The #TJ13 News and Comment: Sunday, 30th August 2015

Clear division between drivers and teams over Pirelli

F1 History: The Grand Prix debut that could have been


Clear division between drivers and teams over Pirelli

pirelliEven a week after Sebastian Vettel’s public slating of tyre supplier Pirelli, new voices chip in, and the general trend seems to be that team officials tend to back the Italian manufacturer, while most drivers put the blame on the construction.

Most vocal in his support for the tyre manufacturer was Mercedes’ Niki Lauda, even going as far as putting pressure on Nico Rosberg, who had supported and corroborated Vettel’s remark immediately after the race.

BBC pundit David Coulthard identifies a deep-seated dissatisfaction with Pirelli among the drivers. In his BBC column he wrote:

“Vettel was not wrong to say what he did. A driver of his stature and experience should say what he feels, and we should applaud anyone in the public eye taking a position based on passion and emotion as long as there are hard facts to back it up.

“Vettel’s remarks… represent a boiling-over of the drivers’ general unhappiness in the relationship between the drivers and Pirelli.

“It was the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as Vettel was concerned.”

The latest voice from the teams’ side is coming from former McLaren team coordinator Jo Ramirez.

“I do not like the way that Sebastian Vettel spoke in his post-race statement, because a racecar is made to the limit, the limit of performance to be as fast as possible, and you’re in a car to the limit with the tyres.

“The words of Vettel about Pirelli were very harsh, but then Pirelli’s spokesman said he did not blame him – said he could say what he wanted – but if I was the chief [of Pirelli] I’d say to Mr. Vettel that he’d have to offer an apology for his words after the race.

“If a tyre burst, you must see that they [Ferrari] were the ones who tried to finish the race with a single tyre change. To me, the tyre was over its life and they wanted to lengthen it.

“If they do it with one-stop, they are geniuses, but they took a risk that did not work.

“They should accept it as men and not moan later.”

Hippo’s Comment:

The views expressed in this comment are those of the contributor and not those held by TJ13.

The statement from Jo Ramirez shows clearly how teams work. First and foremost they don’t want to be surprised by another team implementing a daring strategy, unless they are sure it would work for them. It was no surprise that only three teams backed Vettel’s statement – Ferrari, Lotus and Force India, the three teams with a history of making tyres last longer than the opposition and gaining places by unusual strategies.

All others, Mercedes in particular, want to push the maximum laps per tyre limit, because it prevents unorthodox strategies and cements the status quo by forcing all teams to employ the same strategy. That it will give us boring and predictable races doesn’t matter.

What most people overlook in this is that the tyre blew up catastrophically. Even a rubber-shard of only one kilogram can seriously injure another driver if it hits him on the head and how close we already came to that can be witnessed watching the onboard of Fernando Alonso at Silverstone ’13 when a large piece of rubber from Hamilton’s exploding tyre missed his head by mere inches. A piece of rubber from an exploding tyre downed the Concorde in Paris in 2000.

An explosive decomposition of a tyre is by definition a serious event, even more so if it happens twice on a race weekend. Even if a tyre is cut, it should deflate, perhaps even quickly. Exploding is not acceptable under any circumstances and shows that Pirelli’s product is fundamentally flawed.

In that regard it is completely useless to discuss why the tyres of Rosberg and Vettel exploded. A manufacturer should be able to build tyres that don’t go boom for any reason but completely freak events. And twice within three days is not a freak event. Should FIA impose a lap limit on tyres, it would be proof that Pirelli’s product is not fit for the purpose.

And Pirelli can’t put it on lack of testing either. Making sure that a tyre retains its integrity, if not perhaps the air, even if cut at speed, is something you can check on a test bench.

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F1 History: The Grand Prix debut that could have been

Nine times Rally world champion Sebastien Loeb has confirmed that he was offered to drive a Torro Rosso in the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grandprix. “Things were already very specific, but back then my focus was on the WRC. I had suffered an accident, a damaged tyre and an engine failure, which had cut into my lead in the championship, so I had to concentrate on rallying.”

