Mark Webber, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013

Wet weather ‘the only condition these tyres work in’

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013The subject of tyres is dominating the Malaysian Grand Prix according to Mark Webber.

“The tyres are still the most important thing at the moment ?ǣ it?s all about those,” he said after today’s two practice sessions.

Drivers found even the hard tyres wore out quickly during the first practice session at Sepang.

The second practice sessions was hit by a shower halfway through. “The slicks were alright, actually, in those conditions,” said Webber, adding it was “probably the only conditions they work in, to be honest. When it rains, on slicks they’re a chance.”

Webber said the team learned “plenty” from the first day of running in Malaysia. “We’ll go through it tonight,” he added.

“These Friday pressers are a little bit of a joke really because we try and give you a feeling but it’ll all change on Sunday anyway. So we’ll try and get what we can out of it.

“Pretty smooth run for us to be honest, we need to improve, keep finding pace.”

He said the wet running in second practice at least gave the the chance to evaluate when a damp becomes suitable for slicks: “Yeah the crossover looks interesting but I think everyone will be on that.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 60 comments on “Wet weather ‘the only condition these tyres work in’”

    1. Onya Webbo!

    2. These Friday pressers are a little bit of a joke really

      Well, there’s an interesting comment right there ;-) Also, the line about the slicks only working in the wet is another classic, so these Friday intereviews were good for something, anyway.

      1. Ayrton tried that back in 1992 at SPA. He lost and Schumacher won his first race. It was fun to watch though.

        1. Well, but Barichello made it work for his first win.
          And Jos Verstappen got kicked off track at Monaco when he tried…

    3. why aren’t drivers sensitive to damaging Pirelli’s image? the drivers know that Pirelli have created fast degrading tyres on purpose so why criticise them?

      (I understand webber’s comment as saying the slicks degrade so fast in the dry that they’re useless and that in damp, slower conditions, they are better.)

      1. @sato113 On the whole, I think they are quite wary of damaging Pirelli’s image. It’s just that Webber is a bit more out-spoken than the rest of the Paddock. Besides, who cares about Pirelli’s image, Mark thinks what he thinks and good on him for not being a robot-PR-driver.

        1. @timi yeah and then watch Pirelli leave the sport because it’s not helping their image! I’d rather Mark stayed quiet on this issue than Pirelli leave.

          1. @sato113 Other companies make tyre’s, Pirelli isn’t Webbers sponsor nor are they giving away their rubber. RedBull are obviously having issues and Mark is speaking his mind, I see nothing wrong with that.

      2. the drivers know that Pirelli have created fast degrading tyres on purpose so why criticise them

        The problem is that the degradation is not the same for everyone, the teams used to make their cars go as fast as they can by developing it to win races,… now they have to adapt it to the tyres, i mean you can win by preserving your tyres even if you’re not the quickest which is very strange

        1. MALLI (@mallikarjuna)
          22nd March 2013, 9:55

          the tyre situation is same for all. redbull using their tyres harder for one lap pace while lotus setting thier tyres for race pace. its race pace finally matters not a single hot lap.

          1. the tyre situation is same for all

            i have a doubt ,you can call me a “conspiracy theorist” or you can call this “sour grapes” and correct me if i’m wrong, the Pirelli’s have been developed on a Renault R30 which is a predecessor of the current Lotus, i don’t know but i feel that the Lotus team has gained an advantage from that

            1. R30 has nothing to do with this E21 and this sore looser should start to accept than ohter drivers (namely Kimi and the Ferrari duo) can win as wll. It’s been three year of dominance for RB and now for a race won by Kimi and well done by Alonso and Massa all this whining? Crybabies…

            2. Like Ferrari during the Bridgestone/Schumacher era?

        2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          22nd March 2013, 10:08

          Perhaps the FIA is subliminally messaging the viewers to stop doing burnouts and getting wheel spin on the public roads, in the hope that we’ll slow down and preserve our tyres.

          1. hahaha
            then FIA should downgrade F1 to Ford Fiesta championship as their highest category!

          2. Antonio (@frosty-jacks-racing-team)
            22nd March 2013, 11:23

            There subliminal messages aren’t working if that’s the case! Every Time i drive after watching i cant help but take racing lines…

        3. Just a pure and petty technicality… the quickest car is always the one that wins. It gets from A to B in the shortest time on the day when it actually matters. A car that can lap 20 seconds faster than anyone else is of no use to any team if it shreds its tyres in 2 laps. This is my opinion on car speed. It’s not ALL about lap time.

