Felipe Massa, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2014

Pirelli says lap records could fall in 2015 – will they?

2015 F1 season

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Following the first race of the year in Australia official F1 tyre supplier Pirelli suggested the combination of the 2015 cars and rubber compounds could be quick enough to break lap records.

“These figures underline what we expected to see following pre-season testing,” said motorsport director Paul Hambery. “A significant reduction in lap times with cars that will only get faster as the year goes on.”

“We could even see new lap records on certain circuits,” he added. Lap records tend not to fall very often these, so which circuits are ripe for some new quickest laps?

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Lap records

A ‘lap record’ is normally considered as being the fastest lap set during a race. Here are the lap records for all the tracks on the current calendar along with the fastest laps set in each race last year:

CircuitIterationFirst usedRecordDriverTeamYear2014 fastest race lapGapNotes
Albert Park219981’24.125Michael SchumacherFerrari20041’32.478+8.353s
Sepang International Circuit119991’34.223Juan Pablo MontoyaWilliams20041’43.066+8.843s
Bahrain International Circuit220051’31.447Pedro de la RosaMcLaren20051’37.020+5.573s
Shanghai International Circuit120041’32.238Michael SchumacherFerrari20041’40.402+8.164s
Circuit de Catalunya720071’21.670Kimi RaikkonenFerrari20081’28.918+7.248s
Monte-Carlo1020031’14.439Michael SchumacherFerrari20041’18.479+4.04s
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve820021’13.622Rubens BarrichelloFerrari20041’18.504+4.882s
Red Bull Ring120001’08.337Michael SchumacherFerrari20031’12.142+3.805s
Silverstone1020101’30.874Fernando AlonsoFerrari20101’37.176+6.302s
Hungaroring620031’19.071Michael SchumacherFerrari20041’25.724+6.653s
Spa-Francorchamps1120071’47.263Sebastian VettelRed Bull20091’50.511+3.248s
Monza920001’21.046Rubens BarrichelloFerrari20041’28.004+6.958s
Singapore320131’48.574Sebastian VettelRed Bull20131’50.417+1.843s
Suzuka520031’31.540Kimi RaikkonenMcLaren20051’51.600+20.06s2014 race was wet
Sochi Autodrom120141’40.896Valtteri BottasWilliams20141’40.896+0sHeld first race in 2014
Circuit of the Americas120121’39.347Sebastian VettelRed Bull20121’41.379+2.032s
Interlagos520001’11.473Juan Pablo MontoyaWilliams20041’13.555+2.082s
Yas Marina120091’40.279Sebastian VettelRed Bull20091’44.496+4.217s

Based on the above it’s hard to see many lap records falling any time soon. Ignoring Suzuka, where last year’s race was wet, and Sochi, which held its first race last year, current F1 cars were on average well over five seconds per lap off lap record pace last year. The first races of 2015 indicate around a second per lap has been gained since then – clearly nowhere near enough to challenge most existing lap records.

The tracks where F1 came closest to lap record-breaking pace last year are mostly those which have recently been changed or introduced onto the calendar such as Singapore and the Circuit of the Americas. The major exception is Interlagos, the layout of which has been unchanged for 15 years, but a major resurfacing programme last year contributed to a substantial gain in lap times.

A major part of the reason why few lap records have been broken in recent seasons is because in-race refuelling was banned at the end of 2009. Cars therefore are running with higher fuel loads during the races, considerably reducing their opportunity to lap more quickly.

To factor this out of the analysis it would be more useful to consider the fastest lap times set in all race sessions, including qualifying where cars run at their lightest in pursuit of the quickest lap times. How do today’s cars stand up to the records by that measure?

Track records in all sessions

CircuitTrack recordDriverTeamYear2014 fastest (any session)Gap
Sochi Autodrom1’38.338Lewis HamiltonMercedes20141’38.338+0s
Interlagos1’09.822Rubens BarrichelloFerrari20041’10.023+0.201s
Circuit of the Americas1’35.657Sebastian VettelRed Bull20121’36.067+0.41s
Red Bull Ring1’07.908Michael SchumacherFerrari20031’08.759+0.851s
Yas Marina1’38.434Lewis HamiltonMcLaren20111’40.480+2.046s
Monte-Carlo1’13.532Kimi RaikkonenMcLaren20061’15.989+2.457s
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve1’12.275Ralf SchumacherWilliams20041’14.874+2.599s
Singapore1’42.841Sebastian VettelRed Bull20131’45.681+2.84s
Suzuka1’28.954Michael SchumacherFerrari20061’32.506+3.552s
Bahrain International Circuit1’29.527Mark WebberWilliams20051’33.185+3.658s
Hungaroring1’18.436Rubens BarrichelloFerrari20041’22.715+4.279s
Monza1’19.525Juan Pablo MontoyaWilliams20041’24.109+4.584s
Spa-Francorchamps1’44.503Jarno TrulliToyota20091’49.189+4.686s
Silverstone1’29.607Lewis HamiltonMercedes20131’34.508+4.901s
Circuit de Catalunya1’19.954Rubens BarrichelloBrawn20091’25.232+5.278s
Albert Park1’23.529Sebastian VettelRed Bull20111’29.375+5.846s
Shanghai International Circuit1’32.238Michael SchumacherFerrari20041’38.315+6.077s
Sepang International Circuit1’32.582Fernando AlonsoRenault20051’39.008+6.426s

