Daily #F1 news and Comment: Sunday 9th june 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day 01:31 02:12 03:58 04:30 GMT

2013 tyres will remain unchanged

TJ13 reported before Monaco that Pirelli had shifted their stance. They were to introduce new tyres for Canada, this then became tyres for the team’s to try out and hopefully to approve for Silverstone.

During the Pirelli press teleconference, TJ13 asked Paul Hembery did he have the unanimous agreement of the teams to change the tyres for 2013. He suggested that the teams recognised the delaminations are not ideal and agree in principle the tyres should be changed. “Some want more, others want less” change Hembery stated.

Yet Finland’s MTV3 are quoting Hembery as saying this weekend,  “We have heard that Lotus will not accept any changes, if that’s true, we will use the same tyres for the rest of the season. There may be some more four-stop races, but what can we do?”

Hembery believes they can reduce the delamination problem by reverting to using glue during the construction of the unchanged 2013 tyres. “Either we get the agreement of all the teams, which I think is unlikely, or we will have to have some other ideas.”

AMuS are speculating whether Jean Todt has “a secret agenda, and wants Pirelli to get so angry that they leave voluntarily, opening the door to Michelin?”.

Pirelli president Marco Tronchetti Provera when questioned whether he was concerned over the ‘tyregate’ scandals told Tuttosport: “It doesn’t concern us. We have followed the rules and we will continue to do so.”

Will Pirelli leave the sport? Italy’s La Repubblica reports Hembery saying, “We don’t want to have another season like this one. Our contract is expiring. Will formula one be without tyres? I don’t know, but that’s not our business. Who knows, maybe they’ll find another supplier willing to work in the dark.”

On the matter of the impending international tribunal, Hembery tells La Presse, “This is not just a matter of waiting for the truth to come out, but also a question of doing things differently in the future.”

Al Khalifa representatives in Canada

The provisional calendar for 2014 will be announced sometime in August and September. Representatives for the  Bahraini promoters are stepping up the pressure to hold the season opener, which could be as early as March 2nd.

In 2011, the year the Bahrain GP was cancelled, the schedule included a final test in Bahrain the week before the gulf state were to hold the season opener. This will be the case again should the opening race be awarded to Bahrain, who are offering an extra $10m for the privilege.

If New Jersey can find the cash, the 2014 season could contain a record 21 races though it is strange why this would require such an early start. There is plenty of time in the European leg of the F1 calendar to condense races and create the space for 2 more races.

The teams have agreed to request the rules  be altered to allow testing to begin before February 1st, yet whether Jerez will retain it’s opening slot on the test schedule is not clear. The teams and Pirelli criticised the Andalucian circuits surface as poor. TJ13 observed a number of repairs being made to the actual asphalt the cars run upon each night around 21-22:00.

There have been voices of concern raised over a 21 race calendar and extended testing. Damon Hill today observed that F1 people have families and it is not fair to ask them to be away for extended periods of time.

More races means more F1 income, so as long as enough goes to the teams they can afford additional travel costs and staffing expenses – what’s the problem?

Forgive me if I’m losing the plot, but the privilege of working in F1 is something most fans would give their right arms to do for food and lodging only as recompense. There are plenty of people outside of F1 who have a work life which sees them work away 5 days in 7.

This is motor racing – IT IS DANGEROUS. If the health and safety brigade and the political correct posse have their way we’ll be watching drivers compete simultaneously in simulators like some glorified internet based video game.

Hey, that’s an idea… then we can all play and see how good these guys really are who earn $20m a year. Winner takes all each race I say 🙂

Tyre limited cars no excuse in Canada

Having heard excuses about silver buses and tyre limited cars, the Canadian GP qualifying has set up a mouth watering prospect for F1 fans should the race be dry.

The teams have all their dry tyres still with the delivery wrapping paper on and as such can run a race based upon using the tyres to the maximum. We have seen a team win in 2013 using 5 sets of tyres during the race yet this should not be necessary in Canada.

When asked whether he would need all six sets of new dry tyres, Mark Webber confidently responded to SKY TV, “no four should be enough”.rs

Should the race be wet but not torrential, we could have a unique viewing spectacle. The top 10 drivers on the grid have all used their intermediate tyres extensively and cars qualifying outside the top may have a significant advantage.

Penalties and the revised grid

Nico Hulkenberg gets a big boost ahead of the start of the Canadian GP. Following penalties issued to Raikkonen and Ricciardo for not observing pit lane protocols he is now promoted to 9th.

The Finn and the Aussie failed to line up in order at the restart of Q3 following the red flag incidents and so have been penalised 2 places each.

