Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013

Drivers not expecting to miss Q3 to save tyres

2013 Australian Grand Prix

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Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013F1 drivers doubt there will be an advantage to be gained by deliberately avoiding the later stages of qualifying in order to save fresh sets of tyres.

Pirelli have supplied softer tyre compounds this year, leading to claims drivers might reduce their running in qualifying to gain an advantage for the race.

But Sebastian Vettel doubted it would prove beneficial: “I don?t think so. I think you always want to start from the front.”

“There?s the odd example here or there where people maybe had a bit of a benefit putting on that extra set at the end of the race but on average I think if you can chose, you go for the front.”

Daniel Ricciardo agreed: “Obviously if I was in the position to do that as well I would definitely go for starting at the front.”

“Starting in the mid-pack and taking that risk to save tyres is obviously putting yourself in a bit more of a tight situation potentially on the first lap with more cars around. The thing is, if you?re able to fight for the front row you go for it, that?s the logical one for me.”

Vettel said he hopes there won’t be a repeat of the severe levels of degradation seen during pre-season testing: “I think in winter testing we all suffered the same problem: the tyres didn?t last.”

“It was extremely difficult for us to do a lot of laps on the same set of tyres, to test certain things. We hope it gets better here. Otherwise it could be quite funny.”

Lewis Hamilton also played down the likely effect of the new tyre compounds: “The tyres are a little bit different, it?s not a big drama.”

“Everyone?s in the same boat so it?ll be interesting to see how long the super soft tyre lasts, if there?s a little more graining than there was last year. But again, everyone?s got the same tyre.”

2013 Australian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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14 comments on “Drivers not expecting to miss Q3 to save tyres”

  1. I think it would be interesting if the Q3 runners use the prime (medium in Melbourne) at the beginning. They can held the rest of the field and attacking with option (supersoft in Melbourne) in the middle or the end of the race.

    1. Yeah but ‘holding up’ has become very difficult since the DRS came into the picture.

    2. @adityafakhri: I know about the tyre types but I don’t know why are they called prime or options. Can you please tell me in gist why are they called so? I really want to know. Thanks.

      1. IIRC…

        Prime: The compound delivers the best race pace. and the one that would have been used if only 1 was to be chosen by the Tire Supplier

        Option: The mandatory alternative, of which one set must be used.

        The Prime is NOT ALWAYS the harder tire.

        1. Prime: the compound of which there are 4 sets available

          Option: the compound of which 3 sets are available

          1. @javlinsharp is correct (for example in India 2011) but for the purposes of simplicity though, in most cases prime is the harder compound and the option the softer compound (so medium and super soft respectively for this weekend) @aish.

            So yes, there are three “option” sets available and 4 “prime” sets available to each driver for a race weekend.

  2. I think Redbull have proved that “run and hide” is more effective…

  3. Hm, reading what those drivers say about it, its obvious that Vettel will not do anything alike, he will be gunning for pole. But Ricciardo makes it clear that he might opt for it given that he has no chance of a pole anyway.

    1. But 1st they have to drag the STR out of Q1, If they have the speed to do that they hid it pretty well in testing.

  4. I think we will see less running in qualifying if the 2013 Pirelli are very fragile.

    First it must become clear how badly the tyres will degrade from one qualifying lap. In winter testing, times went up very rapidly in the first few laps of a stint, after which a consistent but much slower pace could be achieved. If a driver tries to settle into a race pace on new tyres, will he be able to sustain a higher pace, or will he ‘just’ get one or two laps quick laps, after which he has to settle for the same slower pace?

    For teams and drivers lucky enough to reach Q3 with two sets of new options available, whether they save a set or now will depend on how many stops they anticipate for the race. Last year Melbourne was comfortably a two-stopper, in which case there would be no need to save a set (since you have to start on your qualifying set anyway). If this year a three-stop race is anticipated, perhaps saving a set is a good idea, or perhaps a ‘Q3-team’ should even consider using super soft in Q1, so it can use three new sets of mediums on Sunday.

    In short, the question is not whether to start from pole or to start from P10 with a fresh set of tyres, but new tyres are almost certainly going to be worth more grid slots than they were last year.

    In winter testing, it looked like the tyres were very quick on the first lap, and then you could also get you could get one very quick lap, one or two good laps, and then a number of much slower laps out of them

    1. @adrianmorse Nice thoughts (start from P11* but doesn’t change much to your point)

      If we take 1 sec lost every 5 laps (which was about the degradation seen in testing), that mean that a quali lap take out around 0.6 sec out of the tyre. So the top 10 won’t have any speed advantage on those behind them and they will have tyres lasting less time. But that’s the figure after testing, shouldn’t be that nonsense at Melbourne.
      I’m not again seeing a strange tactics pay off if someone can get it out, but I hope it won’t be a chaotic race on “Save your tyres” by Pirelli

  5. maybe not to miss Q3. But those that make it to Q3 might decide not to run (like we saw several times last year), to save tyres.

  6. I think that those who scrape into Q3 but aren’t in competition for the top 6 places or so will still skip Q3, as they did last year. Why wouldn’t they? If you make Q3 but expect to start 9th or 10th anyway, there’s nothing to be gained from burning a fresh set of tyres to qualify there.

  7. It would be great if there were tyres for qualifying and tyres for the race! This rule is really stupid. The slowest drivers of Q3 will never go out…

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