A second obstacle was the lack of an FIA super license, but that could have been corrected with his participation in an official test. Loeb had already experience with an F1 car, having driven a Red Bull RB4 in the season-ending official test in 2008.

Other ‘unusual’ guests in Formula One tests or demonstrations include Colin McRae (Jordan, 1996), Tommi Mäkinen (Williams, 1999), Jeff Gordon (BMW-Williams, 2003), Valentino Rossi (Ferrari, 2006, 2008), Alessandro Zanardi (2006, specially adapted BMW-Sauber), Richard Hammond (Renault, 2007), Adrian Newey (Red Bull, Goodwood 2010), Vladimir Putin (Renault F1, 2010), Tony Stewart (McLaren, 2010), Tom Cruise (Red Bull, 2011)

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30 responses to “The #TJ13 News and Comment: Sunday, 30th August 2015

    • He was filmed in a WSR, but drove the F1 car without the cameras nearby. I suppose it might not have been too successful, so that part of the event was “accidentally” not recorded.

  1. I fear it’s only a matter of time before a Pirelli tyre suffers another catastrophic failure and the remnants of a tyre hit a driver, marshal or the crowd. Or causes a big pile up. Does anyone know how many laps Rosberg’s tyre did before letting go ? I don’t really buy that a cut would cause the tyre’s structure to unravel and then explode over the course of a lap. Rather it should have deflated. Quite sad to see the usual inter team politics being put ahead of driver safety. They could reduce the number of laps the tyres do, but they’ll look rather stupid if a Pirelli lets go long before the set number of laps has been used up.

      • Sky commentary mentioned it was about 16 laps, which includes in and out laps, the qualifying sim and the race simulation.

    • What BS. Vettel’s tire delaminated, then the carcass burst. This was a construction failure pure and simple. I’ve watched the videos repeatedly and there is no question this was a Pirelli failure. To argue otherwise flies in the face of the evidence. Pirelli have to redesign their F1 tire. This is unacceptable.

      And Rossberg? If the tire was cut it would have deflated and maybe shredded; this didn’t happen. Pirelli are fucking up.

  2. Maldonado hit the kerbs at 17g and he wasn’t going faster than the other cars. Most cars were taking inconsistent but more smoother lines than did Maldonado, but the tyres were subjected to very high loads.
    Why were there not many more tyre failures.
    There was only one during the race and the race tyre in question and done more laps and more excursions to the track limits.

    Pirelli was requested by the FIA or promoter or both to meet a specification, Vettel should question that specification and the inability to test if the specification matches the track.

    No one knows if Pirelli has a quality problem but for goodness sake they have been begging for tests but nothing from the FIA.

  3. I think we could argue that Andre Lotterer belongs on that list. He was actually given a race drive for Caterham, which turned out to only be a single lap, but the reason Caterham gave for his appointment was to test and “develop” the car.
    It obviously was successful…

  4. the only division between drivers and teams presently on the grid which is what counts is Mercedes because of this tyre safety issue on its hands the FIA will be forced to introduce the 50/30 tyre laps rule Pirelli has been pushing for, and that will reduce chances of Mercedes being beaten, that is exactly why Lauda kicked Rosberg’s ass into line after SPA.

  5. Manufacturers support Pirelli? Other than Mercedes, who are they?

    Jo Ramirez retired from McLaren 15 years ago, so he’s not speaking for them.

  6. So Mercedes are pushing to get a rule introduced that would prevent them from running a one stop strategy similar to the one they used in Sochi 2014 to recover from a driver error!
    I doubt very much that they are so naive and incompetent – they cannot predict what options they will need in future races.

    • Lauda/Mercedes was the fastest and the only one from on the grid to side with Pirelli right after the race at SPA, that is because the 50/30 lap if enforced will reduce the chances of another team whose cars are kinder to the tyres beating them.

