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10:01 10:41 11:22 11:27 12:01 (Updated.. “No response from Pirelli yet”) 12:35 12:41 13:07 14:46 17:07 17:48 18:21 18:46 18:53 19:17 19:28 (Updated – “Pirelli investigation conclusions”)
The big story of the day is contained in the article “Pirelli investigation conclusions” near the bottom, and the subsequent article contains the full Pirelli statement. Huige implications for the 2013 title’s.
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Pirelli accused of acting unlawfully
Spanish sports newspaper, Marca, claims Pirelli have again broken the F1 tyre regulations. They allege the tyre construction was altered prior to the British Grand Prix without the knowledge or the consent of the FIA or the teams.
Apparently the base of the tyre at Silverstone had a completely new structure, with a new layer of kevlar included in the internal steel-belt. Teams had failed to agree the introduction tyres whose base was exclusively kevlar as they were unable to unanimously agree.
This alteration in the construction of the tyre was discovered when McLaren and Sauber sent team personnel out to the scene of Sunday’s tyre explosions, only to discover kevlar shards among the debris.
Paul Hembery counters the accusation stating, “I can assure you that the tyres [at Silverstone] were the same construction as the ones used in Barcelona.
Clearly the regulations are a complete mess and the FIA need to re-write them immediately. Should one team be allowed to hold the rest of F1 to ransom? Not in the modern era. Whether it be Ferrari – as of old – or CAterham this has to stop.
New York requires $100m
The New Jersey race suffered blow over the weekend as the FIA ruled no other premier motorsport event can be scheduled during the 2014 Le Mans weekend. This is presumably because of bumbling comments made last year by Mr. E.
When the F1 calendar for 2013 was in disarray, Bernie was trying to talk up all the possibilities of various countries who were willing to host and F1 race in order to persuade the Turks to hurry up and sign a deal to replace the stricken Valencia and keep the number of races at 20.
France was cited as a big rival to the Turkish Grand Prix, however the date Ecclestone was trying to fill was the Le Mans weekend. An F1 race in France…. during Le Mans???
The problem for New Jersey is that the Le Mans date is the weekend after the traditional slot for the Canadian GP. Having the New Jersey race the week after Canada would mean it would benefit from the media coverage created in the US by the previous week’s F1 race in the same time zone. Unless Canada is moved, this will now not happen.
Anyway, TJ13 has been sceptical that New Jersey will ever see an F1 race and for 1 reason alone. Who is going to cough up the cash.F1 races lose money, and all but Silverstone and Monza are state subsidised.
In August last year, Mr E ripped up the F1 contract awarded the New Jersey promoter because payments had not been made. In May a new 15-year agreement was signed since the organisers agreed to hire Chris Pook, one of Bernie’s long standing friends, who is the former chief executive of F1’s American rival IndyCar.
Pook is working alongside Leo Hindery junior, who is the promoter of the race and managing partner of private equity fund InterMedia Partners. The Telegraph reports, “In 2011, Mr Hindery provided an initial $10.3m investment in the race organising company Port Imperial Racing Associates (PIRA) and, since then, it has obtained an additional $10.1m loan. It will require a further $100m to get off the grid, according to an investment memorandum released by UBS in early June. It adds that ‘incoming investors may choose to leverage current team’s expertise or could acquire 100pc of PIRA’.
Swiss investment bank UBS have been appointed to assist in rasing the $100m which is required to fund the race host fee paid to Bernie/FOM, the engineering work and to build the Club of America VIP hospitality area, where guests will get a close-up view.
UBS business plans are projecting to investors that they will charge over $4,000 for hospitality tickets and that together with the general admission tickets will apparently raise 80pc of revenues. Further the plan states they will receive an average ticket price is expected of around £358 ($563) compared to £288 at the British Grand Prix which took place yesterday.
Further, the race promoter is claiming they expect a total crowd of 240,000 over three days. Austin, Texas saw an attendance of 265,499 spectators who attended the inaugural United States Grand last year.
Excuse me if I again question the legitimacy of this business plan. Using Silverstone and COTA for these benchmarks is ludicrous.
COTA benefitted hugely from 2 factors that will not help New Jersey. The circuit is a short hop commercial flight from Mexico, whose nearest GP for some time has been Brazil or Canada, both several thousand miles away. Some eyewitness estimates said 1 in 3 spectators was of Hispanic origin.
