Behind the scenes in the F1 development race: How Mercedes got ahead again
Mercedes
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 May 2018   |  4:17 pm GMT  |  96 comments

It was the biggest winning margin of the F1 season so far – how did Lewis Hamilton win in Spain by over 20 seconds, just two weeks after an Azerbaijan win he himself described as lucky?

And what is the next step in the development race?

It’s one of the USPs of F1 the development race away from the track is every bit as intense as the combat on it. Every team has to focus on its strengths and weaknesses between races, thinking creatively to find more speed for the next event. Of course it takes resources, both human and financial to maximise the effect but it’s also about reacting to what has happened in the season so far.

It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle that carries on all season.

Spain is the first European leg of the Formula 1 season, so traditionally it’s here that most teams bring substantial aerodynamic updates to their cars. They’ve had time, over the first four races, to focus on the details of performance, to understand how their designs are working in the real world, and to be creative. But now that time is running out.

Although modern Formula 1 has become so competitive that many teams now develop iteratively, adding new elements each round, it’s still more convenient and less costly to bring major updates to Barcelona than, say, far-flung Shanghai or Baku. The Circuit de Catalunya also boasts the virtue of having more in common with the majority of circuits on the calendar than the venues for the first four rounds, each of which is unique in character.

That’s why so many teams introduced noticeably different front wings and bodywork features in Spain: not only will they be useful for the rest of the season, they enabled teams to compare their current performance with the baseline they established at Barcelona during pre-season testing. Moving forwards means staying in the zone.

Mercedes had updates to the front wing, sidepods and diffuser.

“We try to improve the car every time we hit the track,” says Mercedes AMG Petronas Technical Director James Allison.

“We’ve seen things in the first races that we’re trying to modify our approach with so that we get our car to perform better as the season goes along. Anything you can do to make the bodywork and wings work better will bring you quite a lot of laptime at a track like this.”

Innovation is key in Formula 1. If you’re not continuously moving forwards then you’re standing still – or going backwards – relative to your competitors, all of whom are pushing hard to find performance gains. Learning, innovating, designing and building means a constant battle against the clock: miss a deadline and those new parts won’t be ready in time.

“It’s a relentless process because what we did at the last event won’t be good enough for the next one,” says Mercedes AMG Petronas Chief Operating Officer Rob Thomas. “We’re always looking to squeeze out whatever we can.

“Because we’re trying to get everything to the car as quickly as we can, the pressure really comes in trying to design and make things in such a short timeframe and getting them to perfect quality.”

Whenever you’re pushing the boundaries it’s never a given that an upgrade will work as well on track as the simulations indicated, so even as the new parts go in the back of the truck the design team is sketching out further developments. Whether they are taken forward will depend on the results from the track. So while the development process in the drawing office and on the factory floor never stops, sometimes the leaders need to pause, step back and take stock of the big picture.

“While we’ve bagged up and prepped a lot of stuff for Barcelona and sent it off to the track,” says Allison, “it doesn’t stop for one minute, all the work that’s going on here to get ready for the next race – and the race after that.

“It’s important for me to actually find time where I can get my head straight, to think more strategically, to make sure the car is as quick as it can possibly can be at every single track.”

What do you think of Mercedes getting the biggest winning margin of the season? Can the others respond in their own development race?

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1

Local weather forecast just updated and now they report a 20% chance of rain on Sunday afternoon.

I don’t want it to pour down. We want uncle Charlie to let them race and not watch them trundle around behind the safety car for dozens of laps. It should drizzle just enough to make teams wonder whether and when inters is the right call. And then see some great driving skills from some of the worlds top drivers in action while no doubt running their softest engine mapping and short-shift like hell.

950+ horsepowers, no traction control, grid girls and Monaco in the wet.

What’s not to like? ;o)

2

Great post Cyber, have a great weekend.

3

Am I missing something or there is little insight in this note on what actually seeems to have made the difference. Given the headline was expecting some of the great analysis we are used to from this site, instead got just some relatively boilerplate commentary from the team….

