Soft tyre’s short life poses strategic conundrum

2013 Chinese Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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In practice for the Chinese Grand Prix drivers discovered the soft tyre is far quicker than the medium compound but does not last long.

They found it good for a single flying lap in second practice and were unable to improve on subsequent runs. “It looks like the soft tyre is the one for qualifying, but it seems that we won’t see that many stints on the soft tyre during the race,” said Mark Webber.

Webber’s 14-lap stint on the medium tyre (see graph below) showed it should stand up well in the race. As Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery notice, it should prove more durable once the track conditions improve:

“In total, we’d expect the soft tyre to last between 11 to 12 laps in the race and the medium tyre for about 18 laps. This would suggest a maximum of three pit stops but it’s also possible that we’ll see two stops if the track keeps on evolving at this rate.”

Hembery put the performance difference between the tyres at “around one-and-a-half seconds, which is a little higher than we initially expected but it’s still early days here”.

This adds up to a strategic conundrum for the teams similar to what unfolded in Melbourne. The soft tyre is undoubtedly the way to go for those in the hunt for pole position. But those expecting to be in the lower reaches of Q3, and those who qualify on row six, might be better off starting on the harder compound, as Adrian Sutil did at the Australian race.

“There may well be people who chose, in Q3, to conserve tyres or plan to start on the more durable tyre,” said Ross Brawn. “But I think pole position will be set on the soft tyre because it’s so
much faster.”

Shanghai is a circuit where the track condition improves rapidly, particularly on the first day of running. This may go some way to explained Felipe Massa’s final time in second practice being considerably quicker than Nico Rosberg’s but the pace of the Ferrari should not be underestimated.

Ferrari led the way in the first two sectors of the lap with Mercedes – and Rosberg in particular – showing great pace in the final sector.

Lotus, meanwhile, appear to have much better pace on the soft tyre than the medium, which may not help them in the race.

Here’s all the data from practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Longest stint comparison

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:

Sebastian Vettel105.608105.724106.755107.261107.819
Mark Webber104.275104.256103.232103.31103.654103.967103.776103.451106.533103.483103.531103.046103.078102.422
Fernando Alonso102.668103.809105.745105.722106.043106.355107.513
Felipe Massa101.309108.765102.048103.039102.866105.163106.04103.553104.107103.998
Jenson Button103.639104.175105.585105.862105.488106.345107.328
Sergio Perez104.907105.843105.948106.997107.379
Kimi Raikkonen103.448103.313104.046103.622103.747104.282104.35105.798
Romain Grosjean103.914103.341103.738103.403104.056103.722103.222103.337
Nico Rosberg102.244103.749104.41103.089102.919102.946103.436105.23103.282103.58103.748104.297104.3
Lewis Hamilton102.706103.62103.377103.535102.811103.426112.201103.708103.453103.299104.116105.265108.375104.668106.876
Nico Hulkenberg103.337103.741103.709104.572106.354103.9104.433105.057105.184
Esteban Gutierrez104.144104.66104.973105.99106.93
Paul di Resta102.706102.756103.578103.836103.321103.04103.54103.401
Adrian Sutil103.696103.369104.326104.002104.666105.384104.316103.647
Pastor Maldonado103.659103.77103.671103.81103.827104.57105.084105.26106.124
Valtteri Bottas104.941105.073106.422107.514106.378106.097
Jean-Eric Vergne105.636105.515105.55106.474105.132104.668107.065107.09105.301105.198105.453105.949106.292106.83
Daniel Ricciardo105.254104.16104.266106.359104.862104.844104.535104.273104.946104.738105.221106.717106.512106.358106.864110.285
Charles Pic108.601107.632110.362112.006107.801108.424108.254108.411110.36109.919
Giedo van der Garde106.178106.201108.247109.437108.177109.807
Jules Bianchi105.993106.078106.926106.847106.934107.777109.389
Max Chilton103.227108.593

