Gillan: Mercedes will be hurt but the rest will benefit from Pirelli hard tyre change
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 May 2013   |  10:15 pm GMT  |  199 comments

JA on F1 technical adviser and former Williams chief engineer Mark Gillan thinks that Mercedes will be hurt by Pirelli’s decision to make a small tweak to the hard tyre compound.

Last week the Italian tyre manufacturer said it will change the hard tyre, rather than the soft as expected, 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, and Gillan adds that the move will help every other team on the grid except for Mercedes.

“Pirelli specified at beginning of season that the working range for the hard tyre is 110-135 degrees,” said Gillan in the latest edition of the JA on F1 podcast. “Mercedes are able to get into that range very quickly which is part of the problem. In qualifying, they can get a very good lap but they then go out of the working range and overheat the tyre too quickly so they will want to provide further cooling to the tyres.

“Other teams struggle to get into the working range quickly enough for qualifying, so by reducing the lower temperature from 110 to maybe 100 degrees, it brings the hard more in line with the medium which starts at 90 degrees. That will certainly benefit all the other teams bar maybe Mercedes.”

Speaking in the May edition of the JA on F1 podcast, Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery added that he believed the new hard tyre “should work better in cooler temperatures” while stressing that teams have been putting Pirelli “under pressure not to change” the compounds.

Looking ahead to 2014, when the sport will see a fundamental change to the engine regulations with 1.6 lire V6s replacing the current V8s, Hembery said he is little concerned about the specification of next year’s tyres because Pirelli don’t have a 2014 chassis to develop the new rubber. Instead, the manufacturer must rely on simulations from the teams.

“It will be quite a challenge,” he said. “Simulations we’ve had from a few of the teams who have been able to share some of the data with us suggests that in terms of power delivery, we are going to see some differences.”

One of those differences will be more torque, which as Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff told the JA on F1 podcast, will be exacerbate the German team’s current problem of overheating the tyres even more.

“We are overheating the rear tyres a bit more than our competitors – and that has been in the DNA of the car over the last few years,” said Wolff. “We’re working very hard to find out why that is the case.

“In 2014, we’re going to have much more torque with our turbo engine which might bite us even more next year so we need to get on top of these things.”

Hembery added: “The new power train will have more torque than the current V8 and that will create potential for more wheel-spin and traction issues coming out of the corners. That, from our point of view, can lead to overheating issues.

“Also there is some comment that the balance of the new cars will be hard to find a suitable set up for with the current tyre size dimensions. You might want a narrower front tyre or preferably a wider rear tyre.

“There is a lot of discussion going on but if we’re talking size changes, it’s a bit late in day unfortunately to do it. So overall, it’s not going to be too straightforward for the teams or ourselves next year.”

Gillan says: “Pirelli face a big task for 2014. It’s an incredibly difficult balancing act as they need to develop a tyre for a car that doesn’t exist and a power unit which only exists as a dyno at the moment.

“The vehicle dynamics will be very different to what we have in 2013. Because they don’t have a test platform for next year, they are relying on feedback from the teams but that will continuously change. Plus the performance between the big teams and small teams won’t be two second gap like we’re seeing at moment but rather five or six seconds.”

To listen to the full interview with Paul Hembery and Toto Wolff, plus more from Mark Gillan, make sure you listen to the May edition of the JA on F1 podcast available to download via the iTunes store or directly here.

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First off I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you

don’t mind. I was interested to fiind out how you center yourself and

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clearing my thoughts in getting myy thoughts out.

I do take leasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to

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recommendations or hints? Cheers!


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I’d love to see Pirelli stuffing it to doubters and only provide “very hard” and “super-hard” tyres called “soft” and “medium” next year. These tyres would then easily last the entire race distance.

We will see the same people here moaning about them that “Pirelli is bad for the sport, why can’t they make tires that degrade more? This is nonsense, I will never buy a Pirelli and will never recommend them to anyone.”

People apparently don’t get that F1 hasn’t been this exciting for many years. I love the different strategies, and that actually you don’t have to fight for your position as it has now become both a battle on track and with tactics.

I love F1 as it is now, I loved it in from mid 90s to early 2000, enjoyed it from 2002-2007, was okay with it from 2008-2011. And now I’ve loved it from 2012 onwards again.