Secondly, this was the return of F1 to the US of A, and there was a lot of interest from Europeans who changed their historic race schedule to attend the US GP. European travel organisations are already reporting reduced interest in this year’s F1 race in Texas.
Finally, this race will have to generate significant interest from US local/cross state residents. So, will US citizens cough up over $500 to go to the F1 race, when a ticket to Indy or Nascar is a fraction of the cost.
Public money will surely be required to fund this race – either that or a bunch of stupid and deluded
gamblers investors will rock up.
Todt – We are Saved… in the nick of time
If you stick around in F1 for long enough, you’ll get someone taking a swipe at you. This is a sport not for the thin-skinned or faint hearted as there will come a time when you will face a tirade of merited/unmerited abuse. We have heard little from Jean Todt this entire year, in fact his last public utterance was some mumbo jumbo to the BBC at the 2012 Bahrain GP.
TJ13 has reported he has been travelling the world canvassing support for his re-election as Le Presidente of the FIA. This all under the guise of promoting road safety and lecturing people in outer Mongolia about the benefits of fitting their donkeys with seatbelts.
Yesterday was a busy day following the explosive British GP. We culminated in reporting the FIA statement regarding the young driver test. What slipped my attention initially was the fact that the statement opened with words from our glorious leader himself.
“Our priority is to ensure safety for all in Formula One and we believe the incidents at Silverstone represent a genuine safety concern for the drivers,” said Le Presidente Todt. “We have thus taken the decision to alter the Young Driver Test to allow teams to use drivers they deem fit to carry out tyre development work in a bid to solve the problems we saw at the British Grand Prix. I believe it is fitting to carry out this work at the circuit upon which the issues were manifested.”
“I BELIEVE IT IS FITTING…” – an expression of personal views and taking responsibility is a most unusual sentiment and quite extraordinary behaviour from JT. All we’ve had for a year is silence over the lack of a Concorde agreement, silence on why Marussia have paid the FIA entrance fee for F1 2013 but get nothing from Ecclestone, nothing on cost reduction and in fact a clear abdication on all these issues. Todt has stated he expects the teams to find the solutions and he will not impose them.
No response from Pirelli yet
11:01 GMT However, TJ13 is hearing that the prototype rear tyres proposed for Canada will be used and for Hungary we will return to using the 2012 rear tyre compounds and construction.
12:21 GMT Pirelli and the FIA and some tyre specialists – reportedly ex-Bridgestone folk – are meeting in Frankfurt today.
Horner recognises Mercedes challenge
Yesterday, TJ13 provided some analysis of Mercedes improving performances this year and concluded they are now genuinely title contenders. Horner tells SKY, “They’re a good team, they’ve got a quick car, they’ve got good drivers. They’re for sure going to be a contender between now and the end of the year.”
Red Bull have clearly made a move forward on Ferrari. In Barcelona they were nowhere as the ‘prancing horse’ danced it’s way to an easy win. Yet Silverstone is a similar circuit and Horner observes, “I think that we’ve learnt a bit and we’ve probably run a better set-up here this week. We certainly looked competitive on the long runs.
“We’ll take encouragement from that because certainly in Barcelona we were nowhere near Ferrari’s pace. But today we had them covered and we’re on the same pace as Mercedes by the looks of things.”
Things change quickly in F1, but at present it looks like a Red Bull vs Mercedes competition for both WDC titles in 2013. Ferrari have been slow to respond with in season development in recent times and is it any wonder Dominicali agreed with Alonso who said ‘much work needs to be done’ in Maranello.
Red Bull spotted Rosberg yellow flag infringement
It has emerged today that the visit Nico Rosberg was forced to make to the stewards following his victory in the British GP was following an informal protest from Red Bull. On lap 35, Rosberg appeared to travel more quickly pasta yellow flag than he had done on the previous circuit.
Austrian media outlet ‘Image’ asked Helmut Marko if this was all part of an ongoing feud between Mercedes and Red Bull. Marko dismisses this idea saying, “We were not disrespectful to Mercedes, but just made the stewards aware that Rosberg had run faster under a yellow flag. If that happened to us, the other teams would also be immediately at the FIA’s door! It was a totally normal thing.”