4

… or… you already have the updates in-the-bag and you bring them out, and strap them on, after your (otherwise) dominant team hasn’t been so dominant early in the season, thus, re-engaging spending-fan interest (after losing interest last year, when you beat the stuffing out of the closest pretenders, mockingly at such venues as Monza, just to make a point), thus securing your minimum return on investment (ROI) for your expensive Formula One program.

Or something very much like that!

MMC

Mercedes Managed Championship

5

The team principal really does need to take some acting lessons doesn’t he….

6

Dean, orrrrrr Mercedes are a racing team doing everything possible to win every race they enter, and are working flat out to beat the clearly excellent Ferrari……

7

Maybe it’s silly to go on about this tyre thread thing, but something feels odd, and I have the feeling we don’t have the full picture here. And as always with F1 we usually don’t get the full picture from the sources who provides them.

8

I don’t think this phenomenon is too complicated. The same happened last year. Ferrari started fairly strong, surprising everyone. Merc was strong as usual in Montmelò, as well as in testing. The first race Merc should have won. Then Ferrari have some circuits that suits them, especially last year. This year however there was a stark contrast in Baku which, should have been a strong Merc track. That showed us that Ferrari have made some real progress this winter, and it could be observed in winter testing as well, (more that was reported in many cases), although testing this year was haphazard in many ways. Now, it seems to me, Merc has their real season beginning in in Barcelona, more than anyone else, especially Ferrari, who know they need to get a really good start to the season and there are a good chance in doing so since the tracks suits them, even Baku can be good since it’s has a history of safety cars and mayhem, so it gives opportunities. I think Ferrari will be very strong again in Monaco, as well as Reb bull. But thus far I believe Merc still is the best car/PU all in all. Their weakness being the tyres and getting them in the window. Ferrari until Barcelona had the clear advantage at this, as well as last years first races. Where Ferrari have made their biggest strides since then, are in the PU area and raw power, and their own party mode of sorts. The big question remains, what happened the second half of last year? Is it that simple that Ferrari just couldn’t keep up their development? If Ferrari can get their shit together and take advantage or their more easygoing car, and the required power PU back, they could be fighting to the end. Although they need to do something about the mentality int the team. Let go of that silly first driver approach, that keeps ruin their races, not just Kimi’s. They are a strong pair and should be given the same attention, opportunity so the team can get the sparkle going.

9

@ kenneth

Regards the steering wheel, Lewis was of the view that it had too many buttons some of which weren’t even of significant use so he asked them to be removed

As for 2009, taking into account the fact that it’s the drivers that feel how the car reacts, therefore, their precise feedback is important to the engineers to know which direction to take with the development

10

@ Goferet…nothing to see there that couldn’t have been done by any driver in the course of their daily employment and feed back to the team and their respective engineers. Another of the Hamilton myths.

11

Mercedes have a very useful 17 point lead for Hamilton now. That can afford them a couple of bogey circuits, providing their performance on those tracks is a step up from 2017. Ferrari are on the backfoot and can’t really afford anymore mistakes.

It’s not over by any stretch, but it would have been more exciting to see Mercedes playing catch up again. Ferrari don’t seem to have the same talent for developing the car as they did in the 2000s and Mercedes were mighty at that during the back end of 2017.

12

Ferrari don’t seem to have the same talent for developing the car as they did in the 2000s…

They had a private test circuit back then. Huge resource advantage back then,

13

Yup, and had Bridgestone working for them too.

14

Merc now have Pirelli working for them. Simple. Germans are great cheats. Vettel moaned about the tyre change, he is German, they are cheats. It takes one to know one, he knew what Merc had done.

15

On-topic: indeed think it’s in-season development showing. Red Bull will more or less be able to hang on, fear Ferrari will struggle a bit.
Off-topic: good to see Daniel appear alongside Max at the Zandvoort race days. The two of them were having great fun! So Australian fans, why not lighten up a bit towards Max, if your own driver can? Besides, there’s just no title in sight for either of them. Have to admit though: once again Max wrecked a vehicle albeit a caravan.

16

The article headline states “How Mercedes got ahead again” yet doesnt give any specific details on the area’s where they actually did gain the performance to streak the field. All rather vague James isn’t it?

