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Tyre debates roll on
As I wrote yesterday, the Pirelli tyre issue is a diversion from big rifts in F1, which may well get worse over the coming months. Kevin Eason of The Times declared Mateschitz comments as, “a declaration of self interest” as it appears the Red Bull billionaire expects that if you spend the most, you should come top.
Unsurprisingly, Ecclestone has thrown his two penneth in also apparently from a perspective of self interest. “The tyres are wrong, not what we intended when we asked Pirelli to produce something which did a half race. Pirelli know it and they’re doing something about it. We’ll go back to last season’s type of tyres, which gave us some close racing.”
Bernie is not happy with Pirelli at the moment. Paul Hembery was his golden child as the F1 show got exciting at his behest, but since Ecclestone declared and leaked through Martin Brundle in Bahrain, that the tyre deal for 2014 and beyond was ‘done’ – it is clearly not and so Paul is at present out in the cold.
Pirelli are not happy with the contract and are refusing to put pen to paper at present. Ecclestone’s criticism today is therefore convenient one may feel.
It may be convenient, but again Bernie makes himself foolish with his rash comments. His once unpredictable nature is now becoming all too predictable. Most obvious of all is Mr. E’s contradictory statements that suggest Il Padrino’s observations about his age and faculties is close to the mark.
Pirelli were indeed asked to produce tyres that did a lot less than half a race. Eric Boulier observes to RTL, “Pirelli was asked to build tyres that last 20 laps, and they’ve done that. If our car can do it, the other teams should work just as hard.”
Lotus team Boss Gerard Lopez wades in to the debate, though it’s not clear how much he watches football. “I can understand that this is being discussed again, but that’s like football… As soon as one team hits the post a few times, the argument to make them [the goalposts] wider apart begins… I think the discussion is just stupid” (AMuS) .
This is clearly from whence the phrase, ‘shifting the goalposts’ is derived. Quiet apt… in a surreal way I guess Gerard.
Lauda tells AMus impressively that he is speechless on the matter. He added, “I shall say nothing more”. Yet Alonso is matter of fact about his rubber boots, “We know what we are doing. Tyres are not a mystery to us”.
It appears this is the case because in Friday practice Ferrari were quickest on the medium tyre, but Alonso chose to run stints 2,3 and 4 in the race on the hard tyre. Pedro de la Rosa explains, “Fernando made the calls [which tyre when] because he has an uncanny feel for them”.
Sounds like F1 racing at present is all about the driver’s skill and feel for what is required and when. Ferrari will not want big changes to be made, even though the German media are today reporting that by Canada we will return to the 2012 compounds.
Just an hour ago, Paul Hemberey tweeted, “From Canada changes to be made to bring back 2 to 3 stops. Some structural changes combining elements 2012 and 2013 products.” This is still no revolution, and as TJ13 reported over the last promised change – it won’t be enough to satisfy Red Bull.
This was planned for after Canada anyway, and so has only seen Pirelli bring forward something that was in the pipeline already.
We are yet to hear from Il Padrino on how his pow wow with Mr. E went at the weekend. This will no doubt have included matters bribery charges, the unsigned Concorde agreement, bribery charges, Marussia, bribery charges, testing, bribery charges and tyres.
These are heady times for F1 politics and it was interesting this weekends F1 testing vote was just 6-5 against more track time. Alliances are shifting and Ferrari are strong.
Mischief over Pat Fry?
Without mentioning James Allison, today’s publication asks the questions, “Pat Fry was missing from the pit wall in Barcelona. Yet Ferrari won the race and were able to handle matters without such an important absentee. How was this possible without Fry on the wall, he plays the role of quaterback, but this did not affect the execution of the perfect race”.
Pat Fry was taken ill last Saturday and had an emergency appendectomy a matter of hours later which is why he was not present for the race. So is this mischief making by the Italian publication? We know Pat Fry has been under quite some pressure in recent times, particularly in India 2012 over the row that never was.