      • So siding with Pirelli means they’ve got an ulterior motive? The proposal was unanimously rejected by all the teams, so what’s the point doing it now, when the last time anything like this happened was over 40 races ago?

        I also think you’ll find that Mercedes have gotten on top of their early season tire issues. Actually pretty much everyone on the grid has done so.

    • Lauda/Mercedes are pushing to/siding with Pirelli to get the 50/30 tyre lap introduced because it suits them best A SCAPITO OF THEIR DRIVERS SAFETY.

      • It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat or shout your allegation, the credibility of what you say does not change!

        • +1 LOL! Indeed so…

          “Mission accomplished.” – George W Bush, 1st May 2003

  7. I think in this instance we should all listen to the drivers,they are the ones putting themselves at risk and even the remarks of Mr Webber last year have a bearing. The pirelli unit is just too fragile, as the big wallower has said,’a tyre should not explode’. The compound should wear out and leave a marked difference in grip but the underlying body should remain in place. We have had runflat tyres on road cars for years and even the dreaded remoulds manage to stay together if the tread parts way. The current system is an accident waiting to happen but I fear nothing will be done until someone is injured. This weekend was not the beginning of the problem,these tyres have had a history of sudden failure and should be reworked or even removed from the events. The telling thing here is that the tyre engineer said the compound would last 40 laps and I should imagine they had details from Ferrari of just how much from previous laps and sessions how much abuse the tyre was taking. If this is not the case..why ask for the advice of the company or even pay for the technical help and analysis? As it stands the tyre wasn’t even in the wear window and had done a sub 35 lap stint with no loss of performance from a lack of compound.. In a few words..it wasn’t worn out

  8. That’s some serious assumption you’re making hippo in relation to Mercedes wanting the implementation of the maximum laps allowed on each tire.

    I think you’ll find that since the Bahrain Grand Prix, they have pretty much put their early season tires issues to bed. And it’s not like when they had those issues, it changed anything, because they still won 8 out of the 9 races before Hungary.

    I think this whole thing is being blown way out of proportion. Prior to the incidents, the only issues the drivers had with the tires was that they were too hard a compound and that includes the soft and super soft.

    No one knows for certain what caused Seb’s blow out. As we saw with Rosberg in Canada I think it was, when one of his sets of tire in qualifying, was faulty. Better yet, the failure could be as a result of of his constant off track excursions. We just don’t know. So it’s really naive to be implying that Mercedes and other teams are pushing for a change within the rules.

    • *No one knows for certain what caused Seb’s blow out. As we saw with Rosberg in Canada I think it was, when one of his sets of tire in qualifying, was faulty, he too could’ve been unfortunate to receive one of himself “…..

      • There could have been a run in the rubber or flaw in the rubber that caused Sebastian’s tire issue. Pirelli needs to improve its product before an injury causing incident happens.

      • “So it’s really naïve to be implying that Mercedes and other teams are pushing for a change within the rules”, Yes it is very naïve implying the above, because that is not the case, as only Mercedes and no other team or driver are pushing for the above, as only them have seem an opportunity to reduce one possibility of them being beaten and sided with Pirelli in the process (a scapito of their own driver safety) on a clear tyre safety problem,

        • Again, you have no proof that they Mercedes are pushing for a change in the tire rules.

          It sounds like you’re also implying that they somehow concocted a devious plan to sabotage Rosberg’s tires so as to push forward with a rules change.

          Like I said before, Mercedes’s early tire issues are now a thing of the past. I think that’s something even Ferrari are aware of. So it really doesn’t matter what strategy Ferrari utilise, it really doesn’t matter the moment the mercs are out in front.

  9. “the only division between drivers and teams presently on the grid which is what counts is Mercedes because of this tyre safety issue on its hands the FIA will be forced to introduce the 50/30 tyre laps rule Pirelli has been pushing for, and that will reduce chances of Mercedes being beaten, that is exactly why Lauda kicked Rosberg’s ass into line after SPA.”

