Pirelli not expecting “five-stop races”

2013 F1 season

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Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Pirelli say the high level of tyre degradation seen in testing so far won’t be replicated in the races.

“We?re only just past the halfway point of mid-season testing, so it?s still very early days,” said motorsport director Paul Hembery.

“But the conditions we?re seeing in Barcelona are again far from typical of the rest of the season, with much cooler ambient and track temperatures than we would normally race in.

“Coupled with the fact that the teams are still making big set-up adjustments to their new cars, as they all try to optimise their car-tyre packages, we are seeing levels of degradation that are outside of the usual parameters.

“Once we get to Melbourne we are confident that the tyres will be in their intended working range, with two to three pit stops.”

Mark Webber said the sport should not got too far in increasing the number of pit stops to produce exciting races.

“We know when you have multiple stops, a lot of degradation in the races, there’s more chances for things to go wrong,” he said. “You can have a little bit more, let’s say, interesting results.”

“If that’s what the people like then maybe we can have more stops and more action. If you have a one stop race, the Red Bulls, McLarens, everyone lines up, it’s a one-stop race then the result might be a little bit more fixed.

“But if you have a five-stop Grand Prix things move around a little bit. In general I still think the quick guys will be strong at the end of the race. But I hope we don’t have five-stop races because it’s not really Formula One.

“We need to keep the stops sensible in terms of duration. I think everybody knows the balancing act needs to be not one stop, not five, somewhere in the middle.”

Webber added he thought it was unlikely the opening races of this season would produce as many different winners as was seen last year: “I don’t think we can have more winners than last year, for the first seven races. That’s was a record I think which will stay for a while.”

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Keith Collantine
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  • 63 comments on “Pirelli not expecting “five-stop races””

    1. How about a 4 stopper but the conditions down at Albert Park are very tricky so who knows we could be in for a wet GP which will make it more interesting especially for the drivers as the GP ends at 6.30pm AEDST

    2. I don’t really mind 1 stoppers or 5 stoppers. What I really want to see is variation in the pit strategies, I want to see one driver trying to nurse his tyres for an entire race while another burns through 5 sets. For that we’d need to bring a much larger range of tyres to the races (which may not be feasible given the costs) ranging from slow tyres that last a long time to very fast tyres that last only for a few laps. We’d also need to scrap some of these absurd restrictions on what tyres you need to use during a race. (using both compounds, top 10 starting on tyres they qualified on)

      1. i agree with everything you said!

      2. It would be easy to implement a system such as you have x number of these tyres to use over the course of the year. So many super softs, so many softs etc. Need an extra set of super softs to grab pole? Do it, but you might lose out at the end of the year when you run out of tyres. Then try a one stopper on two hards, or a four stopper on softs and super softs. Won’t get to the end on one set of softs? Use a medium instead.

    3. F1 could have 10 pit stops for all I care, as long are they are not predictable.

      Basically high down force cars should wear out the tyres quicker a car which has less. This gives the midfield a chance to get better results. The quicker guys will need to drive more quickly to stay ahead as they need to pit more. How this is achievable is anyone’s guess and I live in a fantasy world after all :)

      But pitstops need to be less predictable, tyres should be unpredictable, racing should be exciting.

      1. Tyres shouldnt be unpredictable or it makes practice and testing worthless. They should do what they say on the tin but either for example 1 or 3 stops should be about the same end result time wise giving teams/drivers the options to go either way, thats interesting.

        flipping a coin as to who tyres will work isnt for me interesting.

      2. High downforce cars tend to get better duration from tyres actually. This is because a high downforce car is more firmly planted and will move around a lot less when cornering. Low downforce cars have less grip and will more easily exceed the slip angle of the car/tyre package causing excess wear. A car with less downforce will also be more susceptible to locking the wheels under braking, again causing greater tyre wear.

        1. but more force goes through the tyres on higher downforce cars. so more wear from that i presume. so it is a bit of a balance.

          1. @sato113,NO, you are wrong as @coefficient so clearly explains.

            1. @hohum no one is right or wrong instantly. my personal thought was that through a long high speed corner, the higher cornering speed and lateral loading going through the tyre on a red bull is more than on an HRT. thus the tyre would wear out faster. however, as @coefficient points out, a red bull’s tyre wouldn’t slip and slide as much. so perhaps this cancels out the wear I have mentioned.

              please dont be so high and mighty in your replies.

            2. Would you rather continue to have false beliefs even after reading the very clear, and correct explanation from @ coefficient. Your comment was not a question, it was a false statement of fact.

            3. I suggest we refrain from flaming other members of the forum. Tyre degradation is a complex issue, combining both thermal degradation and mechanical degradation.