          1. YEAH, I get the same feeling cruising through Germany at 130, big Audi’s and Merc’s going by at 250++, makes me secretly snicker and think “Gonna get you on the mileage guys :) ” And sometimes it happens, they has to fill up more and then get s caught in traffic what not…

            Only problem is that F1 isn’t supposed to be about Sunday cruises as apparently you and several others on this site including Keith thinks. It would be one thing if the tires simply had less grip, but that they are not even using what grip there are to any meaningful percentage because they will be penalized way to heavy for it, no defending no charging after a bad start….

            1. @tvm Oh don’t get me wrong. I am not supportive of tyre conservation dominated races by any means. If there was a way to presever the great racing we’ve seen in the last 2 years but to use a tyre that could be pushed as often as needed to, then I’d back it 100%.

          2. @nick-uk, that’s called a time-triall where car club members drive a course to arrive at check points and the finish at a predicted time, you don’t need fast cars or drivers just good concentration, a stopwatch and a Morris Minor. Rivetting viewing.

            1. @hohum I know what a time trial is, and I agree it’s not that brilliant to watch. So let me rephrase; the fastest car, literally speaking and when looking at the race as a whole, is the car that gets from the start to the checkered flag in the fastest time. Do you deny that is correct? It is impossible for a car to win a race while setting a slower total race time than a car that did it faster, unless of course there is a post race penalty that diqualifies or relegates the winner to a lower position.

            2. @nick-uk, semantics,semantics, the winner is definitely the winner and is the car that completes the race in the shortest time period so sets the fastest average speed, I agree but a faster car can have a slower pit crew, a puncture, etc. and not win despite compiling the fastest average lap time for the race.

            3. @hohum Yes, that is why I said it is not all about lap time.

            4. Drop Valencia!
              23rd March 2013, 0:47

              Nick.UK it is possible for a car to win a race while posting a longer time, without penalties, in endurance racing like Lemans!

      3. @sato11
        Because they don’t accept losing, it has nothing to do with tyres..

      4. I think there’s a bit of Red Bull lobbying in Marks comments. Seb was criticising the tires a few days ago too. No surprise considering how quickly the Bulls are chewing through their rubber.

        You don’t hear any negativity coming from the Lotus camp do you?

        This is F1 and everybody has an agenda.

        1. I think there’s a bit of Red Bull lobbying in Marks comments

          I think you are onto something here. I for one am fed up with Mark and his political agenda .

          1. @adrianmorse, so whose political agenda do you like?

            1. @hohum, first I should note that “[end irony]” dropped off my comment, as I used the wrong symbols.

              I do have an opinion about which drivers are a little more political than others, but I will keep it to myself, as my suspicions are hard to back up anyway. Also, I don’t intend any irony with the “little” in the previous sense; I don’t think the current F1 drivers are very political.

            2. @adrianmorse, please accept my apologies, one sees so many puerile comments it’s sometimes difficult to spot the irony, I thought you were being 13&1/2 again.

      5. @sato113
        if Pirelli is worried that drivers speaking out their minds is damaging their image, then they shouldn’t have signed up for this task in the first place.

        also, webber isn’t directly criticising Pirelli, but the current situation in general, the fact that it has come to this.

        1. @andrewf1 Agree completely. And I don’t think Pirelli is worried about their image. They are doing as they have been mandated, and they at the same time will try to take credit for an exciting season that has once again the potential for multiple winners like last year. And after all, MW does say they are the most important thing right now. He may mean it in a negative way, but Pirelli will always spin that to mean a positive.

          MW may be simply stating the way it is. If he is subliminally doing moreso, then I think his dig is more toward F1 for making it so much about the tires. Last year the complaints from the drivers were that it was too much about the tires and that they were too limited from pushing the car by them. This year seems will be no different. And in general F1 has never really cared what the drivers think about the direction F1 takes or about how the cars are to drive. Sure maybe when it comes to them contributing from a safety standpoint, but otherwise, they couldn’t care less what the drivers would like to see.

      6. why aren’t drivers sensitive to damaging Pirelli’s image?

        Why isn’t the FIA, would be a better question, as they are the ones damaging Pirelli’s image by ordering tyes which deteriorate rapidly.

        1. I will assume that Pirelli is not worried about damaged image, or they would not have agreed to make these tires as they have been mandated to do. They would have refused to enter F1 as a sole supplier. Pirelli is doing as they have been asked, and in fact by happily agreeing to be the sole supplier and one that must make degrady tires that become the story of every weekend, Pirelli gets mentioned many many times, so there is marketing impact in it for them. In the past, when one maker made more stable tires (in this era of high aero dependancy), tires weren’t the deciding factor in races, processions happened due to too much aero dependancy, so tires barely got mentioned, so the sole supplier begged for a competitor to come in and that way tires would be talked about. The only way a sole maker benefits from being the only one is if the tires are such a big factor as they have been last year and this.

