More tyres and more drivers
Having sat his naughty boys down for a little chat following their first lap tete a tete during the race in Shanghai, Bob builder of fast cars has turned his attention to the bigger F1 picture. With the ‘support’ of one Mr. Bernard Charles Ecclestone, the assistant principal of the Silverstone based F1 team has proposed a motion to his peers (or I guess seniors – in case of those who bear the title ‘principal’) that they accept an extra set of rubber boots for FP1.
Pirelli – who are not yet sure whether they’ll be in F1 in 2014 – have given their consent to this idea and the ‘condition’ attached – from whom we do not know – is that this issue of additional tyres be for teams only who are prepared to allow ‘rookie’ drivers to participate in that session.
It appears this move is to solve a problem which most F1 fans don’t realise even exists. Apparently the number of cars running during the first 30 minutes of the first practice session of the F1 weekend is low. The reason being because the teams don’t wish to waste precious rubber preparing the ‘green’ track.
I saw one report suggesting that ‘many teams’ run reserve drivers in FP1 anyway, so what’s the big deal? By my reckoning – and I know the knowledgeable and intensely precise TJ13 readers will haul me over the coals if I’m wrong – only Caterham have done this so far in 2013.
I’m sorry, but there doesn’t appear to be any philosophical consistency to this proposal. If the issue is about more rubber for the track then why the condition being attached to use a ‘rookie driver’? Then, if the ‘rookie driver’ practice is so common place – again why make it a condition?
What we do know is teams can bolster their budget by charging drivers and their financial backers to run in FP1. The more track time they can offer presumably the higher the price they can command.
Anyway, the idea will require approval from all of Bob’s peers and seniors should it come into force for the race weekend in Barcelona – by which time more than 20% of the season will be complete.
Pirelli bow to pressure
Having been criticised in China for the durability of their soft tyre, Pirelli have bowed to pressure and changed the option compound they planned to use in Bahrain. The soft tyre has been replaced by the medium compound but Paul Hembery still expects the default strategy to similar to China, “we expect three stops per car, although we’ll have to wait to get some running in on Friday before we can look at the data and make a more accurate prediction.”
We’ll see whether changing the tyres already declared for a future event is a decision that will come back to haunt Pirelli. Of course we do not want tyre compounds with a delta differential of over a second because this reduces the strategic choices and makes the one compound into the qualifying tyre and the other compound the race tyre.
If the precedent is now set that Pirelli can indeed change the tyre compounds after declaring their initial selection for a race – let’s hope if they find by the end of the season the teams are getting on top of the tyre compounds – and one stopping – they can mix it up and be less conservative without being accused of favouring one team or another in the title run in.
I’ve said my bit today and will answer any questions from anyone – fire away. So no sermons coming here folks. However, just as I did with Vijay and Ecclestone and the F1 shares for the Teachers of Texas – the news around the F1 event in Bahrain will be published.
Also may I add that nobody will be censured no matter how critical they are of my views – unlike other journalists who appear to be offended when asked a few simple questions about their Damascus style conversion from an Anti to Pro Bahraini polemic. Hey Ho. Integrity and Professionalism huh?
A group of British MP’s have decided to write a letter to Bernie Ecclestone. The communique from the ‘All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain’ said, “We request you cancel the Grand Prix. It is likely to attract as much negative publicity as last year.”
Andy Slaughter, chairman of the group writes, “Since April 2012, many more people including children have lost their lives and the whole country exists in fear and intimidation. Last year’s race was held under conditions of martial law. Three hundred protesters were arrested, some spending months in jail.
I think most democratic-minded people would be appalled if you allowed the Bahrain leg of the Formula 1 championship to go ahead amidst the most atrocious human rights violations.”
Reckon that’ll do the trick then… next up Barcelona.
Some of the teams have issued statements pertaining to the security measures they are adopting for their visit to the gulf state.
Red Bull: “The team will be vigilant and take sensible precautions, but otherwise we are approaching this race in the same way we do all races.”
McLaren: “The team will be staying very near the circuit, at a hotel that has very good security, and we feel that no extra security measures are therefore necessary for us.”
Williams: “We are adhering to our normal security measures in Bahrain and just using usual common sense, nothing more.”
Mercedes: “The safety of our employees is our highest priority and we will follow the guidance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) concerning travel to the region.
I’m hearing that Allah hath judged the iniquitous Bahraini’s with an earthquake…. wait… see twitter can be misleading.
Having had time for proper investigation it appears the truth is actually the reverse. Many suspect that the trouble makers in Bahrain have been sent in by the Iranian regime to steal their oil and stashes from under their Persian rugs – so bizarrely it is in fact within Iran that the quake occurred – thus of course vindicating completely the Al Khalifa family in all matters.
Webber not signed to Porsche
It appears to be silly week. I was brought up to believe it was “better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool – than to open it and remove all doubt” and I am indeed shocked at some of the blather certain respected F1 writers have been propounding recently.
Mark Webber and a 5 year deal to drive Porsche’s? – give me a break. Webber has spent some time in sports cars, but that was back in 1999. Anyway, here’s the definitive answer. Porsche’s Wolfgang Hatz says they have not signed Webber as they prepared to hit the test track later this year ahead of their World Endurance Championship assault.
“There is a test plan and for sure Mark Webber is not part of it. We can have perhaps some Formula One drivers in the future but it is not necessary.” Another spokesperson for Porsche has apparently told Bild, “Porsche has a squad of 10 highly sucessful works drivers, forming an excellent basis for the occupation of the LMP1 cockpits for 2014. Mark Webber has not signed a 5 year deal with Porsche”.
So those who jumped all over Derek Bell’s opinion at the weekend that Webber had signed with Porsche may have been a little precipitous.
For those of you who don’t remember, Mark Webber’s previous excursion into sportscar racing was brief. After finishing as runner-up in the FIA GT Championship in 1998, he was lucky to survive an almighty crash at Le Mans the following year when his Mercedes flipped along the Mulsanne Straight during practice. Webber’s team-mate Peter Dumbreck suffered a similar fate in the race itself and Mercedes quit the series immediately.