Posted on July 2, 2013
XPB.cc
The Strategy Report

The 2013 British Grand Prix will be remembered for the series of catastrophic tyre failures which befell five of the competitors during the Grand Prix and which had an inevitable bearing on the way that the strategy unfolded.

Although tyre failure was the reason why Lewis Hamilton did not win the race, and a gearbox problem denied Sebastian Vettel, there is no doubt that the positions behind the race winner Nico Rosberg were decided by strategy in the closing stages.

Two safety cars played their part as did an inevitable sense of caution on the part of the teams when deciding their strategy in response to the dramatic tyre failures going on around them.


Pre-race expectations

Although Sergio Perez experienced a left rear tyre failure in the final practice session on Saturday morning, there was no real suspicion that this might become a theme of the race.

Teams had lost Friday morning practice to rain, but managed to do plenty of dry running in the afternoon session so had a decent picture of the relative performance of the medium and hard compound tyres for the race.

Pre-race predictions said that two stops was a faster strategy than three by five seconds, but it was close. On three stops drivers would be able to go flat out, while two stops would require some tyre conservation. There was plenty of flexibility built into the strategies to allow a switch, but to run an ideal three stop you would ideally want to pit for the first time around lap 10, while lap 14 was the target for two stoppers.


The game changer

Lewis Hamilton’s spectacular tyre failure on lap eight set the alarm bells ringing and then an identical failure for Felipe Massa two laps later changed the game. It became about survival and minimising the risk of suffering a tyre failure and potentially not finishing the race.

Many drivers were switched onto the hard tyre, but it was noticeable that both Force India cars , both Williams and Jenson Button went for the mediums. Apart from Di Resta, these drivers were all doing two stop races and clearly didn’t feel as much at risk at this stage.

In the pit garages there was plenty of action; a message was sent to all teams advising them to increase the tyre pressures as a precaution. Ideally the tyres should be run at 19psi, but some teams were running them lower, to increase grip and temperature. But there was a suspicion that this was contributing to the failures, with drivers being aggressive over the kerbs and the high loadings on Silverstone’s many fast corners.

Some observed the advice to increase pressures and stay off the kerbs and some did not.

Engineers were photographing the inside shoulder of the tyres coming off their cars, and comparing them with others to make a judgement on how best to run the tyres. At a time like this, experienced engineers will always revert to what they know, from Free Practice, they can achieve safely and run to that plan.

The strategy for the rest of the race was decided by that. However there was another factor, which came into play and helped to decide the outcome and that was the safety cars.


Safety car a double-edged sword

FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting has said that he came close to stopping the race and some teams were surprised that he didn’t. However he did deploy two safety cars; once to clear debris from a failure and once because Sebastian Vettel’s broken Red Bull car was parked in a dangerous place.

Incidentally, with his team mate Webber making up for lost time after a poor start, Vettel leaving the car where he did and triggering the safety car, which closed up the field, certainly helped Webber to get back into contention. He was 14.5 seconds behind Rosberg at that point. But the safety car allowed him to close up and after the restart to challenge for the win in the final laps.

The problem with deploying safety cars is that F1 cars touring round slowly behind the safety car rapidly lose tyre pressure and temperature, increasing the risk that further failures will occur. Whiting knew that when he deployed them, but he had no choice as there were more dominant safety priorities at the time, which required the safety car’s intervention.

The second safety car really hurt the races of two stoppers Kimi Raikkonen, Adrian Sutil and Daniel Ricciardo. They stayed out on old tyres, while Webber, Rosberg and Alonso came in, so the two stoppers were vulnerable in the closing stages to cars with fresher tyres.

Raikkonen questioned the decision to stay out over the radio and the team has since apologised to him for the mistake. He was running second at the time and could have taken advantage of the opportunity to get a free set of tyres with minimum time penalty, as the other leaders did. He ended up finishing fifth, setting a new record for consecutive points finishes in F1, with 25.

Behind the safety car, the safest thing to do was to bring the driver in and put on a new set of tyres with increased tyre pressures, giving you the best chance to finish the race without incident, even if it might hurt your performance a bit to be running the tyres too firm.


Alonso lucky and unlucky

Fernando Alonso was lucky that the tyre failure he suffered was when he was on his way into the pits, so it did not ruin his race. But he was an interesting case study for the wrong reasons in the closing stages. He was fourth behind Rosberg, Raikkonen and Webber as Vettel pulled off the circuit at the end of lap 41, but already committed to making a pit stop.

He served his stop when the others were at racing speed, then as he came out of the pits the safety car was deployed, so he had to complete the lap at the reduced control speed. Meanwhile his rivals, now ahead of him were able to pit at the end of the lap – losing less time in their pit stop as the field is all travelling at reduced speed – and they came back out ahead of him, along with drivers like Sutil and Ricciardo who had not stopped.

Alonso dropped to eighth and had to be at his very best to fight his way past these cars to finish third and take 15 points out of Vettel’s championship lead.

FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting


The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists, from Pirelli and from JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan

Race History Graph
Courtesy of Williams F1 Team

NB – The safety car periods (shaded in brown) have been adapted to make the graph easier to view.