    If the FIA forced to introduce the 50/30 tire laps rule or another lap limit rule for the Pirelli tires, it just shows that there are issues with the product that Pirelli provides that need to be addressed ASAP.

    Open wheel racing has seen too many death this years that it doesn’t need to see one from bits of an exploding tire when there have been plenty of warnings regarding a possible fatal event.

    As Fat Hippo said “And Pirelli can’t put it on lack of testing either. Making sure that a tyre retains its integrity, if not perhaps the air, even if cut at speed, is something you can check on a test bench.”

    I think that it’s time that Pirelli has competition in making the Formula 1 tires. Pirelli has said that it needs more testing and more testing can always help but, if they can’t adequately test on the testing bench, there’s a problem.

    • Heidiwf1, It is you and not me saying “that Mercedes are pushing for a change in the tyre rule” “and that Mercedes somehow concocted a devious plan to sabotage Rosberg’s tyres so as to push forward with the rules”, what I said was that Lauda sided with Pirelli a scapito of his drivers safety because if FIA implements what Pirelli wants it will suit his team, facts show that up to FP2 tyre blow-up and all problems Rosberg was fastest of all, that after his tyre blow-up his suspension parts and camber settings were changed to well within the FIA rules, and that from that point his settings and car balance likings were taken away from him, also that from that point he lost the race, that after the race he expressed concern about the tyres for Monza, that right after that Lauda kicked his ass into team line, a line that he took by siding with Pirelli because that suits his team, proved by Rosberg than by saying that he have no worries about tyres for Monza.

      • The top quote in my post was from your post. Anyway, in the end, tire safety is an issue in Formula 1. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mercedes weren’t trying to get a rule implemented has would help continue there domination in F1.

        A year ago, I was one of the people that said let Mercedes have their time in the sun and the success. Ferrari’s domination of the sport was somewhat bearable but the Mercedes domination is not. The races during the Ferrari years were enjoyable but the majority of the races now are not. There’s not even a real battle between Lewis and Nico. Most of the time, Lewis is the winner and the real battles are for 2nd, 3rd, etc. The regulations need to be changed earlier so there is more competition because Mercedes is more than happy to let their domination continue while sacrificing the sport because of the money Daimler have invested and to break even each year.

        Things need to change in Formula 1 now. Pirelli needs competition to keep them on top of their game before there is a death from tire debris striking a driver. Mercedes needs real competition now and still needs to learn some humility. They’re still acting like they’re entitled to this success.. The Mercedes show that is dominating F1 is getting very old and stale.

  10. At the moment they have to run both compound tyres during the race, which means a compulsary minimum of one stop. Surely the simple answer is to make it compulsary to do a minimim of two stops. That way the racing should be better as the drivers won’t have to nurse the tyres and safer too. Just a thought. 🙂

  11. It was Sergio Perez’s tyre that missed Fernando Alonso by inches not Hamilton’s in 2013 British GP

  12. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mercedes weren’t trying to get a tire rule implemented has would help continue there domination in F1.

    A year ago, I was one of the people that said let Mercedes have their time in the sun and the success. Ferrari’s domination of the sport was somewhat bearable but the Mercedes domination is not. The races during the Ferrari years were enjoyable but the majority of the races now are not. There’s not even a real battle between Lewis and Nico. Most of the time, Lewis is the winner and the real battles are for 2nd, 3rd, etc. The regulations need to be changed earlier so there is more competition because Mercedes is more than happy to let their domination continue while sacrificing the sport because of the money Daimler have invested and to break even each year.

    Things need to change in Formula 1 now. Pirelli needs competition to keep them on top of their game before there is a death from tire debris striking a driver. Mercedes needs real competition now and still needs to learn some humility. They’re still acting like they’re entitled to this success.. The Mercedes show that is dominating F1 is getting very old and stale.

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