More often than not I walk away from these kind of articles with more insight than i arrived with although in this instance im really none the wiser to where the Mercedes massive leap came from. Seems more like an article to deflect the attention and talk away from the changed tire specs contributing to the Mercs performance only.

17

@ Sars…good to see the number of upticks.

18

Why would they give specific details in regards to the performance advantage they gained in Barcelona?

Doh!

19

Maybe you should be directing your insightful comment at the misleading headline offered up by the author.

20

Sars, you should have read the articles following the Barcelona test instead. If you had you would have read Vettel’s comments after he tried the normal spec Pirellis and suffered heavy blistering. The short version is that Ferrari would have been even further behind Mercedes if they hadn’t brought out the thinner tyres.

21

I prefer my take as is far more likely then your totally unbiased viewpoint.

22

Sars, you think Seb was lying? You think they faked the blisters on the old spec tyres when they tested them? Why go to all that trouble, to help Mercedes?! Who is really showing bias here Sars? I’m just relaying Seb’s comments, I’m not addig any of my own interpretations.

23
Ashish Sharma

The short version is that Ferrari would have been even further behind Mercedes if they hadn’t brought out the thinner tyres.

Cannot be concluded*. Ferrari have admitted that they would have struggled more, but we cannot say that Mercedes would not have struggled massively. (Remember they had the hardest time in Winter Testing)

Pirelli did the right thing by bringing the new tyre because no one wants to see a blowout, or a farcical 5-stop race due to blistering, but I have yet to see any evidence that this decision did not end up favoring Mercedes.

If Mercedes have mastered the tyres, then we should see them on the front-row in Monaco or fighting for it, but they seem to be reluctant to say so. (https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/mercedes-bloody-worried-for-monaco-grand-prix-1039968/ )

*Just as we were unable to conclude that Bottas would have been faster on the Ultras.

24

Ashish, fair point, we can’t say for certain that Merc wouldn’t have struggled, although my understanding is they favour the harder compounds while Ferrari do a better job with the softer rubber. My take on Seb’s words when he said “it would have been worse” was that he meant in relation to Mercedes, but he didn’t say that outright.

Have we spoken about Bottas on ultras? I can’t remember…..

25

Ashish, I was kidding about not remembering our back and forth about Bottas in Baku, all good fun.

26
Ashish Sharma

My take on “it would have been worse” was that Ferrari would have struggled more on the “Normal-Unshaved” tyre that they did on the “Normal-Shaved” tyre. (Ferrari struggled most on the Shaved Tyre). I doubt if Vettel could have predicted how Mercedes would have fared on the “Normal-Unshaved” tyre, but that is an interesting way to read it.

The Bottas on Ultras was about the last race… 🙂

(https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2018/05/do-baku-gp-strategy-decisions-show-f1-teams-mentality-on-title-prospects/)

27

*Just as we were unable to conclude that Bottas would have been faster on the Ultras.

So this 0.4 mm tyre tread shave was really aimed at keeping Lewis dominant. Why does perelli love him so much?

28
Ashish Sharma

this 0.4 mm tyre tread shave was really aimed at keeping Lewis dominant

No. As i said this shave was to avoid the risk of a blowout due to massive blistering. – “Pirelli did the right thing by bringing the new tyre because no one wants to see a blowout, or a farcical 5-stop race due to blistering”

Pirelli botched up the tyres as winter testing showed, plain and simple.

Remember Pirelli themselves had said – “Apart from making a set of tyres weigh around one kilogram less, there is no appreciable difference in performance; so in effect this is an ‘invisible’ change.” but there was nothing invisible about the change. And the result was that we had a tyre that no one had tested on.

It just so happened that Mercedes got lucky with this change, but F1 has to have a better way to introduce mid-season changes.

29

Agreed. This is just what we know already. The teams are constantly analysing and improving, Spain usually sees lots of upgrades.

30

That was excatly my thoughts also after reading this article

31

@Sars – Fully agree. I made exactly the same point, but my post has seemingly got moderated.

32

@ Redline…yes, the mods are out in force these days. I also had a couple that went MIA a while back! Either that or my aging Imac us trying to tell me something….

33

Why does Mercedes need to develop their car at all? I was under the impression that their car is so fast that they can choose to win or lose as many races as they want…..

