rules (limiting exotic fuels, alloys, better engines, etc). So I just look at it differently. For me it’s a limitation that adds complexity and challenge to the racing.

        We could go on forever like this! :D

      13. Quade says:

        Hey Craig! You hit my exact grouse when you mentioned that the drivers have to limit themselves. That very factor is what makes it all artificial, because suddenly we have a 3rd party doing what many consider to be fixing races.

        To me, strategy is exciting, but only when it is 100% dictated by driver and team.

  14. Only if our F1 can be as intense and inspiring as the Uefa Champions League. But then…

    DS

  15. AuraF1 says:

    I sometimes suspect Pirelli are constituted entirely of anarcho-humorists. They go out of their way to do the opposite of what everyone wants and against their own best interests too.

    Red Bull are looking faintly ridiculous complaining about tyres they’re winning on and Niki Lauda should remember that the 2012 tyres didn’t exactly suit the Mercedes down to the ground. Perhaps he’s arguing for an entirely new set of all compounds that are entirely resistant to Mercedes rear overheating?

  16. dstaisey says:

    I also dont understand how hard tyre could be the problem? In my opinion Medium and Softs are problem.

    1. KRB says:

      JA, I read something from Gary Anderson saying that a particular agent in the soft tire (he didn’t name it) would be changed by Pirelli, to stop it from graining as bad as it did in China. It’s from his latest article on BBC’s site.

      Has Gary got this wrong?

  17. dean cassady says:

    This is bad for the sport, as it loses credibility.
    Regardless of the formula set, prior to the season, all teams have had to work to the same specifications…
    BUT NOT tHIS YEAR.
    This year, the teams that devoted their energies to other design attributes, and then whined loudly, and publically, on, and on, and on, and on, are getting rewarded for their focus on other areas, outside of tire management, that make their cars go faster, and those teams that have worked to the formula, as documented, will be disadvantaged.
    So here’s to ‘the finger’ of the german munchkin, you’ll be seeing a lot of that this year, ending with a fourth consecutive championship, both constructors and drivers, and a tribute to corporate manipulations over common law.

    1. Fan says:

      Yes it its unfair, but not for the reason that you not.

      I think the first time any of the teams strapped on a set of the new 2013 tires was at Jerez during the first F1 test of the 2013 season. All the planing and design work was done in the weekS leading up to that. The unknown variable has always been the tires. Its not as if some teams designed their cars to work better with the tires. Its a lottery – you have no idea what you get. Random winners and losers are created that have nothing to do with driver talent or engineering prowess.

      I prefer known quatities that the engineers can develop towards. When you have a moving or unspecified target you get random results.

      1. dean cassady says:

        Your comment is well-reasoned, but I disagree.
        It’s not a lottery, at all:
        Is it not so that the specification are presented, before hand? And last year’s tires were a benchmark comparison to announced changes in specifications?
        I also strongly disagree with your points, “It’s not as if some teams designed their cars to work better with the tires.” Clearly, this statement is false; some teams HAVE designed their cars to use the tires well. How could you say the opposite?

        I think it would be okay if the was unanimous consent from all teams to make the proposed changes, but not without that.
        Was there unanimous consent from all of the teams?

      2. Sri says:

        They were given 2013-spec tires in Brazil last year to test. So tires are not a lottery. RBR and Merc just did not do good development like Ferrari and Lotus with regard to tires. But manipulations seem to win now.

      3. Warren Groenewald says:

        I’m not sure which races you’ve been watching but the winners so far this season have been Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel with those three drivers also occupying various positions on the podium.

        Hardly random. So far the tires have been fine apart from China where the softs lasted 5 laps.

      4. Craig D says:

        It’s a fair point but you could say the same about the track and weather conditions of a race weekend. No one can control and fully understand what track conditions and temperatures are going to be like when they arrive for that event.