Note the pace differential in the final stint between the cars doing two stops, like Raikkonen, Sutil and Ricciardo and the three stoppers. Also note Hamilton’s pace; he was two stopping as well!

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Steering through the chaos: How tyre failures dictated the results of British GP
119 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: hotAir-O-foil
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 11:59 am 

    Am confused and saddened by F1 strategy.

    Have registered for a part-time course on Delta-Time Management in order to get a grip.

    Apologies for weak, gratuitous pun.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: NickH
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 12:09 pm 

    I really can’t understand Lotus’ logic at the time not to pit Raikkonen when the 2nd safety car came out…they need to wake up! they could even see Red Bull, Merc and Ferrari pitting their drivers. Kimi lost an easy 2nd place on a day where Vettel scored 0

    [Reply]

    MelB Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Al Reply:

    Obviously it was the wrong decision in hindsight,
    however the team may of been thinking of the things below.
    I.e. Kimi was running 2nd so Lotus weren’t aware if the guys behind them were going to pit with 7 laps to go.
    What would happen if the guys behind them didn’t pit and kimi may of lost track position.
    May of came out of the pits in 8th position and had to overtake all 7 cars in 7 laps.
    Maybe Lotus thought the tyre performance between new tyres and their current tyre was not too dramatic.

    [Reply]

    Truffaut Reply:

    Well we saw what Kimi didi in Monaco with fesh tyres during two laps or so. And Monaco is a track where it is hard to overtake but Silverstone is not. So for me this should have been an easy call no matter what others would do. Trust your car and trust your driver!

    [Reply]

    Rudy Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Daninator07 Reply:

    +1

    Lotus seem to always er on the conservative side. Really cost RAI and themselves really valuable points.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Tornillo Amarillo
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 12:27 pm 

    James, is it a breach of regulations to park the car in an unsafe place like Vettel did in Silverstone to prompt the Safety Car?

    No doubt Red Bull did it on purpose and IMO I saw it during the race as a calculated move when the car was still working. When Vettel stops I thought “he put it there to trigger the Safety Car…”

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    There is no way to know whether he meant it or not. When a gearbox breaks you don’t have much control over how far the car rolls etc.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Vettel was also trying to see if he could get the gears back … if it was clear that it was terminal from the beginning, he would’ve pulled off just before Vale, by going into the run-off area. Even then a safety car might’ve needed deploying.

    It’s too easy to see bad intentions if that’s what you want to see.

    [Reply]

    Glennb Reply:

    He would have put it where the team told him to put it. In that case it would have been over the radio. Pretty unlikely he was thinking Mark could use a break. Keep it real mate.

    [Reply]

    Matthew Green Reply:

    but was he thinking about Mark , or thinking about his championship lead , as in the end Mark got infront of all the people close to him in championship

    in my mind he 100% knew parking it there would cause safety car.

    all the “greats” think like that

    Matt

    [Reply]

    Matthew Green Reply:

    geeze i cant write properly ! LOL

    i wanted to say , “he was not thinking of Mark , he was thinking about his championship lead”

    Matt

    Quade Reply:

    Red Bull need every constructors point they can muster in the face of a resurgent Mercedes.
    Vettel rolled long enough to get off the track, but he packed it right on it. Anything said over the radio would have been coded.

    [Reply]

    Neil Jenney Reply:

    I had a similar thought. It was clear from the onboard footage the car wasn’t going to either finish the race or make it back to the pits before the start/finish straight. I didn’t feel the position he came to rest was designed to trigger a safety car, but I certainly felt that consideration for other drivers and the race itself were lacking on Vettel’s part.

    [Reply]

    oskaalb Reply:

    I also wondered why nobody reacted to the fact that Vettel didn’t stop earlier, but drove until he knew that the safety car had to come out. Vettel is not stupid, and in my opinion this is a deliberate act that he should have been reprimanded for.

    [Reply]

    David C Reply:

    Why would he want a safety car ?

    [Reply]

    oskaalb Reply:

    Because it would give Webber a better chance to win, which in turn would give RBR more points and also take important points from Vettel’s closest rivals.

    David C Reply:

    So your theory is that he tried to get a safety car to help FA? no wait it was to help MW? Or was it that he knew KR would not take a pit stop as the others and he could take points off KR? The guy was just trying to get it going, he was leading the race, that was really unfortunate for him.

    [Reply]

    Tornillo Amarillo Reply:

    I believe the Red Bull idea was indeed to bring the Safety Car and put Webber in new tires with a great car to grab big points in the front, P1 if possible coming quickly from the back.
    So Vettel’s car was left partially on track to prompt the Safety Car.

    [Reply]

    David C Reply:

    I don’t think SV would be too bothered helping MW, if you hear the radio he explains the problem and stops. There is no hint of RBR telling him to do anything . The FIA have the tapes and anything odd would be detected. Unless they have a secret code but it’s unlikely they foresaw that situation.