Sector times and ultimate lap times

PosNo.DriverCarS1S2S2UltimateGapDeficit to best
14Felipe MassaFerrari24.935 (1)28.337 (1)42.068 (4)1’35.3400.000
27Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault24.937 (2)28.455 (2)42.100 (6)1’35.4920.1520.000
33Fernando AlonsoFerrari25.195 (3)28.671 (4)41.889 (2)1’35.7550.4150.000
49Nico RosbergMercedes25.281 (8)28.682 (5)41.856 (1)1’35.8190.4790.000
52Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault25.347 (11)28.655 (3)42.090 (5)1’36.0920.7520.000
610Lewis HamiltonMercedes25.210 (5)29.126 (14)41.968 (3)1’36.3040.9640.192
75Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes25.271 (7)28.694 (6)42.467 (10)1’36.4321.0920.000
815Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes25.209 (4)28.931 (10)42.374 (7)1’36.5141.1740.000
914Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes25.230 (6)28.905 (8)42.460 (8)1’36.5951.2550.000
101Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault25.288 (9)28.936 (11)42.567 (12)1’36.7911.4510.000
116Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes25.304 (10)28.922 (9)42.714 (15)1’36.9401.6000.000
128Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault25.386 (12)29.076 (12)42.501 (11)1’36.9631.6230.000
1312Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari25.620 (13)28.880 (7)42.603 (13)1’37.1031.7630.000
1419Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari25.648 (14)29.092 (13)42.466 (9)1’37.2061.8660.000
1511Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari25.782 (15)29.354 (17)42.751 (16)1’37.8872.5470.324
1617Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault25.854 (16)29.308 (16)42.893 (17)1’38.0552.7150.130
1718Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari25.972 (18)29.445 (18)42.710 (14)1’38.1272.7870.000
1816Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault25.934 (17)29.237 (15)43.105 (19)1’38.2762.9360.000
1922Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth26.063 (20)29.608 (19)43.054 (18)1’38.7253.3850.000
2021Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault26.054 (19)29.801 (20)43.416 (20)1’39.2713.9310.000
2120Charles PicCaterham-Renault26.079 (21)29.968 (21)43.767 (21)1’39.8144.4740.000
2223Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth27.090 (22)30.912 (22)45.225 (22)1’43.2277.8870.000

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Felipe MassaFerrari1’38.0951’35.34046
2Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’38.7901’35.49248
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’37.9651’35.75547
4Nico RosbergMercedes1’36.7171’35.81956
5Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’37.6581’36.09252
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’38.0691’36.43254
7Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.1711’36.49659
8Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’38.1251’36.51453
9Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’38.5611’36.59548
10Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’37.9421’36.79147
11Sergio PerezMcLaren1’39.3601’36.94036
12Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’38.3981’36.96348
13Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’40.0321’37.10344
14Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’39.3361’37.20658
15Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’39.0571’38.12753
16Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’39.3921’38.18539
17Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’39.1801’38.21153
18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’39.1581’38.27656
19Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’41.9661’38.72545
20Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’42.0831’39.27142
21Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’39.81427
22Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’42.0561’43.22723
23Ma Qing HuaCaterham-Renault1’43.54520

Speed trap

#DriverCarEngineMax speed (kph)Gap
112Esteban GutierrezSauberFerrari321
211Nico HulkenbergSauberFerrari320.10.9
39Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes319.91.1
410Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes319.81.2
54Felipe MassaFerrariFerrari318.72.3
63Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari318.52.5
723Max ChiltonMarussiaCosworth318.42.6
822Jules BianchiMarussiaCosworth317.93.1
97Kimi RaikkonenLotusRenault317.53.5
108Romain GrosjeanLotusRenault317.43.6
1121Giedo van der GardeCaterhamRenault315.55.5
1214Paul di RestaForce IndiaMercedes315.55.5
1320Charles PicCaterhamRenault315.15.9
141Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault3156
1518Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoFerrari314.96.1
1619Daniel RicciardoToro RossoFerrari314.86.2
172Mark WebberRed BullRenault314.26.8
1815Adrian SutilForce IndiaMercedes312.38.7
195Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes307.313.7
206Sergio PerezMcLarenMercedes307.113.9
2116Pastor MaldonadoWilliamsRenault305.415.6
2217Valtteri BottasWilliamsRenault305.315.7

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Chinese Grand Prix articles

Images © Red Bull/Getty, Lotus/LAT

Author information

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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83 comments on “Soft tyre’s short life poses strategic conundrum”

  1. @keithcollantine any chance you can share where you get all this timing information from ?

    1. @mnm101 No chance @keithcollantine offers you (and in so doing us) any source, I presume it comes from something official like the media zone from the FIA or something like that.

      But this is a painstaking job!