        Many times we hear of a team worrying how the temperature on race day is higher or lower than expected and that could affect the performance of their cars (Lotus and Force India appear to like hot conditions for example). But it’s the same for everyone. The same can be applied to the tyres. And the teams do get performance data on the tyres to design to and get a taster of them at the end of the season I believe.

        So yeah, I get your point but it’s one aspect of the whole challenge for me. I don’t see it as a unfair, just as it’s not unfair if the weather turns on race day ruining, for example, the 1-2 McLaren may have had in Malaysia 2012 if it had remained dry where they were quick but not so in the wet!

    2. Me says:

      What on earth has common law got to with anything?

      Get a grip!

      1. dean cassady says:

        your comment is out of line.
        just because you don’t comprehend it, doesn’t mean someone who has presented it, is ‘losing grip”.

  18. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    For Spain, hard and medium: I think is OK.

    For Monaco, the soft and supersoft: Monaco is unique, so whatever.

    In Canada medium and supersoft: James what do you think about supersoft in Canada, is it really the good choice?

    Deeper analysis required :)

  19. Craig in Manila says:

    Ok, so they announce that :

    1. They’re gonna change the hard tyre to allow for more strategies etc
    2. The hard tyre won’t be used in two out of three upcoming races

    Super.

  20. brad w says:

    Getting ‘tyred’ of all this. Pirelli is kidding themselves if they think that was fwd step to fixing the problem. Now it’s created even more suspicion about their motives. Crazy Italians !

    Quale problema?

    1. brad w says:

      Extra set 4 Friday was just out of necessity. No brainstorm.

  21. Quade says:

    So Pirelli is improving the tyres by changing the best of the horrid set of compounds, while leaving the worst in place. Wow! Talk about curved vision!

    Lets just get used to teams sitting out Q3, running only one lap on the ridiculous super soft and driving tip-toeing around in a race that should be about speed. The FIA is making Pirelli become an offensive word, I wouldn’t be surprised if they exit the “sport.”

    1. brad w says:

      Nod nod.

    2. Clear View says:

      +1

      Just make 2 freakin compounds and take em to every race, a Pirelli shod car is always gonna win so they get their PR out of it and the racing will be closer cos the tyres are a known quantity, it’s just how they perform in the conditions on the day then. Or make ever lasting tyres but have 2 mandatory stops that can be done between lap 1 and second to last lap. I’m sick of hearing about tyres, I wanna see inovation in engineering not all the focus on making tyres last.

  22. tarun says:

    its only going to benefit redbull

    1. Uh says:

      You are wrong in that. RBR was doing fine on the hard tyres. They wanted the soft tyres to change, just like Mercedes. Pirelli changed the hard tyres as a slap in the face to RBR and Merc complaining so audibly.

      1. Clear View says:

        Although I’m not a fan of these tyres, rules are rules and should be observed. The tyre allocations for ALL races should he set out at the start of the year by the FIA not Pirelli and then that announcement should be stuck to. Someone suggested Pirelli have to much influance over the racing and I have to agree, that’s why the full allocation of tyres should be made public before the season opener and changes ONLY made on safety grounds or if a unanimous decision is reached by all the teams. Pirelli cannot be allowed up continue making changes off their own back any more. It’s obvious that some people have more influence than other and steps need taking to prevent these people getting things the way that suits them. See the season out with the tyres it started with!

  23. Sebee says:

    Come on!

    1st. Races were becoming too short. Needed to slow these cars down.

    2nd. As I’ve posted, China quali and race times were same or better than 2012. That with no DRS in Quali and no defusers on race day.

    3rd. The 2013 tire is fine. It makes these teams earn it.

    4th. Look at the Driver’s Championship and WCC table. Do you see some giant monkey wrench being throwin into this list? Seems to be like the heavy hitters are where the heavy hitters usually tend to be.

    5th. GP is a 2 hour even. a 3 stopper means each set of tires last about 25% of the GP distance. What’s wrong with that? Seems perfectly logical in the life of a GP.