34

I used to work at a hospital that had a very good emergency unit. The sister in charge said they were so good because they re-ran every case when they had quiet time – not just the cases where the patient sadly did not make it, but also the cases where the patient did. They analysed what they did – what was wrong, what was right and could be used again, what could be improved.

And good teams are like this. They are relentless. They are always looking at ways to improve, and in sports they have to assume that the competition is doing the same.

That’s why Merc are good, or McLaren and Wiliams were, and why Red Bull can still throw a cat amongst the pigeons. They don’t (or didn’t) let up. They don’t just build a fast car and sit back.

35

Tyres, tyres, tyres. Or maybe it was the tires. Everyone knows Mercedes could have rolled out a lawn tractor on their specially made tires and would have still won going away. I bet they were even inflated with special Mercedes air. Right?

36

0.4mm thickness people…0.4mm!… not only for Merc but all the teams. Others even insinuates that it was done for Lewis since Bottas would have also fared better had they had 0.4mm more rubber strip.

How big are the rubber marbles on the track after a race by the way? surely they have much more rubber than the 0.4mm strips.

37

Did you not see Vettel’s remarks after the Barcelona test? He now feels that Ferrari would have done even worse on the regular tyre.

38
seifenkistler

Perhaps it was:

0,4 0,01-0,4 0,0

Optimal for Mercedes | Better than 0,0 for Ferrari | Old ones

So Vettel could be right that the tyres used were better for him than the old ones, but the overall winner was still Mercedes because optimal for Ferrari would have been 0,2?

39

Does anyone else find it sad that teams are pushing like mad for every tenth yet they have to run with their engines turned down so they last 7 races. Ridiculous this is f1 not wec. Why can’t they have 1 engine per weekend. Up the fuel allowance by 10% and let them go flat out.

All this talk of cost saving is utter rubbish. How many millions have each engine manufacturer had to spend over the last winter testing and re-engineering their engines to be more durable, beefing up parts etc. Take the reins off and surely these engines would be good for a reliable 1200bhp including the hybrid technology.

40

What is so much better about 1200hp? They already produce massive amounts of power in a fat band.

41

My point is they are going to extremes to get every last bit of performance from the chassis. But with this ridiculous 3 engines per season rule the engines are being pegged back.

42

I like that they are focusing on durable engines. New F1 regulation is just pure porn for most engineers around the world.

43

That’s what F1 has always been, an engineering competition.

44

teams have always pushed for performance gains….nothing new or to be sad about

45

You miss the point. The car is at its maximum. The engine is not.

46

The chassis could be lighter if allowed. The PUs could produce more power if they didn’t have to last as long.

47

is that winning margin due to the car or driver?

48

Obviously the car as the article goes to pains to explain. You should read the article again before posting. The title says ‘How Mercedes got ahead again’. The fact that Hamilton was the driver is irrelevant.

49

Ha ha, the two extreme edges of the Hamilton spectrum clash again! Surely both of you can see that it was a bit of both?

50

Don’t think Merc is winning the tech battle. Barcelona has been good for them the last 3 or 4 years. Let’s see coming races and for sure Canada with some engine upgrades.

51

Well that’s pretty good Mercedes guys. Considering you are saddled with that heavy hybrid equipment and all. Just read about upcoming Indy car engine formula where they get by without the heavy hybrid nonsense and yield upwards of 900 hp out of a 2.4 liter v6 twin turbo setup.

52

Gene, so a 2.4 litre engine producing 900bhp is more impressive than a 1.6 pushing out a thousand? I wonder what the F1 motors will have in three years time when that Indy engine comes out? It’s a good job those Indycar guys don’t have to deal with the extra weight of the hybrid system isn’t it? Even without it their cars are heavier than F1…..

53

Don’t you find it odd that the FIA does most things to slow down the cars. The cars keep getting faster and faster as the engines get smaller and smaller displacement. Even with that, they had to increase weight of hybrid cars to compensate for hybrid equipment. Hey, thats another way to slow down cars – increase weight again!

Maybe its now time to talk about racing Indy cars vs. F1 cars? Used to be Indy cars were heavy slow in the corners. I know that is not practical or even possible, but you can see the direction there 2 formulas are going.