      7. @sato113 and why haven’t they mentioned how much quicker they were in this years FP1 session.

    4. Everyone seems to be worrying about high deg, and that they couldn’t get a proper race run in. Mercedes therefore might have pulled a master stroke with their program today. They had high deg when they did a high fuel run in the morning, they then did another in the afternoon with much better deg (only 1 second slower after 14 laps). They also have a lot more data to work with and improve even more overnight.

      1. @jleigh
        The point is not that.
        Mercedes in Melbourne had good tire management, the problem is that they were not quick enough.
        If you go slow and manages your tyre it’s pointless. You Have make a good point that after 14 laps they lose only 1 sec,but how fast were they in this 14 laps compared to the field…if Ferrari and Lotus can be 1 sec faster in this 14 laps…that’s what we saw at Melbourne.

        1. +1
          the point of tyre management is you’re still fast enough compared to the rest and able preserve the tyre, so you could leap with one less pitstop. (ex: Lotus with Kimi)
          If you’re not able to do that in the same time, the result is Mercedes in Melbourne last weekend.

    5. Mark Webber. Always telling it like it is. Great stuff.

    6. Mark’s basically saying he wants F1 to concentrate on pure racing rather than some novelty challenge.

    7. Ooh nooo not a repeat of 2011!?
      Tyres or do i mean to say artificial tyres, so now it’s not necessary to have the best engine, best aero, best driver, best car to win a Formula One Grand Prix?
      Thanks Messr. Hembrey for showcasing them grippy Pirelli tyres.
      Formula One it’s a show! #ecclestone
      – sitting ducks with DRS
      – sitting ducks with KERS
      – sitting ducks with degrading Pirelli tyres

    8. Tyres are same for everyone and i don’t agree with Webber that its only about tyres… Tyres are important part but car performance and driver skill matter more. Caterham & Marrusia would be closer to RBR if it was only about tyres.

      1. Problem is, car performance and driver skill have to centre around the tires moreso than ever, and too much, in the drivers’ opinion. The car performance has to be geared very very much toward preserving the tires or maximizing them, which has always been a part of racing, but just not so much a part as last year and this. Driver skill is being overtaken by the tires too. The drivers can drive way faster and attempt way more passes except that they fear killing the tires prematurely. So they’re held back by them. They’re passengers, just doing what the engineers tell them they can or can’t do as it relates to the condition of the tires at the time.

        1. Only in opinion of those who are not winning. Do you hear this from Lotus or Ferrari. No you don’t. It’s as someone said before: In F1 someone always has own agenda. Red Bull and Mercedes would like to have tires better suited for them because that would make them faster than Lotus or Ferrari. If we would have those stone tires again from Bridgestone a few year back it would be Lotus and Ferrari complaining. That’s natural but pointless as everyone has the same tires, why didn’t they develop a car that is kinder to its tires. Mercedes at least tried as that was their biggest problem last year and they seem to have done something right unlike Red Bull.

          1. But that may change from one race to the next as some cars may treat their tires better depending on the abrasiveness of the track, the track and air temp, and the setup they may or may not have nailed for that track and those tires on that day. Look at all the multiple winners last year, and some drivers like FA were starting to say it lessens F1 to have it as a lottery. And as MW said, what they see on Friday will be different than what they will see on Sunday. So I think we may well hear Lotus or Ferrari complaining at some point, and maybe even after this weekend. Bottom line for me… the tires have too much influence and I’d rather see driver fighting driver on the track, not which engineering team is outperforming the other in babying tires. Also…the alternative does not have to be ‘stone’ tires either. For me the race should be between the drivers primarily, not to see who develops a car kinder to the tires first. People don’t generally line up for the engineers’ autograph…they line up for the drivers’…and they don’t want to see their driver suddenly within a half a lap lose 4 or 5 spots because the tires fell off a cliff. And saying it’s ‘the same for everybody’ doesn’t automatically make it right or the way it should be.

        2. They’re passengers, just doing what the engineers tell them they can or can’t do as it relates to the condition of the tires at the time.

          100% agree. This isn’t Prost masterfully managing his tyres, its a systematic race strategy that the driver must follow to ‘optimise’ his/her race. A bit sad really IMHO.

    9. Vettel and Webber have been criticizing these tyres since, well, Barcelona. I wonder if they suffer tyre deg more than the others. Melbourne certainly suggests so, but it was a strange weekend. After watching FP2 it seems that nothing really changed compared to last week.

