Michelin not interested in ‘outdated’ 13-inch wheels

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Renault, 2006In the round-up: Former F1 tyre supplier Michelin says the sport’s current 13-inch wheel dimensions are out of date.


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Michelin rules out F1 return with current wheel size (Motorsport)

"The 13-inch tyres are not used by any road cars and maybe should give the highest performance for only 10 laps. That's not what we want to show."

Dennis hints at loaning Magnussen out (F1i)

"I have two world champions who are among the very best. So he has to prove himself. Perhaps that means I have to help him into another team for another learning year."

Ferrari/Haas: The loophole (Motorsport magazine)

"It has left rival teams up in arms behind the scenes, but powerless to do anything more than complain."

Ecclestone: Strategy Group must go (Autosport)

"The problem is we are running something that is too democratic, and Jean (Todt) won't go along with things."


Comment of the day

Yas Marina, 2014Sebastien Bourdais’s remarks about the shortcomings of F1 track design attracted a mix of responses:

Bourdais is 100% right. The problem is that the FIA wants to standardise every circuit to a single model. This means that all new circuits look exactly the same (seriously, all Tilkedromes are pretty much interchangeable) and more traditional circuits are altered to become more like the standard. This concerns obvious things like track lay-out and run-off areas, but also things like circuit width and kerb stone design. About that last point, every circuit used to have different kinds of kerbs, some very high and narrow, others a bit shallower. Today all kerbs have the same profile, and the width is in some cases so large one could wonder why they didn’t just make the track wider.

But the worst thing by far are the run-off areas. The point of a circuit is to challenge the car and the driver, to push them to their limit – how is that possible if there is no limit to begin with? We saw it with the Parabolica in last weekend’s F3 race, drivers are just taking the escape road if they push too hard. That’s complete and utter sacrilege, in my opinion. I often visit Zandvoort and one of my worst fears is an asphalt run-off area along the Tarzan corner and the Scheivlak. If F1 ever decides to put Zandvoort back on the calendar, the FIA overhaul will completely ruin the track.

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  • 83 comments on “Michelin not interested in ‘outdated’ 13-inch wheels”

    1. I think a lot of the permanent circuits- particularly the newer Tilkedromes effectively all are within the 120-130 mph speed average range. One particular feature all of the Tilkedromes feature is a hairpin into a long straight into another hairpin. There are fewer uniquely fast and slow circuits these days (Monaco, Spa, Monza, Suzuka, Silverstone, Interlagos; all of these circuits funny enough are the most popular on the calendar) that look different from the rest. The layouts on nearly all of these Tilkedromes are virtually designed in the same kind of manner to all the others: there is hardly any character to these Tilkedromes. But to be honest, it’s also this clean, homogenized business image of F1 that Ecclestone wants because he feels it has to look that way; so he can attract more business and glamour to F1, and to satisfy himself on the business game front. Theoretically, that’s fine.

      In my opinion, there is no such thing as a racetrack that is too safe- however, there is such a thing as a circuit layout that is too conservative and not much of a driver’s challenge- unless it’s a challenge or is acceptable in other areas, like the old Hockenheimring, with its long straights and stadium section with a lot less downforce than normal. That track used to destroy cars (just watch the 1987 race); that was a unique challenge, and it often used to provide good races because drivers could pass on any of those long straights. I’m also not a fan of tarmac run-off areas (except at the first corner of the track), which in my opinion water down the circuits considerably.

      1. It all began with tracks being designed to fit the cars instead of the other way around. Which obviously also requires the cars to stay at comparable speeds since F1 went that way.
        However, it may be noted this was a direct reaction to Ayrton Senna´s death. All Tilkedroms have been created after that, the first thing was changing the Österreichring into the A1-Ring (now named Red-Bull-Ring) in 95, Sepang also entered first planning in 95. All other tracks were designed and built before, and those mostly remain the most dangerous places in F1 (maybe except for Silverstone, but that also has largely been changed since).
        So while yes, the older circuits feel more exciting, more natural and flowing, have more individual character and so on, I do understand how F1 got into what we have now, and it´s not only about money (though one might argue F1 wouldn´t care half as much about safety if it wasn´t for publicity-issues). Everyone wants gravel instead of tarmac-run-offs, to be able to identify a track by its tarmac and curbs alone, the track-layout at least be slightly reminding on how a normal road would flow through that area, but if someone goes flying on that left kink of the Interlagos main straight like Webber did in Valencia 2010 or Rosberg in Abu Dhabi 2012, we might not see an Interlagos race again.