What you are saying here is called the fallacy of bifurcation, or false dichotomy in more elucidated circles. There are alway more than two extremes available in any given situation.


What I was saying was a hyperbole, and I hoped would be taken with a grain of salt.

Apparently I failed.

roberto marquez



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 now affecting it to an extent that 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 tyre management (it is not even about strategy), the art of single lap qualifying whilst using the tyres as least as possible, 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”.

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 have never been specifically designed to kill racing or overtaking, or last a few laps, or 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 just 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 past. In past seasons, drivers rarely did a single quali lap (unless stipulated by the rules, or even sat out qualifying because of tyres. They tried again, and again, and again to set the best time.

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.



You’d never have seen Senna holding off Mansell in Monaco when his tyres were shot?

(Granted, Monaco is one of the easiest places to defend)


Sir, you solidify my point for me. At LEAST Senna was able to defend. With this nonsense Pirelli tyres, you simply cannot do that; or you would end up being lapped by the end of the race, or finish 2 laps down.


Who will be crowned WTMC (World Tyre Management Champion) 2013?


Bernie: Can Pirelli make tyres that will degrade quickly offering more pits stops and wider strategies?

Paul: Yes Bernie, if thats what you want.

Bernie: Build em!!!

Please understand that Pirelli are producing tyres to the specification ordered by the FIA. If they wanted to they could produce a tyre that lasted the whole race but that is not what Bernie wants. If you want to aim your annoyance at anyone, aim it at Bernie.


James, can you please tell the working temperature of each of the four dry tyre compounds?


So Mercedes won’t be directly hurt, but hurt in a relative sense b/c all their other competitors will gain an advantage.

It’s something Mercedes have to get on top of, toute de suite. Their FRIC system should work better in Spain than it did in Bahrain, as it will be set up to reduce load in high-speed cornering, and there are not as many low speed corners in Spain, as in Bahrain. The ratio of high to low speed corners will mandate that Merc set up to take advantage of the high speed corners.


Pirelli should spend the first half of the 2014 season playing it safe with the tyres and then gradually introduce weaker compounds, they have no idea how the cars will treat the tyres so they must play it safe or risk ruining the championship.


I think that maybe the best option for Pirelli for 2014 would be to build a range of really quite durable tyres and play it safe.

With such a big change in the car design there will naturally be more overtaking and action on track, so let’s take tyres out of the equation a little bit.

Then for 2015, once they understand the new formula of car a lot better they can tinker with the tyres…

…plus if they build a good strong, durable tyre, then they may shut up some of their detractors!!


Paul Hembery is going to fall on his own sword! The constant talk regarding the tyres is at best “Critical’. With this in mind I just can,t see Pirelli continuing. I know all about”there is no such thing as bad publicity” but come on the races are now all about tyre management and not about racing!!!!! I also don,t buy into this Mercedes thing about trying to get on top of the tyres. After 3 years they should be able to identify the problem. But even if they do Pirelli are going to change the compound so it s one step forward and one back.


They’re only producing tyres to the specification requested by the FIA…


I hope I recall this correctly, but didn’t Pirelli use an old spec renault F1 car to test the 2012 and 2013 spec tires?

Could this somehow be linked to the currect renault being so well balanced with its tires?

Say, Pirelli tested the tires on their renault and made them work reasonably well on that car (or atleast the way they wanted them to work) and Renault kept (by accident or by trying to anticipate the tires) their car similar with regards to tire setup.

I can’t find any old news item on the car Pirelli used in testing, so I could be wrong. And English isn’t my native tounge, so I hope I get my question across ok.

Just something I was wondering.


off topic: James, any thoughts on Rush (the film)?


I’ll tell you on May 16 – I’m seeing it then


Lucky you!

Cant wait! preview looks amazing.


Yes, there is a certain team from Woking desperately in need of a true #1 driver. Forget Red Bull, Kimi, and come home.

Stephen Taylor

In place of who?


I think he’s pressing our Button.


I guess this is COMPLETELY the wrong time to bring up the old idea (actually it sounded a lot like a promise at the time) that Pirelli came to the fore when they appeared as F1’s next tyre supplier… i.e. to give us low-profile tyres.