Felipe Massa, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2014As expected current F1 cars are much closer to record pace when we ignore lap records, which are skewed by the change in refuelling regulations, and focus on the quickest time set in any session during a race weekend. By that measure, 2014 cars were 3.3 seconds off record pace on average, and at some venues they were within a second.

On the resurfaced Interlagos, for example, Nico Rosberg’s pole lap was just two-tenths of a second off the record set in 2004.

Perhaps more impressively, Felipe Massa’s pole lap at the Red Bull Ring was just eight-tenths of a second off the record set on F1’s last visit to the track, then called the A1-Ring but using the same configuration. Not bad for a 1.6-litre V6 hybrid turbo with tightly restricted aerodynamics and ‘designed to degrade’ rubber up against a 3.0-litre V10 during a tyre war. And keep in mind both of the Mercedes drivers had compromised runs in Q3 that weekend, so the gap could in fact me less.

Pirelli therefore may be proved right as the season unfolds. While it’s surely too much to expect any true ‘lap records’ to fall, the ultimate pace at some circuits could be improved in 2015. Of course whether that happens will depend partly on which tyres Pirelli chooses to bring.

2015 so far

Here’s how close F1 has got to the lap and track records at the four venues visited to far this year.

CircuitLap record2015 fastest race lapGapTrack record2015 fastest weekend lapGap
Albert Park1’24.1251’30.945+6.82s1’23.5291’26.327+2.798s
Sepang International Circuit1’34.2231’42.062+7.839s1’32.5821’39.269+6.687s
Shanghai International Circuit1’32.2381’42.208+9.97s1’32.2381’35.782+3.544s
Bahrain International Circuit1’31.4471’36.311+4.864s1’29.5271’32.571+3.044s

2015 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
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  • 98 comments on “Pirelli says lap records could fall in 2015 – will they?”

    1. Smoke and mirrors really. Sure if you do this and if you do that and rejig the math to account for no refueling etc etc then maybe kinda sorta a car might hit a hot lap and come close to a lap record. The fact is the cars are much slower and any hot time close to a record is far from sustainable as these tires are designed to degrade for the sake of ‘the show’ and because that is the only way of having a single tire maker stay in F1…make the tires the show so we talk about tires. Let’s talk about how sometimes these days a driver not dare get within 2 seconds of a car in front for fear of ruining his tires and his computer model for the fastest way to the end without actually racing.

      1. In the “good old days” (which, in this context, most people think of as 2003/4), hot record-breaking laps weren’t sustainable either. The best opportunity would’ve been the lap just before a refuelling stop, or in the final laps of the race if your tyres were still up to it, when the car was lightest. So, maybe 5 laps per race had the possibility of a new record.

        F1, like almost every other motor racing formula, is usually about going as slowly as you can and still win. Different technologies mean different limiting factors, that’s all.

        1. The difference then was thewinner won as slowly as possible so as to not crash or blow up his engine but he had to still be faster than the driver behind who was risking it all to try and pass him and also stay ahead of the driver behind him all the way through the field.
          Today the drivers are all driving to the slowest possible pace to avoid an extra pitstop and lose position.

          1. @hohum i totally disagree. there is no difference in the approach taken now to then. they risk all now, just more slowly. back then they were fuel limited and now they are tyre limited. back then drivers employed the overcut (pit later), now the undercut (pit earlier).

            the big difference now is just the ultimate pace.

            also, DRS is gimicky, but it’s still circumstantial – as someone pointed out yesterday, the relative performance of the cars battling can mean that with DRS you get a thrilling battle (hamilton-rosberg at bahrain, or vettel-alonso at silverstone). back then the relative performance of the cars still determined the thrillingness (not a word) of the battle (schumacher-alonso at imola 2005). the flip-side was when the relative performance resulted in a stalemate (alonso-petrov at abu dhabi in 2010), which wouldn’t have happened with DRS.

            1. @frood19, I am referring to the days pre refuelling.

          2. the drivers always have managed their cars, that’s nonsense! the big difference for the perception is that now you can listen to their radio chats. Do you think that even the great Senna didn’t save his car? his fuel?

      2. agree with you 100%. This nonsense “tire show” really makes me sick. How can anyone except this type of racing? It is a known fact and has been proven and mentioned by drivers, getting too close to the car ahead will result in destroying your tires big time. This is a huge disadvantage, awful motivator to pass.

        so what was the “show” actually intended to do cause I feel its doing the complete opposite! was it intended to “liven up the show on the track and see passing?”
        Well, this totally blew up in their face if it is, here’s why.

