Pirelli got it wrong for 2015

hammyThe brief Pirelli have been given is to create tyres for F1 that degrade to the extent each race should force the teams into making between two and three pit stops for new rubber.

TJ13 called Pirelli out following the 2015 Australian GP because our analysis demonstrated this brief would not achieved this year. Pirelli have made the soft, medium and hard dry weather compounds in effect a half step more durable than in 2014.

The Canadian GP once again demonstrated that Pirelli have created tyres for 2015 which are delivering predominantly 1-2 stop races.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s commercial director, now admits Pirelli will fail to deliver the 2-3 pit stop brief for 2015.

“If we wanted to be self-critical we are finding this year wear and degradation levels are improved over last year, and the cars are maximising the tyres for a far greater number of laps,” admits Hembery.

“Canada was a one-or-two-stop race, and we have been given the task of creating a two-to-three, so we are a few laps shy of that at the moment.

“The reason being is we did some work on the rear tyre and that has allowed the teams to balance all four corners of the car much better.

“We’re seeing no great differences between the teams this year. It’s very minor, with more laps being gained out of the tyres.

“That rear tyre has enabled them to set the car up differently and balance things out.”

How has this happened? Why are we not seeing 2-3 changes per race for tyres? Well, Hembery admits Pirelli overestimated the incremental pace of this year’s F1 cars over their 2014 predecessors.

“We’ve not seen the performance improvements anticipated at the start of the year, and which were suggested in winter testing and Melbourne.

“There has only been a marginal pace improvement over last year, which has again been a bit of a surprise.

“Even with a two-second improvement you can imagine there is a lot more energy going into the tyre and that can rapidly change what is happening in terms of race strategy, wear and degradation levels.”

Taking the fastest lap of the race as the measure, the 2015 cars are on average just 0.574 seconds faster than those from 2014.

Hembery recognises there is little Pirelli can do now for 2015, “There are a few races this year that as we go forward we can maybe look at making a little change.”

“But even then it’s marginal because circuits can often pre-determine what we can choose, and the open choices we have are very few and far between.”

TJ13 has consistently argued that Pirelli be less conservative in their tyre selection and production, though the grief they got for the exploding tyres at Silverstone in 2013 means this path is one Pirelli will simply not tread.

29 responses to “Pirelli got it wrong for 2015

  1. Pirelli did get hammered in 2013, pretty savagely. Rightly so? I don’t know. In retrospect, it feels like they took a full load in the metaphorical face, when there were a few other variables at play. They threatened, as they wiped their metaphorical faces clean, that the narrative of 2014 wouldn’t be about tyres, that they’d be bullet proof given the new engine regs

    • I don’t know how this above comment posted half way through writing. The actual full version is below. Sorry.

  2. Pirelli did get hammered in 2013, pretty savagely. Rightly so? I don’t know. In retrospect, it feels like they took a full load in the metaphorical face, when there were a few other variables at play. They threatened, as they wiped their metaphorical faces clean, that the narrative of 2014 wouldn’t be about tyres, that they’d be bullet proof given the new high-torque engine regs. That’s what’s happened. I don’t really blame them given how quickly knives slide into backs in F1.

    • For 2014 and beyond Pirelli declared their brief to be 2 to 3 stops.

      It was incredible for TJ13 to declare that Pirelli have missed their aim after Melbourne but Montreal has proved that call to be spot on.

      It’s an extraordinary brief for Pirelli’s engineers. A race is 305km. 2 to 3 stops means tire will last between 76 to 101km, but no more and no less.

      Will they add a 5th softer compound for 2016?

  3. Those exploding tyres were the best. They thoroughly bollixed the aero and leveled the playing field. Hardly Pirelli’s fault that teams were using them upside down and backwards leading to their failure. If the FIA had any guts they would’ve castigated the teams and stayed with the Kevlar. Note, in the real world I would never expect that to happen, but looking back it would have entire correct decision.

    • That was a great year, shame Redbull cried the loudest. Silverstone wasn’t great, but the way Redbull handled it was shocking, we’re not winning, so we’ll scweem and scweem till we get our way, some things never change.

      The teams should of behind Pirelli.

      • @mattpt55 and @Jamie Norman.
        Just read your comments, and wished that I’d seen them before I waxed lyrical below!

    • I am fine with tires that are designed for 2-3 pit stops, but between the pit stops, cars must be racing, unless relying on an unusual exotic strategy designed to minimize stops.