  4.   4. Posted By: Alberto Martínez
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 12:31 pm 

    James,

    Have you read this article published in Marca on Monday (Marca is the best selling sports newspaper in Spain).
    http://www.marca.com/2013/07/01/motor/formula1/gp-gran-bretana/1372672736.html

    In the article it is said that Pirelli deceived all teams changing the construction of the tyre for Silvestone without notifying the teams by means of adding a layer of kevlar over the steel ring.

    Do you know if this is true or is pure speculation?

    Thanks

    [Reply]

    DonSimon Reply:

    It’s in Marca. It’s not true.

    [Reply]

    Quade Reply:

    Load of rubbish. When did a newspaper that is 90% about football begin to know the difference between steel and kevlar? Especially when the teams brimming with brains and advanced degrees as they are, haven’t reached the same conclusions.

    Its like revising for a math exam reading and oggling page 3 of The Sun. Whats most hilarious is the part where the teams go out on the tracks to pick tyre debris. Maybe the teams now employ race marsharls. Wonders! :)

    [Reply]

    Jonathan Reply:

    I have seen several comments by people outraged that there was believed to be kevlar in the Silverstone tyres.

    I don’t understand what the problem is. Of course there was kevlar in the tyres! This years construction is based on a steel belt under the “tread”. How do you expect the rest of the tyre to be constructed? Steel wires are used as a belt as they impart an element of stiffness to the running surface. They would be far too stiff for the amount of flex needed in the side walls. The side walls must include a fair amount of kevlar – some of which I would expect to be used to hold the steel belt in place.

    Flexing of the side walls is a significant part of the total suspension movement on an F1 car. Some would say it is far too much. I recall hearing talk when Bridgestone pulled out that it was about time F1 took note of other types of motoring where low profile tyres are the norm. It was chosen as the way forward as there was insufficient time. Changing the diameter of wheels used would have caused in incredible amount of re-engineering of the suspension geometry. I was expecting to see this included as part of the rule changes for next year.

    On the other hand the problems of the Silverstone race would have been very different if they had low profile tyres.

    There other tyre solutions that could be used. Michelin have created an airless tyre. They have done away with side walls as well. The tread surface is held in place by flexible “spokes” that are the full width of the tyre. It would be interesting to see how they would cope with the extreme forces of F1 but the concept would do away with all the problems we saw on Sunday.

    Low profile tyres might be a problem with the height of the kerbs but we know something needs doing about them anyway.

    [Reply]

    JohnBt Reply:

    From what I’ve read, steel get the tyres heated up faster than kelvar. Makes alot of difference to teams like Ferrari, Lotus and Force India.

    The damage on Perez exhaust area was real bad, Lewis was luckier in a way although there was damage too.

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: goferet
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 12:40 pm 

    Despite Lewis’ bad luck in regards the tyre failure, something that has caught my attention is the fact that he has been able to finish all his races and best of all in the points.

    Something tells me the lad’s fortune has turned for the better for gone are the days of DNF galore.

    Now, the thing that surprised me during the race was irrespective of the failures in the first stint, the Red Bull team left Vettel out the longest >>> I don’t know, maybe the team thought the race was going to get red flagged which was such a big risk to take just for the win kind of like Belgium 2011.

    Also, considering the fact Vettel brought out the second safety car, it can be argued that he in effect paid Webber back for the Malaysia win and it was left up to Webber to seal the deal >>> which he didn’t.

    As for the likes of Force India, Torro Rosso, it’s always frustrating when the smaller teams get denied good finishing positions by something like a safety car for such opportunities don’t come knocking everyday.

    As for Alonso, I think he must have suffered a normal puncture because the explosions I saw, it was not possible to hold onto your tyre.

    All in all, am glad Charlie Whiting didn’t stop the race for it’s always a bitter pill to swallow leaving a race unfinished.

    [Reply]

    jawsf1 Reply:

    lewis finished 12th in spain but agree that his world title chances could be turning! the merc looked pretty unstopable in his hands until the tyres gave up & he looked like taking alonso at the end if race was another 3 laps longer.

    [Reply]

    IJW Reply:

    Didn’t he finish outside the points in Spain?

    [Reply]

    [MISTER] Reply:

    You need to get back to Earth.
    Vettel’s gearbox broke while downshifting for the Vale corner. At that stage he already missed the pit entry and was still trying to get it back working. The only place to park it was on the straight.

    Do you really believe at that stage Vettel knew where and how Webber’s position was compared to the rest in the paddock? Knowing Alonso is 4th and pretty far away from Rosberg should’ve been enough for Vettel to realize that a safety car would bring Alonso closer to those in front and could actually help Alonso.

    Vettel’s “luck” was that Alonso pitted just as he retired and lost alot more time compared to Mark and Rosberg. If I was Vettel, I wouldn’t risk giving Alonso the oportunity to have a go at the likes of Kimi, Rosberg and Mark.