        1. Degrading tires will degrade substantial quick when “trying” to overtake another car, this is a bad motivator as it will destroy your tires and your race pace and your race strategy.
        2. The undercut has become a popular way to try and pass this season. How is undercutting livening the show? Its passing in the pits really.

        3. tire management becomes a skill the drivers need to learn, forget about lap after lap of intense concentration and on the limit racing like other series. Drivers get out of the car after the race like they just came back from the beach.
        Is this racing?

        DRS and degrading tires are the most artificial “SHOW STOPPING” improvements in the sport today.

        1. How is undercutting a driver through tyre strategy any different to drivers using fuel strategy in the past to pass a driver in the pits? It’s still an entirely artificial constraint, just one that has been shifted from fuel to tyres.

          1. @Johnny Five and @anon I think the difference to back in the day is that while you’re right that the hottest laps would come before the pit stop for refueling, the laps previous and for much of the stint, were probably much closer (ie. sustainable) to that final hottest lap of the stint…ie. the drivers were actually pushing all along at a much greater percentage than they dare push today. They can only push nowadays for the first few laps and at the end of the stint when the tires are about to come off the car, so they might as well finish them off completely with a few final laps of pushing. Previously, they could push much harder and for much longer during a stint, which meant we felt the drivers and cars were taxed and challenged. So now that we don’t have the fuel strategy as an ‘artificial constraint’ what a shame it’s been replaced at all.

            1. @robbie, I am not entirely convinced that was always necessarily the case, but would be open to reviewing that if you could present lap time based evidence for that assertion. Can you obtain access to the lap times to provide back up for that assertion?

          2. Does it matter whether it was refuelling or is now snowball tyres that is inhibiting racing, they are both artificial gimmicks dreamed up by Bernie to spice up the show, they both had exactly the opposite effect to what was desired, once Bernie thought everybody had forgotten refuelling was his idea he dumped it, its way past time the bad-by-design tyres were dumped too, just like Bernie himself.

            1. @anon Unnecessary. We all know the tires were much more stable back then. Can you recall anywhere near the tire management that goes on today, in the past? Was it ever an issue such as it is now. Rather, there were ‘tire wars’ and people ‘fear’ them to this day, for the processions they provide…albeit in reality it has always been more the dirty air problem and the addiction to downforce in F1.

              Previously drivers were able to push, quali lap after quali lap thoughout stints. And thus we knew they were challenged as drivers in the art of actually driving, not pacing.

          3. Mr win or lose
            2nd May 2015, 13:32

            The difference is that with refueling at least you had to be able to stay close long enough with a heavier and slower car, while nowadays there is no such penalty. Teams can just decide when to pit to maximize the probability to gain that place in the pits.

        2. you know if Pirelli actually had to offer competitive tires this most likely would not be happening. Of course the incentive to compete is drastically reduced by letting one manufacturer monopolize the tire offerings.

      3. Actually, comparing lap times is essentially futile anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I pay attention and want to see a “record” time every week. But the reality is that F1 decided to slow things down intentionally. Aero restrictions, fuel flow limits, banning all kinds of technology….they did this because it was too expensive to upgrade the tracks for safety.
        We’re acting like the new cars are actually slower than the 2004 cars when that’s not really true. They give them all kinds of handicaps to slow them down. Does anybody really think they couldn’t get the lap times down today if they were allowed to use double diffusers or exhaust blow diffusers? How about letting them up the max fuel flow rate to 120kg/hour instead of 100? You think they couldn’t really get more HP out of the KERS? How about just letting them use some decent tires that weren’t designed to fall apart?

        I don’t like any of these restrictions personally, but it’s not the fault of the cars…it’s the decisions by Bernie et al that create this situation.

        1. I think everyone knows that the cars are handicapped versus in years past, and that’s what makes it interesting for comparison. After all the aero constraints, fuel limits and limitations, seeing the engineers claw back the downforce and horsepower is an awe-inspiring display of the teams’ engineering progress. The quest for the ultimate laptime in itself isn’t interesting, it’s seeing the genius minds in F1 outsmart the limitations to carry as much speed using less fuel/wing/rubber compared to a decade ago.

          I’m with you, I wish the manufacturers were free to develop KERS as they saw fit. A KERS development race would be much more far-reaching than the fiddly aerodynamic development race we’re used to seeing.

          1. @kmccauley
            I feel the same way about the KERS…but honestlly I’m afraid to say it sometimes for fear of being labeled an F1 heretic! :)

            But if F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and the most technologically advanced…why does it seem like it’s a naughty word to talk about improving the electrical portion of racing? I find the WEC’s ability to mix and match different engines/fuels/ERS systems truly fascinating. Maybe Max’s new proposal will lead down that path???

            If F1 wants to get to 1,000HP, it would be easy to allow them to expend another 50-100hp on the KERS side and go up to 6MJ of energy storage.

