F1 Winter Break
Pirelli left in limbo as 2014 Formula 1 tyre supply confirmed
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Sep 2013   |  3:53 pm GMT  |  145 comments

One of the secondary notes from the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting yesterday in Dubrovnik, was the announcement that Pirelli will continue to supply tyres to Formula 1 in 2014, but for how much longer than that remains unclear.

The FIA statement said that in future the choice of tyre and fuel suppliers will be FIA business and that the commercial rights holder will have the opportunity to do a commercial deal with them for track signage etc only once the selection process has been completed.

We will deal in another post with the suggestion that F1 may move to a single fuel supplier – which would cause problems for Mercedes and Ferrari in particular as they have substantial commercial deals with fuel companies.

The FIA’s move on tyres is to avoid a repeat of the current situation where Bernie Ecclestone had concluded a five year deal with Pirelli and the teams had all signed up too, before the FIA had been through its process.

The FIA has said that “In this new process, the FIA will be confirmed as the body in charge of conducting the tender process. The Commercial Rights Holder will be entitled to run the commercial negotiations with potential suppliers, with a view to the selected single supplier being officially appointed by the WMSC.

“In order to cover the transition period and considering the contracts already settled by FOM and the Teams with Pirelli, the WMSC today confirmed that Pirelli may continue to supply tyres to competitors in the FIA F1 World Championship, subject to the requisite technical and safety standards of the FIA being met.”

This leaves Pirelli somewhat in limbo, they have at least a season, but presumably there will be a tender process for 2015 onwards. Paddock sources say that the commercial contracts are only valid if Pirelli has a valid contract as official tyre supplier to the FIA.

Michelin has expressed an interest in returning to F1 but only on their terms which are to move away from high degradation tyres, which are meant to spice up the show. Also they want F1 to move towards low profile tyres on 18 inch rims.

Pirelli have already invested heavily in the 2014 tyre research and test programme, as the 2014 tyres are completely different in character from 2012/13. The torque from the turbo engines is significantly higher and Pirelli say that the current tyres would be shredded by a 2014 car in a few laps.

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Pirelli has done a great job since returning to F1, but I would rather see F1 return to using Michelin tyres. I really like the idea of F1 cars using 18 inch wheels and Michelin's new wet-slick tyres.

Formula 1 is suppose to be the pinacle of auto racing, but 13 inch wheels just seem pre-historic to me. F1 is trying to be closer to modern day road cars, but i don't know of any modern sports cars using 13 inch wheels. There are even some modern day sports cars with 19 and 20 inch wheels.

Yes, it will mean more money being spent on suspension development for each F1 team, but I don't see it being a huge problem to overcome since F1 is suppose to have the best engineers in auto-racing. It might even help the aerodymanics of the car because the low-profile of the tyre will mean less tyre flexing.

F1 is about new technology and a wet-slick tyre just fits right into that perfectly. New brake performance because of potentially bigger rotors and calipers.


Wet-slick? You mean road all weather tyres??? What sort of pinnacle of racing is that then? Also Pirelli has done a good job? Did you see cars plodding along early season in an attempt not to destroy the tyre? And did you watch the horror show at silverstone? I say get rid now bring Michelin in, give them the damn 18in rims I couldn't care less just don't wand Pirelli to carry on this farce that nearly ruined the races.


bring back Michelin?????? has the f1 world gone mad everyone complains about Pirelli tyres but of all the companies to want back Michelin should be last on the list after the fiasco at Indy in 2005, Goodyear would be the better option


Neil, liked your comment and my concern if and when Michelin renters the F1 arena is that being the largest tire company in the world there're very used to getting their way. A hint of this was when they finally issuesd a press release regarding their possible intended return to F1. If you recall they had a few requirements to return. One was they want to cut down on tire degradation and manufacture tires that might possibly be intended to last the entire race. Second is they are very steadfast in introducing the 18" tire. Third and perhaps most important so called requirement was that they want to use F1 to promote their tire technology and this to them could be better served if there were more than on tire supplier. When you add all that together, it's sounds like they intend to do what they want to do and will do all they can to get the FIA to agree with as much as their requirement as they can. As of the latest FIA announcment it appears that starting in 2014 and half way into that season, the FIA will put out a tender for any interested tire manufactures to submit their proposal for the 2015 season. The proposal by each manufacture would likely have guidelines for what the tire regulations would be. Example, 4 dry slick compounds and 2 wet and having tire degrade at certain levels, and lastly they might include that their will only be one tire supplier in the next 4 or 5 seasons. Of course this is only speculation, no one really knows what the situation will be mid way into the 2014 season. So the question might need to be asked, which company between the two, Pirelli and Michelin will be easier for the FIA and the Teams to work with?


Tealeaf - Yep, he meant wet-slick. Michelin have apparently developed one that works in the wet, not monsoonal mind you but should be able to cope with a low side of the intermediate range reasonably well.

Matt - agree with your comments on Pirelli doing a good job, but i think you underestimate the job at hand of changing the the wheels and therefore the suspension. It is literally a redesign of the whole front half of the tub. Suspension will need more travel, meaning bigger components therefore different mounting points and different stress levels and angles therefore different layering patterns of the fibre and it has a knock-on effect throughout the whole tub - and that's just the front. The rear is connected to the gearbox which again will need a total redesign.

If they were going to do this they really needed to have this coming on for next season, since so much of the car has had to be redesigned anyway.

I like the idea of bigger diameter wheels, but i just don't see the need for F1 to have it, unless they need to please the current tyre provider or to entice another provider to join in, which means with little Napoleon at the helm of FIA - it'll probably happen in 2015!


Hi Chris,

interesting post.

Bigger diameter wheels seem to be largely about styling ego. Cars need big wheels to fill the arches and massive brakes to fill the space inside the wheels. Which all adds to the unsprung weight and angular momentum that the suspension has to control. I don't know whether for a tyre with the same outside diameter and width whether there is much weight difference if the wheel diameter is varied, but larger wheels would increase the angular momentum.