    2. @MNM101 It’s not like the data is secret, as far as I know it’s published by the FIA publicly (not sure now, but it definitely was last year). What Keith does very well is analyse the vast amount of data and show it in a more understandable way.

    3. There is an application called F1lt, that uses the data from the pages that can record the data for you.

  2. I find it interesting how the speed trap paired togerther teammates with the exception of Force India.

    1. *together

    2. hm, that might indicate a bit of a split setup strategy then

      1. @bascb, I might add RBR are a little further apart than normal, according to NBC commentary Webber was running a smaller wing than Vettel but the trap-speed would suggest otherwise. Also of interest, of the front runners only Webber finished faster than he started, after 14 laps ! If this is real RBR are looking very good for the race, providing they finish.

        1. Maybe the RW Webber had proved the better one, and helped conserve tyres. From the footage, I understood Vettel has a new one (Kravitz) and he was not satisfied after his run, so its possible that the wing is not bringing them the results they had hoped for.

          1. No doubt SV will use MW’s data to improve his “package”, the talk of “not sharing data” is from a bygone era, the pit-wall crew know everything. I am still wondering if the data is real though, no-one else seemed to be getting faster on long runs and Webbers lap 14 time was one of the fastest on the graph.

      2. It could indicate Di Resta is a bit desperate to beat his team mate, I guess.
        Going for a less-downforce, ‘more agressive through the fast corners’ setting.

        Should be interesting to see which one pays off when, relative to single-lap speed and race-pace.

  3. Horrible tyres, absolutely dreadful, poor f1. Still…….get on with it! You’re the pinnacle of motorsport, prove it by getting on top of these tyres: both drivers and teams surely can get these tyres under control.

    1. @force-maikel
      I agree about the tyres being crap but the last part of your statement is dead on!! Everybody, and I do mean everybody should just deal with it. Teams, drivers and fans!

      1. It makes for a more exciting race for the fans.. and all the drivers face the same challenge.

        1. @aimalkhan, From my experience it makes for a LESS exciting race.

          1. Completely agree – the new tires look exciting on the time sheets, and they look exciting in the telemetry feed, and when I wake up in the morning (American here…) the results look exciting. And then I watch the race and it’s about as exciting as shuffling a deck of playing cards.

      2. @karter22, why should the fans not comment?

        1. @hohum

          why should the fans not comment?

          In what part of my statement did I imply that fans should not comment?? I said they should deal with it. Very different!
          It´s just a fact that the tyres are what they are, it now has become a strategy war not actual racing but hey, some actually praised Pirelli for them before and now they are whistling a different tune, I just find that Ironic!

          1. Complaining is my way of dealing with it.

          2. @hohum
            complain away then! lol It still won´t change the fact that Pirelli produced some real lemons and as the saying goes… If life gives you lemons, make some lemonade!

      3. I love the racing that these tires encourage!

    2. @force-maikel as we saw last year, they can. It’s just these couple of races where everything is a question mark. If we had testing like we used to, they’d know the tyres already at this point.

      Maybe they should chose better venues to test during winter to represent more closely the conditions of the Grand Prixs… afterall, they completely avoided testing the SuperSofts this year, and when they got to use them, they had no idea what to expect.

      1. Not to mention it was a lot colder during testing this year. But on what tracks should they be testing according to you? Keep in mind F1 teams don’t want to pay a heap of money for transportation and certainly not for pre-season testing.

        1. They tested in Bahrain until a couple of years ago, owing to the warmer winter temperatures, although the present political situation makes it pretty unlikely that teams would want to return there, other than for the race (which is controversial enough).

        2. Keep in mind F1 teams don’t want to pay a heap of money for transportation and certainly not for pre-season testing.

          @force-maikel I know. Hence why they shouldn’t have complained when they “found out” that Jerez had nothing to do wiht any of the tracks in the calendar.

          They don’t want to spend more money, but then it keeps raining, and it’s very very cold. And they complain. You can’t have the best out of both worlds…

          1. Right!! They should just deal w/ it – and so should the fans! and the media!!

          2. @force-maikel , @fer-no65

            Might I chip in and say maybe they should drop Jerez and change it for Mugello maybe? I don´t know what the temperature might be like at that time of the year but it seems it would be a better suited track. Or maybe one in Portugal or if they want to keep it in Spain, why not the Jarama circuit?