Anthony Young

If Mark Gillan is correct, and the new hard tyre will be easier to heat up than the old one, that would certainly harm Mercedes in the races because they heat up their tyres too much anyway. However this does seem puzzling as most of the teams had problems with overheating the hard tyre in Bahrain and, if Mark is right, those problems would have been worse still with the new compound.

I thought the teams that were complaining wanted the tyres to be made more durable, but are we to understand that Pirelli’s response is to make them less durable?

They do say that any publicity is good publicity, but I agree with those who say that the tyre wear problems and the ludicrous fragility of tyres that are punctured by even the slightest contact is all really bad publicity for Pirelli. Of course there is little connection between the F1 tyres and consumer tyres, but if Mercedes F1 engines blew up a lot, would that be good publicity for Mercedes Benz road cars?

colin grayson

yes , let’s go back to the days when the drivers had to look after the brakes , the engines , the gearboxes and…well , you get the idea

then maybe be would get back to races with only a few cars finishing like in the good old days


Red herring argument.

Before Pirelli’s cheese tyres, no cars were breaking down like you describe, especially in those numbers. In fact, 2010 (1 year before cheese tyres took over) was one of the best years in reliability in F1.

The last 10 years, hardly anyone has to look after their mechanical parts, unless they are exceptions because of unexpected warm weather (so they didn’t bring the right parts) or bad luck.

Nowadays, everyone has to look after the tyres 2 laps into the race, for the rest of the race, all the time, not defending, not attacking, not nothing. Just drive to delta like a robot so the tyres don’t get upset. It’s pathetic.

The only reason the last race had some form of racing is because Pirelli was forced to bring the harder compounds after the bad press they got. [mod], they claimed it was planned all along, while the teams said they were told they would get the softer compounds and prepared for that. Lol.

Pirelli supporters really should stop these red herring arguments by re-writing F1 racing before Pirelli.

colin grayson

afraid you miss the point , it is the fact that the recent years the cars had become so reliable that pirelli have been instructed to make something marginal

for the vast majority of the history of F1 even if someone had a healthy lead going into the last couple of laps you would be on the edge of your seat hoping it wouldn’t break down [ or maybe hoping it would ]

I am not a pirelli supporter …I am a F1 supporter …the worst period of F1 for me was when we had bridgestone designing their tyre for ferrari and michelin for renault , that REALLY distorted competition

and get your facts right …the teams had already been informed of the change of tyre before the previous race , not as a result of it , they decide themselves this was correct


“Before Pirelli’s cheese tyres, no cars were breaking down like you describe, especially in those numbers. In fact, 2010 (1 year before cheese tyres took over) was one of the best years in reliability in F1.”

Tell that to Vettel…


Sorry but I don’t buy this.I know that the modification on the working range side will help other teams more, but the tyre being more durable will benefit mercedes.

I also want to say that in my view this change is logical and well done from pirelli, as the performance of the hard compound is too close to the medium. I am looking forward to see the compound selections from pirelli for the races of the second half of the year, as that could be championship decider (i.e. going conservative as last year could give the championship to red bull).


Don’t buy away!

I certainly know who I’d listen to:

“JA on F1 technical adviser and former Williams chief engineer Mark Gillan”


I can’t believe that the rules allow Pirelli to keep changing the tyres to the benefit of some teams over others. Surely this is just an allegation of corruption/cheating waiting to happen.


Exactly what I was thinking, plus I want real racing not this crap were the tyres are done after two laps

Bring Back Murray

And when championship contenders don’t even bother to set a qualifying time in the first place


James, I am a bit confused by what Mark Gillan said in the quote below:

“Other teams struggle to get into the working range quickly enough for qualifying, so by reducing the lower temperature from 110 to maybe 100 degrees, it brings the hard more in line with the medium which starts at 90 degrees. That will certainly benefit all the other teams bar maybe Mercedes.”

What’s the qualifying got to do with the hard tyre? Very rarely teams qualify on the hard tyre and mostly are those just outside top10 or those which try a gamble with the strategy.

I am not sure if I understood Mark, but the tweaks that Pirelli did to the hard tyre have nothing to do with qualifying in my opinion.


I can imagine Pirelli going rather conservative next year. With such uncertainty they can’t risk a massive cock-up with tyres that don’t suit what they planned for because of the difficulty matching the car models to what the reality will be.

