Drivers critical of Pirelli wet tyre performance

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Adrian Sutil and Felipe Massa have raised questions about the performance of Pirelli’s two wet weather tyre compounds after suffering from lack of grip in yesterday’s qualifying session.


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Adrian Sutil seeks Formula 1 wet tyre improvements (Autosport)

Sutil: “They’ve made the tyres harder, they’ve got rid of the downforce and now we have no grip. And in the rain you have no grip anyway and a bad rain tyre. It’s all over the place. It’s not only us, you can see the on-board [videos] of other cars; it’s like rally driving.”

Lewis Hamilton proud to match Jim Clark pole record (BBCF1)

Hamilton: “Very, very proud to be representing the UK and to be among the names like Nigel Mansell, James Hunt and Jim Clark. It’s a real honour. When they mentioned it, I couldn’t believe it. I’d never have dreamed I would have the amount of poles I have.”

Raikkonen surprised by struggles in the wet (ESPN)

Raikkonen: “It was my first time on full wets in this car for me and it seemed to be very tricky for some reason. We have to see what the reason is but the feeling was very poor and very difficult from the handling point of view. So I’m pretty surprised we ended up where we are.”

Despite a difficult qualifying session Jenson Button insists McLaren are improving (Sky F1)

Button: “In the wet, you can’t get the tyres in the working range, because you can’t get the tyres warm enough because you’re going too slow. I don’t think we were as competitive as we were at the first race but I think that’s just circuit-dependent.”

Exclusive Helmut Marko Q&A: Red Bull has best car on the grid (

Marko: “If you take only the chassis, we are absolutely at the top. The ‘sick’ part is still the engine, the powertrain. Take for example the situation in FP2 yesterday; we still ran the mapping from Melbourne because the next development step is not working in the way that using it would be an advantage.”

Kevin Magnussen Q&A: McLaren ready for anything (

Magnussen: “Mixed conditions wouldn’t actually be too bad, as I feel that the car is quite good in these conditions. The car is behaving pretty well, so let’s see what we can do. Maybe we can still find some unlocked potential.”

The Endorsement: Why F1 Racing Rules (Esquire)

“It may have been because I was very drunk on G.H. Mumm, but when Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari came screaming around the bend and my one-year-old daughter’s head almost exploded, I fell deeply in love with Formula 1.”


Comment of the day

As Red Bull continue to protest their innocence in the wake of Ricciardo’s Melbourne disqualification, @bullmello sees an issue that goes beyond simply fuel in a tank…

The bigger picture that Red Bull seem to be challenging is whether or not FIA directives are authoritative. Weren’t the 2013 tire issues partly solved by FIA directives on degree of allowable camber and tire side swapping? Are teams required to follow FIA directives or are they allowed to just run their own program? What would have happened to Red Bull last season if they had violated the tire directives and not passed scrutineering after a race? Would they have successfully claimed that the directives were not regulations?

To me, that is a much more important issue going forward than the fuel flow sensors themselves. Red Bull and any other team certainly has the right to protest or question any FIA regulation or directive. The more teams that band together over any issue, the more likely the FIA will listen.

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On this day in F1

Carlos Reutemann won the South African Grand Prix 40 years ago today – the first victory for Brabham since Bernie Ecclestone had taken over the team. Jean-Pierre Belotise was a distant second for BRM ahead of Mike Hailwood’s McLaren.

Here’s footage from the race:

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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30 comments on “Drivers critical of Pirelli wet tyre performance”

  1. “If only…” nice one, haha..

    1. As much as I appreciate the wit behind Lewis’ tweet, I’m also a bit concerned for the whole driver weight issue.
      And, to be honest, I think the FIA needs to come up with someone more intelligent than “increased weight limit” to prevent the issue from ever becoming worse.

      Was it Brundle who said, yesterday, that a driver fainted during a press conference or something due to low BMI?
      If true, that’s not acceptable, in my opinion… Regardless of how much the drivers are earning.

      1. *something more intelligent.

        Though, more intelligent people would be much appreciated, too :P

  2. If Dr Marko is right. Congratulations to the 2014 F1 WDC Sebastian Vettel. This is why F1 is losing it’s appeal to me. Utmost dominance is just plain boring. If I’d wanted to watch a team run away with things I’d have watched ALMS, at least that had action and excitement.

    1. Trust me, he is right. Redbull last year wasn’t just EBD only, and the car they have for this year is unbelievably fast. Once they sort out the PU and its output, Mercedes will be leading the race to second position.

    2. Then be happy with it now? It’s a competition. If Red Bull can keeping making the best chassis then it is normal they will keep doing very well. It’s the same as every other sport on the planet in that respect.

      1. The sense of impending doom doesn’t make me go out and live life. I watch racing for the action and the competition. IndyCar has Penske and Ganassi, but Dale Coyne and KV won races last year. David Ragan won at Talladega last year, beating the might of Hendricks and Childress. F1 may always be about progression and innovation, and that is great, but it is racing as well. I want to watch 22 of the most technologically advanced cars and best drivers battle it out for the win and not 21/20 scrapping for 3rd/2nd. IMO, Dominance is for the forecourt not the racetrack.

    3. Mercedes appear to be comfortably ahead, and Red Bull have 0 points so far. It could take a while until Red Bull (or Renault) can catch up, if indeed they do. We still don’t know how much Ricciardo can challenge Vettel. He seems to be closer than Webber, although not quite up to the same level. And there’s also other teams that could be up there as well. It doesn’t look like anyone is going to have an easy win this year. Then again, it didn’t look like it last year at the beginning either.