Rosberg was acquitted by Mansell et al and the race result stood. Yet it begs the question, how did the stewards with their multi million dollar equipment miss this?
Paddy’s temporary role
Ross Brawn has revealed today that he has suggested that Paddy Lowe concentrate on developing the W04 for the foreseeable future. “I said to Paddy that he should focus his attention largely to this year’s car. Certainly will eventually come to the point where it is better to move the resources to the next year, but currently is our entire focus of the current season, “
Should Lewis and Nico be worried? Ask Jenson and Checo what Paddy’s last oversight produced 🙂
The next big F1 row
Sick of tyres? Well soon you will remember the issues no more. Pirelli have already said they will be building ‘bullet proof’ tyres for 2014. Admittedly Hembery was joking when he said this, however the next big arguments will indeed be about something else.
The sporting regulations for 2014 include a reduction in the fuel used during the race by a car from 150kg to 100kg. Amusingly this is all seen as part of Le Presidente’s green agenda.
It appears Ferrari are not overly happy about the engineering challenges which lie ahead. Luca Marmorini, head of engines, speaks on the future introduction of the V6 Turbo’s today and specifically the fuel restrictions. “Ferrari feels this could be a danger. We like Formula One to consider efficiency, but we don’t like Formula One to be a sport where you are cruising for 50% of the laps.”
Each manufacturer will only be allowed to have approved one engine design for the era 2014 to 2020. The FIA says changes will only be allowed “for installation, reliability or cost saving reasons”.
Marmorini sees this as hugely problematic. “With a completely new power unit, some sort of development from the first to the second year has to be done.” He argues the engine reliability we see today may suffer. “The turbo is a new type which runs to 25,000 rpm and is definitely something absolutely new. Also the very complex electronics and management systems are a very big step forward, which means that engine management will be a very difficult challenge.
In most cases people will locate their turbos in the central rear part of the engine and therefore near the electronics and the temperatures can reach a 1,000C and that won’t be an easy matter to deal with. Managing temperatures will be one of the main areas we will have to work on.”
The number of engines available per driver decreases from 8 per season to 5 and Marmorini suggests this too is problematic. “It will be difficult to run the season without issues, considering we are talking about four to five thousand kilometres per unit which is almost double what we are doing right now”.
The real win the FIA are hoping to gain from all these changes is that with reduced fuel allowances, the cars cannot be designed with loads of downforce and drag, as this is not fuel-efficient. The future challenge will be to produce a composite package that works well in all areas of the car, and I’m afraid this will most likely lead in 2014 to 1 team dominating – and that will of course be Williams.
Caterham – Kovalainen rumours
Last weekend the Finnish media were reporting with frenzied abandon the return of Heikki to Caterham. This appeared to be based merely on the current form of Giedo Van De Garde being not too clever. Speaking to De Telegraph today the Dutchman responds, “There are always rumours. I know the direction from which they come, but I also know that I have a watertight contract for the rest of the season”.
Van de Garde brings a substantial sum of money to the team via his sponsors, something Heikki neglected to do. In fact the Finn was eventually accused from certain quarters of being more interested in golf than spending time with sponsors who would support his drive for Caterham.
FIA engine hopes dashed
The FIA vision of the V6 Turbo engines, was that road car manufacturers would find them more relevant than the current V8’s, and they would therefore form an orderly line, cheque books in hand, ready to enter F1. Well Honda is on their way back, but so far nobody else.
In fact Porsche have declared they are not interested in F1 as they and new recruit Mark Webber embark on an assault of the World Endurance Series (WES) which includes Le Mans. In fact the latest news appears to suggest it may be the WES which benefits from new participants following F1’s half a billion pound engine re-design.
Carlos Tavares, CEO at Renault reveals that the manufacturer will examine, “supplying a derivative of our Renault F1 engine to teams. With the restrictions in F1, engines will be doing 5000km [between rebuilds], which is getting very close to the mileage you need to do Le Mans.”
Tavares states, “For sure, some people have come to see me about this because they know I am a motorsport fan. We will look at it once we have demonstrated we have a competitive F1 engine in 2014/15. I don’t envisage anything happening with this engine in endurance racing before 2016.”