1 Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing-Renault
2 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-
3 Valtteri Bottas, Williams-Renault
4 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
5 Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing-Renault
6 Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
7 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari
8 Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes
9 Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber-Ferrari
10 Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus-Renault  (2 place penalty)
11 Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (2 place penalty)
12 Sergio Pérez, McLaren-Mercedes
13 Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Renault
14 Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes
15 Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber-Ferrari 
16 Felipe Massa, Ferrari 
17 Paul Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 
18 Charles Pic, Caterham Renault 
19 Jules Bianchi, Marussia-Cosworth 
20 Max Chilton, Marussia-Cosworth 
21 Giedo van der Garde, Caterham Renault 
22 Romain Grosjean, Lotus Renault (10 place penalty from Monaco)
Di Resta Critical of team again

Having failed two race weekends in a row to make it out of Q3, Paul di Resta has described it as “not acceptable”. He told Sky TV, “We had a bit of an issue with the gearbox settings being incorrect before qualifying. It was key to be on the track at the right time and though we probably did not have to change it, it was changed.

The big thing is why it was wrong to begin with? The question is why did we try to fix it and not just go out because it was not going to make a difference?

Justifying his part in the Monaco qualifying fiasco, Paul says “Monaco was completely different, I’ve run through it again and I would have made the same decision as the engineer did. Here, there has been an error, people have apologised for their error and I accept that.

The bit I can’t accept is that it’s two weeks in a row. If it had happened just here, it would have been far easier to brush off. It’s testing (read difficult), but we recovered there [Monaco] and there’s no reason why we can’t recover again tomorrow.”

The problem for Paul is he demanded apologies from the team in Monaco when they did not switch his tyres in Q1, yet Van de Garde at the same time was telling his team he wanted to change tyres.

Alonso relaxed

We saw an agitated Fernando Alonso towards the back end of the 2012 season. ‘Almost text gate’ didn’t happen but still was reported by La Stampa a situation where the Spaniard was furious with the lack of development of the car by Fry and his team.

Then he engaged in Samurai pysche, tweeting against Vettel when the race weekend didn’t go his way. Yet having qualified 6th in Montreal and being 29 points behind Vettel, Fernando is not raging against the machine.

In fact he has admitted it was his fault he didn’t qualify further up the grid because on the second set of intermediates in Q3, “I made a mistake at turn 10. My qualifying place is on my own back”.

This rhetoric of personal accountability is not a fundamental change in the manner in which Alonso operates. Maybe this is merely ‘one in the bank’ – so later in the year when he needs to kick the team up the back side he can refer to this magnificent act of personal acceptance to prove his criticism is even handed.

Or maybe Fernando is just loved up.

Bottas’ wing

Williams F1 © Sutton Images

Could the reason for Bottas’ performance in qualifying be the different wing he is running to his teammate? Maldonado expecting a dry qualifying/race and Bottas a wet one? In the foreground we see Bottas has adopted the ‘Boomerang’ Rear Wing we have seen the team use before (Montreal & Monza in 2012) whilst Maldonado in the background tries out a new Rear Wing with a curved Y150 region.  Both are aimed at leveraging less drag vs downforce but in different ways. Bottas won…

Bangkok no more but is there an alternative

3 weeks ago TJ13 reported residents were up in arms about having the Thailand Grand Prix run through the historic part of the city after hearing about the proposed Grand Prix through media and social networks. This was after the Ministry for Pollution had completed its extensive study of the effects of an F1 race on the inhabitants close to the proposed circuit. Their conclusions were that, under Thai health and safety regulations, the impact is reasonable.

Well now the Metropolitan Authority passed a rule banning car racing in the historic district of the city, because the area is a conservation zone so no more Thai Grand Prix… or is the an alternative?

Early in May TJ13 pointed out the potential barriers for a race in the Thai capital and that race was very unlikely to happen. Very conveniently Newin Chidchob is building a circuit (Buriram International Circuit) 400 km north of Bangkok. Could this be where the F1 circus is heading?

Marko watch

In a recent interview Marko was asked what he thinks the next steps would be following on from the Mercedes test if the FIA does not act.

He threatened “Law of the jungle” saying, “…there is a test agreement among all the teams – a gentlemen’s agreement that we haven’t even mentioned – that also has been clearly violated. And if this test is waved through without consequences all the talks about cost reductions would go out of the window – it would be the reopening of Pandora’s box which would be hard to ever close again. Renault would definitely like us to test their new engine, and so on and so forth…“.

Hmmm, so is he saying they will test if the FIA does not make an example out of Mercedes?

25 responses to “Daily #F1 news and Comment: Sunday 9th june 2013

  1. Interestingly, we have a version of this already – iRacing World Championship! Greger Huttu, a Finn, co-incidentally the same age as Kimi Raikkonen, has dominated online sim-racing for now approaching 15 years. iRacing DWC has a winners cash prize of $10k, there is a NASCAR version as well. Huttu and Hugo Luis (LFS alien I think) are the winners so far and a cut above the rest. Richie Stanaway (Lotus FR3.5) won the feeder series to qualify for DWC this year since recovering from a back injury at Spa, but is currently doing Porsche Supercup on the F1 bill.