    [Reply]

    Mack Reply:

    I can’t believe that you think Red Bull took the risk to wait for the very slim chance of a red flag as a tyre letting go on the Vettel’s car was just as likely. As for making it up to Webber, I’m pretty sure that it was the last thing on his mind – winning the drivers championship by ‘hook or by crook’ is the only thought passing through his mind. His very first thought would have been a string of expletives in regards to his gearbox failing and next would have been ‘I hope Alonso and Kimi don’t get to many points’.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Endaar
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 1:10 pm 

    Is there any chance that the higher PSI in Vettel’s last set of tires could have contributed to a gearbox failure? Obviously it should not have, but if the gearbox was marginal is it possible the reduction in damping by the tires (by way of higher PSI) could have pushed it over the edge?

    [Reply]

    Matthew Green Reply:

    No

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: AlexD
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 1:14 pm 

    What is more interesting and worrying is the form of Ferrari – why so poor, really? Just one off or a trend?

    Mercedes, really they massively benefited from this secret test. They could test anything, no observers.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    I guess it depends on if Pirelli did change the tyre construction or not.
    I have seen a picture posted of Vettel’s tyre as shown on TV being viewed by Newey, but I can’t tell if it is steel inside it or Kevlar.

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: Andrew M
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 1:14 pm 

    No race history graph? :(

    Am I right in thinking Lewis didn’t stop around the safety car? For him to match Alonso through the field on used tyres was impressive if so.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    It’s on its way, but I didn’t want it to hold up publication

    [Reply]

    Quade Reply:

    Merc have come a long way since the sneaky test. As for Lewis, the lad is simply wunderkind.

    [Reply]

    F1 Badger Reply:

    Well said. He’s always had the talent. It’s good to see some consistency with it.

    [Reply]

    JohnBt Reply:

    Lewis is real talent IMO. With his hard driving style and Merc tires issues solved he’ll be flying. I’d say he will be fighting for the WDC.

    The secret test did help them for sure, very clever Brawn.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    I think it’s far too early to say that Merc have solved their tire issues. It was only lap 8 when Lewis’ tire blew, so we don’t know how the next few laps would’ve panned out, and then the rest of the race from there.

    Rosberg was putting the heat on Vettel in the laps just before his gearbox failed, so we’ll see this weekend.

    The story out yesterday was that Lowe has been told to concentrate on the 2013 car, so obviously they think they’re in with a shout. Yeah, they’re 2nd in the WCC now, but on race pace I still think they’re behind Red Bull and Ferrari, and Kimi’s Lotus (Grosjean is a total liability for Lotus now). We’ll see how they run on Sunday.


  9.   9. Posted By: DMyers
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 1:16 pm 

    If Raikkonen was questioning the team’s decision, why didn’t he make his own decision to pit? He’s supposed to be a world champion and should have had the guts to make the call rather than bitching about it.

    [Reply]

    abashrawi Reply:

    He asked for it, he was told no. If he force his way into the pits, i reckon it would be a two minutes stop.

    And, he is a world champion. That’s fact mate!

    [Reply]

    Elie Reply:

    But is he came in and the mechanics had the instruction he was not coming in what happens!!- seriously sillily comment !

    [Reply]

    Zinobia Reply:

    Isn’t that what he basically did?

    He said afterwards there was a lap and a half to decide.

    [Reply]

    Rednas Reply:

    The team had much more information about his position on track compared to others, how old the tyres of the other cars were etcetera. It’s clearly Lotus fault and he lost valueable championship points. Absolutely Lotus’ fault, a mistake Mercedes and Red Bull didn’t made.

    [Reply]

    abashrawi Reply:

    Exactly, some ppl believe that a top driver will join the team, train the engineers, tweaks the engine and write a new software for it, organize race strategy and takes the whole team from mid-field to winning.

    You have to respect others in their field, sure you speak up what you think but you have to listen and respect the ones with more knowledge and info.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: JackL
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 1:21 pm 

    Good article James.
    Any word on whether Pirelli changes the construction of the tires (as rumored) by adding Kevlar without the teams consent?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    They couldn’t do that, for goodness sake! For a start the 2013 steel belt tyres are a fair but heavier. You don’t think the teams would notice when they put the car on the scales???!!!!

    [Reply]

    Glennb Reply:

    and PDR’s car would not have been underweight either.

    [Reply]

    DonSimon Reply:

    At least we no know that a personality weighs 1.5kg.

    Matthew Green Reply:

    But they have been quoted in saying they used different Glue , which in my mind is changing the construction !

    Matt

    [Reply]

    timothy clarke Reply:

    great comment Don. you gave a guy in Canada his morning larf!!


  11.   11. Posted By: Grant H
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 1:25 pm 

    Latest reports indicate the kevlar belt tyres are comming back, apparently this will reduce operating temp by 10°C who will this suit, assume that this will be bad for merc who have been overheating tyres? or..?

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    If it reduces temp, then it should benefit Mercedes.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Dan
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 1:34 pm 

    For me this race was ruined by the first Safety Car period. It was out for far too long.

    I think it was apparent that the reasons for deployment were first to clean up the debris from exploded tyres but also to get information as to why the tyres were failing. If this was indeed the case they should’ve red flagged the race while they got this information.