54

Gene, I don’t think it’s odd at all that the FIA has to slow the cars down from time to time, the cicuits can only handle so much. If the cornering speeds get too high then the run offs and barriers would have to be re designed. F1 only has to maintain it’s position as the fastest series, it doesn’t have to be so much faster that the risks get too high.

I doubt you would ever see a race between the two series, there’s no point, the F1 car would annihilate the Indycar, the F1 is lighter, has more power and generates more downforce.

55

The cars would look so much more alive and nimble without the hybrid stuff though. It would just be better.

56

Nick, I wonder how much the batteries and generators weigh? Not all the weight gained since the 2000s comes from the hybrid system.

57

According to Lewis, one of the advantages of being a champion is that the engineers listen to your input e.g. When Lewis joined the team in 2013 and asked them to move about the buttons on his steering for better comfort

Likewise, Lewis’ input was of good use to Mclaren in 2009 when the team turned around their performance at Germany 2009

58

@ Goferet…Gee, I bet the engineers at Mercedes were simply gobsmacked at the level of technical excellence behind that suggestion!! Object lesson…move the steering wheel buttons…hahahaha Just what were the changes made in 2009 that inspired the change of direction resulting from Hamilton’s ideas?

59

Well it was not lewis that pressed the wrong buttons in Spain 16 Ken.

Not by a long shot.

It was not lewis that needed instructions taped to the wheel either so perhaps there is more to this than meets the Luddite eye possibly?

Come on Ken, the LH rants are getting childish.

Your better than that. I know you are.

Anyway your boy could be looking good this weekend if his team has tyres for him. Somewhere, anywhere!

60

@ Drg… C’mon Doc relax a little. My points are as as rational as the attempts by the ‘force’ to say otherwise. I must apologise though for letting you down, once again.Your disappointment is palpable. As for ‘my boy’ if only that was true? The past has nothing to do with the future especially if you understand the concept of ‘randomness’. The loss he suffered was specifically profound especially on this track and with so many variables to take into account, it must be said that the likelihood of him winning are slender…very slender. Enjoy Monaco mon ami.

61
It’s not Allen, it’s Steve

Well, I’m going to have to mull this article over. Might just slip on my Bose headphones and enjoy a tepid can of Cuke. It’s heaven in a can.

62

Historically, Barcelona is the first European race of the season, and also the race where most drivers use a brand new tub with all the detailing improvements on it, so maybe Lewis Hamilton return to form was because he did have that new tub which gave him a better feel for grip and balance than previously.

Most drivers last season used 2 to 3 tubs, as carbon composite doesn’t suffer anything like the deformation and structural weakening of the old aluminium monocoques, but netherless a nice new fresh tub for the European season will always give a driver a psychological boost……………

63

if all drivers had that ‘nice new fresh tub’ will there be an increase in all drivers’ performance?

64

Still a circuit to circuit performance thing and also a tyre thing. The top 3 teams have cars that are suited for certain tracks. Red Bull will be the top team to beat at Monaco.

Mercedes have made a step up. Assuming they’ve upped the performance of their engines. As they are doing in incremental stages. Their car in Spain did show signs of performance through the short corners so they maybe be good at Monaco even with a long wheel base and chassis.

Ferrari had a less smokey car in Spain so as some F1 tech people in Autosport have been saying…they might have had some illegal oil burning or engine mapping going on. That fell foul of FIA scrutiny.

Did they have an illegal car running in the last 4 races before Spain? Who knows.

Mercedes are getting their act together but Monaco is a short track that Red Bull will be attacking full on. If only they can keep Max from a demolition tussle with Ricci heading to first corner.

Development show fown will be Canada as its a speed track until then Monaco is the domain of the short wheel base pokey cars like the Red Bull and may even include the Haas and Mclaren.

65

@BKF….Wolffie is putting it out that they are the underdog…as if?

66

At Monaco, yes. They were the 3rd best car there last year, so until there’s evidence to the contrary, why wouldn’t he expect a repeat, especially when they’ve persevered with the same car concept?

67

@ KRB…you of all people should know, ‘that was then, this is now’.