I can easily imagine a 2009 type season, with one or two teams having significantly done better than others. But who will that be?!


I was hoping a tyre change that will help Mercedes not the bleeding opposite! Oh well…


I think the extra testing session early next year will be very crucial for Pirelli. Whilst the Turbo V6 units on their own will place a slight increase in torque delivery at lower engine speeds.

Its the extra boost from ERS which is effectively instantaneous torque on corner exit which will make the big difference. I think much more robust tyre compounds will be at lease required.

How drivers use that ERS along with the different engines power delivery will really mix up the driving quite significantly and we will finally see more driving variation than we have for many years.


I completely disagree with high degradation tyres. In this formula Arton Senna would not have been the great champion he was. He would have been forced to reign in his considerable talent just to keep the tyres in their operating window. A car in his hands came alive, and now we have to watch the boring tyre whisperers while the real talent have their hands tied. – It really is a disgrace.


yes your right,lewis said he is only driving at 70 %they have to nurse the car round,

the name gives it away its meant to be called f1 racing,guess its a long drag race with bends.


Oh please. The cream _always_ rises to the top. It is no coincidence that, once again, the top 4 drivers on the grid have got themselves into the top 4 spots already.


Agree with this…

It seems most people are moaning because the driver that they like/support are not winning…


As some other posters have also pointed out, although Senna’s driving is romanticized by his banzai qualifying laps and uncompromising driving style, he was also possessed of a shrewd tactical brain, and mechanical sympathy. If anyone recalls his drives at Monza ’87, Hockenheim ’92 (both second place thus not often recalled), they demonstrate his ability to compete with superior machinery by driving tactically astute races. Similarly he drove around gearbox issues to outwit Prost at Monaco ’89, or win Brazil ’91 under damp conditions with only one working gear. Racing in the past was as much about managing machinery and strategy as it is now (anyone remember the 11 best points finishes rule?:-). That said, qualifying was low-fuel, qualifying tires, a one-hour session, a true exhibition of speed.

As has also been pointed out, today’s technologies (DRS/high-deg tires) are all aimed at counteracting the difficulty cars have in following each other due to modern aerodynamics. Aero was primitive in comparison in the 80’s, so gradual deg could produce good racing. Today you need a significant advantage to be able to overtake a slower car, so DRS and tires that “fall of the cliff” provide that. Yet today’s tactics revolve around staying out of DRS range of a pursuer, optimizing tire allocation between qualy/race, and knowing when to attack in a race. As a lot of drivers have said it is still racing, just different. In some ways it is reminiscent of the end of the last turbo era, when fuel rather than rubber was the critical resource.


How do high deg tyres help counter the difficulty cars have with following others?

We have heard this thing recited over and over, even though it counters logic.

The turbulence from the lead car makes the following car nervous and destroys its tyres as the driver has to make numerous corrections to slides. Now, how can higher deg tyres make a high deg inducing situation better?

Lets drop that story.


Nah, it just doesn’t work no matter how we look at it.

A tyre wrecking phenomenon cannot be cured by the introduction of tyres that wear down even faster. A following cars tyres have to remain intact for it to be able to overtake the lead car; if they degrade faster, then both grip and traction fade away, and bang goes ability to overtake. As you’ve noted, an overtake has to be nailed first time or real risk of the tyre cliff coldly stares the driver in the eye.

High deg tyres kill speed and cause drivers to avoid fights (for defense or offense). What has helped overtaking is DRS and changes to aero regs. The tyres are there only to provide some sort of weird show that demeans the definition of racing.

In todays F1, you drive as conservatively as possible so as not to upset the tyres – its become an artificial race in which the tortoise always beats the hare. Thats as much sacriledge as a boxing match in which Klitschko and Mike Tyson get all perfumed and go at each other with gloves made of feather pillows.