    All this complaining about tires is drama for drama’s sake. This mild change by Pirelli is just to shut the complainers up. It’s not significant enough to make a difference. And that’s a good thing if you ask me!

    1. Uh says:

      All red herring arguments. This is not racing.

      1. Sebee says:

        Back to the PS3 world for you then…where thanks to a few quick menu settings to your liking tires never wear, crashing into a wall is but a bump, and cars defy laws of physics.

  24. Anon123 says:

    It is a bit stupid that a team spends hundreds of millions of pounds to develop a car that treats it’s tyres in a certain way only for Pirelli to start changing the compounds.

  25. Elie says:

    I really don’t understand this decision and to be quite honest- whilst Im not a fan of these tailored for show tyres, I believe that whatever the tyres are at the start of the season – you must stick to them. Otherwise it is perceived as biased toward the complaining teams- ie Mercedes , Red Bull and perhaps Ferrari after Bahrain.

    James on the subject of Felippe Massa tyres- Paul Hembrey clearly stated that it was a debris issue on both occasions ( Im not surprised given the chunks of carbon fibre off one of the Saubers at Bahrain) are we to assume this is what has triggered a change in the hards given both times it was the hards on the Ferrari ??

    There are 4 tyre compounds and if teams can’t work with 2 selected choices each weekend – that’s their problem. Why is it that Lotus can live with whatever is thrown at them and the others can’t . Bahrain showed that Red Bull can do pretty well in even extreme conditions without too many dramas. The only thing I can think of is that there was a genuine safety issue with the hard compound that was discovered at Bahrain- that’s the only thing ai would consider reason enough to cause a change.

    I really believe that their should be more gaps in the tyre selection- eg Super Softs and mediums , or Softs and Hards at more circuits given how each team and car set ups seem to vary according to tracks. This gives teams to race to their individual strengths and end up very close at the if the race.

    1. Anne says:

      I read what Paul Hambrey said about Massa´s tyres and the debris on track. When there is debris on the track FIA sends SC. FIA didn´t see the debris or they thought the debris was not important enough to send the SC. What happened to Massa showed FIA was wrong.

      1. Elie says:

        Exactly I was just waiting for someone’s tyre to pop- & sure enough it was Felipe!- really silly decision not to call SC. then again. Conspiracy theory no1- someone did not want to disturb Red Bulls Race advantage

      2. Anne says:

        You mean Vettel´s advantage. If it had been Webber leading the race. FIA would have sent 10 times the SC.

  26. Gilbert says:

    All teams attended this meeting in Italy. So this decision received an Ok by all the teams. Full stop.

    1. Uh says:

      Nope, Pirelli has the last word backed by the FIA. The teams can say what they want on this, it will not dictate the outcome.

      1. Me says:

        Really?… sure about that are you?

  27. mhilgtx says:

    I guess I am with most everyone else, scratching my bald head. I expected a little more tweeking considering the reports from Sky saying that the driver’s meeting was fairly tense with all the driver’s except Lotus complaining about the tires.

    This will all shake out to be in favor of RBR as leaving the tires the same would have as well. Lotus doesn’t have the pace and RBR seems to be more and more on top of the tires and how to exploit them for race day.

  28. Barney says:

    “…It will likely have a larger working range….”

    like·ly [lahyk-lee] adverb, adjective
    1. probably or apparently destined

    So in keeping with the rest of the schlock Pirelli have foisted on F1 over the last 2 1/4 seasons, it’s still a guessing game.

    1. Me says:

      Not foisted…

      Requested to provide.

  29. Spyros says:

    ‘More entertaining racing”? Entertaining for whom?

    1. Uh says:

      The usual American Wrestling crowd.

      1. Me says:

        Why moan?… just don’t watch!

      2. Spyros says:

        Good advice. I already have stopped watching the far-east ones live.

      3. Quade says:

        Bullseye!

    2. Me says:

      For people who enjoy motor sport, irrespective of who wins.