          3. @karter22 Jarama? doubt it. It’s little over 3.5 km long. Very tiny. Plus, it’s rather old.

            Mugello is a great track, but as Petrov mentioned last year, it’s probably not up to F1 standards in terms of safety. And it’s hardly representative of any other racetrack in the calendar, so that’d be pointless. If anything, it’d just benefit Ferrari, because they are close to the track.

            Maybe they should go to another continent… that’d be costly, ofc, but they used to test in Kyalami in the late parts of 1990’s and Bahrain not that long ago, so why not? Afterall, that could make it better during the season for them, hence using less resorces.

  4. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    12th April 2013, 15:09

    These tyres have the same life span than the “Dollar shop” products!

    Note aside, has England changed into a spring time? I mean, the round up was delivered an hour later, and now I see my time zone diffeence is +6, yesterday it was just +5

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      12th April 2013, 15:10

      no no I’m sorry, it was -5 now it’s -6

      1. We switched to daylight savings (GMT+1) on 31 March.

        News of its being spring has yet to reach the Weather Gods ;-)

      2. UK moved to Summer Time (BST) on 1st April – no, really it did. It’s still unseasonably cold here, so you wouldn’t guess it was Summer Time.
        But I’m not sure why your display altered between yesterday and today.

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          12th April 2013, 16:58

          @timothykatz thanks!
          BTW, I had short vacations at the beginning of april so I wasn’t really checking the roundup at “midnight” these days.
          Hopefully the F1Fgoogle calendar was not affected by it

    2. dude, I get all my underwear at the Dollar Store and it lasts me long time!

  5. In defense of the Pirelli tyres, Paul Hembery called the soft “qualifying tyres” (Autosport article). It will be interesting to see what will happen in Monaco, when they bring two types of qualifying tyres to race on, or whether they will hold up on a the streets of Monte Carlo.

    Anyway, it would be great to see Massa on pole. He’s gone well at this track before, as in his woeful 2011 season this was one of the few races where he finished ahead of Alonso. This race may also be the opportunity for Lotus to qualify at the front, if the softs are working so well for them. And if they do start at the front, I doubt their performance on the medium tyres will be so weak that they will drop back dramatically.

    Rosberg looks on it once again. Hamilton admitted (interview with Sky, if I recall correctly) that he’s not that comfortable in the car yet, while Rosberg looks at the top of his game since Malaysia. I think Mercedes have a good chance of fighting for the victory here, especially with Vettel admitting he was concerned by the gap to the leaders – although he almost always manages to find something for Q3.

    1. Major difference was that they said the it would last 18 laps. From what I’ve seen most cars wont make it to 10. And it will be 10 horrible laps for those drivers.

      1. Webber’s already taken his mediums to 14 laps, and china does rubber in a lot, so its perfectly realistic to expect some 20 laps on those. The softs are a different story however, I guess new sets could last 8-12 laps depending on when they are used, but the guys who use them for Q3, well that is a different story …

    2. @adrianmorse, Vettel will find something for Q3, Webbers set-up.

      1. You realize that they are testing different aero packages on the two cars and not just tweaking setups. Judging qualifying and race pace by the practice sessions is not a smart thing to do.

        1. Exactly, that is why Vettel will be running Webbers set-up/package for Q3 and quite likely P3.

  6. Can someone remind me of how the rules work again.
    If a driver sets a time on a set of tyres in Q3 and is then able to demonstrate to the Stewards that they are dangerousely damaged, is he able to swop them for another set? And dothey have to be the same grade?
    How many sets does each car have for the entire three day event?

    1. if he seriously flat spots a tyre in Q3 I believe you are allowed to replace that single tyre. you must not touch the other 3 tyres. I think this is the only scenario where a single tyre is modified within the 4.

      1. Is that right? I am almost sure that I’d read that all 4 tires must come from the same set, which is why they are numbered.

        1. Oh guess not,

          25.3 Control of tyres:
          a) The outer sidewall of all tyres which are to be used at an Event must be marked with a unique identification.
          b) Other than in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), all tyres intended for use at an Event must be presented to the FIA technical delegate for allocation prior to the end of initial scrutineering.
          c) At any time during an Event, and at his absolute discretion, the FIA technical delegate may select alternative dry-weather tyres to be used by any team or driver from among the stock of tyres the appointed supplier has present at the Event.
          d) A competitor wishing to replace one unused tyre by another identical unused one must present both tyres to the FIA technical delegate.