            And as you said…that is much more relevant to today’s road cars than a few “twisty bits of carbon fiber” on the front wing as Luca liked to call them. LOL

    2. I can only assume Paul Hembrey was thinking of “Track records in all sessions” (as you put it) rather than true “Lap records” when he made that comment. To me the term “lap record” is a bit misleading, because it sounds like it should mean the fastest lap ever around a circuit.

      I hadn’t seen the side by side lap record vs 2014 fastest laps comparison before. It does give an indication of how much the drivers are having to hold back on ulitmate pace…

      1. Agree on the meaning of “fastest lap”. I am more interested in the fastest overall lap of the weekend because conditions such as having to carry 100KG of fuel for an entire race makes apples to apples comparisons nearly meaningless.

      2. I agree. While I understand the meticulous intentions behind it and an underlying wish for proper term usage, it still seems a bit… over the top to compare strictly-spoken lap records (first) when the person whose words the article is reflecting to most probably meant something else. This means the most interesting part of the article is now its second half, way below the most visible area.

        Something along the lines of “strictly-speaking, Hembery said lap records, which by definition are the fastest laps run during the race, so here’s a list of them for the sake of completeness” would have been suffice.

        1. …At the end of the post.

        2. *would have sufficed :/

    3. Interesting – what was the difference between Albert Park iteration 1 and iteration 2?

      I always thought the track was unchanged…

      1. I was going to ask this. I watched 96 and 97 onboards and I can’t see any changes. Maybe I’ve missed something…

        1. Albert Park iteration 1 is from the 50s – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne_Grand_Prix_Circuit#Albert_Park_Circuit_.281953_to_1958.29

          It has been v2 ever since it’s return to F1 in 1996.

        2. @keithcollantine Can you enlighten us? What changed at Melbourne between 97 and 98? My guess is it must have been one of the chicanes… (@deej92)

          1. Coulthard mentioned this during the race weekend this year… Can’t for the life of me remember what it was though.

            I *think* he said they straightened a section slightly and from maps it would appear to be turn 12.

      2. lap record is fastest race during race. track record is overall, ie in all sessions including qualifying.

      3. @tom_ec1 I think there was minor change to turn 5.

        1. If that’s just before you dive under the gantry you might be right… I think that’s where Coulthard made the remark anyway.

        2. @bleu OMG, indeed! The short chute between T4 and T5 has got longer so T5 was pushed outwards – ironically, decreasing the size of the run-off area on its outside (much to the dismay of Robert Kubica, I guess).

          The higher entry speed then made T5 quicker than it was before – I always had a hunch it was surprisingly quick compared to how I remembered it from the very first races (the very first F1 race I saw live was the 1996 Australian GP), but I somehow missed this alternation.

          The reason why I’m so surprised and upbeat about it is that I consider myself pretty much the biggest track enthusiast I can think of and I’m a bit uneasy to know this thing went unnoticed by me so far, lol. However, there’s always something new to learn, I guess.

          1. Taking seconds looks, I’m now not so sure about it…

      4. @tom_ec1 @deej92 @bleu @atticus-2 There was a very slight alteration to the track after the 1997 race – it was lengthened by about a metre. Off the top of my head I can’t remember which corner – I’ll look it up when I can.

        1. It could’ve been just a measurement change.

    4. Fascinating looking at the track records.

      You would think the 2014 cars would get close to the overall record on a track like Monza where acceleration and top-speed are critical. And yet the gap is large.

      On the other hand, incredible that the 2014 cars can get anywhere near the lap record at Suzuka (+3.5s), where downforce is king (like Barcelona, where gap is +6.4s).

      1. track resurfesing, weather, track conditions… in the end they are slower. imagine if f1 kept v8s or v10s and allowed development, or had less constrained aero, we could be 5 seconds a lap faster on all tracks now – so in a sense f1 is 10 seconds behind where it could be, and other racing series are catching it for lap time. maybe f1 has hit its high point and will never better it? what is the point of fuel efficient engines in a racing series perpeting to be the fastest in the world? does anyone watching F1 care about the CO2 emmisions and fuel efficiency? and do f1 fans support the use of a boring sounding v6 engine? the answer is always NO. F1 should be last to care about those things, that is what touring car and sports car racing is for – where people see cars that look similar to their road cars. in 3 years i can see F1 being slower then a WEC car.

        1. Here here.

        2. …except when the answer is YES. F1’s new engine formula has dragged it out of the dark ages where dinosaurs liked to hear loud noises from a simple engine strapped to a car almost on rails. The changes have firmly cemented F1’s place as the pinnacle of motorsport and technology. As the article shows the cars now are not much slower over a quali lap than the V10s of 2004 DESPITE all of the restrictions thrown at them and within a couple of years will probably start matching them. That’s progress and the fact it can be done with smaller engines, less downforce, less sticky tyres, limited fuel etc is in itself amazing.