Ferrari too have refused to rule out a similar foray into LMP1 as when asked by La Stampa, Stefano Dominicali gave a coded answer, “With the introduction of the new turbo engines, some interesting projects arise.”
Newey scribles whilst…
Kimi’s new haircut
Wonders never cease
TJ13 did comment humourously after the race about Vettel fortuitously for Webber missing the pit lane, even though his car faltered coming out of Stowe a couple of corners earlier. Today, Lotus’ Alan Parmane comments, “The timing of Sebastian parking his Red Bull in a place where a safety car was needed was most fortuitous for Mark…”.
Surely not. Though I did say Vettel post race was self-deprecating and pretty funny on the stage in the village in front of 20,000 Silverstone fans.
Anakin fights back…. is there a part VII???
Kimi blames the kerbs
We all know there were a number of contributing factors to the explosive nature of the British GP, but in a world obsessed with F1 safety, drivers threatening to boycott the next race unless something is done, it is good to hear a voice of reason.
In his usual nonchalant style Raikkonen observes of Sunday’s race, “It wasn’t ideal having bits of rubber thrown at your helmet for sure, but risk is all part of the game”. Kimi was behind Jean Eric when his tyre let go and his view is, “It wasn’t his or the tyres’ fault. If you have sharp edges on a kerb as seemed to be the case there last weekend then these things can happen no matter what tyres you have. It didn’t change our race anyway.”
There’s no need for the kerb’s to be designed like that, regardless of the tyres. I suggest the FIA take up Gary Anderson’s offer, get his mates in and chamfer them down.
Pirelli investigation conclusions
Whilst we are waiting for a full press release in English, here are the conclusions from the Pirelli investigation. TJ13 believes they have also invited impartial consultants with F1 tyre experience to participate in the study.
Whilst the practice of rear tyre swapping (putting the Pirelli designated left rear tyre on the right rear wheel and vice versa) has been used by some teams for some time in F1, when the tyres are marginal this will create additional structural stresses. This is something Mercedes have particularly been known to do.
Clearly tyres are designed right and left for a particular reason, otherwise if they were identical why would Pirelli bother.
Pirelli also state that certain teams are using tyre pressures which are excessively low, to gain traction when the tyre is below its full operating temperature. On an abrasive circuit like Silverstone this causes early damage which affects the integrity of the tyre even when it is up to temperature and the pressure rise due to the heat.
Further, as TJ13 discussed yesterday, teams are setting up aggressive levels of camber on the front tyres to find extra front end grip – something Red Bull famously suffered from in Spa 2011. This to damages the wall of the tyre and in combination with the lower than recommended pressures creates a multiplier effect on damaging the structural integrity of the tyre.
Further, the aggressive camber and low tyre pressures when interacting with the inside lip of the fast curve kerbs on exit caused tears in the tyre side wall of the tyre which eventually resulted in its failure.
Pirelli is asking the FIA in the future to regulate pressures and camber within the safe levels of operation that they declare to the teams.
The rear tyres to be used in Germany are indeed the Canada development tyres Pirelli produced for the teams to test. They have Kevlar instead of steel belts and a new range will be introduced in Hungary following the Silverstone test later this month. These tyres will combine the structures of the 2012 tyres and the 2013 compounds.
TJ13 comment: Pirelli are not pulling their punches here and laying the blame fairly and squarely on the teams for the tyre failures. This will surely cause further friction between certain teams and the F1 tyre manufacturer and if the FIA enforces recommended pressures and cambers this may dramatically shuffle the pack for the next few races, or even the rest of the season.
The Kevlar belted rear will reduce the operating temperature of the tyre by around 10 degrees celsius and reduce thermal degradation and this could have a dramatic effect on the championship. This helps Mercedes the most during the race, whilst having little effect on their dominance over a single lap in qualifying. Red Bull will benefit too.
The losers will be Ferrari and Lotus because they have struggled when conditions are not so hot to get temperature into the tyres. This kevlar base tyre will make it even harder for them and Jenson too will be weeping into his sake tonight as he was delighted when the announcement was made the 2013 tyres would have higher thermal degradation characteristics.
Certain teams and drivers did not either use the Canada prototype tyres, or made a token gesture to run them. They will clearly have a steeper learning curve this weekend in Germany.
It will surely be unlikely now that any young driver will do much testing at the ‘Young Driver Test’ in Silverstone.