      1. Pfft says:

        So driving around at 70-80% of the capabilities of the car and driver because they are forced by the tyres to do so is the pinnacle of motorsport to you because it manupilates the show that it is more entertaining for the lowest common denominator?

        Then WWF was the pinnacle of wrestling.

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Ok then, name a motorsport were conservation is not part of the game. F1 is not a sprint racing series.

        In fact, name a time in F1 where conservation was absent.

      3. Spyros says:

        Even if the same team (and driver) wins every weekend?

        I have no problem with the best team winning all the time, but if a team has a really fast car that’s demanding on its tyres, to the point that it is eating them too fast, then this team built the wrong car. It’s as simple as that.

        Changing the tyres to suit them is neither fair nor entertaining.

  30. Glennb says:

    I’m guessing they’re changing the hard compound in response to Massa’s 2 tyre failures last time out. Don’t recall which compound failed on HAM’s car. Seems to me they’re just playing it safe and it has nothing to do with any complaints from teams and punters. Just my theory.

    1. James Allen says:

      In the post it says that HAM’s tyre was a medium – white sidewall

      1. KRB says:

        When do they have to give back sets of tires? After FP3, or before it? 3 sets of each is not enough now, it seems. Especially if you have a failure in a set, like Lewis did.

  31. Oz Geezza says:

    Mr Allen,Sir.
    You have been envolved with Motor Racing as we
    in Oz land say for “Donks” that say a question
    for you.
    Can you remember a Tyre Co,a suppliers to F1 grid
    such as Dunlop,Goodyear,Michellin,Bridgestone other
    then current suppliers Pirelli change the compound
    of its Tyre to apease the certain teams?.in the
    compotition that just began,it would be call “Farce”
    would it not?.
    Is Pirelli that desperate for the extension of
    their contract with FAI, thus the exlusivity and
    monopoly of supply.
    Bottom line, sumthing is missing a – compotition!
    Your thoughts please.

    1. James Allen says:

      Pirelli has made changes during a season before, at the same stage in 2011 it made a change to the hard, for example.

      I think this is more of a hot potato because there has been lobbying and it doesn’t look great if it seems a change is made to suit some teams

      In practice, this probably will help Red Bull, but not as much as a change to a soft tyre to be more like the 2012 model would have done

      1. JoeP says:

        I’m really tired of hearing fans and teams complain about tires, and I think it’s especially distasteful for teams like RBR and Mercedes, via Lauda, to politik in public via a willing and compliant media. James, at least you attempt to stick to presenting facts with, when appropriate, insightful analysis. But I wish some influential, competent journalists and pundits would start calling-out Red Bull, for example, for pressuring a supplier to change their product to benefit that one particular team. Likewise, I wish those same media folks would take time to educate the fans as to what it means when Paul Hembery says, “You drive to the limits of the package,” which has always been the case in any motorsports with a set formula.

        And why do I find Nikki Lauda to be so distasteful a character? Gah!

      2. f1future says:

        Niki Lauda is not a distasteful character. Unlike some others he wants to see no Team orders but genuine races, which is what we all want to see.

      3. Brace says:

        Well I don’t want even “probable” help for Red Bull. They should suck it up and get on with it.

        I said it before on this website, that Bernie needs strong Red Bull because Horner is his biggest ally among the teams. And only way Horner’s word is going to be worth anything is if his team is winning. So that’s why Bernie will always keep lobbying for every little detail that can prevail any given decision into Red Bull’s favor. Almost all of the Championships in the last 7 years have been won by the smallest margins and, as I said, every little thing that Bernie manages to sway into Red Bull’s favor, is what counts at the end of the year.

        I’m seriously getting so disgusted by this “sport” that I’ve been following fanatically since 1993. This amount of lobbying reminds me of the worst, most pathetic moves by Jean Todt and Max Mosley, back when they were head of Ferrari and FIA.