I'm not sure how much the F1 suspension design will have to change. The cars run flexures rather than standard hinges or ball joints as the reduced friction was found to improve lap times - I think this dates from around 1999. If the desired geometry and range of motion can be achieved with the flexures then the mounting points will be okay. With the lower noses for next year there's are changes to the front suspension anyway.

I wouldn't have thought that the loads were going to change that much - the tyres as a softer spring effective do all their movement and then the suspension takes the larger forces. So the range of force levels that the springs are active will be greater, but that should be easily accommodated with the torsion bars.


Michelin has developed a revolutionary new 'hybrid' (slick/intermediate) tyre for damp and drying track conditions. It became available for all of the Michelin technical partners contesting the 2012 Le Mans 24 in the LPM1 prototype class.


Why not add indicators and brake lights whilst we're at it? I understand the engine rules need altering to prevent the engine manufacturers leaving, but F1 is F1 and road cars are road cars.


Formula 1 is trying to make more relevant to car companies. The new 1.6 litre turbo charged engine for 2014 brought Honda back in 2015 and possible BMW down the road.

Michelin wants back in, but only if F1 changes the wheel from 13 to 18 inches. No one makes 13 inch wheels for modern day cars anymore. Forget about sports cars. Most economy class cars are using 15 or 16 inch wheels. Most minivans are using 16 or 17 inch wheels.


So why not 18 inchers on a go cart too....

If they change to a low profile tyre, it means less differences in setup etc...

So the cars will be more or less the same.....


What size wheels do you think they are using in DTM, LPM1 prototype, NASCAR, FIA GT Series, BTCC, and INDY Cars?


Matt, NASCAR and INDY car are still using 15" rims and not much discussion in those two series about going to the lower profile tire with much larger wheel diameters. Pirelli too wanted to introduce the 18" rime and tire as early as the 2012 season, but were flatly turned down by the FIA and the teams. Perhaps the climate will change and by mid way through the 2014 season a decision will be made to the larger diameter wheel and lower profile tires? I say mid way through the 2014 season because the cars would have to change rather drastically to accommodate those ultra low profile tires. No matter what tire supplier F1 has, they still have to deal with all the teams and the FIA and that as you've seen this year is a real challenge.


Actually I'd rather it stayed how it is at the moment, cars have better ride, more extreme setups with the suspension and a distinct F1 look with the high profile tyres, maybe they need to look at the engine formula, 600hp is just too tame for the pinnacle of motorsport in 2014 and beyond, we're already a laughing stock with the Moto GP brigade stating all the time how much skill is required to ride a 240hp bike and how much faster they are faster in a straight line than the current F1 nevermind a formula thats getting slower and slower, I mean come on at least 1200hp and back to 605kg test these so called best drivers, no good with underpowered cars with shed load of downforce on rails all the time, I never driven an F1 car but driven plenty of simulators and these modern cars are too easy compared to even the likes of GT cars and Indycar.


Well arn't nascar and Indy cars basically the same?

Just had a thought...what if it was a 18inch wheel with a highly pressurised tyre, that had hit that camera man a while ago...would it have been a worse injury?

Is rubber in short supply?

Just cause a lot of formulas have a low profile tyre doesn't mean f1 has to follow!

How boring if there was no pit stops in the race at all!


Given this latest pile of you-know-what, it is completely beyond me why anyone would ever want to sign up to supply anything to F1.


Sadly I have to agree with this 🙁

But I don't want to!!

Tornillo Amarillo

If the tyres are safe, the rest doesn't matter, if it is Pirelli or Michelin, if they degrade or not, all cars will get the same tyres.


I don't care if Pirelli goes or stays. I just want high degradation tires gone. Looks like use of turbos may force it to happen. Good riddance I say.


Fundamentally disagree.

Season 2010 and it's non-degrading tyres was the worst season of on-track racing I can remember.


You're welcome to disagree. But I remember 2010 for having really good racing. Mark Webber's victories in Britain and Hungary stand out for me. The Webber-Vettel collision in Turkey. Vettel's come from behind drive to the title.


Yeah I agree. Just done watching 2007 through to 2012 season review DVD's over the past 2 weeks and 2010 was one of the better ones...


Really? You want a return to the bad old days of Bridgestone-shod cars where the tyres could go to the moon and back and still be in perfect condition and where every race was dull and predictable from lap 1?

The high-degradation tyres is something that Pirelli were asked to do. They didn't do it themselves. They were tasked with doing it to improve the show. Blame the FIA, not Pirelli.


I DO blame the FIA more than Pirelli. That's why I don't care if they stay or go. I know they could make perfectly fine tires if that is what the FIA asked them to do.

As far as the races now being dull, my interest in F1 goes back to the 1970s when there were no pit stops. Fill up the tanks, bolt on the tires, drop the flag and go. I never found them dull. Neither do I find the current races dull. The emphasis is back where it should be: on the cars and drivers and not the tires that are only good for a dozen laps.


I think you are missing the point that tires have always been a factor - I too have watched F1 from the 70s and can recall periods where drivers decided to take the plunge put on new tires and try to recapture the time lost to the pitstop. Mansell in Brit GP a good example even if it was caused by slow puncture if I recall correctly.

We also had the time when there was a tire war between Michelin and Bridgestone and it depended on which tire was best suited as to who had best chance of victory until the FIA changed the rules to Ferrari's benefit. The Bridgestone era was boring, especially for the non committed fan upon which the sport relies as this market is what brings in sponsors. Not us die hard fans as we are a minority. The races have been exciting and one of the skills for engineers and drivers has been to get the most out of them. Perhaps the balance went too far! I am not an engineer so not able to answer that but can you imagine Singapore on bridgestone tires. The Red Bulls would have just disappeared into the distance, and what about the playing out of strategy at the end. This would be unlikely. We should stop griping and just enjoy.


Yet the races we've had since Pirelli went back to harder wearing 2012 tyres have been very dull.