  7. this is gonna make for an exciting race! if your tyres are going off, then pit!

  8. So, how many cars are going to set Q3 times on the primes? seems like a reasonable gamble to me.

  9. Has anybody noticed how the Lotus head on, looks like a Baboon from behind?

    1. I still fancy a Mars bar when I look at the Lotus.

      1. Haha! And I still fancy a fag!

    2. I was thinking the exact same thing. “Must look away…”

  10. I think the tyre situation has gone a tad too far! There is a fine line between race stratergy and your tyres going away real fast! Webber on the Malaysian Wake (Sorry- podium!!) and others at some stages have said they are racing at 80% due to tyres. I dont pay a heap to go to races to see the worlds best drivers go at 80%!! I think 90-95% in a race about right.

    I first went to an F1 race in 1986. I was 10, knew nothing of a “race stratergy” but these things were FAST & LOUD- and I loved it. I cant remember the years but since watching have seen pits stops for tyres, pit stops for tyres & fuel, NO pit stops for tyres nor fuel (pit stop crews overpaid there LOL) – now of course we have tyres only. Late 80’s I think they would start on a full tank, great tyres and run a full race- not great viewing sometimes!

    I like a two or maybe three stop race for tyres but hope re-fueling stays out. But the guys need to race until the end not do these crap team orders- fans dont like that!!

    I think Schumacher found his comeback hard, not because he had become too slow, but because the whole race stratergy had changed. He would be fast, get pole, start well and win- harder to do now if you change tyres 3 times.

    Has F1 become too much of “what is best viewing for the TV Fans” (Hence money) rather than who is the BEST driver?

    1. @garns, seems to me the trend is towards “best TV for NON fans.

  11. These tyres are simply horrid, Pirelli are starting to go way too far.

    Its no longer about racing, Its no longer about racing hard, Its become a tyre conservation formula where everyone just runs around well off the limit because if they dare try & push the tyres fall off a cliff.

    Pirelli’s fans say ‘tyre management has always been a part of f1’ & that is true, However at no point in the history of F1 has it ever been anywhere close to as important as it is today.
    At no point in F1’s history has the biggest story before, during & after a race weekend been tyres yet today all you ever hear about is tyres & is starting to get ridiculous.

    Its no wonder you hear drivers talk about F1 racing been less physical today because there all driving around to a lap delta at 70-80% the limit & that is zero fun to watch & has to me zero entertainment value.

    If I wanted to see drivers running around conserving tyres I’d watch Endurance racing where you get double/triple stints on tyres so need to nurse them. However since I hate that sort of racing I don’t watch endurance racing & may soon no longer watch F1 is this stupidity continues!

    1. I disagree. I love F1 now more than ever, and I recognize that Pirelli is to thank for that. I’m going to buy Pirelli for my Audi, come to think of it!

  12. this is probably lotus’ best chance to get onto the front row for a long time, though they look slower than ferrari, rbr, merc so far on race pace.

  13. Wake up guys..this is a new era of motor-racing, when driver needs to adopt their driving style each and every laps. I watch F1 since early 90s and no need to complain about regulations that WILL ALWAYS changed just like life. Kimi is older in F1 than Webber and missed 2 years but he never complains, even last year he lost tires in China but not complained, just adopt.

    1. So we should have to adapt to a change for the worse, that is intended to “spice up the show”? The whole purpose of Pirelli’s designed-to-degrade tyres is that it is supposed to make the racing more entertaining for fans, and from what I’ve gathered the general consensus (on F1fanatic at least) is that Pirelli have gone too far and it’s affecting the racing for the worse. This is very much a case of “too much of a good thing” (if you believe it was a good thing in the first place).

      You can’t compare these changes to many of those in the past because most changes are designed to cap one cars advantage or on the grounds of safety – Pirelli’s tyres are neither of those things.

      The whole point is that they are supposed to increase the excitement for the fans, so we very much have the right to complain!

      1. Yes, you have the right to complain but we’ve all seen and “heard” it already enough times. Now press “Stop” on your casetteplayer and change the casette to something new. It’s ok to complain about something but doing it repeatedly every single chance you have is just plain stupid and waste of good energy. Didn’t Monty Python teach you to always look on the bright side of life?