        I can’t believe that some people are allowed to publicly slag off the tire supplier without any consequences. It’s completely unethical and extremely unprofessional, as things like this should be done behind firmly closed doors. Any dissatisfaction with tires should be discussed in private and any public slagging off (because that’s what it really is) should be punished first in money and then with sporting sanctions, should they continue.

        This kind of shameless lobbying is completely unheard of.

  32. Stephen Taylor says:

    How many stops will each car make in Monaco James?

    1. James Allen says:

      It was a one-stop race last year, my guess would be two this year with a few one stoppers trying to do something different.

      Depends a bit on temperature. If it’s warm it will help the soft

      1. Kbdavies says:

        There is no way the Softs and Supersofts will be able do a 2 stop race, let alone a 1 stop. Mark my words, Monaco will be a farce! Can’t wait for it!

      2. Me says:

        Mark your words?

        3 out of 10…

      3. KRB says:

        Well, Monaco is its own type of race. Drivers can get away with degrading tires more, b/c it’s so hard to pass on track, even in the DRS zone. Very hard to have two DRS zones, unless they added Beau Rivage (same or separate detection point).

        The supersoft lasted quite a while in Australia, while the soft went off fast in China. They need to go softest in Monaco though, just for grip levels.

      4. Glennb says:

        I think it would be very brave to 2 stop at Monaco. The eventual winner is usually the guy who comes out in front after the usual 1 stop. Stopping a second time would require building a lead of some 25 seconds in order to pull it off. That’s a tough ask around Monaco, where track position is everything, assuming a dry race. Still, anything can happen in F1 and it wouldn’t surprise me.

  33. Richard D says:

    Durable is the word I’ve been looking for in F1 tyres! Now to get rid of the non-durable ones and just use the durable hard ones. Let’s go racing!

  34. Nil says:

    This is disappointing at a certain level. It was great to see a new team at the top in RBR after all those years of lobbying by Ferrari when they were dominating the sport. Even though we have a team with a different ‘culture’ and raison d’etre at the top, the political status quo is unchanged.

    1. Me says:

      This I agree with, plus it was the same when McLaren were at the top…

      And I should imagine in a few years time it will be someone else at the top of the pile.

      But… then I guess people will have another team/driver they don’t like to moan about…

      1. KRB says:

        Need a comma there in the last sentence, between ‘like’ and ‘to’ … first time I read it, it read as though one driver was free of complainin’ by F1 fans.

      2. Me says:

        Agreed…

  35. dean cassady says:

    What was wrong with the tires that changing the compound of the hards will fix?
    We’ve seen all of the extremes of weather, in the first four races: cold, hot and dry, hot and wet, and the behaviours of the tire range across the conditions is now known.
    Unless there is a bona-fide safety issue, then the compounds just should not be changed mid-season.
    I think the tires have been great this year; they’re even better than last year.
    Whether you buy the direction of formula one, to insert clauses in the formula to improve the spectacle, or you don’t agree with it, IT DOESN’T MATTER; that is the direction, anyways.
    Talk to Bernie.
    I fully acknowledge the contrivances, but there is no going back to the 1950′s for this sport! No way; we’re not going to get that again.
    We have the sport almost completely corporatized, now. Neither does it matter whether you, or I, like that, it’s just the way it is.
    So given that predicament, the formula that we have now, has these, ‘contrivances’.
    But everybody has it the same!
    The formula is now about working to the common specifications so that your car can get around the track faster than any of the other cars.
    I think Bernie is doing a great job.
    Credit where credit is due, there; but changing the tire specification, mid way through the season, without a bona-fide safety issue, and/or unanimous consent from the teams, is wrong.

  36. absolude says:

    Bad news. I was planing to go to to the Montreal race but no more.
    I just want to see racing.
    F1 is trying to be more “environment friendly”. How is shredding tons of rubber good then?
    How this translates for regular cars?
    They should do the opposite. Encourage production of long lasting tires and give extra couple of points for extended usage e.g. using last race tires to qualify and such.