    10. When nothing goes right for Red Bull they just winges every time. Slicks won’t work in wet conditions as we saw at Albert Park what they actually did. Where is to me if Mark Webber chose slicks in wet conditions he will just spin out and crash but they are required blue markings when there is heavy rain or moderate rain. I am predicting of a Red Bull that’s going to crash this weekend

      1. Albert Park is a street circuit. Have you been there? The road is driven on by people every day and the road is a very smooth, almost seamless texture i.e not ideal for race cars, hence the supersofts that are best for street circuits like Aus, Monaco and Singapore. Sepang has a very grippy but abrasive surface so slicks will work much better in the damp compared to the Albert Park surface.

        1. Nah I haven’t. But in Malaysia the water just sits there and it makes you go aqua-planing just like Silverstone last year. So to me they should be using wet weather tyres especially in Japan and Malaysia especially for Sunday as it normally rains just before race begins at 4pm MYT. If you don’t believe me look at the last 2009-2012 years.

          When it rains in Malaysia it’s like size of golf balls according to Craig Baird. Yeh but SS chews up very quickly. I will like to see more wet races then dry races as it just puts the drivers to the absolute limit.

          1. But in Malaysia the water just sits there

            Water actually drains off the track very quickly at Sepang, Its probably the best track when it comes to how quickly it dry’s.

            Water does collect when it rains super hard but as soon as the rain eases the standing water drains away very quickly. Look at 2001 for example, Monsoon rain flooded parts of the track yet literally 3mins later the big puddles were gone & it was dry enough for inter’s.

            Silverstone is a fairly flat circuit which is why water tends to remain on the circuit for a long time, The drainage systems are also about 40yrs old.
            The problem at Suzuka is the undulation, The water forms streams on the parts of the circuit that goes up/down (Most notibly exiting the final chicane & down the start straght) & then collects at the bottom of some of these (Usually at the esses behind the pits).

            1. But it looks like its going to be 2012 all over again with the rain especially on Sunday as it is expected to fall at 4pm local as that should trigger SC early in the race but then an hour there is a possibllity of rain falling on the circuit. As for qualifying it will just remain partly cloudy

    11. Bring back the 2010 Bridgestones please. I miss seeing Mark being able to go on the limit nearly every lap without having to nurse these stupid pirellis. Its gotten to the point where driver influence is not as influential as car setup. This is about drivers, not who has the engineers that can setup a car to be easy on its pirellis. End rant.

        1. Agree completely but they have to do something about the overdependancy on aero or the 2010 Bridgestones will just cause processions…oh ya…dreaded DRS might negate some of that however…best solution…stable tires, no DRS, much less downforce.

    12. Its not just Webber been critical of the tyres, There were a lot of behind the scenes grumbles at Barcelona & Melbourne.

      I think the issue when it comes to comments like this is that the fans who love what Pirelli have done will only look at it from that point of view & generally ignore what its like for the drivers who have having to drive well within themselfs to conserve them all weekend.
      Also its the drivers dealing with the effects there having on the racing, Remember Webber at the 2011 Chinese Gp talking about how his drive through the field was less satisfying because of how easy things like the tyres & DRS were allowing him to pass people.

      Remember that the drivers want to race, they want to push themselfs & there car & have decided to aim for F1 because traditionally its been the pinnacle where you could race hard, fight hard to overtake & push yourself & your car to the limit. Now a lot of that is going the other way & I know for a fact having spoke to people within F1 that a vast majority of the current drivers don’t like the way its going.

      Its actually funny in a way that F1 is now what Le Mans style racing was while the Le Mans racing has gone the other way & is now a flat out sprint for the duration of the race be it 24hrs, 12hrs, 6hrs or the shorter ALMS style 3hr sprints.

      1. Adding to that I think the problem is getting the balance right & thats the biggest problem with using things like the tyres & DRS to ‘artificially spice up the show’, Your never going to get that balance right on a consistent basis.

        You don’t want to affect things to the point where its conceived as having too big an impact & a lottery but you don’t want to be too far the other way.

        This is actually why Im against these more artificial elements, Your never going to get it right & the constant tweaking & adjusting is just going to see you bouncing from one extreme to the other, Never getting is right in the middle.

        1. Great comment (or set of comments :-) ) @GT_Racer, the more elements are brought in to “spice up the action/show/race/…” the more you get a complicated bundle of self inflicted influences you have to get all right to deliver a good event.

    13. Horner: “I think what we want to avoid is drivers cruising around under the performance of their car, unable to follow another car closely, otherwise it’s not racing.”

      I knew this would happen again and I don’t like it one bit. Please, not drivers driving to lap deltas please again… that’s not F1 for me. The back end of 2012 was great and now we have this rubbish again.

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