    I’m not even talking about from a safety perspective. From an entertainment point of view we were robbed of nearly 20% of the racing laps by safety cars. In general it is deployed far too freely and for an excessive period of time. The protocol to allow lapped drivers to unlap just exasperates the situation.

    [Reply]

    Basil Reply:

    Couldn’t agree more!

    [Reply]

    Adam W Reply:

    +1 regarding cars unlapping themselves. They should simply drop to the back of the que once asked to do so by Charlie. Surely the computer can be programmed to add 1 lap to relevant cars so the effect on the race is the same.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    I was thinking this, but then those cars really haven’t travelled the distance you’re saying they have, with the resultant fuel burn off and tire wear (I realize these are much reduced in an SC period, but they’re still something).

    But the way they do it (i.e. get everyone nicely formed up for 2 laps, THEN let cars unlap themselves) is too much.

    [Reply]

    Jake Reply:

    Purely from a supporters point of view we were lucky they did not stop the race as I do not see how they could have allowed it to start again. There was no conclusive evidence that the failures had anything to do with the track, there are some theories that a high kerb may have contributed but nothing concrete.
    The track officials would then be in the position that there is no obvious reason for the failures. How could they then justify allowing the race to re-start. Game over, no British GP.

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    Fair point.
    I’m not suggesting that these tyre failures are not a serious safety concern, but I do think there is too much of a tendency for overt displays of how safety conscious the sport has become. This year’s Monaco GP might be the best recent example. The SC was out for ages because there was some concern over Felipe Massa, yet Massa was fit and well enough to leap over the Armco to the awaiting medical team. By all means send him to the medical centre to check him over, but if he’s vaulting 4 foot of steel fencing I think it’s safe to say we can get on with the race!

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Daniel Spiller
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 1:54 pm 

    Seen reports that Pirelli will revert to 2012 spec tyres. Seems to be some people on other websites unsure on what this means due to them having a lower operating temperature. Seen comments saying that this will hurt Ferrari/Lotus etc because try struggle getting heat into the tyres in quali. But surely if the operating temperature is lower wouldnt this mean it would be easier? By my (admittedly non engineering) mind, I would say that would play right into their hands.

    [Reply]

    KARTRACE Reply:

    All Ferrari got to do is to remove shrouds around disc brakes in order to get more temperatures into their tires, or to open more vent holes to be precise. But I struggle to accept that this the reason for a pore qually performances. I would say it got something to do with the rotational dumping and the pull rods at the front suspension.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: DanT
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 2:03 pm 

    James, I am seeking some clarification on the use of the term “tyre failure”. It seems to me, after very many seasons watching F1, that there has always been a good chance that a deflated tyre will spectacularly disintegrate in a similar way to that which we saw on Sunday. Is the position being taken that these Pirelli tyres are doing so in a worse way than before or is it the fact that they are getting punctured in the first place that everyone is shouting about. These seem to me to be two entirely separate issues. I cannot remember if there have been any punctures (ignoring the delaminations which are an entirely separate thing) in the preceding races this season but if there were then presumably we would have seen the same sort of outcome. Also I cannot find a source for average number of punctures during a race but in recent years but I remember a few in India last year and a couple of others. I am guessing that if we see a return to kevlar belted tyres as some have suggested that this wouldn’t make any difference to the number of punctures experienced as the belt runs round the circumference of the tyre and my understanding is that the punctures were caused by damage to the sidewalls.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIX-JmmmonY

    We have had tyre failures before..

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Formula Zero
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 2:08 pm 

    Very informative analogy JA, thanks. The entire 2013 season has been about the tyres. It’s a shame that we don’t talk about the driver’s championship or their efforts in each races as much as Pirelli. British GP has basically mounted the tyre discussion more than ever. Nevertheless, few moves (or drives) gotta be mentioned here,

    1. Webber’s pass on Raikkonen was incredible to watch as he came so close to losing his front wing in the process.
    2. Alonso’s passes on Riccardo & Sutil both were outstanding as he had less than a car width of room. Also what makes him the best driver on the grid is the way he avoided the debris on the track & the tyre wear from Vergne’s wheel. As Horner mentioned after the race Alonso was a lucky boy to go home alive after the chaotic race. It wasn’t just lucky it was also 99.99% down to Alonso’s supreme skills.
    3. Massa’s & Hamilton’s drives & moves through the field from the back of the grid were spectacular as well.
    4. Finally, it is not possible to give tribute to every move of the race, but I must mention Bianchi (getting used to with it now) & Pic for finishing much higher than the cars are capable of.

    JA, I was listening to the post race analysis on the BBC radio where yourself & Gary Anderson answered some tough questions from the listeners (obviously the fans aren’t happy). I know that Gary mentioned that he was not defending Pirelli, but he was pointing out that Pirellis is not the only one to take all the blames, is that right? Gary also did a report about how sharp the kerbs were on turn 3 & 4. As fans we all know that FIA pushed Pirelli to be aggressive on tyres to make it a better show. To top it all off, the majority of the teams voted against in season testing. I agree with Gary somewhat that Pirelli shouldn’t take all the blames. However, Tyres are the single most significant component here that is causing this problem, is not it? F1 cars are already slower than GP2 cars because of bad tyres (very close to Formula 3000 speed). Isn’t it time for every party involved to take the blame & accept the fact that cost cutting, improving the show by having dodgy tyres, not having refueling, banning in season testing etc. are not working? Personally, I think there is nothing wrong with the kerbs because nothing went wrong before. Apart from the drivers everyone else is guilty just as much as Pirelli, aren’t they not? Who’s guilty for this situation?