        1. If nobody complains then nothing will change.

          The more people complain & the louder those complaints get then the more chance that those within Pirelli/F1 will actually listen.

          If you simply complain once or twice & then shut up then your complaints will fade & nothing will change.

          1. And you think comments on an F1 fan site will change anything?

            If you actually want things to change, I’d suggest either stop watching the raves (lower audience numbers/ratings), or send the FIA a formal complaint. I assure you, your comments will do absolutely nothing to change anything :)

          2. And you think comments on an F1 fan site will change anything?

            Maybe, I know of other F1 news sites similar to this which gets viewed by FOTA representatives & others who work inside F1.

          3. Repeating same complaint over and over in multiple F1 sites won’t do it, you still watch the races. If you want to try to make an impact, you need to stop watching F1. If viewing numbers are going down fast, then they MIGHT react to it, not to some home-expert whining over and over.

        2. @lari
          Lol, casette player.. are you from north Korea by any chance? ;)

      2. The regulations try to limit fastest car to dominate like in 2004, just imagine back then when Schumi lapping 1 second a lap faster but then loosing 3 seconds a lap in the closing stage..exciting. And we do not have horrific accident like in bridgestone era. So I think it is pretty much works by your objectives.

  14. The Ferraris and Mercs seem to look the best in terms of race pace, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rosberg get his second victory on Sunday. Red Bull aren’t look quite as impressive, especially Vettel.

  15. Since F1’s success measure became directly proportional to overtaking, something else has been forgotten.. drivers pushing on the limit and being on the edge every lap…even if their tyres are going off. That was part of the skill.

    In 2013, driving to lap delta times to preserve tyre wear relegates the driver to little more than a thermostat. It’s the only thing where Helmut Marko has spoken sense.

    Towards the end of 2012 for a fleeting few races this wasn’t the case, and it was great! Drivers going wide, pumping in fast lap times whilst still racing each other and also just about able to defend attack (drs aside).

    Alas the success of the end of 2012 has now been replaced with this again. It makes me feel sad.

    1. @john-h, not surprisingly the good racing at the end of 2012 coincided with the harder more durable tyres being used, this obvious cause and effect is conveniently overlooked by the “tyre management is exciting” fans. I have a sneaking suspicion that many Pirelli supporters are fans of teams or drivers that don’t normally appear on the podium, hopeful that if their fav team/driver can’t be good they might be lucky.

      1. I’m an F1 supporter – not a Pirelli supporter, per se – but I support Pirelli for the great job they’ve done making tires that inhibit processional racing. I love F1 under Pirelli and wish they made bike tires so I could mount some on my machine to show my support!

  16. Hard to draw too many conclusions regarding race pace, apart from the tyre deg situation.

    Qualifying looks as though it’ll be very very close though. Can’t wait!!

    1. Main street at high-noon for RBR.

  17. if absolutely everyone is pushing 80% because of tires, well than 80 is the new 100, at least in this particular sport.

    1. Doesn’t make it any more acceptable or any more interesting or exciting.

      Watching drivers driving to a lap delta purely because the tyres dictate it is boring.
      All the constant talk about tyres before/during/after every race weekend is also getting to the point of stupidity.
      Tyres should be black/round & not something thats discussed that often like was the case throughout most of F1’s history.

      1. While tyre management might be a skill F1 drivers need it is not half as entertaining or skillfull as traction management, harder tyres with less grip might make for slower lap times but they are a lot more entertaining and talent critical.

  18. According to several drivers the levels of tyre saving means there having to lap slower than what GP2 cars could do.

    Paul Hembrey coming out & saying the soft’s are working like there supposed to because there a ‘qualifying tyre’ is absurd. If you want 1 lap qualifying tyres then bring qualifying tyres, the race tyres should be suitable for the race & not only work in qualifying.

    F1 is supposed to be about drivers pushing to the limit, All this driving to a lap-time & running about tyre saving is not f1 should be about & reading the many fan comments all around the internet it isn’t what the vast majority of fans want either!

