Teams could find “up to four seconds” over season

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix

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F1 cars could be lapping four seconds quicker by the end of the season due to the increased rate of development this year.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said the rate of progress with the teams’ cars this year has doubled under the new engine regulations.

“The cars this year it’s suggested will develop at twice the rate of a normal season,” said Hembery during a press conference at the Malaysian Grand Prix. “So maybe that’s up to four seconds so we have to take that into account when we’re looking at what we’re doing going forward.”

The new cars were 3.4 seconds off last year’s pace at the first race of the season in Australia and slower by the same amount in today’s second practice session.

Hembery said the rapid rate of development on this year’s cars means Pirelli have a “moving target” when it comes to designing tyres for them.

Teams will have the benefit of in-seasons tests to be held after four of this year’s races, but Hembery pointed out reliability may compromise their ability to cover a useful amount of mileage.

“Clearly there’s still some issues with the teams running so I think to do testing after a race will be a big challenge for everybody involved so we have to also be realistic in our aims.”

Hembery said Pirelli’s priorities with its new generation of tyres is to reduce the amount of ‘marbles’ seen on track and to make the tyres last longer.

“It hasn’t really changed the input we’ve had from the teams and promoter, in that we’re aiming to have races of two stops, maybe three in some cases,” he said. “And to create that you’ve got to create thermal degradation otherwise we won’t have the stops that we’re searching for.”

“But it was important this year that we did some work on trying to more towards less marbles on the circuit. Although we did a bit of track cleaning today so it was quite messy the first session.

“And also that the tyre life is increased so from the data we’ve seen so far we would appear to be in that right direction. But of course it’s all very new for the teams, it’s new for us as well understanding what the real impact on the tyres and the car combination will be. And it’s only now we’re starting to see the teams working more on what to do with the tyres and what will eventually become part of their race strategy.”

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix

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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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15 comments on “Teams could find “up to four seconds” over season”

  1. There is no doubt in my mind that we’ll see the gap between 2013 and 2014 times come down over the year. The question I’m wondering about is, will the cars become glued to the track around corners like we saw during the last several years? It is clear to me that the massive torque is creating issues with laying down the power smoothly out of a corner and the new braking systems are causing a problem entering the corners.

    1. For sure neither teams nor the Drivers want to loose the times by hustling the cars, They will sooner or later will minimize the Loss of time by smoothing the torque and adding Aero.

  2. When will we close the gap to the 2004 times. Its already 10 years now.

  3. My opinion is that the performance will not be gained just because of the increased rate of development this year, but also because of the unlocking the full potential of the cars as they are still exploring this new formula.

  4. They better find those four seconds very soon.

    1. Or what? You will threaten to never watch F1 again? You embarrass yourself. Don’t waste bandwidth with stupid comments.

      1. You are quite amazing to infer what was never said and to admonish based on your stupid assumption, you really do deserve a prize.

  5. I think four seconds is too optimistic. I think the gap will come down a bit, maybe by one second, but only on those tracks that are not too hard on fuel consumption.

  6. Am I the only one who gets annoyed when they express time gain in seconds? It should be seconds per lap or per race, else “gaining four seconds” doesn’t make any sense.

    1. I think when some one only states an abstract amount of time like that, you have to assume they mean per lap. No one ever talks in seconds per race.

      1. @lemon But that’s still inaccurate, because a second per lap at Monaco is different from a second per lap at Spa.

        1. @andae23 this has always bothered me a bit too, but the alternatives make for awkward journalism. you could talk about a percentage gain in speed, but in different contexts (i.e. longer laps) the meaning will be different. 1% at Spa is over 1 second per lap, but significantly less at Interlagos.

          Ultimately, any time they find is important because it only takes 0.001 seconds to (potentially) improve your grid slot. i think 4 seconds (per lap) is just an arbitrary number. it would be interesting if we had another grand prix at the end of the year in Melbourne, but we’d still never get like-for-like conditions.

    2. I have chuckled from the moment I read about people whining about F1 being the same speed as GP2. My response was that 99% (clearly an estimate, no matter how accurate) of the F1 audience doesn’t know GP2 exists, never mind the time difference. Most chuckle-some.

  7. Surely the cars will improve, but while comparing to last years times then keep in mind those cars also got faster through the season. I don’t think they will equal or beat 2013 times this year, apart from maybe some specific circuits.

  8. Well the headline talked about the cars gaining performance but the real point of the article is that Pirelli are still designing in thermal degradation of the tyres to ensure 2 or 3 pit stops are necessarry. WHY why why must we use these artificialy lousy tyres to ensure that we have pit stops, pit-stops aren’t racing they are an expensive sideshow F1 would be better off without. It makes a mockery of the idea that F1 is leading development in responsible green technologies to be building and shipping 3 times as many tyres as are necessarry for a race, and it adds nothing to the racing, in fact it detracts from the racing.

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