Following a disappointing qualification seeing Alonso just 5th on the grid Fry had said to SKY, “In order to be where we wanted and where we were capable of being, we needed to be perfect today and we weren’t”. There had been tension between Alonso and the Ferrari technical team over the lack of upgrades to the car. Alonso had previously stated in Japan – after qualifying 7th – he had been ‘perfect’ implying the car was not good enough.
Clearly in India Pat Fry coined Alonso’s phrase to fight back. La Stampa (mouthpiece for Ferrari) reported that Alonso “flew into a rage’ upon hearing Fry’s comments and had intended to hit back with a Tweet along the lines of: ‘I want my 1.2 million followers to know that the key aerodynamic components at the rear of the Ferrari are still the same as they were in May.”
The rift was denied and swept under the carpet and battle with Vettel was resumed for the final 3 races of the season.
Yet times have changed indeed. Alonso seemed to damn the F138 with faint praise during winter testing when he described it as ‘being closer but not the quickest’. Now Ferrari’s 2013 F1 offering is looking impressive. In fact had Alonso been ‘perfect’ (not made 2 bad judgement calls) in Malaysia and had the DRS not failed in Bahrain, his two wins and second place would have been joined by another 2 podiums. No wonder Red Bull are concerned.
It seems Fry and his team have made the car of the F1 class of 2013 and Stefano was quick to praise their efforts following the win last Sunday. He said, “We read the race very well, when one considers how tyre management and calling the pit stops today made the difference and I can say without being presumptuous, that the team of engineers didn’t put a foot wrong. I think that is down to Pat Fry, even he wasn’t with us today on the pit-wall.”
No problem there then. To be fair, the Autosprint piece does go on to say what a fabulous team Ferrari is and that winning a race when losing the ‘quarterback’ should in fact be expected.
Yet to me the inference is clear – but then the Italian press can be gushing at times as well as prone to mischief making. #ViviaItalia #ForzaFerrari
Ecclestone may be gone before Concorde is signed
History shows that you can only beat everyone into submission and rule the roost of a regime perceived as unfair for so long. The reason is simple. Eventually the ruler makes enough enemies who have enough power to bring them down.
While I was away this weekend, as TJ13 predicted last October, reports are now emerging that Ecclestone will be charged in Munch.
Today the Financial Times is running an article suggesting that Mr. E will attempt to do a deal with the Munich prosecutors, yet ‘a source’ is quoted stating, “”Irrespective of whether he manages to settle,” a source told the newspaper, “he would be gone from F1 by the end of the year.”
Defiant as ever, Ecclestone was quoted by Reuters in Barcelona saying, “I’ve not heard from anybody. Let’s wait and see what happens.”
The Financial Times (FT) is one of the world’s leading business news and information organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy.
Just as La Stampa was an interesting choice of publication to leak the row between Fry and Alonso, the FT is an equally interesting choice for the publication of quotes on this matter from an unnamed source.
The charges will be placed before the court in the next 2 weeks for them to decide if there is a case to answer. Ecclestone’s lawyers, Thomas and Sharp, have already tried to have the matter struck down but without success.
Most unusually the German indictment is to be translated into English, which will of course make it easier to fill pages of copy in the British newspapers.
No hearings are likely to be scheduled before the autumn, but I am reliably informed by my German colleagues that due to the judge’s comments in the original Gribkowsky case where he cited Ecclestone as the source of the bribe which convicted the German banker, it will be most difficult for Thomas and Sharp to argue there is no case to be heard.
German media attack Red Bull arrogance
AMuS writer, Michael Schmidt, in a remarkable piece comments today that Red Bull are blinkered, arrogant and selfish. In an open letter to Dieter Mateschitz he lambasts him for his selfish attitude and reminds him of certain matters of F1 history which he may have neglected to remember.
Phrases like, ‘blinded by success’ and ‘God given right for Red Bull to win’ are littered in Schmidt’s attack on the Austrian team owner.
He continues his attack, “I want to remind you…” that this form of racing induced by the tyres began in 2011 when Red Bull romped away with both F1 titles.