      Those early 2013 tires were some of the worst. I recall in the beginning of season, no one was racing anyone, everybody was managing tires. The radio transmissions were filled with messages like “let the driver behind through, we’re not racing him”, or “are we racing him?”, etc. Once, Hamilton refused to fall back to save tires because the only cars behind him were Caterhams. Anyone who understood what was happening knew this wasn’t racing.

      • I think that’s because they were setting their car up too much for qualifying speed? And then butchering the rears in the races. Hence the test to sort it out..

        • If we accept the idea that the 2013 Pirelli tires were decent, but nobody had any idea how to use them, it’s still truly absurd. A black-box tire and a riddle that nobody knows how to use unless allowed an unscheduled, illegal. and extensive tire testing. And even after the testing, the tires started exploding at the British GP.

          I think there is no need to look for an overly complex explanation in a place where situation was nearly obvious. Either Benie or one of FIA people made a handshake agreement with Pirelli before the 2013 season started to produce a tire that punishes high downforce cars hoping to put brakes on Red Bull racing, who have already won the three previous seasons. Unfortunately, Mercedes who has finally managed to produce a decent high-downforce car in 2013 fell as a collateral to this change. In order not to piss off one of the most significant supporters of F1 and its major engine supplier, a decision was made to allow to Pirelli and Mercedes to have a quasi-clandestine test of Pirelli tires using 2013 spec Mercedes cars. Once publicized, the event came to be known as the “Tiregate” scandal in the F1 circles.

          • It’s an interesting theory you have at the end there. TJ13 thought similar, and it’s helped Mercedes’ dominance since 2014.

            2013 was shaping up like 2012 – RBR would still win but it would be made closer, with added variety such as Alonso’s win by outsmarting the others in Barcelona.

            But, we did get to see both sides of the coin – Grosjean suits hard tyres and he really took it to RBR in the second half. It also probably ended Di Resta’s F1 career..

            Somers raised the point that it’s rare for the teams to be on the back foot. Yet FI and Ferrari knew how to use them.. so it was possible. The teams do test next year’s tyres in Brazil FP1…

  4. The genesis of the current iteration of over-conservative tyres lies in the epic public tantrums by Red Bull, backed up by a couple of the other teams, over how dangerous the ‘exploding’ tyres were when, in actuality, the root causes of that phenomenon were the switching of tyres from left to right, subsequently curtailed, and the running of the tyres at degrees of camber far in excess of the maximum recommended by Pirelli – IIRC, this was to generate heat more quickly by the teams whose cars were too gentle on their tyres, and their refusal to make the extra pit-stops that this aggressive tactic required.
    This was compounded by the FIA’s cowardly acquiescence to that (calculated) propaganda.
    The teams involved should have been sanctioned rather than the blame being pinned solely on Pirelli.
    IMHO, that year’s Constructors’ title was Red Bull’s least deserved as, rather than trust in the ability of their excellent design, engineering, and manufacturing departments to overcome the car’s design flaws (themselves, the result of failing to rein-in Newey’s tendency to over-focus on aerodynamics and packaging), the management decided employ the tactic of a shameful and embarrassing display of ‘spoilt brat’ behaviour which denigrated the sport, and took away a big chunk of excitement from that, and the following year’s racing.

  5. Deg? Sure. Exploding tires? No way. That’s simply not safe. Pirelli has to avoid a PR issue like they had last year when their tires were failing before the window. Besides, if you want to sell rubber to the public, make a tire that is consistently fast in the window and make that window wider. If anything, this year’s tires are ‘peakier’ than last year’s in that regards. Finally, we are complaining that the teams have learned how to setup their suspensions around deg? Of course they would learn to do that…

  6. Great, so even TJ13 want races to be even more focused on tyre conservation… that’s fun to watch.

  7. Wouldn’t Pirelli possibly be able to achieve their 2-3 stops per race goal if the teams and drivers were putting in maximum effort instead of fuel conservation attempts.

  8. TJ13 is entirely wrong on this. It was only two years ago that racing was dominated by managing eggshell tyres and multi stop races. It was horrible and farcial. And then it resulted in the greatest tyre debacle of the decade as tyres were blowing up left, right and center at Silverstone.

    Nothing will ever make me want that racing again.

    • There is a fine line that Pirelli needs to follow. The Pirelli tire of 2012 had a manageable and predictable performance forcing the cars to make at least two stops. After the 2013 controversies, Pirelli became more conservative resulting in more monotonous races, such as the last Russian GP, where Rosberg completed the entire race, minus the first lap, on the same set of tires.

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