    1. @HCA
      “Vast majority”? Some grounds for that choice of words? Other than “it seems to me” or “so many posts in xx forums”? It is a known fact that when you’re not happy, you want to share the feeling with other likings, but when you’re happy or content you just smile and not necessarily write about it at all because you are happy. It’s always the complainers that flood the internet forums, and yes, this is based on same basis as your “vast majority” comment.

      Give us links to over 2 million different forum users complaints and we can talk about majority then, since in average (2008) there were 3.5-4M people watching each race. Source:

  19. Paul Hembrey coming out & saying the soft’s are working like there supposed to because there a ‘qualifying tyre’ is absurd. If you want 1 lap qualifying tyres then bring qualifying tyres, the race tyres should be suitable for the race & not only work in qualifying.

    completely agree.

    a lot of the comments from Paul Hembrey come across as a bit arrogant, it especially annoys me when he goes on about how f1 was always boring & how there had never been any passing in f1 until pirelli came in. both comments are completely untrue & totally absurd. there was plenty of good racing, plenty of excitement & a decent level of overtaking before pirelli came in & turned f1 into a tyre saving formula.

    i was told a few years ago that he wasn’t very liked in the wrc paddock when he & pirelli were a part of the wrc.

  20. I liked 2011 specs and was ok with the good 2nd half of 2012 but why they went for jello in 2013 is beyond me.

  21. sauber’s shift timing looks good both cars on top in speed trap .

  22. I don’t think F1 fans are ever content with the on-track product as a whole.

    I remember all the complaining from when I first started watching 10-15 years ago. There wasn’t any overtaking, the races were too predictable, unless you liked Schumacher/Ferrari it ruined your weekend any time they won, there were only about 2-3 teams that had a fair chance of winning any race on any given weekend, good drives went to waste because mechanical reliability was garbage up until recent years, traction control was around and accusations were thrown around that the best driver never won, just the guy with the best car, and speaking of cars, car counts were at the minimum you could get to before third drivers would be used. That was the F1 of that age that I remember, not so much the loud V10s and extreme car designs and tyre wars.

    Here in 2013 you still have accusations that the best driver never wins, the overtaking problem now is that there’s too much of it thanks to DRS, the races went from too predictable and processional and now there’s too much “craziness” to the point where Williams winning a race last season was seen by some not as a great triumph but as a key example of what’s wrong with the sport today, fans still complain when the same guy wins repeatedly, tyre management is the new sticky issue of today, the Pirellis being accused of taking away deserving results the way the gearboxes and engines made of glass and parchment paper used to. All of the young driving prospects are categorized into “they have money so they must be the next Taki Inoue but six times worse” or “they don’t have a high seven-figure budget so they will never race in F1”.

    I think there are other things that are wrong with the sport besides the tyres. New teams (not rebrandings of established squads) can’t get in and if they can, they can’t be competitive. The ladder to F1 for drivers is busted too, team orders are a thing that’ll never be fixed unless you ban teams for anything that could even be remotely misconceived as a team order (or render the Constructor’s Championship as worthless as Confederate money), things like the Bahrain problem which is set to come up again highlight a socially backward side that’s engrained in the sport which I could rant about separately, but when I watch, I try to put that aside and appreciate what’s good about the sport, because there are still great displays of driving to be seen, it’s a more competitive grid, the racing is still good in my opinion. Just my two cents.

    1. Completely agree

    2. @rjoconnell

      Completely agree, very well put. I started watching F1 from -93 when Hakkinen got his first chance with McLaren racing driver in the last three (?) racers as Sennas teammate, being reserve driver before that. But yeah, fans are never completely happy, whatever the reason might just then be and the saddest thing is that often they are the ones flooding the forums. I have enjoyed F1 for 20 years, even during Schumachers era when it REALLY, really was alot worse than now in terms of excitement, trust me. As the good advice saying “live like it’s your last day” is what I’m always aiming for, meaning I’m not wasting energy on the negative things, on things I can’t change/affect, I rather focus it on positive things that give more energy and keeps the smile on my face :)

    3. thanks for putting in your @rjoconnell money where your mouth is. I agree that there always seems a load of things to complain about and feel “how it was better in the xxx-era”

  23. If things stay as they are, and it was my choice, in one of the top six teams, I think I would run
    Q1 – med
    Q2 – soft
    Q3 – med
    Start on those meds,
    Change to new meds,
    Change to new softs,
    Change to new softs.

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