    4. If Red Bull build the best car and go on to win everything, then good for them. Same for Mercedes and anyone else who achieves the same. It’s up to the other teams to catch up.

      The issue I had with Red Bull’s success last year was that it came off the back of the mid-season tyre changes, changes that Red Bull had aggressively lobbied for and coincidentally benefited hugely from, when they were finally introduced.

  3. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    30th March 2014, 2:48

    I thought the commentators were saying the wet tyres this year were better. Well, at least that they are able to clear 5L per second more than last years at 300kph.

    I guess that doesn’t necessarily translate into more grip? :\

    1. Clearing more water might mean wider grooves so a smaller contact patch.

    2. @tophercheese21
      No, basically that just means the tyres can drive in more severe conditions. But it would normally mean a loss in surface rubber, so they have to be slightly harder, or they will wear out too quickly.

  4. Complaining about facing a challenge is pathetic. If the car can’t go faster with those tires, in that weather, you better figure out the new limit and try to stick to it without flying off the track. Of course it’s going to be tough. They have so much torque and rain is only exaggerating that, but it’s pathetic to complain because it sounds like you mounted a horse you don’t have a skill to tame. Too much horsepower for you, Adrian? Maybe you should try something easier. This is for the best drivers in the world, who unfortunately got used to being way too comfortable in the car.

  5. Regarding the wet tires, isn’t that now separating the men from the boys when driving in the wet? Spectators like to see the drivers using their skill, rather than the tires helping them (as long as it is safe, of course!)

    1. Yeah, but if they’re aquaplaning, they’re all passengers.

  6. Button has given up on wanting to win. He should be sacked.

  7. pastaman (@)
    30th March 2014, 3:52

    Hey @willwood, Marko and Magnussen F1 links are both pointing to the Marko interview

    1. Fixed, thanks!

  8. RB has a second incredible sector! Undoubtedly will dominate the season after Barcelona

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      30th March 2014, 4:25

      Only if every race is wet. That’s the only reason they’re close to the Mercs in qualy. Because they’ve got a good aero package. And that’s really the main thing in wet weather. Their dry pace looks pretty useless compared to Mercedes.

      Mercedes will still be the team to beat by quite some margin this year. Can’t see it changing to drastically.

      1. I don’t know. People were wondering whether Red Bull would make it out of Q1 before Australia, and now they’re arguably second best, or just about. I think I heard somewhere that the Renault engine is something like 80 HP below the Mercedes, because of software and electronics and such. If they improve that even partially, all bets are off.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          30th March 2014, 4:41

          Personally, I don’t see it. I’d love for some more teams to get it together and challenge Mercedes at the front. But right now, as long as it’s dry, no one is even close. On race pace and one lap pace.

          But if RBR can sort out at least some of these Renault issues, then they’ll close the gap a bit. But Mercedes will still be developing at the same time. It’s not like they’re a fixed target for red bull to aim at. Merc are pushing just as hard as Red Bull to “maintain the gap” (lol), both in the Aero and engine efficiency departments.

  9. Even if we assume that the Mercedes engines have 1 second/lap advantage over Renault and Ferrari, Rosberg’s advantage over Ricciardo in Australia was at least as great. Just because Red Bull are almost as good as Mercedes in the rain is not necessarily an indication that they would be faster with equal engines.

    For instance, in 2008 McLaren was sometimes up to 1 second/lap faster than Ferrari in the wet; yet in the dry, with roughly equal engines, Ferrari was usually the faster car.

    F1 is about more than just downforce + engine. Factors such as mechanical grip, tyre heating, tyre wear, etc… also play a big role in overall performance.

  10. Aww Adrian, is it hard actually having to drive the cars now that they aren’t completely sucked to the ground? Don’t cry pal, you’re supposed to be one of the 22 best drivers in the world. Finally F1 has returned to the driver-being-the-difference type racing. I love it, you can actually see the drivers drive! Makes for a pleasant change :)

  11. I have never in all my years known a team to give their engine manufacturer so much of a pasting in the press when things are going wrong. They did it all through 2009 and for some of 2010 and they have been slating Renault since these new generation cars were rolled out. Yes, Renault are having difficulties, but RBR can’t pin all of this on them. RBR are Renault’s “works” team, they should be working with their partner to get back on top, not slating them at every opportunity. Coming out with statements to the effect that “our chassis is a perfect world beater and your engine has the power of 3 harnessed toddlers” does no one any good at all. Have RBR forgotten that during the V8 era it was the fact that Renault was so easy to package, so driveable and because of their mastery of trick engine maps that RBR could get so far ahead of the competition in exhaust blowing.

    If I was a head honcho of Renault I’d be getting more than a bit cheesed off at this nonsense. RBR can’t take all the credit when times are good and dodge all the blame when they are bad.

  12. Wow, that Esquire article shows that the people in the F1 paddock club really have no idea what is going on in F1…

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      30th March 2014, 7:09

      The author of that article spelt Jenson’s name wrong. Lol “Jensen”.

  13. That drawing of Ro Gro by the Japanese fan is awesome. Is that Madonado in the top right corner of that picture? LOL

  14. With the wet weather tyres, it’s just a new challenge the drivers will need to get used to. After practice Keith made the point that some corners at Sepang are no longer easily flat-out, and a couple of people were caught out because they failed to modify their approach to those corners properly.

    The new specification wet tyres are the same. You drive according to the conditions, which includes the equipment you are given. Don’t moan – get used to it.

  15. @keithcollantine someone is spamming the live feed chat

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