Heavily degraded tires reduce traction and cause a car to be slower into corners/breaking zones and out of corners (esp slower ones that necessarily preceed straights in modern circuits), thereby affording pursuers opportunities to overtake, which are further amplified by the use of DRS. Were we in a situation with no DRS and tires with less dramatic degradation, due to the aero-dependence of cornering speed, a pursuing car would be hard pressed to overtake. Thus, my understanding is that, although high deg tires do not make it any easier to follow a car closely, they circumvent the need to be able follow a car closely in a corner to be able to overtake it… an indirect solution to the aero problem. The direct one of course would be to regulate aero (I suppose DRS is an aero-solution but not one that allows cars to follow each other)

If you cannot nail an overtake, you do run the risk of destroying your tires, therefore planning ones move is important. I liked Vettel’s Bahrain overtakes and Kimi’s overtakes on the Mercs in Australia, both of which allowed the respective drivers to execute their strategies perfectly.


I suggested this a week ago and had my head bitten off. It seems some people awe in awe of the fact that Kimi only broke traction twice in a race or that he can do a race on 2 stops instead of 3 because he drives slow. Sorry not impressed. As a said before such drivers are not really drivers in my book and will not gain my respect. The senna example is a good one. In those days drivers were at their limit and you regualrly questioned your mortality because you were out there pushing you limits and the cars limits on every lap – not drive to a target time. Senna would turn over in his grave at the state of todays F1


We are in awe of the fact that Kimi broke traction only twice on a dampish track at first whilst being the fastest guy in the race – particularly right near the end on tyres that were several laps older than everyone else. It’s not just the fact that he “nursed” his tyres you to comprehend that he was the fastest on less tyres AND the oldest tyres also !- if you don’t understand that- then you simply do not understand motor racing. You have to understand that drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso- did not compliment any other driver other than Raikkonen for this reason


“Sorry not impressed. As a said before such drivers are not really drivers in my book and will not gain my respect.”

I’m sure they’re all sat around worrying about that…


Not just Airton, but all of F1’s greats.

In this modern driver era, I still can’t get over seeing the way Lewis drove the Monaco races in 2007 and 2008. It was absolutely reverting and thouroughly electrifying stuff; the car drifting sideways corner after corner, in the dry and with scant respect for the wet; yet always a hairs breadth from the walls and faster than any of Hells hairy bats. Nerve-racking and beautifully entertaining.

Many of the newer F1 fans have never seen such exciting driving. Pirelli’s gummy wheels have seen to that. 🙁


What you want makes sense. But what you want also is antiquated, out of style, not P.C.

You can’t have death as part of the equation. Sponsors won’t have it. Massa’s accident I think reminded us of value of on track racing vs life lost. No one wants is. You know you don’t. I don’t. You are just fantasizing this whole thing about these drivers today putting their lives on the line. It just isn’t done. That racing ain’t comming back. Just think of the landscape if a Mercedes driver dies in a GP. How long before Mercedes pulls out of F1?



One post you sentence innocent commenters to hard labour in Japanese Brigestone forgotten camps. In another you dump on Pirelli.

Which is it? Do you like last 2 seasons or not?

Do we have more action on track or not.

Do we have tight racing or not?



Hey there Sebee! What we want is not contrived action. We want to see unreal driving skills displayed with exuberance. We want danger, incredible stunts and near death experiences.

Things have got so bad with artificial aids to excitement and the resulting rash of pay drivers, that there are only two drivers left in F1 with the skills to spin an F1 on a sixpence; Kimi and Lewis (Alonso is more the clever type).

Both Lewis and Kimi have the skills to make an F1 car levitate and hit nirvana, if that is possible. However, they can’t even try, because of the tyres.

Have you watched the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix? That was just pure blood on the wall, edge of the seat stuff. Both Kimi and Lewis miles faster than anyone else, because they were the only ones who could dare the wet; both taking turns to spin off track out of sheer desire, only to resume the dare-devilry. Thats what I want. No fake tyres.


Lewis Hamilton is a great driver very much in the Senna/Mansell mould in that he was aggressive. Lewis is being reigned on two counts. First his driving style had to be modified to conserve tyres, and secondly he has not had a proper front running car that is reliable since 2008. He most likely would have won last year had the car been reliable and Mclaren had not had their operational errors, and so gifted Vettel his third championship. Give Lewis the car and he’ll win, but oh I would surely like to see that Senna-esque driving style again if we can get rid of these ridiculous tyres. I think we saw a glimmer of it in Texas last year when he showed Vettel who is the real boss.

Bring Back Murray

not surprising he’s fallen down the pecking order recently is it. He seems to be the wrong man in the wrong era. In the 90’s he’d probably be winning every other WDC!