    1. James Allen says:

      I would go

      Montreal is a fabulous experience

      1. Me says:

        It would be nice to at least have the opportunity to go…

        Some people.

      2. absolude says:

        Here we go, making me reconsider… :)

      3. Bayan says:

        Agreed. I have been there 4 times since 2005 and it’s always been amazing. You can actually walk the track immediately after the race. It does get very very hot so bring some sunscreen and a hat. Turn 1 is always a great place to sit. One thing i miss about living in Toronto is the short commute to Montreal every summer.

      4. absolude says:

        Thanks for the advice, I was thinking what corner to camp by.
        I am actually in Toronto, and it seems I’ll have a place to stay at in Montreal.

  37. Stefanos says:

    Who here thinks F1 will be racing the same crazy tyres in 5 years?

  38. AlexK says:

    I think it’s a good decision that will benefit all and seems to be backed by most. An increased working temp has to be a good thing. one of the most frustrating aspects has been drivers for who seemingly get a good set-up on to the car only for a track temp change from 5 degrees to completely change that. And visa-versa some drivers have almost lucked into a set-up. this decision should change that a bit.

  39. micks@sa says:

    Irrespective of the tyre-change. The teams on top will benefit anyway, don’t see why people complain. It reminds me of a restaurant where no customer is happy at all. The customer always wants to complain, whether it’s a small issue or big issue. The point of the matter is, we need to stop complaining of the tyres and enjoy the racing. I say racing as it is a ‘race’ on Sunday. So stop bad mouthing F1 and enjoy your sport.

    You won’t find rugby or soccer supporters complain so much as F1 supporters do. No wonder someone asks me why do F1 supporters complain so much as oppose to other sports.

    In a nutshell, I still and do believe Lotus will do very well in the next coming races. Before China and Bahrain, they hoped to have great back-to-back races, and they did. If you watched the pre-season testing, you’d find Grosjean doing 24 laps on the medium tyre, imagine how many they will do on the ‘new’ hards. So a one stopper might be on the cards.. Let’s wait and see.. And regarding the selection for the next races, don’t expect RBR to dominate. Maybe claim a pole, but not run away with the race.

    Ferrari will obviously come out good but they need to resist the charging Lotuses.. Merc isn’t as good as many claim and McLaren might spring a surprise with the new package.. Should be fun to watch!

    1. Andrew says:

      “I say racing as it is a ‘race’ on Sunday”

      When it’s against a drivers interest to defend a position or chase drivers in front and DRS overtaking is a formality – is it a race or a glorified time trial?

  40. Steve R says:

    No idea why F1 cannot get it’s act together like IndyCar has with the red stripe and black stripe tires. The reds have more grip for a shorter period 15-20 laps and the blacks have slightly less grip but last longer – usually 25-30 laps. The red stripe drivers have the advantage for 15 laps until the cross over period from lap 16-20 and then have to hang on when the blacks come in to their own and the black strips drivers start reeling them back in.

  41. MarkedOne8 says:

    Well, Mercedes is known for overheating the rear tires starting from 2010. The working range of hard compound is going to be lowered. So, that’s worse for Mercedes. As for Red Bull… I don’t know. If they are eating tires more than others, that suggests me they are overheating them for a bit just like Mercedes. Lower working range is not going to help them I think. At least in theory should be like that. And Lotus is probably going to have serious range of strategies. The more durable tire doesn’t meant it does not or can’t degrade. It’s just scaling of their duration time with relatively no impact on Championship. Lotus are still going to have couple of % more life in their tires, Red Bull are still going to be top team in Q3 and etc.

    1. KRB says:

      I read that the working range of the hard would be widened, not lowered. It might be widened solely to the lower side, but the range is not moving wholesale lower.

      1. James Allen says:

        Listen to the new JA on F1 podcast today, it’s all explained in there.

