‘We were expecting tyres to be worse” – Vettel

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Sebastian Vettel says the new Pirelli tyres are holding up better than he expected.

The tyres lost performance very quickly in testing but Vettel was able to run a 20-lap stint without losing too much performance today.

Speaking in the FIA press conference he said: “I think we expected worse conditions here in terms of how long the tyres last. I think this morning and this afternoon was quite useful and helped us understand what to do in the race on Sunday. So far I think it is positive.

“Still we cannot race with one stop only. I think we have to come in a couple of times so ultimately we will find out on Sunday if the track improves or not as it is also something we have seen in the test.”

Nick Heidfeld added: “From testing in the winter we thought the soft tyres would only last one lap. I did my quickest lap here today on the second lap; the third lap wasn’t too bad either so this hopefully makes qualifying a bit less of a problem, because we will see more pit stops.”

Heidfeld said the need to keep sets of tyres for the race would make managing tyres in qualifying more challenging: “We see that the lap time difference between hard and soft tyres is quite big, huge – at least, compared to last year.

“That means that maybe only the very quick cars like the Red Bull may be able to use the hard tyres and save some soft tyres, but most other cars will already have to use soft tyres in Q1 to get through.

“That means that you only have two sets left for later on which you might also have to use in the race, so it makes things very different, quite interesting and complicated.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    36 comments on “‘We were expecting tyres to be worse” – Vettel”

    1. Tyres not falling off too fast. A solid speed difference between the compounds. Having it a bit unpredictable for everyone. Making the tactics in Quallifying challenging. And let the drivers react rightly to changes in the tyre.

      Sounds like Pirelli did a good job then. Thank you guys.

      1. Let’s see what Sunday brings..

    2. Only reinforces my belief in not listening to F1 drivers opinions in the pre-season.

      There was too much “the sky is falling” talk with the Pirellis, they just need to get to racing.

      1. Not least from Vettel, who said a couple of times that four-stoppers would be on the cards – which Pirelli denied.

        That said, let’s see how they stand up in how conditions at a more aero-intensive track. Sepang and Istanbul will be big tests.

        1. I know, a complete polarisation of what he said the other week.

      2. It’s not just the number of stops. It’s the rubber on the track, the increase in laptimes …

    3. Good news. The season is shaping up nicely.

    4. vettels car name this year is “kinky kylie”.

      1. Brilliant! :P

    5. Reletively cool temperatures though, might be a different story come Maylasia or if it warms up for the race on Sunday in Melbourne.

    6. Well did anyone see the Front left tyre in FP1? A massive chunk was took out of it. That was on a 7 lap run on hard tyres too…

      1. That’s true, but it could’ve been caused by damage rather than wear. We’ll know that’s not the case if we see other drivers with a similar problem.

        1. According to some of the commentators, it was caused by a blister.

          1. According to his team, he hit debris on the track, and that is what damaged the tyre.

        2. Also it seems to be the development tire (not any one of the standard tires for this race) as shown on speed tv. And they even pointed out the color, it was none of the standard colors.

          1. What color was it? I didn’t notice.

    7. Well, even Mark Webber emphasized that they [drivers] had exactly the same opinion about the Bridgestones last year, but it was totally different on the track. Reason for the difference these days ? The track at Barcelona is very bumpy, whereas Australia has a more smooth surface, rather forgiving the tires, with a low wear rates. There was a difference in the temperatures, too. Expect pretty durable tires in the hot countries.

    8. So there will be two pitstops during the race, just like the old days. So much for introducing new tires to spice up the racing. I’m deeply disappointed.

    9. 2 / 3 stops is ok, especially for a first race.

      The drivers might be complaining about all the new toys, but we as fans have also much to cope with! KERS, FFW, Pirelli’s, rookies etc etc.

      So from that perspective it’s nice to not have that 4 / 5 stops in the first (dry!) race.

      1. Agree, I’ve watch 4 even 5 pitstop races before it doesn’t make it better. 2 or 3 is ideal.

    10. What a let down. So much for four or five pit stops.

      1. That car looks very stable, unlike the Ferraris (both Alonso and Massa seem to be fighting the car). McLaren might be very good on its tyres.

    11. I just hope that the high tyre wear and big speed difference between tyres do not decrease the amount of ‘exciting’ overtaking maneuvers.I dont want to see one car going past the other only to find out its on a different strategy all together.Overtaking should ‘mean’ something.

      1. Thats one of my biggest concerns.

        If we have a situation where tyre performance is very extreme then we will end up with a situation where yes we will see more passing but we could end up seeing less racing.

        To me the thing I love about F1, about Motor Racing in general is the racing. I love watching 2 or more cars fighting for position, The car ahead defending with the car behind trying to find a way past.

        I think back to those 2 races at Imola in 2005/2006, Watching Schumacher & Alonso fighting for the win over the final 10+ laps, Schumi all over the back of Alonso in 2005 & the reverse in 2006, I loved it.