          Do I wonder what F1 would be like if they had the 1993 regulations in force today – yes I do. Would I like to watch a competition where drivers lost their lives every other week for my entertainment – no thanks. The regular slowing down of cars by regulation and engineering marvels such as the current cars which seek to overcome those regulations is the pattern that works best. The current faults of F1 are in areas such as DRS, financial distribution models and politics – leave the cars out of it.

          1. yeh right… well if you like quiet dull sounding cars and the pinnacle of motorsport and technology, what are do watching f1 for? WEC has it all over F1 in terms of technology. F1 is the dinosaur, still using rear wheel drive and petrol powered engines!! i prefer dinosaurs, and i prefer them loud and entertaining and fast.

          2. That’s progress and the fact it can be done with smaller engines…

            Give me a break! Engineers were dragging 2000+ bhp from 1L engines when they were first messing about with turbo chargers.

    5. @keithcollantine What source do you use to gather this data?

      1. Would love to get access

        1. You can get all of the fastest lap info from Wikipedia, the F1 pages have loads of data available.

          1. @tom_ec1 I’ve been keeping logs for years!

            @beneboy In my experience with Wikipedia you don’t have to look very far to find stuff that’s out of date or inaccurate, I tend to avoid it.

    6. I am not too disappointed that lap records are unlikely to fall this year because I also think that reaching the current lap times with hybrid engines and fuel limits is no mean achievement. I am rather worried about another aspect that you can see in the tables, namely, that the best lap times at all the new circuits are pretty similar. While the old circuits offer a wide range of lap times (from 1:08 at Red Bull Ring to 1:47 at Spa-Francorchamps), the range of most new circuits’ lap records is much smaller, simply because they are more or less similar.

      And that brings us back to yesterday’s question: Why doesn’t F1 race at Le Mans? Or, to be more precise: Why doesn’t F1 do anything to race at circuits like Le Mans? It surely is possible to make also longer, quicker or more original circuits safe enough for F1?

      1. @girts
        It’s possible to upgrade most of the oldest circuits up to modern standards, it just costs tens, maybe even hundreds, of millions of pounds. And that’s the problem, with current hosting fees and their built in multiplier, the circuit owners can’t make enough profit to justify the investment needed to make the upgrade.

      2. how is it no mean achievement? they are producing more power now then in v8 era, but are still slower.

      3. @girts I do certainly feel that F1 needs a lot more variety in the circuits. If you take IndyCar for example, all sorts of circuits are used there, road courses, street courses, short ovals and the superspeedways. These all range in length and style as well as the banking (for the ovals) and it makes it a really tough championship to win in that respect. Whilst I’m not proposing that F1 should start running on tracks with just left-hand turns, I do think that we need a much more vast range in the type of circuit visited. COTA, which offered a lot of elements which we missed from Istanbul Park and the return of the A1-Ring/Red Bull Ring went down pretty well, and they are two completely different circuits. I think that the worst case of this is with Shanghai and Sepang. The two tracks feel pretty much identical and the only difference comes from the climate. They’re even very similar in length and right next to each other on the calendar. Meanwhile, the WEC has travelled from Silverstone to Spa this weekend, and those are two classic circuits which are very much different from one-another.

      4. because LeMans is a BORING circuit, In the style of Monza it is a few LOOOOONG straights peppered with chicanes.

      5. To put it bluntly, the ACO will never let any other motorsport series race there.

        They’ve made it clear that they consider the 24 Hours of Le Mans to be their prize event, and won’t even allow a rival series to stage a race at the same time as that event – the idea of letting a rival series, especially one as high profile as F1, overshadow their biggest event is out of the question.

        As for safety, part of the problem is that the size of the circuit, plus the fact that parts of the track are only temporary, means that some elements of safety have to be compromised on grounds of installation difficulty and cost. As a result, the Circuit de la Sarthe has had its safety questioned at times – there was even a brief threat that the circuit would be stripped of its licence after Simonsen’s fatal accident unless the ACO made modifications to Tertre Rouge (and it should be pointed out that there had been complaints about that corner for years).

        @craig-o, I would say that your comparison of Sepang and Singapore is actually quite a poor one – if you look at the technical requirements of the two circuits, they are actually fundamentally different (the majority of the corners at Sepang are mid to high speed wide radius corners, whereas Singapore features lower speed tight radius corners and a very stop-start nature – most engineers compare Singapore more closely with Monaco, in terms of suspension, downforce and braking requirements, than to Sepang).

        1. Shanghai and Sepang, not Singapore. ;)

    7. What would a V10 do with 100kg of fuel? Grind to a stop 66 percent through the race.

      The speeds are getting better under the current rules which are far more efficient. I think this is impressive. Leave them untouched for 5 years and they may beat all lap records. No refuelling means cars are at least near eachother otherwise they are 20 seconds apart hammering but on different fuel strategies. Might as well have been a time trial. Modern aero will always mean difficulty following and damage to tyres, WEC is the same they are only overtaking when one is saving fuel or tyres lapping a few seconds apart.