    I will finish by reminding everyone what Michael Schumacher said last year (paraphrased), “tyres shouldn’t be the number one factor for winning or losing a race in F1. The drivers should not be nursing their tyres & drive flat out throughout the race. After all, Formula 1 is the pinnacle of the motorsport. What we have seen in last 3 or 4 years doesn’t justify that.”

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    too true. I miss the 80s and 90s.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: TGS
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 2:10 pm 

    Not the right time for Lotus to make a blunder like that with Kimi.

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: AndrewB
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 2:19 pm 

    James, I’m surprised that there hasnt been any talk of Sebastian parking in a dangerous place like it was deliberate. He certainly could have parked more off the circuit or even went over the grass in to the pits. I’m sure the race would have bee a lot different for the 2 stopping cars if Sebastian did the “right” thing.

    [Reply]

    DonSimon Reply:

    He had lost drive. He was trying to find a gear. I’m not a massive fan but honestly, what is he supposed to do?

    [Reply]

    CaringForApathy Reply:

    He’s supposed to learn from previous times and find a safer place to park it, putting marshal’s lives at less risk, and perhaps not requiring a safety car that would impact the race. This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about Seb leaving his stricken car in a dangerous place, and I recall him doing it a few times previously when he had what appeared to be other options. It’s happened a little too often for me to consider it a coincidence anymore.

    I haven’t watched any replays of his breakdown again since the race, but I remember thinking the same thing watching it live – “why didn’t he pull onto the grass before the straight?” If he found drive again he could have pulled back onto the circuit, otherwise he was in a safer spot to recover the car. Perhaps further review would show that it wasn’t any safer, but I had the same reaction as AndrewB watching it the first time.

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    Of course you did, any reason to have a go at Vettel, not that you people need one…

    CaringForApathy Reply:

    “you people’?! Please enlighten me as to what type of person I am.

    After your comment I decided to watch the video to see if I was mistaken when I first watched it. No, doesn’t appear I was. He has a box full of neutrals before I watch him go through two turns through Club, with some nice tarmac and grass runoff areas away from the racing line.

    Back to the original question, and according to F1 sporting reg 30.14, “If a driver has serious mechanical difficulties he must leave the track as soon as it is safe to do so.” That is what is what he is supposed to do. If you ask me, having no drive is a serious mechanical difficulty, and he had plenty of opportunities to safely pull off the track before the walled straight.

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Personally, I couldn’t see the “danger” with where he parked the car. It was passed the corner and the racing line is on the other side of the track.
    I guess F1 has become too health and safety conscious.

    Unless a car has shattered in pieces across a race track, and unless a driver losing control is likely to impact the stationary car, then there really is no “safety” issue.

    [Reply]

    janis1207 Reply:

    Exactly!
    I was also surprised the second safety car was deployed as Vettel’s car was not in a dangerous place at all.
    And this after a marshal removed a big chunk of exploded tyre from the track just under waved yellow flags…

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    It looked as though there were no openings in the pit wall through which the marshals could’ve pushed Vettel’s car either. That would’ve made it relatively straightforward. It was pretty tucked in there along the straight. No car would’ve gone near it, as it was far off the racing line.

    [Reply]

    oskaalb Reply:

    Vettel both could and should have parked the car long before he was in front of the pit wall. No point in going as far as he did if he didn’t have a good reason for it. Payback for Malaysia?

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: All revved-up
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 2:26 pm 

    The tyres ruined an intriguing race as it unfolded. Would Hamilton have been able to stay ahead of Vettel? Were Kimi and Alonso going to catch Rosberg? How fast we’re the RB compared to Ferrari over race distance?

    Instead we had a couple of sprint races in between safety cars.

    But I enjoyed the drama. And it’s brought more drivers into WDC contention.

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: Garrett Bruce
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 3:10 pm 

    Insignts are, as always, most enlightening and informative. How might the current situation (if at all) regarding tire failures relate to the situation at the GP in Indianapolis, Indiana from years back when a group of the teams refused to run the race because of (as I recall) Michelin’s failure issues? Recollection is that only the six or so Bridgestone-shod cars started that race

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Indy 2005.
    Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi were the only cars shod with Bridgestone.
    Michelin turned up with unsuitable tyres for the banking, which were failing during practice and qualifying.
    The FIA refused to install a temporary chicane for the Michelin teams, and argued that it was Michelin’s fault for not bringing suitable rubber.
    For this reason, Michelin informed their teams that their tyres would fail and for this reason they had to withdraw. They all completed the warm up lap and came into the pits before lining up on the grid.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: IJW
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 3:29 pm 

    James, didn’t Hamilton also do a 2 stopper, and he wasn’t going backwards towards the end. In fact, the complete opposite. So, how did that work?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    He was coming through from behind and he made his second stop late Lap 36, just six laps before the three stoppers came in under the safety car, whereas Kimi’s 2nd stop was lap 29.

