Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Hmm, what can I say? The Spanish GP came and went. It was that fast. I sat through the 2 hour race and felt like it was only 15 minutes. In fact, for the last 16 laps, I was checking my Facebook while the race was winding down. In a word it was "Boring". Barcelona has been a snoozefest for many years, producing processional racing due to the difficulty of overtaking there and also due to the fact that teams test there and know the track inside out. So it's difficult to get an upper hand unless you've got something special in the bag.

Sunday's race was no different. It was boring as usual, although there was some highlights here and there. This was undoubtedly due to the tires being overly sensitive. There were 77 pitstops in this race alone, the highest ever. Pirelli themselves were stumped. Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has admitted that things were over the top in Barcelona and revealed there could be changes afoot.
"We aimed for two to three, but it was too aggressive. I'm not here to defend four pit stops, we know it's too complicated, which we saw in Turkey in 2011. So from our point of view we didn't have a good day, it wasn't what we wanted, but there are many factors behind that.
We have to make sure we get back in line with what we've been asked to do, which is two to three (stops). We would look for Silverstone, but you have to bear in mind that we have a lot of teams against it and just one maybe for."
Jenson Button said the race was a "right mess":
"It is a right mess. The problem is that a lot of people watching will think there's a lot of overtaking so it's great, isn't it?. But when we're going round doing laps three seconds slower than a GP2 car did in qualifying, and only six seconds quicker than a GP3 car did in the race, there's something wrong. This is the pinnacle of motor sport.

We shouldn't be driving round as slow as we have to to look after the tyres. It's so complicated. It is very confusing. The whole time the engineer is on the radio saying: 'The temperatures are too high or too low, you've got to go quicker in this corner, you have to go slower in this corner, to look after this tyre.

When I see a car behind I let it past because I'm doing a different strategy and I don't want to damage my tyres. If I block I might destroy my tyres. It's the same thing we had in China, waving each other past so we don't destroy our rubber while hoping that the guy who's overtaking will."
He's right though. If F1 drivers cannot race 100% to the edge but instead have to tip toe around and manage their tires (and not actually race), what is the point? How can this be called a race? Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz said as much:

"Everyone knows what happens here. This has nothing to do with racing anymore. This is a competition in tyre management. Real car racing looks different. Under the given circumstances, we can neither get the best out of our car nor our drivers. There is no more real qualifying and fighting for the pole, as everyone is just saving tyres for the race. If we would make the best of our car we would have to stop eight or ten times during a race, depending on the track."
But, Pirelli are in a quandary at the moment. They can't have races with 4 pitstops or more again. And we can't have drivers driving at 80% or 90% of their capability (and their car's capability) as well. So something has to change with the tires, obviously it has to be more durable to last longer so that pitstops gets reduced. But this would definitely favor Red Bull which we do not want to see any one team taking over the season. And Pirelli will then be accused of making tires for Red Bull and making the championship boring again. Paul Hembery of Pirelli:
“You can imagine, though, if we make a change, that it might be seen that we’re making tyres for Red Bull in particular. That’s been the comment made in the media that Red Bull are pushing to make a change and if we do something that helps them you can understand that Lotus and Ferrari won’t be happy. So it’s a very difficult situation we sometimes find ourselves in.”
Does that look like a mess or what?
So, what are we to do? We can only hope for the best. That Pirelli can come up with a compound that is stable so we can have a race with 2-3 stops and the teams manage to get around the tire management so the drivers are able to exploit their car to the maximum.

As you can see this review did not really review the race as there was nothing much to review. I didn't really pay attention to it, so it felt like a 15 minute race instead of a 2 hour race. The only thing I can comment on are:

1. Alonso's pace was phenomenal even if he only used 90% of it because again, the tires. He was in command from the time he took the lead from Rosberg and never looked back. He was also lucky as he had a slow puncture that did not rip up the tire, that gave him time to pit for new tires.

2. Mercedes' race pace really SUCKS! They were going backwards like sliding on ice. What is the point of supreme qualifying pace just to lose it all in the race where it counts? Now Alonso is saying Mercedes might win it in Monaco. He could be right, as the Mercs could take pole again and win the race but they'll have a mighty train behind them in doing so.

Hey Nico, I think I just saw where our pace is..
Still we fans slog on, we will continue to watch no matter what. I just pray that it will improve.


It seems that Pirelli have decided to change the tires sooner rather than later. The change will come at the Canadian GP instead of Silverstone. Pirelli will make changes to the tire structures and will use some of the features from the 2011 and 2012 rubber. Teams and fans will be fearing that the changes will favor Red Bull. How will it change the racing from now onwards? James Allen and Mark Gillan have presented an excellent analysis HERE.
"Red Bull has very good aerodynamic package, as it has for many years now, but inferior mechanical package and thermal management of the tyres. These weaknesses assume less importance with the changes Pirelli is making, they are likely to increase the operating window of the tyres and increase the durability and that reduces the importance of the thermal management."
Not very good for the show now is it? We've had a 3 year Red Bull parade, we don't need a fourth..seriously.

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1 comment:

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