      1. in 10 years, they could have easily developed more efficient v10s if they were asked to – and times would most likely be faster, and the cars would sound better! the engineers work to the limits they are given. at the end of the day, the lap time tells the final story of f1, it has not got faster in a decade, it is in a state of decay. the simple thing they could have done is add fuel limit and fuel flow rate limits to the v8 engines – and i bet we would have seen similar lap times with the same great sound of f1.

        1. V6 engines have more power with the 2 hybrid units, if you then put the current hybrid units on the v8 engines they would be alot heavier than current v6 package plus aspirated v8 v turbo v6 produce similar power but v6 is lighter and uses less fuel. In fact no turbo to get heat recovery part from. I am not to sure on the sound argument. V8 engines were noisy but not nice for me and when I went to WEC this year Porsche sounded rubbish Audi worse and Toyota although the best was not great and quite quiet. I bet the F1 v6 sounds better….all the good noise was from gte so sound is a non issue as far as I am concerned. Just leave the engines as is they are already louder this year according to many people and if left to a natural development curve will get more powerful and louder while still racing with 100kg same with aero…leave the rules for 5 years and see what times we end up with.

        2. @kpcart, Ever wonder what todays cars could do with modern “tyre war” I reckon we would see records tumbling almost immediately, todays tyres mean only an idiot would try to set a race lap record as they would have to pit every 4 laps for new tyres.

          1. keep telling yourself that. i am sure the pirellis are quite a bit more developed then you believe. i remember when they first appeared, the times were quickly respectable to the tyres before.

            1. But you missed the point again, to use the full potential of the tyre a driver destroys the tyre in very few laps so they cannot use the full potential in a race except in circumstances that see them fit new tyres only 4-5 laps from race end.

      2. Good points, but I don’t think modern aero has to be a byword for high downforce and a lot of dirty air, as far as I know ground effect doesn’t produce a lot of dirty air (no reason why it should create drag) and provides incredibly high downforce. Surely if the FIA want to make the show better, all they need to do is allow teams to work with the underside of the car more, and leave the top more or less alone. Also, this wouldn’t be incredibly expensive and the cars would be incredibly fast. However then it becomes dangerous if the cars are always very close to each other and going incredibly fast.

    8. Before we assume that this years times are only about a second faster than last year, don’t forget that they all have engine tokens left to spend. I’m betting we’ll see another half second or more by the time they get into “full 2015 engine specs”.

      1. half a second isnt much, and dont forget to count aero in the 1 second improvement. the engines are very constrained for improvement.

    9. I’d like to have what he is smoking, this years car are not much faster than last years, they are light years behind the machines of 2004.

    10. Regarding the small laptime-delta at the Redbull Ring and Interlagos – you also have to consider the turbo-advantage of the New engines. Both tracks are located at a higher altitude (700m+) which compromised the power-output of the old engines, because of the smaller air-density!

      So additionally to the New track surfaces there is also a clear technological performance advantage. Both should lead to shorter laptimes …including the New tyre compounds, which offen are called the same as the year before, but i bet Pirelli is tuning its material constantly.

    11. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
      30th April 2015, 14:23

      No. You only have to watch an on board video from 2004/2005 era and you can just visually see how much faster the cars were. The 2015 cars do look quite quick until you directly compare them.

      (2014 I know)

      I don’t particular care about the sound but I’d love to see the speed back.

      1. Interesting. The old cars look a lot faster and there is some serious adrenaline from the speed, but on the other hand, it looks a LOT more planted than the current car.

        This is probably down to the lack of downforce and especially the massive torque we have now. It’s good to see drivers having to actually drive to keep the car on the road. The old car he can drive very very smoothly without any sawing on the wheel. Beautiful technique but not as exciting from that perspective.

      2. I think a large amount of that perceived extra speed is that it is a wide angle lens, to my eye it artificially makes the car look faster than it is. Obviously I’m not denying that the 2004 car is a lot faster but it might not be as much faster as it looks.

    12. Apex Assassin
      30th April 2015, 14:58

      I don’t believe anything Paul Hembrey says. He’s a proven liar and so far Pirelli have done NOTHING to improve F1, particularly in the realm of performance. Bridgestone or Michelin would annihilate them in head to head competition.

      1. wasn’t the last race close enough for you?
        4 cars racing 2 of those cars “Merc” set their cars up to be more competitive on tires, which nearly lost them the race,
        harden up you moaners, the season has just started and we have some brilliant racing already,
        start looking at the positives and enjoy what is really starting to happen on track, the other teams will catch up if you leave the Reg’s alone for a year or two.

        1. Yeah- and cars not attacking because they don’t want to “use up their tires” so they fall 2s behind the car in front and try to pass in the pits. Sure this last race had some close action- but there is significant tire cost to dicing on track and therefore it is avoided.