    [Reply]

    Augie Reply:

    Playing out alternate scenarios, it is interesting to consider what would have happened had Vettel not lost his gearbox. Am I correct that both he and Rosberg would have pitted one more time, closing the gap between P1/2 and the Kimster (who was on a two-stop)? I thought there was a 4-5 second gap between P1/2 and about 15 seconds or so further to P3…

    [Reply]

    Tornillo Amarillo Reply:

    Yes, Lewis was amazing. It could be thought that he’s faster because Nicole is not on board anymore.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    Has Lewis split up with Nicole? Again!?

    [Reply]

    Tornillo Amarillo Reply:

    Just give me a comfortable couch, a dog, a good book, and a woman. Then if you can get the dog to go somewhere and read the book, I might have a little fun.
    ― Groucho Marx

    Bluefroggle Reply:

    Nice quote, but he is not going to have much fun if the woman isn’t there is he?!


  21.   21. Posted By: Mojo66
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 3:42 pm 

    Apart from all the obvious drama, I find it amusing that F1 uses psi to measure pressure. I thought they had arrived in the 21st century.

    [Reply]

    Basil Reply:

    Explain yourself please.

    [Reply]

    Jonathan Reply:

    Everybody understands PSI and, as well as being finite, has a sensible scale for what it is used for – and is very hard to get wrong when communicating in a stressful environment.

    What are they supposed to use? Bar (atmospheric pressure) or some other multiples of a moving target would have to be stated as somewhere between between 1 and 1.5. Or perhaps we could use what I saw on an agricultural tyre tonnes/sq metre!

    There are a great many historic units of measure that are used throughout engineering because they have become useful and sensible standards. Despite most linear measurements being metric a lot of people talk of tolerances in thousandths of an inch.

    Despite practically everything on a modern car being measured in metric units (and most of Europe stating them in centimetres) we still talk of wheel diameters in inches. What about your tyres? A typical executive car could on ’195 50 15′ – which is a tread width of 195mm a side wall height of 50% of the tread width and made to fit on a 15 inch rim!

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: The Spanish Inquisitor
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 3:54 pm 

    Seeing the photo of Perez’s car I agree with Horner that Fernando was lucky to escape unharmed.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    I am certainly of a different era.
    I think we’re all getting a little dramatic with the facts here.

    Given the choice of a Lotus landing on your head (Spa 2012), or a tyre exploding in your line of sight, whilst wearing a helmet and visor that is bullet proof, I know which I’d choose.

    So much for Alonso’s samurai spirit… and shame on Horner for inciting anarchy.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    If the Lotus had struck Alonso in the head, he would be dead, and that at relatively low speed.

    If he had been hit by the tire tread, at high speed, it could’ve been very bad too. It would all depend on the velocity and direction of the flying tire tread.

    We have seen drivers die by hitting a 30 lbs stationary fire extinguisher at high speed (Tom Pryce), or by running into a bouncing tire (Henry Surtees). Yes, a tire tread is not a full tire, but still.

    The tire failures on Sunday were not acceptable.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    It’s in the lap of the Gods.
    I have witnessed Villeneuve hitting the wall at Imola, where Ratzenberger was killed. GV walked away.
    Senna was killed at a corner that Piquet, Albireto and Berger crashed at.
    Webber and Rosberg have literally flown over cars and only good fortune has saved them.
    I do not disagree with you that the exploding tyres are not acceptable, but F1 has become so sanitised that we are in danger of overblowing every single event.

    Vettel parks the car off the racing line and we have conspiracy theories of helping out his team mate. It wasn’t that long ago that it would have been dealt with under waved yellows!
    I watched a brilliant madman finish 5th at Assen last weekend after having his collarbone repaired barely more than 24 hours previously. Lets get some perspective here


  23.   23. Posted By: Glennb
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 4:46 pm 

    This is not a HAM bash, I voted him DoD but how can you state that he would have won the race when he was leading for only 8 laps when the tyre exploded. A little premature for claiming victory a few minutes in no? There were safety cars, exploding tyres and the pitstop strategies that hadn’t unfolded at that point. I kinda wish he had of won in order to spice up the leaderboard a little more. Not to mention the subsequent 3000 posts that would have followed on these forums ;)
    Incidentally, my driver is packing it in at the end of the season. Who do you suggest I follow now? Any chance of Mansell coming back? I liked his style. I even saw him eating with CH and AN. Hakkinen maybe?

    [Reply]

    [MISTER] Reply:

    Well, Rosberg was able to keep up with Vettel for the whole race, so that’s why many, including myself, believe Lewis could’ve gone a little bit faster or just as fast to keep him ahead of Vettel.

    [Reply]

    Rockie Reply:

    Wrong on both counts the same thing happened last year Webber vs Alonso if Alonso had retired we would have heard the same.