        I don’t want to see a situation where that sort of great scrap for position is broke up because of the DRS or KERS or because there on different tyre strategies so one is a couple seconds faster than the other on fresher tyres.

        In my view everything we have this season is entertainment/unpredictability at the expence of racing.

        1. In my view everything we have this season is entertainment/unpredictability at the expence of racing.

          Unpredictability is the essence of sport.

          1. In a way thats true, However I don’t really think unpredictability should be kind of artificially forced into the mix.

            If you have a set of natural circumstances like rain or whatever bringing in some unpredictability then fine, Yet coming up with the DRS, KERS & Pirelli tyres to try & force that I feel takes away a bit from the purity of the Sport/Racing.

            As I said the thing I love about this sport is the racing, If you have the DRS, KERS & Pirelli’s taking away from the racing, Breaking up good racing then to me F1 loses a lot of its appeal.

          2. Mechanical engineering is the “essence” of the sport. If unpredictability was the “essence” of the sport then each starting grid would be decided by a lottery.

    12. Button did 29 laps on a set of the harder tyres!

      1. Of which 10 were at racing speed?

    13. Sorry, Still absolubely hate these tyres.

      I don’t want to see everyone do at least 2 pit stops, i want to see the teams & drivers been the ones who decide how many stops they want to make.

      if a driver wants to go the full race without making any pit stops he should have the option to do so, same if they want to stop once, twice or whatever.

      something i also saw on tv last night was a lot of marbles which will do nothing but harm the on-track racing.

      ive got little intrest in watching a pit stop/tyre lottery, i just want to see a race between drivers on the racetrack!

      1. If you didn’t have to stop for tyres because the rules no longer required you to, then it’s entirely probable that you wouldn’t need to bother at all if we were still using the Bridgestone tyres.

        The problem then lies in everyone already knowing who is going to win the race after only the first few corners. Not something that will keep audiences watching in any great numbers.

        The option to do more stops on the Bridgestone tyres would also have been pointless, since you would never regain the time back on the tyres that you stopped for.

        It is up to the team and driver to use the equipment that they have to the best of its ability.

        If you want to see a race that is just between the “drivers” on the track, then you are watching the wrong series of motor sport.

        1. but just because there is an option not to make any stops doesnt mean everyone will take it.

          when we had that system up untill the end of 1993 you always had a varierty of options with the different tyre compounds and you often never knew exactly who would do what untill it actually happened.

          i dont dislike the pirelli tyres simply because they wear, i dislike them because the entire tyre range wears which forces everyone to make at the very least 2 pit stops.
          the soft yres should wear, however the medium and hard tyres should have considerable less wear which allows for the option of a 1-stop and also a no-stop strategy.

          if you had the pre-94 setup of multiple compounds with how many stops they wanted to make left totally down to drivers & teams rather than simply down to tyre wear forcing 2+ stops, you would have far less predictability, far more strategy options and far more input from drivers on mid-race strategy changes.

          see estoril 1993, schumacher plans 2-stops yet opts to switch compounds and go the rest of the race without making the planned 2nd stop, that got him an unexpected win & gave us a great fight for the win between him & prost in the closing laps.

          paul ricard 1990, the 2 leyton house cars go without making any stops while others made 1 or 2 and it gave us an unexpected and intresting final few laps with ivan capelli nearly pulling off a totally unexpected win.

          i’ve been following f1 for over 45 years and think its a complete joke that pirelli have made there entire range of tyres like they have and that the regulations surrounding tyre useage is as it is.

          1. The trouble with that the idea of different strategies is that there usually is one optimal strategy and just about all teams and drivers will adopt that.

            Then you probably think, but that was the case in 1993 too.

            Indeed it was, but then the rules actually allowed different strategies. Nowadays, they HAVE to stop once, use BOTH compounds, they can’t refuel (to actually make more pitstops work) and worst of all … they CAN’T change their strategy based on the qualifying result.

            So they basically have to pick their strategy (and setup) after FP3.

          2. Best comment I’ve read on this site. Very well said.

            How did you like being told that since you wish to see drivers race each other on track you have been “watching the wrong series of motorsport” for 45 years?

    14. I was thinking back at the 2009 Australian GP where the supersofts were about as fragile as the Pirelli’s now.

      Reading back through the comments from then, the drivers were rather upset that Bridgestone brought the supersofts (they didn’t repeat it for 2010)

      For instance Vettel said: “thankfully I have my helmet and visor, which protects my eyes as the rubber is coming off!”

      In the end Vettel crashed into Kubica trying to defend his position when he worn out his tyres and was 3 seconds a lap slower than Kubica (on fresh tyres).

      We also saw a lot of “drive by’s” with 3 second lap time differences between old and new tyres.

      Entertaining race “for sure”, but I’d get pretty bored if all season was like that.

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