    I believe Lotus did an April fools’ joke this year parodying this eventual occurrence – claiming it would happen with the sim test drivers and we could compete with them in real time – i’ll admit I wanted this to be true so much that I forgot it was an April fools!

    Here’s hoping for an inters race, rain on and off, #BOTTAS ftw! I still think there’ll be 20 races in 2014, with Korea bailing to save some costs or Japan dropping off, but 21 sounds great!

  2. “Hey, that’s an idea… then we can all play and see how good these guys really are who earn $20m a year. Winner takes all each race I say”

    The iracing online race simulator already has several leagues with prize money, and bloody entertaining they are too, missing the gforces and physical sensation, but as a pure competition racing spectacle, its actually pretty bloody good… Lewis brother used to play in some of the online leagues, also the unfit like myself are not hampered either!

    • Yes, also there is an account there that is registered to a Lewis Hamilton (names are taken from credit cards for legitimacy on the service), which did a few hosted sessions and won an official race from the back of the grid in Mazda MX5s (the rookie car) which also had another pro racer in, Dion von Moltke, and was bloody fast in the F1 car for such a new user… Debate ensued on the forums whether the name/account was legit! Could have been him getting an account for his brother for all we know. Was registered to UK club.

  3. When do you ever hear a driver publicly criticizing the team? Usually the season before they are replaced. I’d say Force India have got someone else lined up for his seat, probably someone with a bit more sponsorship and Paul knows it.

    About the F1 circus being away from their family. David Ferrer, the man playing Nadal in the French Open tennis finals once was becoming fed up with tennis so went to work on a construction job but quit after just a week and realized how lucky he was with the tennis career! Maybe that’s something Di Resta should do before it’s too late.

  4. I’m not a friend of Marko and usually he sprouts a load of bovine excrement, given the chance. But in this case he’s right. If I was in charge of any of the other teams and FIA wouldn’t come down on Merc and Pirelli like a ton of bricks, I’d pack my stuff and go testing the raw stuffing out of my cars.

    • Maybe. What if the FIA just steal some points away. That’s not a ton of bricks but I can’t see Red Bull sacrificing points for test time in the near future.

    • Seems more like the FIA should come down on itself for ever agreeing to this kind of testing in the first place. That said, seems to me it’s one thing if Mercedes spec’d the car according to Pirelli, only had access to engineering data to properly run the car, with no records, and only made changes as requested by Pirelli, and an entirely different thing if they put a bunch of brand new parts on the car and were able to bring data back from the test to Brackley. I’m understanding right now that the first is a Pirelli test, the next is a Mercedes test. The legality of a Pirelli test is arguable, and hangs on Pirelli, a Mercedes test absolutely illegal.

      In the team principals interview transcript, Brawn seemed to really believe that the IT was going to be his salvation. Wonder who he knows/what kind of incriminating evidence he has on them.

      However, for the truly interesting, I just visited the FIA portal to check the start time of today’s race and the second thing that popped up was a screen that said “FIA and Michelin- 10 Golden Rules”. Make of that what you will.

      • Love the phrases, “Marko watch” by TJ13 and “…usually he sprouts a load of bovine excrement” by DS. Marko’s comments are often surprising, and obtuse.

        In this case, it’s very interesting that he mentions Renault wanting to test.

        The FIA has already indicated that Mercedes has correctly interpreted Article 22.1, (as some folks have described, including myself in a prior comment on TJ13). The FIA also acknowledged that such testing was part of Pirelli’s contract with the FIA.

        So a subtle reading of Marko’s remarks would lead one to ask, does Renault’s contract with the FIA enable Renault to conduct test sessions of their engine with their teams?

        If the answer is yes, the do the contracts of Ferrari, Mercedes, and Honda with the FIA have that capability as well?

        • I’m informed the engine suppliers have no testing arrangements like the Pirelli contract. Pirelli have always negotiated these options in other series they compete in too.

          • Interesting! Thank you for that!

            In that case, well played by Pirelli!

            Marko is a bit of a wonder…

            Of course the public tears shared by other members of the RB team are a bit over the top as well. In a couple of months time, we will all know whether or not their position (which is Pirelli can’t do a tyre test with any team’s current car) is correct. There is a good chance that RB’s position has been wrong all along.

            Red Bull is working very hard to persecute the Mercedes team in the press, and I wonder why? Of course, it is a given that when a primary opponent breaks the rules, a team should ensure that they’re penalized by the FIA. RB correctly protested to have this issued clarified. But RB’s continuous work with the press and media on this issue borders on extravagant in its vehemence. What is their underlying end-game here?