  42. Sid says:

    Fabulous thread since we have a lot of James’ replies, and at times that what I’m after. Just select find and type James Allen and go about reading his replies. Makes a great experience and this thread is exactly what I was looking for.

    But one question still remains, RBR and Merc were lobbying and complaining about the soft tyres and not the hards, wonder why they’ve changed the hards even though James, you’ve mentioned it’ll help RBR and others a bit but I’ve still not understood… Clearer in podcast??? maybe??

    1. James Allen says:

      Clear as a bell

      We gave a discussion between Mark Gilland, myself and Paul Hembery

  43. interesting points on both sides of the argument however people tend to forget that the so called ‘single file’ racing on the bridgestones was not exactly the fault of the tyres. it was the aero configuration that caused the problems.

    i do not like a tyre company calling the shots, despite their protestations that FIA/FOM have told them to spice it up.

    what particularly needles me is that hundreds of millions are spent to achieve technological excellence in the cars and that is all brought undone by ‘trash’ tyres? seeing sixteen guys change wheels in two secs does nothing for me except spoil the race. a driver drives his heart out for track position and gets rolled in the pits? really…….

  44. Elie says:

    Actually the more I think about this the more it might not be such a bad thing. Teams that can’t make the softs last will now be tempted to stay on the hards longer because they will now last longer and save them additional pit stops- but of course they will pay a lap time penalty compared to the softer tyres. I still don’t agree with the principle of changing the compounds mid season other than for safety reasons.- I will be keen to hear podcast James.

  45. JohnBt says:

    The delamination of the hard tyres must be rather serious for safety reasons. Then why are the softs being left as is.

  46. Kbdavies says:

    I do not understand why a lot of fans are complicating this tyre issue. The tyres are not helping F1 period – NOT because tyre management has not always been a part of F1, but because it is affecting it too much to the point where between the Pirellis, and DRS, the art of racing, and to a lesser extent, qualifying is now dead. What we have now is the art of managing tyres (it is not even about strategy), trying to qualify in a single lap whilst not using the tyres too much, the art of sub 2sec pit-stops, the art of driving to specified lap delta, and the art of getting to within 1sec of the car in front. Note, the main art missing from the list is “real hard racing”.

    Most people who support the current Pirelli “cheese” tyre claim that managing tyres have ALWAYS been a part of F1, conveniently ignore the main issue – which is tyres have NEVER been this much part of F1. Do most fans remember the face, or name of the Goodyear tyre representative, or Bridgestone, or Michelin? Hembrey has now achieved a Yoda like status, always being interviewed, constantly giving out PR sound bites. Week in week out, race day, qualifying, practice or break, all we hear are – tyres, tyres, tyres.

    Tyres were never specifically designed to kill racing, last a few laps, degrade suddenly and litter track with rubber marbles that means you may be doomed if you come off the racing line. The art of late braking in corners is certainly dead. God forbid you try that on the Pirellis, and you may be sporting a bald patch larger the Kojak’s – that is if the marbles don’t get you. Or you simply wait for DRS.
    Anyone remember the qualifying duels of yore? Drivers coming out again and again trading purple sectors? That is certainly a thing of the pastIn the ast, drivers rarely went out for a single lap in qualifying (unless stipulated by the rules) or even sat out qualifying because of tyres.

    Real racing is now so scarce that we foam at the mouth when we see any, like Bahrain (Button vs Perez), or the fight for the lead at the US GP 2012 (Hamilton vs Vettel). The epic battles between Senna, Mansell and Prost would never have happened in this Pirelli era, banging wheels, sparks flying, all the way into the corner daring each other who will brake the latest. Or the epic battles between Schumacher, Hakkinen and Alonso. We would have certainly not enjoyed Montoya, Raikonnen and Kubica in this era, and we were quite lucky to enjoy a bit of Lewis. Where is the real racing I ask you? Where is proper overtaking?

    Oh, how I miss F1.

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