          1. what was Vet doing when he tried to pass Botta for unteen laps?
            he was not saving his tires that is for sure,
            he had DRS as well yet couldn’t pass Botta down the straights,
            funny reminds me of yesteryear when no one could get back up to the front because it was impossible to pass anyone unless the guy in front feel off the track,
            people cant see its possible to get a flat tire and still make it to the podium these days,
            yet people are complaining about anything and everything they think is wrong with F1,
            nothing is wrong with F1 except some greedy aholes sucking it dry of money,
            pay TV is not good for F1, ticket prices for tracks, Bernie sucking the tracks dry, take out the money grabbers get rid of the complainers, set the rules for 3/4years in stone let the teams get the best out of what is available, technology/strategy needs to be the winner, after all that is what F1 is about.

    13. Surely he is referring to Sochi.

    14. The prime reasons lap times have decreased is because they have been cutting downforce over the past 10 years. In 2005 they raised the front wings, In 2009 there was the big reduction, Another reduction with the double diffuser ban in 2011 & another reduction with the 2014 regs.

      The problem is of course that if you added a lot of downforce you would get lap-times down but that would risk been at the expense of close racing as cars would once likely again be as hard to follow/overtake as they were a decade ago.

      It is also worth thinking back & remembering that a part of the big push to cut aero was done out of a desire to increase overtaking based off the general impression that fans were unhappy with the perceived lack of such things a decade ago.

      The current power units get a lot of the flack for the slower lap times but in reality the current V6 Turbo hybrids are at least on-par if not better than the V8’s they replaced. There currently between 800-900bhp depending on manufacturer & will get above 900bhp over the next 2 years which is the sort of figures the V10’s were pumping out a decade ago.

      One area that is usually ignored where talking performance is the tyres. When we had the tyre war a decade ago you had 2 suppliers (Bridgestone & Michelin) who were both pushing performance & both pushing each other to find more & more performance & that lowered lap times.
      When Bridgestone came into F1 for 1997 lap times came down by almost 2 seconds purely because of the performance gains from tyres, A similar thing was expected when Michelin came in for 2001 which is why front wings were raised to try & counteract some of the performance gains from the tyres to keep car performance at what was deemed a safe level (Who knows who & how they come up with what a safe level is, But anyway).

      IF Pirelli were allowed to chase ultimate performance & come up with the absolute best tyres they could possibly come up with rather than having to design tyres around the concept of degredation I guarantee lap times would tumble by at least 2 seconds maybe more. If yo want more performance from that area they allow a tyre war as the competition between 2 or more suppliers would guarantee constant performance gains from tyres.

      One other area is actually DRS as its worth considering that the cars are no longer geared for all out performance on there own. Gear ratios are now done to take DRS plus a bit of Slipstream into consideration so with DRS closed during the race if there not within 1 second of anyone infront the cars are getting nowhere near top speed which obviously has an impact on lap times. On average I believe the DRS gain is around 8 tenths a lap so its fairly considerable.

      1. @gt-racer, as you point out, they reduced the rear wing to allow cars to race closer and then introduced these crap tyres which had exactly the opposite effect, there is a distinct lack of intelligence at the top.

        1. short memories, they first added groves in the tires to reduce traction,
          then out went refueling, racing become boring with no strategy,
          hence now you have a tire supplier that is willing to add a mix of degrading tires which gives us a strategy for which you have to pit at least once, how you work this into your race can depend on how much D/F you want to run, which in turn will ruin your tires quicker but give faster lap times or less D/F longer track time longer runs,
          i love the strategy as it plays out it gives other teams a chance to have split strategy which i am sure your going to see in the next few races, why because look at how Kimi managed to jump so many cars after having a flat tire, he come back out on a different strategy.
          give it chance guys it is coming right just needs the other 2 teams to catch up and F1 will be all on.

          1. then out went refueling, racing become boring with no strategy,

            @lethalnz In what way did the racing become boring after refueling?

            2010 saw more on track overtaking than any season since 1989 because drivers had to overtake on the track & could no longer do it via strategy as we always saw with refueling & to a lesser extent as we see today.

            I’ve always been of the opinion that all of the racing should be done on track & that there should be as few pit stops as possible to achieve that.
            I detest the fact that there is a mandatory stop to force them to use both compounds, I’d rather teams be able to do whatever they want & run whatever compounds they want for as long as they want (As we had before refueling when nobody was complaining about the racing, a lack of overtaking or a lack of strategy).
            If somebody wants to run the whole race non-stop there should be no rules preventing them from doing so & there should be a tyre compound capable of letting them do that.

            1. Here,here @rogera, I’m not alone.

    15. Just more F1 destruction. Those times include the fake DRS reduced times. Pirelli means, the real records are going to be replaced with fake ones.

      1. Neil (@neilosjames)
        1st May 2015, 4:07

        Is a DRS-assisted lap really less valid or pure than one assisted by traction control?