I hope that at least for 2014 the FIA dont require hi-deg tyres. I reckon the teams will enough on their plate managing new engines, fuel limits etc without throwing tyres into the equation.


I would rather have hi-deg tyres and no DRS for 2014. Just pressing a button on the steering wheel just doesn't seem like true F1 racing to me.


Yes, bringing both high deg tire and DRS at the same time was a mistake, either one by itself would have achieved the desired effect of more overtakes.

Of the two the tires is the better option because of the strategy element that it brings.

Darrin from Canada

Amen to that...


While I can see the benefits of a single fuel supplier for the actual 'juice' running through the engines from a scrutinizing, spec conforming and administration perspective, the FIA just might be cutting its nose to spite its face.

With Shell, Petronas, Total etc. supplying much of the funding of F1 in its current form, there would be very little incentive for a fuel supplier to invest in F1 teams on a go forward basis.

As far as tires are concerned, it's about high time F1 went to something more visually representative (low aspect ratio) of todays car tires. The current ones look as though they came off a souped-up truck! Really, I'm not much of a fan of the artificial high degradation, marbles off line limiting overtaking, wasteful and high associated costs of the current tire regulations. Michelin, Pirelli, Bridgestone, Nokian on the sidewall, i really don't care..


Re f1 fuel supply out to tender by the fia....To me this just shouts of the fia wanting to get a slice of the cake,

But surely this is just going to upset the teams as it will for sure end any chance of those fuel companies investing in f1 !

Cant the teams block this?


OK, you basically said the same thing I tried to say. As for the teams blocking this- not really since FIA sets the rules. If the teams or the "money bags" (oil companies, tire suppliers etc) don't like the conditions, they can spend their money elsewhere.

It would be similar to the FIA saying the Official drink of motor racing, specifically F1 is "X" cola. Redbull would say "Auf nimmer sehn", or Good bye and spend its advertising $$ elsewhere.


It's not hard to imagine Jean Todt getting furious that Bernie chose Pirelli before the FIA could say a word.

Personaly (I'm french so not necessarily neutral) I think that Michelin would be a better choice than Pirelli. They have built tyres for nearly every running devices, and I personaly hate those fast degrading tyres.

Formula One should be about fast drivers going as fast as possible, not drivers nurturing tyres, nurturing engines (with 5 engines a year "turn down revs" may be heard sooner and sooner in races), nurturing gearboxes and so one.

If having Michelin slightly moves F1 away from becoming a Lemans-type series it would be cool


From what I understand, the WEC which is the series that runs Le Mans and the rest of that championship, race pretty much flat out for the entire race these days. Such is the competition between the top teams, they push each other for the whole race. The tyres outlast the fuel, so are not a limiting factor. This means they have to produce efficient fast engines to reduce fuel stops but keep the pace strong. It is what has led to the technologically fantastic turbo diesel engines, which then evolved into turbo diesel hybrids to keep the Audis one if not several steps ahead of their competitors.

The technology involved and the way the top end of the series is advancing is incredible. I would say that if anything F1 should take a leaf or two from their book.

I agree with the principle of what you are saying though. The best drivers, driving flat out in the worlds fastest cars over 200 miles.


Basil, the fact that a tire can be made to last a whole race does not mean that it's allowing a car to run flat out. Basically any reputable tire company can build a tire for any series that will last an entire race, but to do that the tread compound has to be much harder to do that. The harder tread compound will reduce the turning grip on each corner causing the driver to slow the car down so as to not slide of the track. Certainly it might appear that the cars are running flat out because each car is fitted with the same tire. A good example of this is to watch any F1 race where there are two tread compounds used, one hard and one soft. Straightaway speed is basically the same, but cornering grip will be considerably different. Often between a soft and hard compound the lap times can be as much as two seconds or more. Now some might argue that it would depend on the tire manufacture and in some ways they would be right, but believe me a tire built to last an entire F1 will most assuredly slow the car down when cornering, it's basically physics. Bottom line longer wearing tires will always affect a cars total performance, when used on a normal passenger car one often wants their tires to last 100k, but for racing the priorities are normally different.


I think a better example is to look at qualifying when the cars qualified with race fuel for the fist stint - 2003 to 2009 from memory. The qualifying times with more fuel were always faster than the fastest race laps which had the advantage of light fuel levels (usually three times a race with two-stop races). For much of this time there was a tyre war, and all of it was on notionally low degradation tyres.

Engine modes would have made a bit of difference, but brand new tyres still have that special something.

Next year the view seems to be that the drivers will have to save fuel more than they do now to get to the end of the race, so regardless of the tyres, drivers will have strategic decisions about whether to race another car now or later in a race or not at all.


I think you have misinterpreted the point i was making. Kainfri was saying he/she wanted F1 to move away from Le Mans style racing and more towards going flat out, less tyre and fuel saving etc.

What i was trying to say is that at Le Mans they go pretty much flat out these days. So if that is the kind of racing one desires, they would be better off wishing F1 to move more in the direction of the WEC and not away.

There is no way they would make the tyres to last 24 hours or even 6 hours in the shorter races on that series for the very reasons you have given. I was talking about individual stints within those endurance races. At Le Mans the tyres are so good, they provide competitive pace over a number of stints, and they only need to pit regularly to refuel. Obviously they have to change tyres, drivers and service the cars on some stops, but the limiting factor is fuel, which leads to a major push for efficiency, hence turbo diesel hybrid engines, which are dominating the series.


... or 305 km's, give or take.


Sorry, I have grown up being told its 200 miles. At 305km/190 miles, 200 miles is close enough for my dad i guess.


Think he just left off the MPH.


The FIA left it far too late, so to throw their toys out the pram would be a bit of a joke. Next years F1 cars are already mostly designed and components are starting to be produced. Changing the tyres now would throw all the designs into disarray and would likely randomly benefit some teams and hinder others.

The aerodynamic characteristics of a different tyre would be different, requiring major rethinking by the teams. Suspension geometry would need to change - a huge undertaking. And it's likely that even race strategy would be affected which would have knock on effects on the philosophies and compromises made within the cars.