68

Oh please KRB. The Bottas drivin Merc was a tenth off pole last year (behind only the Ferrari’s) and whilst he slid to fourth in the race it was hardly a result of having the “3rd best car”. Considering also that Mercedes won in 2016….and 2015….and 2014….and 2013……its a bit of a stretch for even the most ardent Silver Arrows worshipper to suggest they struggle around the circuit.

69

Agreed, Singapore maybe, not Monaco.

70

Kenneth

At Monaco they have to be underdogs.

But elsewhere they are slightly ahead so long as the tyres are working.

What’s your take on team orders at Monaco for Red Bull. They must know they have a great chance of a 1-2 on Sunday .

So what are they going to do to keep it a fair fight & not do a unsubtle Ferrari swap by bringing in Vettel ahead of Kimi at the pitstop phase.

I hope Ricci has a equal chance but the owners may try a “subtle” Ferrari esq ‘switch a roo’.

I can see the Safety Car being in action at a drop of a hat by Charlie Whiting. To USA’fy (pardon the slang) a Euro Blue Ribbon event.

Importantly , Grosjean should leave his doughnuts in Paris.

(All Hail the Pit Girls…are back! I’d best sip an Soluble Aispirin to keep the ticker from flatlining🤩).

71

@ BKF….Good post hahahaha I don’t necessarily believe in this ‘underdog’ theory that Wolffie is blagging. let’s wait and see. Red Bull team orders are an interesting area to contemplate. I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t already in place just not publicised. Barca was , for me, something of a big query. The reason being that Ricciardo was just too far behind to make any sense. Was he simply making a statement by putting in three of the fastest race laps whilst 27secs in arrears? Red Bull would be aware of the problems with Monaco and wheel to wheel. The likelihood of Verstappen playing dirty again cannot be dismissed lightly. The team owe Riccirado a win here in Monaco but i fear that if he is in the running he will be nobbled. The future WDC extraordinaire cannot be seen to be fallible.

So ,gad that Albert, of the ever expanding waistline, has had the ‘cojones’ to stick with the grid ladies. Having all those little kids in their little white costumes looks absolutely ridiculous!!! American froth and bubble. Don’t know whether you caught the French Moto GP last Sunday but they have at least kept their grid ladies and i’m glad of it. They looked great and seemed to be enjoying themselves…some with ‘eye poppers’ and others more discreetly covered up but all in all a good arrangement. Love this race and i just hope that we see DR get another chance…albeit a slim one.

72

Kenneth you’re right about Petrucci. He stated that the 2nd ride is between him and Miller. Petrucci didn’t mention Lorenzo once.

The only place then Lorenzo would go is to KTM which is like going from Prem Division (skipping Championship and Division 1) to Division 2 in bike tech and prestige.

The Ducati isn’t suited for Lorenzos riding. He prefers to turn from the mid line on circuit, The bike just doesn’t have the balance to do that. The KTM will be able turn but when he strangles the throttle it’ll just fizz loudly and accelerate slowly. Lorenzos price and value is plummeting. Mugello will be critical for him.

73

@ BKF…Yes, the demise of Dovi was a letdown but the result was still good. At this rate Marquez will be hard to beat. As for Lorenzo’s seat…yes, it’d be great to see Miller get it as he’s riding better and better each race. It won’t happen though as Petrucci has first dibs i would think. Roll on…

74

Watched the Moto GP was abit of a flat race after Dovi sl8de off. Leaving the independent Ducati to try an catch up with Marquez. Well done to Rossi for thr the 3rd place. Lorenzo will loose his drive with Ducati at this rate or take a massive pay cut. I’m hoping Miller gets his seat.

75

Max will not give any space infact I think Ricci will play him at his own game. Waiting for an error or just doing s Lewis and getting other cars involved. That way he has to protect his behind and drive defensive at times.

76

Gosh, no mention of tyres.

Wasn’t it tyres, James, first and foremost, that gave Mercedes the win in spain?

77

I agree PG…i think Merc won in Barca because they focused almost their entire pre-season on the medium tyre. It’s no surprise they won the race.

I expect that Ferrari and RB will be ahead of them in Monaco -unless they find even more quali-mode.