              Thermal degradation is a factor of load on the tyre as well as track temperature and tyre running pressures. Higher down force cars will generate more load on the tyre, but the other factors may be more powerful.

              Mechanical degradation is generated by understeer and oversteer, a factor of the balance of the car. This can happen in a higher down force or a lower down force car.

              There is no way that anyone can simply say “A higher down force car will wear out the tyres slower”.

              Lets face it, the driver makes far greater difference than the car, as demonstrated in previous years. In 2011, Mark Webber (in the highest down force car on the grid), made consistenly one more pit stop than his team mate. His issue? Car balance not suiting his driving style.

              To the guys above, I suggest getting hard facts to back up your rather rude attacks on other members, instead of just assuming you are correct.

        2. @coefficient – has provided a great explanation @sato113; I suggest you pay attention to it as it is entirely correct! ;)

          1. i AGREE HE IS CORRECT! lol. i’m just providing a possible side effect which can exist alongside his true explanation.

            1. Its about making the car accelerate, slow down and turn in the smoothest and quickest way possible, causing as little strain on the tyres. How you go about it is all down to interpretation and preference.

              it is a balance. And other factors come into play as well, suspension, Brake Bias, ride height, tyre pressure, Fuel etc. As well as the driver himself and how he applies the throttle, brakes and steering. If not team mates would be the same with tyres. & Sauber proved otherwise. If it was just downforce that fixed it when the tyres have been weak you would just chuck everything at it.

              But yes more downforce, should mean more grip, less locking and sliding therefore less tyre wear. Tyre wear has always been massive in Hungary.

              Like bags of TC never actually meant better lasting tyres. For agressive drivers it as ‘they’ were doing the damage not the car did but for smooth ones not so. Remember Button barely used it.

      3. F1 has to be only sport that sabotages it’s ‘players’ for the sake of entertainment.
        I guess Usain Bolt should run with bags of sand so that the Olympics are unpredictable.

        1. @jason12 – if you are referring to regulation changes, then yes indeed you are correct. But of you are referring to tyres, that analogy is absolutely not correct. That is giving others a clear advantage, whereas the tyres are the same for everyone. You can ironically only apply that to the tyre war…

        2. all sports limit what is possible (hence anti doping rules, but also limits on material used in all sorts of sports like tennis, golf, sailing, ski-ing etc).

          A well known example is world swimming abandoning the full body suits to bring the competition back to being more about technique and athletic prowess than about best material. Times dropped by seconds.

    4. How can there be 5 stop races? Drivers have only 5 sets of tyres for qualifying and race together right? So, maximum would be 4 stop races.

      1. 5 hard and 5 soft

        1. I thought it was 3 prime and 3 option by the time they got to qualifying??

      2. Something freakish could happen where the teams discover that a set of tyres will work better for longer if it is scrubbed in for half a stint, replaced and then put back on later in the race. Unlikely I guess but not impossible.

        With the increased graining we’re hearing about this year perhaps we will see a return starting on scrubbed tyres? Remember in the old Bridgestone days where the graining could be avoided if the tyres had already been through a heat cycle?

        1. The top 10 always start on scrubbed tyres, they have no choice

          1. Unless they remain in the garage for Q3.

    5. have we had an all-dry 4 stop race in the new pirelli era? where 4 stops was the most common strategy.

      1. From memory Istanbul 2011 saw most do 4-stops & the general feeling afterwards was that the number of stops + DRS been massively effective made the race feel too artificial & very difficult to follow (Especially for those who watched on channels featuring Ad-breaks).

        1. They could implement hockey style power breaks every 10 minutes to fix that. Then all the cars has to stop on the spot for 1 minute before continuing after the commercial :)

    6. Has there ever been situation when driver has no tyres to change when going to pits as he has changed all the sets?

      I mean due to any reason at all – what would they do in such situation or tyre supplier has some unofficial emergency tyres standing somwhere.

      1. if that situation occurred it would most likely be near the end of a race. thus, they’d put on their best worn/used set of tyres to finish the race. fail that you could drive around at a moderate speed on inters on a dry track.

        this situation would never happen in a wet race though. the tyres last longer.

    7. The only rule I would change is the one that makes the use of both compounds compulsory. All the other seems good to me

    8. It usually gets confusing during pit stops, so 5 pit stops in a 56 laps race really sounds like a big, enormous number.

      I’m expecting 2012-like racing, tbh. I doubt it’s gonna be radically different. But we’ll see…

      1. Sooner or later the ” powers that be” will reverse their position on pit stops, before, I hope, it becomes a total farce. All new gimmicks get reversed in F1 eventually.