If the FIA wants to mess around with the tyre suppliers then they should make the selection pretty much a year in advance so that the teams have adequate time to adapt their designs and optimise their cars.


" Pirelli may carry on supplying teams" Well that's very kind of the FIA. Pirelli have invested millions and been made to look rubbish by the FIA. They should tell them(the FIA)to stuff it and walk away. This would leave the FIA with egg on their faces, which they deserve. If they stay perhaps Pirelli should lay down their own terms as Michelin appear to be allowed to.


Pirelli's current involvement in F1 shows to those who truely follow the circus that they can make tyres with very exacting specifications and longevity.

To those that are just more casual followers or just read the headlines, it looks like Pirelli are unable to make tyres that last or don't explode.

Now as the causal follower outnumbers the avid fan by probably a factor of 100:1 or more, IMO, Pirelli are getting nothing out of F1 except bad - and most unwarranted - publicity. Why they want to continue being the tyre supplier on these terms in beyond me.


+1 Please pirelli you are getting nothing but bad image. I love f1 but i hate the politics


To be fair, no body forced Pirelli to make the current tyres. They agreed to the terms on offer and signed on the dotted line. All Michelin have said, as I understand it, is they won't sign up to continue with the current tyres. They then outlined the terms they would be agreeable too. The FIA could still say no thanks - it's called negotiation 😉


I must say I feel a bit for Pirelli, they're doing their best to inject some excitement into what has become a depressingly predictable series of racing. In return, it feels like everyone is out to get them.

What I would far rather see are the rules for the cars being tailored towards making them not only much closer to each other, but able to promote overtaking without resorting to gimmicks. Whilst it would be absurd to blame Red Bull for being so much better than everyone else, something should be done to return competition to the, er, competition. Expecting a tyre supplier to be held responsible for this burden is a perculiar state of affairs. Let's hope next year brings progress.


Bang on Bill!!


yes i agree. everyone seems to forget, f1 is about racing formula spec prototypes - they deserve to have a wider margin for creativity and blaming teams or tyre manufacturers for anything is simply misguided.

the current tyres are awesome - they work

as requested (by us as well as the fia). silverstone failures caused by cuts to sidewalks when teams are putting the wrong tyres on each side of the car can't be blamed on pirelli.

18ins wheels would be fine but make absolutely no difference to the racing unless we're talking how the compounds and construction work with the new suspension teams would need to develop. just saying michelin would be better doesn't make it so.

in the end the regulations must be impossible to get right - close racing and the ability to make significant gains, how do you legislate for that, in a safe and considered way?

in the end, I would find it far more interesting if this stuff was kept behind closed doors and stuff like simulator running was made illegal to keep under wraps, so we the audience can enjoy the real stuff 'behind the scenes' which is of actual interest to race fans!!


Hear Hear!!!

Sensible comments for one....

Only reason people want Michelin is a naive hope it will make for competition again.


Just another tyre supplier with the same old problems.

If any of you keyboard Genius's had EVER raced a car or bike, Tyre MANAGEMENT is critical no matter how hard or soft the tyre is.

Michelin is not the answer. Simply a grass is greener on the other side illusion you are falling for.

AND as stated above Formula 1 is a FORMULA. It is in essence a "spec" class. Just a way more open spec class. As such it needs rules and regulations and would self destruct without. You KNOW the teams are incapable of being sensible, which incidentally is starting to be a big downer and put off of the whole series to me.

If they aren't smart enough to work together for the greater good then I for one am losing interest.

It reminds me of the bankers and the recent recession, take, take take with no thought or regard for the consequences..so long as they are alright.



You KNOW the teams are incapable of being sensible, which incidentally is starting to be a big downer and put off of the whole series to me...

You are not wrong, but why has it taken so long for you to realise this? It has always been the case. Until the teams have their say in how things are run taken away, it will remain so.


I'd like to see a 'rubber mallet' rule applied to aero regs. Teams present their cars to the stewards, and any 'fiddly aero bits' a hefty guy can smash off with a rubber mallet are instantly disallowed.


Can I apply the same rule to rose tinted spectacle wearing Luddites?


Ha! Love it

Watch Red Bull engineer some of the world's strongest & lightest composite material


I volunteer for that job!


Brilliant idea 🙂

Can you imagine the scene in Parc Ferme? Can't see the teams agreeing, though.


Yeah, it called aero. Somehow stop the manufactures spending money on aero and let them spend money on engine or other technological developments where engineering teams are waiting to get their teeth stuck into.

Give teams a goal, four wheels and an steering wheel, and then let the engineers do what they do best.

Teams will spend money anyway. To say the teams are restricted in spending money on engines and on gearboxes, etc just leaves them millions of cash to spend on wind tunnels improving their aero which FIA have limited control over.

Remember when you had a v10 racing against a v12 and each had different advantages? Was exciting times. Wake up Todt!!!


I wish people would get off the backs of the aerodynamicists. Yes, the rules do need to be re thought quite drastically, but totally limiting the aero isn't necessary.

Oh, and I remember that the whole field homogonised to the V10 because the V8 and V12 layouts had more drawbacks than advantages with the 3 littre rules (not enough power or too big, thirsty and unreliable) long before the FIA set a specific number of cylinders.


Leave it alone!

There's going to be a season or two bedding the 2014 Regs and engines....



FIA in charge of these things? Taking partnerships away from teams? This is the rode to ruin.




how is it even remotely possible that one huge international organization (FIA) be soooo screwed up?? oh, I forgot. just look at the USA Gov't 🙂

just one more kick in the teeth to Pirelli - have never been a fan of even their road tires, but so what? at least we get to see F1 races because of them!

there ARE alot of big racing series who use only ONE fuel supplier successfully, but F1 teams currently get compensation (sponsorship, etc) which would likely become lost revenue. yes, teams have their own fuels in F1, but it seems only Ferrari is intrinsically intertwined with their supplier (Shell). do I see a veto vote or series exodis due to some numbnut ***wipes in the FIA??

yep, I do...


but it seems only Ferrari is intrinsically intertwined with their supplier ....