      2. so often those trying to put down the current cars come up with reasons why they are fast which somehow should be discarded in the comparison. Current regulations allow DRS, that makes cars faster therefore the current cars are fast – how is that ‘fake’? The current cars also have lots of technology that engineers in 2004 could hardly have dreamed of, does that also make the times fake. Why are 2004 times not fake – those cars had much different technology from the cars of 1950 such as radial tyres, surely that gives them an unfair advantage and those fake 2004 times should be struck from the records?

        1. wasn’t that long ago i remember BMW engines where pulling 22/24000revs now you are reduced to 15000, yes they where bloody screaming, but it made them unreliable as well,
          so V8s were fake right, different times in someway can never be compared to present day as there are too many variables.
          better to look at last years times than yesteryear’s if the reg’s haven’t been altered to much.
          and right now they are way faster and still moving up.

    16. No records will fall. Why won’t the records fall? Drivers can’t push on their degrading tires or they will “take too much life” out of them. Why has F1 become a short endurance race? Save tires, save fuel, save engines, save transmissions… For F1 to have a formula where the drivers are supposed to “drive to a laptime” is tragic. It should be an all out sprint- cars on the edge and drivers pushing the entire race. This is what the formula should encourage- not conservation…

      1. Why has F1 become a short endurance race? Save tires, save fuel, save engines, save transmissions…

        Thats what F1 has always been about, There has never been a time when F1 drivers were flat out on the edge all race.
        Granted the tyre management is a lot more extreme now than it ever has been before but there has always been an element of tyre, fuel & car management involved.

        There were the odd race where 1-2 drivers were flat out throughout a race (Hungary ’98, Suzuka ’00 to name 2), But those races were the exception & not the rule & thats why those races stand out above the rest.

        Niki Lauda once said ““The secret is to win going as slowly as possible” & other greats like Jackie Stewart, Juan Fangio, Stirling Moss & Alain Prost all said similar.

        1. … which is where I came in :)

          1. But the point you either miss or ignore is that it is only the winner that was controlling the pace, nowadays every driver ( maybe not Maldonado) is controlling his pace.

        2. Yes- absolutely all have said this and it is 100% true, but in this case it does not apply. There has always been an element of conservation required in F1. In the past it was conserving the car to the finish. There was no point to push the car and risk a breakdown- there was no telemetry back then, and the reliability was very poor compared to now. The situation is different. Current conservation is because going slower is faster and this is what I have issue with. Historically drivers could push if they needed to and now they can’t because they will destroy the tires. They don’t run in practice to avoid engine/transmission miles. This is all garbage and I am beginning to hate myself for even writing about F1 and reading these blogs… it has all gone so far away from good- and now it costs a lot more too!!!

    17. F1 always has been a car management category (tyres, engines, fuel, etc.), always.
      Maybe it’s a little too much these days, but it always had this feature and always will have.

      1. Maybe it’s a lot too much, in the past only the leader had the luxury of reducing his speed and only to the fastest speed the driver coming 2nd. could manage, today drivers right through the field are driving to a managed pace. Enzo Ferrari would have sacked any driver not in the lead that did not push 100% to get there.

        1. did you watch f1 in the 80s? back then there was no tyre warmers and massive torque. there was plenty of tyre management in that great era of f1. the drivers are still pushing 100% – it is the same for all. when the pirellis first came out with severe degredation, that made f1 more interesting ironically, and the best drivers managed them the best and were still fast (except hamilton, he was the was of the top 5 in tyre management, always pitting earliest)

    18. The Interlagos qualifying record was very nearly broken last year. This year it will be broken for sure

      1. Unless it rains…

        1. but it had a resurfacing which gave heaps of time

      2. The track was resurfaced, not a comparison at all tbh.

    19. Well, some of the laps are far too big (china and Malaysia), 6+ seconds is a heck of a lot of time to make up.

      The race records for the vast majority of the tracks will probably never be broken, refueling is the one big reason for this: The drivers could essentially do qualifying laps during a race, whereas now by the time enough fuel has been used the tires have gone off and it wouldn’t be wise to change to a fresh set of the option tire with 3 laps to go.

    20. Two summaries based on the table:

      Drivers with most laptime records:
      Michael Schumacher 5
      Sebastian Vettel 4
      Juan Pablo Montoya 2
      Kimi Raikkonen 2
      Rubens Barrichello 2
      Fernando Alonso 1
      Pedro de la Rosa 1
      Valtteri Bottas 1

      1. And teams with most lap time:

        Ferrari 9
        Red Bull 4
        Williams 3
        McLaren 2

    21. It’s on Pirelli’s hands really. Lap records at certain newer venues could be broken is Pirelli goes one step softer on the allocation.

    22. Jared H (@thejaredhuang)
      1st May 2015, 17:26

      Simple vehicle dynamics, the car is about 100kg heavier now than it was 10 years ago. Power levels may be similar but down force has also decreased. Even with 10 year newer tyre tech and slicks its impossible to beat physics.

      The only chance the new cars have is with DRS and the overall less drag they’re producing.

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