      2. Then we’ll just enjoy the pit stop circus and forget about racing.

    9. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      25th February 2013, 14:56

      If its sunny and warm in Melbourne, I think it will be a 2 or 3 stopper race.
      The medium will be quite a bit slower than the super soft, so the teams will want to get the most from the options because they’ll yield the best results. But they’ll have to pit more often.

      Hypothetically, if a super soft can withstand 14-15 laps, then well most likely see a 2 stopper from the majority of teams. Start on options, go to lap 28-30 and then put on the primes and go to the end.

      Obviously it’s going to be slightly different for everyone, but im keen to see if Perez can “work his magic” in the Mclaren, since the Sauber was supposed to be kind on its tires, I wonder how much of an effect Perez had on it.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        25th February 2013, 14:58

        “Start on options, go to lap 14 or 15, pit for new options, then go till lap 28-30, then it for primes and go to the end.”

      2. Isn’t that a one-stop you example? I wouldn’t be expecting the softs at the early stages to last nearly 30 laps, I think 20 is a more reasonable estimate.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          26th February 2013, 3:08

          See correction

          1. @tophercheese21 – ah I see, yea that sounds more reasonable!

    10. What about circuits where there have been cold temperatures in the past – the Nürburgring, or the early start at Austin? It may be just practice, but it would quickly eat up a driver’s allocation for the weekend.

      I hope Pirelli have that eventuality covered, or they’ll look silly just when there’s (hopefully) a championship battle going on. We should know by November whether their F1 contract is being renewed. But the way F1 is run, we probably won’t…

      1. The teams have a fixed tyre allocation for the weekend (its in the rules), if they use them up they (the team) will look silly not Pirelli, surely.

    11. I agree with this:

      I think everybody knows the balancing act needs to be not one stop, not five, somewhere in the middle.

      Of course that is not in everyones interests, *cough* @hohum *cough*, but I think a happy medium of 2-3 stops will keep the majority of fans satisfied. I too am not expecting to see the huge levels of wear we are seeing in testing with the higher temperatures also, as they should more easily get up to temperature and hence have more grip/less wear.

      1. @vettel1,Max what can I say, for me, no pit stops was the rule for the 1st. 30 years of my interest in F1, so of course I think no pit stops is good, that is subjective and I understand people with the opposite experience might have the opposite view but what is not subjective and is unarguable is that it costs a lot less to use only 1 set of tyres per race.

        1. @hohum – absolutely, in no way was I diminishing your point of view if you’ve been given that impression! Arguably yes, it would reduce costs, but you could also argue that the increased audience figures that possibly have coincided with the increase in overtakes has increased F1’s revenue. So I think the cost of the tyres is rather insignificant compared to the more pressing issue of aerodynamics (a topic we agree on)!

          1. @vettel1, absolutely yes to your last point. Is there any evidence that the introduction of pit-stops increased either the amount of overtaking or the number of fans ? My recollection is pit stops ruined the racing for me as drivers gained or lost position in the pits rather than on the track.

            1. @hohum – overtaking has definitely increased since the introduction of the Pirelli’s, but of course that also coincided with DRS which accounts for the increase. I have however seemed to notice a lot more “out-tractioning” overtaking as a result of the Pirelli tyres but I have only observational evidence at this point. I shall try to collate some data though! :)

    12. I just hope we have a fantastic season ahead!

    13. I have a question: who was the last driver to finish a Grand Prix without changing his tyres during a pit stop? A “normal” race, no red flag or something like that.

      1. Good question, it will no doubt be the driver who finished last in the last dry race of the last season before pit stops were introduced .

      2. @francorchamps17, @hohum I believe the answer to your question would be the 2005 Chinese GP, as from 2007 onwards at least one pit stop has been mandatory and unless I’ve missed someone doing an ambitious tyre strategy I believe there were pit stops in every race in 2006. I do stand to be corrected though: as I have said, I may have missed something from 2006!

        1. You are probably correct, I had forgotten about the “groovy” year, but wasn’t it 2006? back to Google.

          1. @hohum – what do you mean? In 2006 tyre changes were allowed (link) and in 2007 the “use both compounds” rule was introduced (3rd bullet point).

            I have no idea if anyone no-stopped with tyres in 2006 though, although I doubt it given that refuelling was allowed so really you would change the tyres when you refuelled (and I don’t believe anyone qualified with race fuel)!

        2. @vettel1 every driver who finished the race made at least one pit stop: http://www.formula1.com/results/season/2005/750/6257/pit_stop_summary.html

          1. @francorchamps17 – you are correct, but nobody changed their tyres! It was outlawed by the regulations to change tyres during a pit-stop during 2005 (link).