Mercedes title sponsor is PETRONAS!


All the teams are, Shell are the only ones that make a song and dance about it though.


I should imagine being a title sponsor, PETRONAS might kick up a bit of a stink if it wasn't their fuel in the car that has their name on the side, rear wing etc 🙂


Why does the FIA wants to fiddle with the fuels suppliers? From the fuel and lubricant innovation front, this is a bad idea. Such ideas are best left to the relevant parties; teams and fuel / lubricant research institutions. The FIA can only set the regulations around these (as is the case now).



Michelin - Indianapolis 2005.... Those who have criticised Pirelli for delivering what the FIA have specified have either short or selective memories (or both), then they were bullied by Horner and a few others in to reverting the specs under the flag of 'safety' for their car was not developed to cope as well as Lotus, Ferrari, or even Force India - and who has triumphed since the change? This year has been a shameful litany of events, and this latest article epitomises it. Jean T has been at the helm of the most embarrassing period in the history of the sport in recent memory - he has to go or the 'sport' is destined to be on equal footing to that of American Football.


Maybe you should re-watch Silverstone 2013 with 2 drivers getting close being hit with tyre debris on the head at 200mph.

At least in Indianapolis there was no threat tp serious injury to anyone.

Pirelli has made a joke out of F1, WWF style.


K - if I remember right Ralf Schumacher had a big crash on the Friday at Indy in 2005, caused by a puncture (the first sign that there was something wrong with the Michelins that weekend). This was on the flat-out banked corner coming onto the straight

But obviously there was no threat of serious injury to him ......


I obviously meant in the race with just 6 cars running. Where was the threat for injury in the race with the Michelin cars not running?

Pirelli in Silverstone was running those dangerous tyres in the race and many on the paddock said they were lucky no one was injured.

Which one was worse: 6 cars on the track with everyone safe on safe tyres or 22 cars on track with exploding tyres?


You need to pay attention K, it had nothing to do with Pirelli, it was the teams who didn't run in compliance with the spec - do that on your road car and your insurance is null-and-void. Pirelli have done nothing but comply with their contract and be lambasted and ridiculed for it. The vaguest hint of a deflation and the media feed the frenzy to be laped up by those unable to think for themselves before the facts are presented. Pirelli should flip the FIA a very large bird and let them deal with it. As an aside, open wheel racing is a risky sport as FM found out when that Brawn component hit him, but they get paid well for the risk which is nowhere close to the risk of the old days, and no one compels them to do it if they feel the risk is too great.


Yes that's what I thought, Paul Hembrey said that the steel belts used were uni-directional and that by effectively running the tyres backwards the construction was damaged thus causing the failures. This must make it the teams that are at fault.


Yes, Indy 2005 was a massive black mark against Michelin, and they paid the price for it. But Silverstone this year was just as bad if not worse, plus the way Pirelli responded to the incident (going ahead with racing even though failures were happening and then trying to blame everyone but themselves) was the exact opposite of how Michelin responded.

And while it's a popular conspiracy theory to say Red Bull politicked their way to the title this year (i) They were winning comfortably even with the old tyres (ii) Pirelli stood firm (with only minor modifications) until the Silverstone debacle, when the FIA stepped in quite rightly on safety grounds (iii) Horner can't even get his drivers to do what he wants, do you really think he can change the will of Pirelli? "Paul, this is silly, come on..."


Were the teams not fitting the tyres the wrong way around? was this not found to be the main reason for the failures? Does this not mean that the teams and not Pirelli were to blame. Did Pirelli not change the tyre construction just to be on the safe side? Mind you i agree Pirelli should tell the FIA that they will only stay if the rubbish tyres are dumped


Yes. No. No. No. Yes.


Lets not forget that the Silverstone failures were due to a specific set of circumstances that weekend, many of which were the teams fault due to going against Pirelli's recommendations (again, remember the worry over blisters at Spa 2011 because of teams, and Red Bull inparticular, running more camber than advised).

I think those recommendations are now enshrined in the rules.


See above 🙂


It's no conspiracy theory, and SV was in the thick of it - we saw far more open racing pre-Spa (RedBull were not comfortable). Pirelli have been lambasted for delivering exactly what the FIA have instructed them to do. Let us not forget that the biggest contributor to failures at Silverstone was the teams running the tires outside the spec in terms of pressure, rear left/right swap, pressures, etc - it was those very teams that put the drivers at risk, not Pirelli; that is not remotely similar to the bad product presented to teams by Michelin. As for Horner and his influence over the drivers - you're correct, others above him determine what goes on, multi-21 was proof enough of that.


The Pirelli excuses were shredded by the complete lack of correlation between what teams were doing and what actually happened. Around a quarter of the grid had failures, not counting the ones in practice. Teams who swapped tyres around (Mercedes) had failures, certainly, but teams who didn't swap tyres around (McLaren) had failures, while teams who did (Force India) didn't have any. Red Bull are known to run tyre pressures/ride heights to the extreme and they were fine. The Pirelli "It wasn't us, guvnor" press release was discredited roundly and thoroughly. The proof of the pudding is in the eating - the FIA didn't look at the situation and say "The tyres are fine, teams have to stop doing this, it's all their fault", they said "The tyres aren't fine, change them back to last year".*

As for Vettel, I'm not saying the tyres didn't help him or Red Bull, they obviously have, just that he would very likely have won the title anyway. He was on pace to sew up the title with 1-2 races remaining, and now he'll probably do it with three remaining. Big deal.

(Not to mention that 2005 was in the midst of a bitter tyre war, when Michelin were bringing new tyres and compounds to every race to try and gain as much advantage as possible over Bridgestone. They pushed the envelope and got it wrong. Pirelli are competing against nobody and still managed to produce tyres that aren't fit for purpose.)