    [Reply]

    MISTER Reply:

    I’m not wrong and you are not right.
    It’s just my opinion. Can you say for certain if Lewis’s tyre didn’t fail, that he would’ve lost the position to Vettel? No, you can’t! And I can’t say that Lewis would’ve won either. It’s just an opinion!

    DonSimon Reply:

    Based on the pace of his team mate matching the RBR for most of the race I think Vettel would have struggled to get past him. I know it’s a premature call but I would say he was looking at a win.

    [Reply]

    pargo Reply:

    Perhaps. Guess we’ll never know for sure. Webber less than a second behind Rosberg at finish line, however.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Webber was only that close b/c of a safety car though. But they were both on fresh rubber, and Webber no doubt was closing on him. Hard to know what would’ve happened with Hamilton and Vettel had the race run without incident. We have no idea what engine mode both teams were running in that early stint. It could be that the Merc was running high, and RBR low, and that RBR was going to turn theirs up later in the race to attack. We just don’t know.

    Elie Reply:

    The way he came back through the field was very clear he had good consistent pace . That and the fact that Nico won!

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: ShaBooPi
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 6:08 pm 

    James what are thoughts on Rosberg and speeding with no penalty? Also I have to say I really dislike how the safety car penalizes people, in this case Alonso. Why can’t they come up with a fairer system so a driver doesn’t lose a half dozen places by chance? Why can’t they reassign drivers to original positions at moment of safety car?

    [Reply]

    Rockie Reply:

    Without the safety car he would have finished lower.

    [Reply]

    ShaBooPi Reply:

    I think you might want to think about that before believing it..

    [Reply]

    puffing Reply:

    Fernando lost time because he came into pit before the safety car went out on track. Fernando came into the pit in fourth position and came out to the track in eighth position, not because of a problem of him or the team but because of he then did a lap after Safety Car, while his rivals were able to shorten time along the pit, which in Silverstone is short and straight while the track has two curves there. But Rockie likes bashing Alonso without thinking more, without even reading JA’s post of above:

    “Alonso lucky and unlucky

    “Fernando Alonso was lucky that the tyre failure he suffered was when he was on his way into the pits, so it did not ruin his race. But he was an interesting case study for the wrong reasons in the closing stages. He was fourth behind Rosberg, Raikkonen and Webber as Vettel pulled off the circuit at the end of lap 41, but already committed to making a pit stop.

    “He served his stop when the others were at racing speed, then as he came out of the pits the safety car was deployed, so he had to complete the lap at the reduced control speed. Meanwhile his rivals, now ahead of him were able to pit at the end of the lap – losing less time in their pit stop as the field is all travelling at reduced speed – and they came back out ahead of him, along with drivers like Sutil and Ricciardo who had not stopped.

    “Alonso dropped to eighth and had to be at his very best to fight his way past these cars to finish third and take 15 points out of Vettel’s championship lead.”


  25.   25. Posted By: Dan
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 7:02 pm 

    so many BS theories lol!

    Vettels box died.The end.

    He was lucky to make it as far as he did.

    Also, his car was not parked on the racing line. If there were only 3-5 laps to go I doubt there would have been a safety car.

    [Reply]

    Rockie Reply:

    Its so sad James and other commentators cannot correct them as well same as Martin Brundle saying fans were cheering his failure because of Multi-21 it was in poor taste was Vettel meant to push the car or do a fred flinstone and paddle with his legs.

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Miha Bevc
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 8:08 pm 

    James, has Mercedes solved most of their tyre issues or not? If you look at this race it looks they did, but 2 safety cars might help them with the tyres.

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    Secret and illegal testing is the answer.

    [Reply]

    CaringForApathy Reply:

    Of course it is, any chance to have a go at Mercedes, not that you people need one…

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    I must admit, I laughed.


  27.   27. Posted By: JC
        Date: July 2nd, 2013 @ 9:39 pm 

    Wow, the Toro Rosso team was simply apalling in terms of pit stops and strategy for Ricciardo. Roughly seven seconds lost in pitstops for Ricciardo and then wasn’t pitted under the safety car at the end. They also didn’t contest the issue with Sutil pushing him wide. I just wonder how the drivers can be expected to impress when the team makes so many amateurish mistakes, and it reflects badly on them?

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Yeah, that Sutil move was not right. That, and the Grosjean weaving at the start were not kosher.

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: Tomasz Cieryt
        Date: July 3rd, 2013 @ 12:44 am 

    James, Did Force India ever figured out why DiResta was underweight in qualifying?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I think he was underweight himself compared to the previous race.

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: Tim
        Date: July 3rd, 2013 @ 7:47 am 

    I have been looking at the race performance chart, above, and cannot get my head round the time differential on the y axis. Please can someone who understands this, post an explanation. Thanks :-)

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    The zero line represents the average lap time of the winner (i.e. their race time divided by the number of race laps). The difference in lines is the gap in seconds between the two competitors.

    [Reply]

    Tim Reply:

    Thanks for that, now it makes sense. :-)

    [Reply]

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