            1. Ok thank you very much! I’m only following F1 since 2010 and I’ve always seen a lot of pitstops! I was sure that the last time a driver didn’t change his tyres during a race was in the 70’s :D

            2. @francorchamps17 – no problem, there were quite a lot of regulation changes around that time with the tyres!

    14. I still think they should allow teams & drivers to use whatever compound they want & run there race strategies however they want.

      People talk about how 2-4 stops should be the norm, However I still think that there should be the possibility of doing a race without making any stops at all. If you want to push flat out on a soft compound knowing you may need to pit a few times you should have this option, However if you want to run a very hard/slower compound & plan to make no-stop I think you should also have the opportunity to do this.

      I hear people talk about the Pirelli’s allowing different strategies, However because everyone must run the same 2 compounds most of them end up running the same sort of strategy. Allowing teams/drivers to pick there own compounds & run there races however they wanted would produce far more varied strategies & lead to far more interesting & exciting races.

      1. Though I agree with most of what you’ve said, it’s not as simple as that. Firstly, you would realistically need the teams to pick their tyre selections far in advance if that was to be a realistic option from a logistical point of view. Secondly, it would need to be regulated effectively to prevent teams from using the super-softs almost like a qualifying tyre and then switching to the hards/mediums for the race (actually I would probably keep the “start on tyre you set your fastest lap on” rule and apply it to the whole grid to deter them from doing that). Thirdly, that would create a situation in which potentially certain teams have a clear tyre advantage on that particular weekend, which may cause upset among some fans (although I don’t think I would be one, as everyone is given the same options).

        Perhaps if we had an option a) super-soft/soft or soft/medium (depending on the track) and b) soft/medium or medium/hard (again depending on the track) it would create a very interesting scenario and with that we could ditch the “start on tyre you set your fastest lap on” and “use both compounds” rules, as hopefully then we would see both tyres used regardless (as you would qualify on the softer compound and then use the harder in the race). I also think that because Pirelli would select the tyre allocations for the two options we wouldn’t see issues with a definite handicap for certain teams and it wouldn’t be too difficult logistically as again the teams would have to select their tyres months previously.

        Actually, now I’ve thought this through it is actually sounding like quite a good idea!

        1. Thirdly, that would create a situation in which potentially certain teams have a clear tyre advantage on that particular weekend

          We get that already though, Certain cars not working tyres on certain circuits & then been left uncompetitive, Or certain cars working the tyres perfectly & getting an advantage that weekend.

          Going back to 2011 for instance, Ferrari couldn’t get the hard tyres to work so everytime they put on the hard compound the were well off the pace.
          If they had the option of not using that compound then they would have been up there & we would have seen more competitive racing at the front.

          1. True, but at least then everyone had the same tyres – nobody could be accused of having gained an advantage which others have missed out on. I did however say afterwards this:

            which may cause upset among some fans (although I don’t think I would be one, as everyone is given the same options).

            …so I do see exactly where you are coming from!

            1. I’ve said for a while now that the “Use two compounds” rule should be scrapped. Max, I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it introduced in an effort to make tyres worth talking about? And thus keep Bridgestone’s name mentioned in the commentary?

              As we now discuss tyres constantly anyway, surely it poses no use whatsoever!

              A discussion exactly like this one took place between me and a friend a while back and we came up with the same solution for the logistical issues. We did briefly mention the option of having a season quota for each compound and the potential for excitement of a top team being severely hampered by running out of useful rubber at the last Grand Prix.

              We decided it was a bad idea because that kind of excitement wouldn’t be to most people’s tastes. Not to mention it would be horrendously complex for more casual viewers. It would actually be pretty damn hard for the hardcore viewers, we’d probably need a spreadsheet of who’d used which tyres…

            2. @gongtong

              Max, I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it introduced in an effort to make tyres worth talking about? And thus keep Bridgestone’s name mentioned in the commentary?

              You are entirely correct, which is why the rule is completely useless now! It was intended pretty much so you would have to pit, which wasn’t necessary in a lot of cases with the Bridgestones.

            3. The FIA were against the use 2 compound rule initially as were teams/driver, However Bridgestone twisted some arms & got the rule introduced.

              It was something they did in Champcar when they became one of that series title sponors as a way of making the tyres a talking point to maximise there brand exposure. Although there were quite a few drivers that didn’t like it because I gather there hard tyres were tricky to get working & required a very specific setup (Which is a big part of why Newman/Haas & Bourdais were able to dominate, They had the best shock package thanks to having there own shaker-rig).

    15. Regardless how miserably the disinte-Pirellis perform, Paul Hembry will smile and tell you how much better the competition is for them.

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