Actually Senna and Prost were quite familiar with tyre management, in their era. It wasn’t quite as bad, because there were several tyre suppliers so nobody made tyres deliberately degrade too bad, but there were plenty of races where the guy who had done an extra tyre stop was approaching the leader who had done one stop less at 2″ per lap, with 10 laps to go.

Of course it’s one thing for tyres to be just one of the parameters, it’s quite another for them to dominate the sport. Back then, F1 wasn’t ALL about tyres (special qualifying tyres (that lasted 3 laps only) non-withstanding, plus (and someone correct me if I’m wrong please) I think the front-running teams all run the same tyre (Goodyear) most of the time…


I agree tyres have to some extent always been a factor, but now it is all about tyres. It has become a tyre strategy and conservation exercise not proper full on racing. Personally I preferred the refuelling era so cars ran lighter and were more responsive. There are dangers but design can sort out those issues.


I really, REALLY want to forget refuelling. It gave us exactly ONE exciting race: Schumacher’s 1998 banzai Hungary win, by doing an extra stop, light on fuel, to jump Mika at his next scheduled stop. That was it.

I really like your idea of heavily restricting aero, though. Unfortunately, it seems it’s hard to make aero go away. After 2011, we thought we would never hear the words ‘exhaust’ and ‘blowing’ together, ever again. It took just half a season for them to reappear…

I think F1’s rules should make it clear that the sport encourages only the technologies that stand at least an outside chance of being incorporated in our cars. On that basis, PLEASE cut the horizontal length on front and rear wings by half. And while designers are still trying to digest that, also stipulate that the single 2014 exhaust must be a single circular aperture AND the rear-most component in the car. That ought to spell the end of exhaust blowing…


@Quade I guess I don’t see the difference between that pass and one with DRS. Other than you had to go back almost 13 years to find a decent pass (overtake). You can find many passes just like that in the last 3 races.



That was me levying the sentencing! Lol!

And I’m sure it provided something of a cure.

Here’s another. Its one of the best overtakes of all time. No DRS, no silly tyres, no artificial nonsense. Enjoy:


Please, does anyone have a link to a video of Kimi’s audacious overtake, through thick, blinding smoke in the tunnel at Monaco?

Bring Back Murray

We seemed to have pretty decent racing with sturdier tyres before the refueling era. I’d suggest leave refueling to one side (too many overtakes done in the pit lane) but toughen up the tyres and fine tune the DRS a bit more. I don’t know for instance why they are now putting two DRS zones in some tracks.

Or even ban DRS completely and introduce boost buttons through ERS devices?

I’ll put myself forward for the working group!


OK, now that’s an interesting suggestion.

Would be an interesting poll to see who misses refueling.

But in the end, I’m not sure it would make such a dramatic difference to the end result. They would simply have a easier time of it for the first 1/2 of the race. I’d rather they have to muscle that heavy car around at the start.

Look at Bahrain, and Vettel moving on Alonso with full tank heavy elephant under him. What happened those first few laps was outstanding – tires were not in the way. And it is all the action you would usually get in a GP back in the Bridgestone era. Yet look at all the awesome racing that you got for the other 54 laps. So how can you say the tires were in the way?

I recall some other commenter’s comment when he sentenced a anti-2013 Pirelli tire fan to watching a bunch of hours of Bridgestone Era racing and then to return to comment. I think we may have forgot what it was like to have hopefully one fight for P1 all season long.


Oh…and while you’re making suggestions, please don’t propose we go back in time technologically. That is just not possible. No one will use gated manual shifting.

Graham Passmore

Wouldn’t a return to ground effects solve a lot of this? If we allow the chassis to generate the downforce, we can reduce in size or better, elimiate the rear wings altogther. It is my belief that most of the dreaded turbulance encounted by the following car is spilling off the rear wing, not coming up from the diffuser. Chapman was thinking along these lines back in the late 1970’s. The under-chassis venturis could be restricted in volume such that the chassis cannot develope any more downforce than currently is generated by the wings. We’d just be moving the centre of aero pressure back under the car.

Vastly improved circuits of the modern era, with their acres of runoff area plus the 21st century safety regulations governing the chassis construction would preclude the nasty results of an FW07 losing suction in the “good ole days”.