Schmidt amusingly makes the same point I did yesterday that if the Red Bull requires 8 stops, then stop moaning and make them and infers they have a poor car design because Lotus can do the same race in 3 and Ferrari 4.
He continues the argument that their car is badly designed and eats tyres by observing that on similar compounds and in similar temperatures, Vettel in 2012 was 2 seconds slower in qualifying, and notes back then DRS was available for the entire lap.
Michael goes on to mock the idea that 4 stops is a modern phenomenon and has no place in F1 and reminds Mateschitz of a jubilant Brawn and Schumacher who revelled in their genius strategy when they outfoxed the opposition with an unexpected 4 stop race in Magny Cours.
TJ13 comment: If I may interject for a moment Michael, I think we have an even better example – closer to home for our friends in Milton Keynes. Vettel’s winning strategy in Barcelona 2011 was stopping lap 9/18/34/48. Fernando on Sunday stopped on laps 9/21/36/49.
Also there were 77 pit stops in the race in 2011 in Barcelona and 79 on Sunday.
This was an entertaining read and whilst a little shocking in its direct address and mockery is hardly surprising in its accusations that Red Bull are “blinkered, arrogant and selfish”. (AMuS)
With all the tyres, tyres, tyres debate I forgot to mention this yesterday on my return. Anyone spot something on the McLaren this week? I’ll give you a clue.
If you missed it check out this TJ13 article on impending McLaren sponsor decisions here
Tweet of the day
@MarkGallagher62 with the comment
“”Nice to see Pirelli being treated so well by F1”
PRESS RELEASE: GMT 14:23
HEMBERY: “PIRELLI WILL PROVIDE THE TEAMS WITH A NEW RANGE OF TYRES MIXING THE STABILITY OF 2012 AND THE PERFORMANCE OF 2013”
Milan, May 14, 2013 – This year’s Pirelli P Zero Formula One tyre range will change from the Canadian Grand Prix onwards, using a revised construction. The move follows the Spanish Grand Prix, which had four pit stops per driver. The new range will combine elements from the 2012 and 2013 tyres to have both durability and performance.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Our aim is to provide the teams with a new range which mixes the stability of the 2012 tyres and the performance of the current ones. As a company, we have always moved quickly to make improvements where we see them to be necessary.
After evaluating data from the first few races this year, we’ve decided to introduce a further evolution as it became clear at the Spanish Grand Prix that the number of pit stops was too high. The Spanish Grand Prix was won with four pit stops, which has only happened once before in our history.
These changes will also mean that the tyres are not worked quite as hard, reducing the number of pit stops.
With limited testing time, it’s clear now that our original 2013 tyre range was probably too performance-orientated for the current regulations. However, having identified this issue, we’re determined to rapidly resolve it. It’s worth underlining that the current regulations for winter tests limit the opportunity to test the tyres under the same conditions as the race season because of the lower temperature and restricted time.
The Teams are of the same opinion as we are in wanting longer testing times and different locations for the next tests. We developed the 2013 tyres on the basis of careful simulations that were, however, not sufficient, taking into account the improved speed of cars (up to 3 seconds per lap).
We’ve also taken this step to avoid the delaminations that were caused by track debris. It’s important to point out that these delaminations, which occur when the tread comes off, do not compromise the safety of the tyres as the core structure of the tyre is not affected in any way, helping drivers to complete the lap and to change the damaged tyres safely.
These delaminations were due to damage from debris that overheated the tread. We’d like to thank all the teams for their continued and extremely valued support as we worked with them to identify the correct compromise between the pure speed that makes us the world leader in the Ultra High Performance sector and a global spectacle that is easy for Formula One fans to follow.”
Comment of the day
@takiinoue – “Esteban Gutierrez says 11th in Spanish GP like a victory to him… What a embarrassing comment! 11th is shit like me!”
Answers in the comments please 🙂
Previously speeding in the pit lane cost a driver $200 per kph over the speed limit. This will now be reduced to $100 and a limit of $1,000 be set as the maximum to be paid. Never was the phrase, “better be hung for a sheep, as a lamb” more true.