For your sake…it would be nice to see Kimi get the reward he deserved last year!

78

why did the win not go to bottas?

79

It usually goes to the best driver. It is frowned upon to award the “win” to a random driver, willy nilly.

80

Sure but they don’t work alone

A big chunk of what you do on an F1 car is about getting the tyres to work better

Especially these tyres

81

Ah James, I have done nothing much to a race car just changed tyres and it was noticeably improved. I have also had a race car with an unfixable problem that we could then tune around after a minor tyre change. Conversely I had a great race car turn to shyte with nothing more than tyre pressure change. Pirrelli didn’t change the tread depth expecting no result. No matter how minor it appears on paper, when the rubber met the road it made a difference and one team benefited more than the rest. As any racer knows, tyres are the most important item on a race car, albeit not much good with the rest of the package.

Whether the result was deliberate or not is irrelevant, Pirrelli made a change to get a result, they plainly expected the tyres to perform differently, otherwise why bother making the change. Why should anyone be surprised that a change designed to make a difference actually made a difference? Shouldn’t we have been more surprised if it didn’t make a difference?

82
Ashish Sharma

The reason people were not expecting a stark difference was because Pirelli had themselves called it an “invisible change”, and given how much they are being talked about we can agree that it was not invisible.

If Pirelli had brought the harder tyres, the conspiracy theories would have remained, but at least the fans who diligently watched the winter testing would not have been surprised/insulted to see the Mercedes suddenly outperforming the Ferrari on the “Softs”.

Quote —>

In a bid to reduce surface overheating, Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola confirmed on Friday in Bahrain that the tread would be reduced by 0.4 mm for the three races after analysing its findings from pre-season testing.

“This was a recommendation that we ourselves brought to the FIA – as we have done in the past at some races – because it is less disruptive than nominating harder compounds, which was the alternative,” Isola said.

“Apart from making a set of tyres weigh around one kilogram less, there is no appreciable difference in performance; so in effect this is an ‘invisible’ change.

83

a change designed to make a difference actually made a difference? Shouldn’t we have been more surprised if it didn’t make a difference?

The ad-hoc manner in which F1 still continues to implement mid-season changes is the underlying problem.

Pirelli realised the problem with their tyres in Barcelona winter testing, so there should have been some thought on the next steps. If new tyres were mandatory, they should have been tested somewhere before being used in Barcelona.

Yes they made a change, yes it made a difference, yes we should not be surprised, but couldn’t it have been done better. This effectively made it a lottery, not much better than Bernie’s sprinkler idea, and it could have / should have been implemented better.

84

Bernie’s sprinkler idea would have been a hoot and a half.

85

When it’s just a 5 degree working window, it’s ridiculous. When it’s like that, on a total knife edge, you can’t help but devote a lot of your in-car time to tire management. More than should be necessary.

On an aside, what does USP stand for?

86

Ultra Soft Peanut or Pirelli!

87

Unique selling point

88

Thanks James. I just wanted to suggest that the leap Merc made in Barc was mainly designed by Pirelli with additional input from Mercedes designers.

I can’t ever read about Allison without remembering how badly he let down Ferrari…….

89

I’m hoping it was the tyre changes that caught Ferrari out and that the in season testing has allowed them to get back on top of it. Otherwise we are in for a boring season and expect to lose more viewers/ sell less tickets etc.

90

f1 will never lose viewers. it is the fastest growing global motorsport.

91

So that’s what it’s like, living in an echo chamber!!!

92

Stop trolling would you.

93

It is the fastestgrowing motorsport on twitter and instagram with more free videos being watched on youtube. But I fail to see any data on people putting their hands into their pockets and paying. So Istick by my statement. F1 will lose viewers and ticket buyers if it does not have a good season.

94

Jon the track attendance numbers are very high, tv viewers are up too from their low point a couple of years ago. But a good season wouldn’t hurt.

95

Money does not have to come out of the fan pockets. The more the sports become popular, the more brands want to advertise. Similar way that makes Mark Zuckerberg rich.

96

#kay-gee And if people started leaving facebook and going over to a new platform then the advertisers would follow. Anyone remember friends reunited?

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