That was shambolic.


pirelli have themselves to blame for blindly following the path to tyre degradation and the resultant recriminations. they could've always said 'no'.

personally i would like to see multi tyre suppliers. anything that removes the spectre of'spec' by stealth can only be good.

this should also apply to the 'single fuel supplier' route as well. competion is the only way forward. i think michelin would be a great addition to the series plus, of course. 18" wheels.


Totally agree on the Pirelli front, they're not nearly the hapless victims of the FIA they're often painted to be. Their goal has been to push themselves and their brand to the forefront of Formula 1, and at least in that they have succeeded.

Also, I'm not convinced multi-tyre suppliers are the way to go, we had four very good seasons of racing under a single tyre supplier from 2007-2010. It's the tyre supplier that's at fault, not the system.


Funny, I still remember a lot of complaints about the quality of racing from those years. Amazing how quickly peoples opinion changes when they get what they want.


Directly from the FOTA survey in 2009 - "Most fans think the level of overtaking is about right, but a significant number want to see more". Forum and blog comments are hardly a representative sample, you're far more like to run into a loud minority there, especially on specialist forums.

And the difference between British involvement from 2007-10 and now is that during that period there was a British driver in contention for the championship every single year right up to the final race, since 2011 there hasn't been a single one.


My evidence is the mass of surveys from the FIA, Formula 1 Racing/Autosport magazines and a few fan ones as well. All of them came back with the vast majority of respondents demanding more overtaking, not to mention the mass of comments on forums and blogs like this to the same effect. I agree that there's more to racing than overtaking, Imola 2005 was brilliant even if Schumy couldn't overtake Alonso, but when there's no chance at all to pass it's not really racing anymore.

I was wondering which period you meant, I figured it was the 90's since the 07-10 period was Button and Hamilton plus an over the hill DC, so not much change since.


Love to see your evidence that I was "certainly" in a minority. Also, there's more to F1 than overtaking, at least to me.

Also, the British reference related to 2007-10, not the late 90s (although with Damon Hill they weren't a bad era for Brits either).


In regards to your more recent reply. You were certainly in the minority then, there were far, far too many races when it was a case of "follow the leader", many studies at the time estimated a car would have to be about 2.5 seconds per lap quicker to make a clean pass. I'm also British and our top drivers in that era were miles behind Hakkinen and Schumacher, and I'd say it was the introduction of narrow track cars and grooved tyres that hurt the racing more than anything (glad they reversed one of those decisions).


I certainly wasn't one of them 🙂 That era was arguably my most enjoyable, probably only rivalled by the mid-late 90s, although the fact that I'm British and it was a particularly good era for drivers from my country probably helped.




With all this talk of Michelin wanting to move to lower profile/aspect tyres, is there any chance of pictures comparing the current tyres to the kind Michelin want to adopt if they return to F1? I think it would help those of us who can't visualise the changes.


Check out F1 fanatic they got some comparison pics, can't post link from my phone sorry


Look at a picture of a current F1 car and the a pic of the Formula E car, you'll know what we're on about then.


i have seen various mock ups and they do look far better. i suggest thst you check out 'F1 technical' as that is where i saw them.


Pirelli was suggesting that tire profile change as well, right at the beginning of their contract. F1 constructors refuted that proposal as that would completely change the suspension of the cars, but not only the suspension. Most of the dumping is happening right now in the tire side walls as cars are running near solid suspension. With low profile tires suspension would have to change completely. How one could come up with something meaningful with the current testing ban. It would require a lots of testing to perfect such a major change. It would require a complete new tub design as well, brakes...etc. Practically completely new formula.


To KARTRACE, very well written and very true. I so remember 2010 and the dialogue regarding how both Pirelli and Michelin felt about the continued use of the 13" tire and wheel. Neither were too happy that they would be basically forced to continue manufacturing this very antiquated system. But in the end the FIA at the time demanded that the 13" package would be the one used. Pirelli, lobbied to open discussions again about moving to a larger diameter tire and wheel package during the end of the 2011 season, but the FIA was not budging on that. What well happen midway through 2014 when, or if a tire tender is officially put out, no one really knows. We do know, however, that Michelin might make the larger diameter package a deal breaker, but that's only speculation based on their official press release earlier this month.


Read the post from "luqa". Think Monster Trucks as opposed to Corvettes.

Now, you may ask why the sidewalls are so tall. Well, it is because the tyres are the primary suspension source of the cars. The compression, deflection and distortion of the tyres gives the cars the normal suspension properties of a racing car. Mind, these days it is not as extreme as in the days of ground effects, when the cars springs wear known to actually come so completely unloaded as to bounce around within the push or pull-rod assemblies.


In response to your more recent post. Your right ground effects did push teams to develop cars with increasingly stiff suspension, but it needs to be remembered that high side wall tyres have been the norm since slicks were first introduced in 1970 and their level of flex would always have been taken into account when designing the suspension. The fact that the high side wall could take up a significant percentage of the suspension movement allowed for the stiff settings to be applied, and not the case that flexing side walls were developed to allow stiff suspension.

It should also be remembered that whilst its true that any change in the distance between the floor and track surface will change the amount of downforce being created, that distance is constantly change due to track surface being anything but a laminate surface, the changing level of downforce pushing the car down and then releasing it as it decelerates and the changing weight transfer under acceleration/deceleration. F1 teams aim to create the maximum amount of downforce possible over the widest possible ride height window to give them the most stable possible car through braking, turning and accelerating.


I think you're putting the cart before the horse there, the suspension has ended up like that because of the tyres, not the other way around.


I feel you are incorrect. As I stated, this all started back in the 'ground-effects' days.

The desire was for a stable ride height. Modern aeros has maintained this. Any tiny deviation in the floor to track relationship causes a huge change in aero (grip) performance.



Are the FIA and Todt using the classic Max tactic here with regards to the fuel supplier, I.e it won't actually happen but by letting this one go the FIA will enforce another measure that they are far more concerned with pushing through like a cost cap perhaps?