          • It’s not a one-sided love-fest though. Niki Lauda spent most part of yesterday’s pre-race coverage badmouthing Red Bull, so I think that’s just a case of two teams locking horns.

  5. LOL, Pirelli seem to have attended lessons by Alexandr Lukashenko. They now employ censorship on their faceborg page. Critical posts are deleted and they employ a clacquer called Dean Hale, who seems to be employed to post Pirelli praisings. It’s so ridiculous, I’m in stitches.

  6. If the ‘Bangkok’ GP goes up to Buriram it’ll be even less accessible than the Korean circuit…
    Bear in mind the purpose of this GP is flag waving by the government, and they will want it kept close to Bangkok, or they lose face…
    And the owner of the Buriram facility (which isn’t quite built yet, nor started) is not exactly best friends with the government top-dogs…
    Whether the race happens in 2015 or not it will be entirely a political decision – so what’s new…?

    • Forgot to add… It is not difficult in Thailand for, say, the Bangkok Governor to be ‘encouraged’ by the Prime Minister’s Office to change his mind… 😉

  7. I would love to see somebody with more information than me explain what we just watched. Were we cheated by Pirelli? Was there other kind of anomaly in this track that allowed to happen what we saw?

    * * *

    How was possible to make a 56 laps stint in medium tyres that dind’t last half that distance before?
    Where did the tyre graining go? The track was pretty clean.
    How were 17 drivers lapped by the others?
    Why was overtaking too difficult even with the DRS open? It seemed to me that the cars were limited by tyre traction.
    How high tyre degrading cars recovered and became good on tyres -Red Bull, Mercedes- and low degrading cars had so many problems -Lotus-?
    What happened to the temperature/wearing marks we usually see due to tyre camber? Why tyres looked the same in all their surface?

    I couldn’t avoid thinking that I was watching a race developing exactly as races developed in hard racing tyres from a sole supplier, like in the early 90’s. But Pirelli tyres don’t have those characteristics, do they?

    • Did you see what good buddy buddy talk Ecclestone, Horner and Hembery had before the race?

      Think the circuit is not very abrasive but yes.. a bit boring in my opinion… 5 max…

    • The difference in tyre compounds was just ridiculous this weekend. The harder one made almost 60 laps on Paul’s car, while the softer one barely made a dozen laps. The only thing that this proves is that this year#s tyres are completely artificial and manipulative.

    • And as the season progresses we’ll see the teams continually get on top of the tyres. The medium tyre was a ptetty conservative choice for the circuit. Following the hysteria from certain quarters, Pirelli had no option.

      What the hell McLaren were doing trying to one stop Button and starting him on the softer tyre… I’m incredulous. Their teams of race/performance analysts want sacking.

      How could they give him a delta time to drive too? This has happened too often. Button has said he could have pushed harder and tyres were left with too much life in them.

      VERDICT: Ban in car radio. Make the drivers drive by feel again. Send the performance analysts off to colonise somewhere like Botany Bay!!!!!!!!!

      • They tried that in the TdF and it was shouted down for safety reasons. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to go back to pit boards. Make the drivers earn their pay again. I hope it comes to …wait for it … pass (sorry, couldn’t resist). Much better idea than artificial rain IMO.

    • Monsieur Juan Ramos,

      The tyres this year have been over-heating in high speed turns with high downforce configurations.

      At the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, for the first time this season the cars were run with significantly less downforce (due to the long straights) than we’ve seen so far this year. In addition, this circuit features mostly slower turns.

      Likewise, Monaco features no high speed turns.

      Because Monaco and Canada had no high speed turns run in a high downforce set-up, we did not see the issues that we’ve seen at Barcelona and the prior circuits.

      You should expect the tyre issues to reappear at the Silverstone race in a very large way. There is a good chance that Silverstone will be a spectacular exercise for 1) the engineers to set-up their cars to be tyre friendly, and 2) for the drivers to manage their tyre degradation.

      By the way, someone (I believe it was Martin Brundle during the race broadcast) at the Spanish GP noted that the cars that were performing well in the third sector in the race there at Barcelona would have the upper hand at Monaco and Canada. The 3rd sector featured slow corners which required good corner exit traction. Mercedes was performing best in that sector, (despite eating their tyres in the first two sectors), followed by Red Bull, and then I think it was the red cars, or someone else. In any case, it was an excellent observation.

        • Yeah, it would be “Senor” but “Monsieur” is fine :). Maybe -or definitely, as you wish- I’m being paranoid regarding Pirelli but it was such an abnormal race from my point of view. I know Canada is about braking and accelerating without high lateral loads in corners, yet it felt so different.
          Since the Judge mentioned it, maybe some teams raced and others opted for keep driving around trying to save tyres?

          Another miserable weekend for me in the GP Predictor by the way.

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