Whatever happens, 2013 will be known as the ‘F1 year of the tyres’. Pirelli entered the sport stating they would not be ‘invisible’ like their predecessors and that surely has to be the understatement of the century.
Pirelli full statement
(now translated into English for us 🙂 )
After exhaustive analysis of the tyres used at Silverstone, Pirelli has concluded that the causes of the failures were principally down to a combination of the following factors:
1) Rear tyres that were mounted the wrong way round: in other words, the right hand tyre being placed where the left hand one should be and vice versa, on the cars that suffered failures. The tyres supplied this year have an asymmetric structure, which means that they are not designed to be interchangeable. The sidewalls are designed in such a way to deal with specific loads on the internal and external sides of the tyre. So swapping the tyres round has an effect on how they work in certain conditions. In particular, the external part is designed to cope with the very high loads that are generated while cornering at a circuit as demanding as Silverstone, with its rapid left-hand bends and some kerbs that are particularly aggressive.
2) The use of tyre pressures that were excessively low or in any case lower than those indicated by Pirelli. Under-inflating the tyres means that the tyre is subjected to more stressful working conditions.
3) The use of extreme camber angles.
4) Kerbing that was particularly aggressive on fast corners, such as that on turn four at Silverstone, which was the scene of most of the failures. Consequently it was the left-rear tyres that were affected.
The only problems that had come to light before Silverstone were to do with delamination, which was a completely different phenomenon. To stop these delaminations Pirelli found a solution by suggesting that the teams use the tyres that were tried out in Canada from Silverstone onwards. When this proposal was not accepted, Pirelli found another solution through laboratory testing, with a different bonding process to attach the tread to the carcass. So the problem of delamination has nothing at all to do with what was seen in Great Britain.
Following the conclusions of this analysis, Pirelli would like to underline that:
1) Mounting the tyres the wrong way round is a practice that was nonetheless underestimated by everybody: above all Pirelli, which did not forbid this.
2) In the same way, under-inflation of the tyres and extreme camber settings, over which Pirelli has no control, are choices that can be dangerous under certain circumstances. Because of this, Pirelli has asked the FIA for these parameters will be a topic of accurate and future examinations. Pirelli has also asked for compliance with these rules to be checked by a dedicated delegate.
3) Pirelli would also like to underline that the 2013 tyre range does not compromise driver safety in any way if used in the correct manner, and that it meets all the safety standards requested by the FIA.
The logical conclusion is that it is essential for tyres with the performance and technical sophistication of the 2013 range to be regulated and carefully controlled by Pirelli itself. In order to ensure the optimal functioning of the tyres, the Italian firm would need real-time data from the teams regarding fundamental parameters such as pressure, temperature and camber angles. While waiting for new regulations that would permit Pirelli access to this data, vital for the development and management of these state-of-the-art tyres, the following measures are proposed for the forthcoming grand prix, in agreement with the FIA, FOM, the teams and the drivers:
1) The use of the evolution of the current tyre that was tested in Canada (and proved to be completely reliable) for the German Grand Prix this weekend. This represents the best match for the technical characteristics of the Nurburgring circuit. In particular, the rear tyres that will be used at the German Grand Prix, which takes place on July 7, have a Kevlar construction that replaces the current steel structure and the re-introduction of the 2012 belt, to ensure maximum stability and roadholding. Given that these tyres are asymmetric as well, it will be strictly forbidden to swap them round. The front tyres, by contrast, will remain unaltered.
2) From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, the introduction of a new range of tyres. The new tyres will have a symmetrical structure, designed to guarantee maximum safety even without access to tyre data – which however is essential for the optimal function of the more sophisticated 2013 tyres. The tyres that will be used for the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards will combine the characteristics of the 2012 tyres with the performance of the 2013 compounds. Essentially, the new tyres will have a structure, construction and belt identical to that of 2012, which ensured maximum performance and safety. The compounds will be the same as those used throughout 2013, which guaranteed faster lap times and a wider working range. This new specification, as agreed with the FIA, will be tested on-track together with the teams and their 2013 cars at Silverstone from 17-19 July in a session with the race drivers during the young driver test. These tests will contribute to the definitive development of the new range of tyres, giving teams the opportunity to carry out the appropriate set-up work on their cars.