Hi deg tyres have improved the racing.

If we go back to low deg tyres then I fear we will return to processional races.


processional races were 90% due to aero limitations and not the tyres.


I don't understand why then the racing improved significantly when Pirellis were introduced where as the year before it had not been all that good.


Agree, with just the top 3/4/5 having lapped everyone else....


We need to repent the sin of short-life tyres.


I think this might all be about easing Bernie out and Pirelli is just the convenient victim (although it stirs warm feelings in my soul).


Good luck to anyone who fancies their chances easing Bernie out. He has been around a long, long time and they would have to get up very early in the morning indeed to get one over on him 😉


I understand the position that the FIA are taking. Too long now has the commercial rights holders and Bernie been the puppeteers of Formula 1. Bernie says "we want entertainment - juggle the tyres so they are on the edge" Pirelli says sure - no problem - because they have an exclusive contract! I want to see competition even between tyre manufacturers as long as the rules make it competitive- ie teams still have to run different compounds each race. If Pirelli can't handle that - See ya later!- Bigger wheels and tyres with more innovation in suspension is good for F1 rather than the same ol same ol !

Will anxiously await the post in fuel because really to me this is no different to tyres. I think overall though the FIA are trying to minimise management and costs of suppliers. If they only have one supplier to deal with it limits admin and costs I guess. But I've always believe competition always brings out the best (sometimes the worst too :).

F1 is slipping behind other motoring categories and if we look at sports cars and how competitive and innovative it has been over the last few years you could understand why change is needed. When you have a manufacturer like Porsche saying their not even interested in F1 because there are no synergies to their philosophies - I think its a greet shame. 2014 will bring us a step closer to change but more is needed longer term.


Have a look here for a rendering of a modern F1 car on 18" rims



FIA are bunch of birocratic hypocrites. Any meaningful business is not going to do any dealings with those who are poking their noses into what is not suppose to be their business. They contracted "Panta" fuel supplier in 2008 for World Championship (KF2)Kart Formula 2 held in La Conca, Italy. Not only that all of us, all of a sudden, had problems with that fuel, some 140 engines collapsed out of 80 competitors but we were paying fuel price per litre 2.5 more in comparison to the price of fuel that one would pay at the public petrol stations at the time. It was a scene that no one could believe. I wonder what would happen to the teams which are sponsored by some petroleum companies. No, no, FIA is on the course to be the undertaker of F1 with Jean Todt at the helm. What happen to that man. Was he replaced by the avatar ?


‘birocratic’ as in spelling error OR . . .

‘birocratic’ as in very clever pun . . ?

I will assume the latter and add it to my dictionary.

Thank you!


Napoleon comes to mind...


With all this talk of 18" rims all we hear about is the need to change suspension. I would like to hear a lot more about what else it would mean.

Have you driven the same car with normal tyres and then with low profile tyres? The difference is enormous. The steering is a lot stiffer and the suspension a lot harsher. Any slight deflection puts a lot more shock and force directly onto the mechanical components and the car is a lot less comfortable - fine on a motorway but can be awful on poor urban roads. So what would be the realities of using them on an F1 car?

The drivers would probably be more fatigued coping with the jolting movements. In races like Singapore we might see a driver reaching the end of their ability to drive at the limit. Perhaps this would mean a lot fewer would abuse the kerbs and stay on track - something I would welcome.

The components would have to be a lot tougher yet more compliant. We could compare the difference to that of water beds. The current tyre is like an unbaffled water bed and is uncontrollable. 18" rims would be like a fully baffled water bed with a damping effect.

The brakes don't have to be different - but with time we could see larger discs and wholly different cooling ducts. Heat transfer to the tyres would be massively different. Along with this the hubs could be very different. With more space we might see a whole range of differing solutions to this area. While we are at it what about the exterior - a few years back we had all manor of extra bits added to the wheels for aero effect - how about freeing up this regulation to see what we could get?

Also with the on track action there will be a difference when in close quarters. Presumably a puncture from a wing end plate would be less likely - but what else would it mean? Tyre to tyre contact might become wheel to wheel - so what does that mean?


Hi James. There are stories of Red Bull using traction control surfacing on the Internet. Any thoughts on this and why haven't we heard such stories through the mainstream media? Cheers.


read an interesting coment on this on f1sa site from giancarlo minardi who was watching trackside-very interesting especially as he compares vettels engine sound to the othe renault users inc webber and states that the engine note changed at different points of the race i.e after safety car etc-aswell as other noted differeces in car behaviour-not saying its true but def interesting!


I alsoread Mr. Minardi's comments on a german site as well. He of all people should know of different engine settings for different parts of the race.

Maybe SV just set his engine on its highest setting while ripping off the laps that led to his 30 second lead? Accusing Renault and RB of a traction control device is pure speculation, hearsay and rabble rousing without supporting evidence. Besides, much of the engine parameters are fixed and controlled through a standard Mclaren supplied control component.


It seems that the FIA has got itself into allsorts of trouble from being too slow, too badly managed and not planning ahead well enough.

The FIA should have organised a tender process for the tyre supply in late 2012 for a 2014 start and then there would have been no trouble.

On another note it does seem that the FIA wants to close in on being a spec series with one Fuel supplier, one tyre supplier... what next? engines? gearboxes? Is this purely because the FIA can charge a fee to companies who wish to enter into tender? We all know they are on the hunt for more $$$

This has to go down as a spectacular failing on the Todt Regime. Poor planning

Mike from Colombia

Too slow, too badly managed and too French.


DRS and high degradation tyres designed to overcome rev limit and weaker slipstreaming+dirty air.

Rather than using these bandages, F1 needs serious consideration to these two areas to improve racing.

Given the short extension to Pirelli, Michelin are probably already signed for 2015.


James it might be worth checking into the claims that the current tyres couldn't stand the extra torque of the Turbo engines. More torque(ie. twisting force) at the wheels is no doubt harder on tyres and there is also the effect of extra Kerrs to be considered, but as far as the engines are concerned more torque may not necessarily hurt the tyres.