A simple way to visualise the way F1 cars churn the air behind them is to look at the cars in the wet. Its a funnel of pretty violent winds they leave behind!

If the rules made the rears more streamlined, then they’ll slip through the air more smoothly and throw up less of a buffeting for following cars.

The only way you can enjoy current racing is if you’ve never seen drivers handling their cars on the edge of reality as used to happen in the old days. IMHO, there are just 3 drivers with such skills in todays field; Lewis, Kimi and Ricciardo. That proves how far the racing essence of F1 has been killed off.


I don’t understand aero dynamics, and perhaps we need someone who does to fully comment.

My thinking is that if you’re disturbing the air ahead it will impact the car behind. The car ahead will probably always have an advantage if it’s in clean air regardless if the downforce is generated with wings or ground effects.

I really think that F1 is as close to the perfect forumla as it’s ever been. What we’ve seen last 2 years is that it’s possible to excel, but also not easy to dominate. Commpetitiveness is possible to many instead of few. What Force India, Williams, McLaren invest is not wasted by the track side. They all have highlights and achieve respectible results. Winning, podiums are possible and are not owned by one or two teams season round, seasons after season.

I think the moaning of the drivers that they can’t race is false. I see plenty of lovely racy action on track. It’s smarter racing. It makes them work harder for it. Considering what they are paid, I think they should work even harder than they currenty have to.


Technology doesn’t have to go backwards just be different. Advanced aerodynamics are killing the sport because of the artificial means being used in an attempt to counter the effects. Yes aero keeps a car glued to the track, but an approaching car is disadvantaged in the dirty air. Once in the dirty air tyres are then being damaged such that it becomes rather pointless.



That’s exactly what they are doing. I thought you were against fine tuning rules.

But please note, they can’t have knee jerk reactions. They need some hard data to make a determination. You know…be cool, act when time is right. GPs can be so wild, it takes time to gather the data to do the analysis on.


Sebee No. If a restriction or restrictions are put in place it merely sends the engineers and designers in another direction so aero can easily be reduced as I’ve suggested. On top of that restrictions can be modified year on year, even during the season in some cases until the FIA realises the condition they are looking for.



They do, because they have to fine tune to respond to development. Rules can’t stand still as the ones with best engeneers and biggest wallets run a mock.



The fact is that the powers that be can do almost anything they like. They introduce all sorts of rules and regulations to stop or reduce a particular advantage and so it would be perfectly feasible to restrict aero. A car can still be made very slippery aerodynamically but produce less downforce.


Hence the logic for the DRS I’m sure you are thinking of when you say “artificial”. But I find it fair. It overcomes the disadvantage you talk about.

You really seem to have it in for aerodynamics. As you know this has been a huge area of study and development as computing power grew over last 20 years. You can see it applied everywhere today in automotive technology and design.

You cannot undo aerodynamic development. This cat cannot be put back into the bag. Every team will always look for aerodynamic effciency even with less wings. And there is safety in being glued to the track – something FIA and FOM as well as teams have to keep in mind.

In a world where engine power will overall be limited to a high degree don’t fool yourself into thinking that magically one company will make an engine that is so much better than another in today’s highly advanced world.

I would not be shocked to learn that the difference next year will be some “battery cooling fan” that will magically have it’s exhaust connected to the intake of the V6 turbo or something silly like that for extra 10HP.

So on basis of car efficiency, reality that aero is here to stay, driver safety, F1 lap time speed I deem your first suggestion of less downforce a non-starter. Basically you are saying lets have 70s F1 back with backs that snap out control in a blink and don’t make it into the Tunnel @ Monaco.

Unless you could tell me what will offset your proposed aero reduction. Bigger rear tires? Back to V10 engines with way more power than these new V6Ts will deliver?


I totally desagree. Senna would have been the master driving in the low grip conditions given by worn pirelli tyres. Ok, maybe he would have to change his driving style a bit to preserve the tyres (as all other drivers do), but he would have been the best or one of the best also in today F1.


Who would have wanted to watch a tyre nursing Senna?


It was his no compromise driving style that made him great and made him so exciting to watch. The lack of latitude in these tyres don’t allow for great wheel to wheel or even catch up racing as what you are actually watching are cars going backwards as their tyres degrade. Push even harder and the problem merely gets worse.

Bring Back Murray

I’m with Richard (and Quade) on this one. I’ll also throw Hakkinen into the mix. Forget about maximum attack but maximum limitation! And Mansell too. Forget about driving at 11 tenths.


So what’s the alternative?

What solutions do you propose to keep the racing competitive, unpredictable, close?


Sorry, you asked for a season where *racing* was competitive, unpredictable, close.

That’s discounts 2012


That’s a surprising statement.

What makes you say 2012 was not a racy season? Vettel’s strong finish?

F1 is an engineering contest too, and they smacked the field with development at perfect time.


Restrict aero so that there is greater reliance on mechanical grip. All that is wrong with current F1 can be attributed to highly developed aero, and so articial means are created to attempt to counter the problem.


Take away aero and then you would really see F1 slow down by 20%.

I agree that less aero would mean lower forces to the rubber. But at the same time, wheels spinning on power delivery or under braking is just as bad for the tires.

Do you think that just by taking away AERO the teams would stop pushing for more downforce?

You can’t undo aero developments. You can take away a few wings, but they will claw it back. It’s what they do. It will in fact make F1 more expensive because they will work harder and longer to claw it back.


Didn’t see the 2010 season?


Did you pick 2010 because of Bridgestone?

In my book 2012 > 2010

How different is 2013 really compared to 2012?


I totally agree. Pirelli have brought us some exciting unpredictable races, but I feel drivers hardly ever make mistakes on track these days since do not drive on the edge like they used to before the tyre nursing years.


They were driving primative cars back then.

Today all the systems are perfected and refined to greatest of detail. 90s were just the start of that. Before, aero was hit and miss winglet or lucky coincidence. And so the development happened mostly in engines, which is why up to early 2000s or so we had crazy quali engines that lasted 3 laps.


Unfortunately unpredictable for the wrong reasons.


And next year high-tech turbo engines won’t be put to full use, as drivers will be nursing these tyres again?!

We no longer see drivers failing to make a corner (driver errors) coz they not driving these cars to the limit anymore.


Next years engines will produce more torque than current engines and therefore the tyre problem is further exacerbated. Of course Pirelli will take account of this, but as they currently have no yearstick there will be some educated guesswork no doubt.


I hate to tell you but tyre management was just as important when Senna & Prost were driving in F1.

Bring Back Murray

They only had to change tyres once in those days. Not two or three times in a race. People could still push at 11/10ths near the end of the race and not worry if their lap times fell off by 5 seconds a lap


No! It was merely a factor not a prime consideration.


OK, let’s say I agree that they had never wear tires back then.

You had other factors then that are not as significant today, which put a serious wild card into things.

You have engines that don’t fail.

You have transmissions that don’t fail.

You have hydraulics that don’t fail.

You have electronics that don’t fail.

You honestly didn’t know if you finished a race. I remember many races that ended with 1 or 2 laps to go for the P1 driver. Today, it’s exactly the opposite. Personally I’m surprised when there is a mechanical failure on track.


Rightly or wrongly I share the same view.

When Pirelli first started doing this I kept on saying to my friends that its ruining racing…they disagreed and liked the unpredictability but even they have come round to our view. It’s not allowing racers to race.


Good for you! There are a few of us who are no blinded by artifice.


The real talent? Formula 1 isn’t a drag race, it’s about managing a complex operating environment with close to zero tolerance for errors. If the driver can’t handle it, he is lacking required talent. Some drivers whine about it, others just adapt.


The drivers have no option, but to handle it, and to be fair most accept it. – but is it still fun to compete – No! The tyres have the effect of leveling the playing field to a degree because there is a limit to how much energy you can put through these tyres. Push too much and they degrade and the car goes backwards.


Of course evrything should be designed to withstand the particular application, but these tyres are designed to constrain the driver or fail.



Everything has limits and tolerances.

You think the 2010 Bridgestones could handle a 1500HP engine? Nope.


Has Pirelli signed a new contract to supply tyres?


Not yet but it’s on the cards. There is a question mark about the tendering process, which the FIA normally carries out for a single tyre supplier

Stephen Taylor

What questions are those?


I’ve read somewhere that EU Competition Rules state that the FIA should have had a tendering process.

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