The current V8 has a 20% higher rev limit than the Turbo (18000 vs 15000 rpm) so as I see it the Turbo will need 20% more torque at its flywheel to match the V8's torque at the wheels where it counts. To keep it simple lets say they are both geared down to produce a maximum of 1000 revs at their driving wheels, then that means an 18 times transmission torque multiplication for the V8 and only a 15 times torque multiplication for the Turbo.

So if for example the V8 has 250 lb ft at it's flywheel then that calculates to 4500 lb ft at the wheels (18 x 250 = 4500).

As for the lower revving Turbo it needs 300 lb ft (which is 20% more)at it's flywheel to match the V8's 4500 lb ft driving wheel torque (300 x 15 = 4500). (Of course in the real world both wouldn't quite have 4500 lb ft at the wheels because there would be frictional losses but I trust you get my point).

Both of these engines would be producing the same power and thus getting the same amount of work done in the same time, but the results would be achieved through different gearing (the formula for horsepower is:- hp = lb ft of torque x rpm/5252)

To me torque comparisons can be misleading when engines have different rev limits.


Max. torque has little to do with rotation of the engine, but is derived from cylinder pressure, crank throw and throttle opening. In other words when the cylinder is at maximum pressure is the point where max. torque occurs. Everything of course has mass, and hence inertia, and the fuel charge is no exception so there will be a point in the engine speed range where pressure maximises.


Well it was Hembery himself who said it so...


As time goes on it gets more difficult to stomach how the FIA has been mismanaging the sport. While somehow our attention has been focused on Perelli or the teams.

Spec tires, then spec fuel, spec electronics and homogonized engines, what part will be specified by the FIA next? The KERS system is already limited to a max output and time per lap so there can be no innovation there. The innovation in F1 is so Mickey mouse at this point that I get excited about Merc putting some golf ball dimples on their rims.

Not to mention DRS, rules against defending overtakes, unpaid marshalls and all the rest.


If Pirelli got dumped, who else would want the job? Michelin has got a great gig in endurance racing where they are free to make super fast super durable tires. That's good for business. Making substandard fragile tires for the sake of closer racing - that's bad for business.


James, I would like to know what you think about the Minardi article on what he observed at the Singapore Grand Prix. He basicly accused Red Bull ( only on Vettel's car) of using some kind of traction-control.


If Mr. Minardi doesn't understand that Vettel's speed came from new supersofts, I doubt he understands traction control.

It's all in the excellent Singapore race strategy report.


yes matt, i too would like see some close attention to this matter as well. i know that vettel is an 'uber'fast driver but the variance between his and webbers car just seems to be, IMO, too large to be simply down to driving skills.

maybe i am seeing shadows instead of light but it does seem to be an item of supreme interest.


This is an opening salvo by the FIA to grab some of Bernie's power in the sport, probably influenced by the legal hurdles in his path.

Much more to follow, I'm certain.


Pirelli ran things a bit too close for comfort during the early part of the season with tyre wear, it bordered on farcical and there were times that it was blatently unsafe to race.

Having said that, if you take Pirelli's time as a whole, they definitely delivered on spicing up the on track action for every season bar this one. The last thing F1 needs now is a return to the Bridgestone/Michelin days of super tyres.

They have to remember that now F1 is on a pay per view model, people simply will not tolerate a boring season like they would have in the past. Thus if F1 loses viewers, it will be incredibly difficult to win them back.


The current crop of high degradation tyres far from "spicing" up the racing actually "dumb" it down as cars are overtaken when their tyres go beyond the thermal limit and lose grip. The correct term might be to mix up the racing, and as a consequence we have drivers pushing far less to avoid the overheating scenario. All I can say the sooner Michelin come in the better. That said it is not the fault of Pirelli as they supply to the remit they are given, but of the FIA and Ecclestone. In 2014 because of the higher torque generated, Pirelli are to some extent going into the unknown, and the tyres are lightly to be very conservative.


in relation to the above posts re TC i recall webber stating emphatically that 'vettel owned sector three'. this was also emphasised by giancarlo minardi himself who observed that very fact!!

interesting and maybe james can follow up on this...


With Pirelli F1 turned into the farce. We want exciting racing, keyword is RACING.


Single tyre and possibly single fuel supplier. Is Formula 1 slowly turning into a same car formula?

Mike from Colombia

Todt has probably promised the fuel supply to friends at Elf.


Pirelli have ruined F1. I think they should bring back rock hard tyres that don't dedrade very well and let the drivers race. Look at the 80s with Mansell, you'd change your tyres at the 75% mark and go 3 seconds a lap quicker. Make F1 a drivers sport, not the Red Bull show. Formula 1 used to be a drivers sport in those days and it was interesting, you don't need 20 pit stops because that's not exciting.


It's a shame the teams don't provide a recent test car.

I think we will see a veeeery conservative tire construction next year - Pirelli does not want to get into trouble like in Silverstone and they don't know how the cars will react.

Ergo: We will see - concerning the tires - very boring races because the tires will last very long and they won't differ as much as in the last years.


hans, you can't possibly say that. firstly, not one '14 car has even tested let alone raced.secondly even if they had it would still not be an indicator as to how the seasons racing would progress.

thirdly, the tyres will not [hopefully] become a differentiator. there is no way that you can even vaguely predict any outcome vis-a-vis the tyres. tyres have very little to do with boring races. engines and aero are the two main causal issues defining what could be seen as being boring and what isn't.


I wish they would allow the return of a tyre war. I know the costs spiral, and there's the risks of a team monopolizing a supplier (Ferrari 2000-2004) and a USA 2005, but surely there are ways around these problems (development frozen at start of each season/rules mandating companies supply same spec of tyres to supplied teams/testing of tyre integrity?). It would add interest for the fans and marketing value to the suppliers. It would give us circuit specific variation and weather specific unpredictability. Perfect!


The tyres are used as part of the suspension as well

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