        Bottom line: At least they could bring Tilkes best track (Turkey) back and get rid of one of his worst.

        1. good points. not all of tilke’s tracks are that bad. most people quite like sepang and turkey had great character. i though the budh circuit had potential but DRS made it dull plus those races happened at points when circumstance made for boring races.

          i think circuit designers need to think more simply about tracks – short laps, elevation change, and a challenge! you never really see off-camber corners or downhill braking zones – these could be seen as more dangerous because they invite errors but you could extend that argument to all motor racing.

          1. @frood19

            not all of tilke’s tracks are that bad.

            I just want to clear up I didn´t state I liked the Tilke-tracks. They are mostly horrible entertainment-wise (or maybe “feeling-wise” would be better), and I do share the very same objections as CotD. And yes, the most notable thing is tarmac-runoffs, not only on new tracks, but also when added on old ones. We´ve been robbed of 3 potential Hamilton DNFs by the tarmac added to Spa´s Rivage.
            It´s just that I understand why this all happened, and that all those features which are the same on all Tilke-tracks are that way because of safety-reasons. I think people who want to turn around on that development should know and be conscious about what they are asking for.

        2. I agree- not all Tilke tracks are bad. Turkey remains one of my favorites on the PS3… possibly his best track! I think the pushback is just the fact the new tracks are so wide you lose the cars on them… Take for example corner 1 at Austin- you could literally have 6 cars driving through there side by side! It makes for more possible lines, but does make things seem all the same when you are looking at a wide expanse of track over and over.

          I won’t miss Valencia, Korea, and eventually Russia, China, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. The rest of the tracks are pretty good IMHO including Bahrain which is a good track that seems to be panned regularly.

          1. digitalrurouni
            4th June 2015, 14:55

            Turkey, India, Malaysia, China, Korea, Valencia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi are all great tracks IMO. Especially when I race them in F1 2013. Well Turkey is not in that game anymore and it’s such a shame. Might be great for drivers but as fans watching I think it could all be a different matter.

    2. A little research will confirm that every part of F1 which Bernie insists has to go was once something that Bernie insisted on adopting, eventually every one of Bernies big ideas proves to be a mistake.

      1. how much time left has Bernie’s anyway? Unless he’s Mr Burns (wich he look suspiciously alike) he won’t be living to 150 years. We have to be patients!

      2. Bernie must go. Nothing against old people but F1 cannot be run by a century year old fella like there’s nobody else in this world who can run F1…

    3. “The 13-inch tyres are not used by any road cars…..” whats next? force F1 cars to use treaded tires because road cars don’t use slicks? Seriously, if 18-inch tires are ever introduced i wonder how long it will take until they go back to the 13-inch.

      1. Well, Formula E uses actual road tyres… Formula E is close racing, whereas Formula 1 races (after the first corner) are just a very long practice sessions (except for the odd Bahrain 2014 or Canada 2011).

        1. What I am saying is that F1 is not helped by the 13-inch rims.

          1. @gladysquinlin How are those two points in any way correlated? FE is a spec series that barely goes above 150kph, I’d be quite concerned if there wasn’t close racing. That’s more of a correlating factor than the tyre rim size will ever be.

        2. That’s a spec series…

        3. Formula E looks like Formula 1 in slow motion replay…

          1. Thank you! That’s exactly what it looks like.

      2. If they ever adopt a new size rim, they will never go back to the old one @leonardo-antunes. Probably the biggest reason the teams are not keen to change here is that they will have to completely rethink the suspension of the cars for large rimmed wheels (to replace the dampening effect of the large side-walls, the changed shape of the tyres and the weight of the wheels), affecting the way the cars behave dynamically too, which will probably in effect change aero-balance, etc. Once they do that changing it “back” would again mean investing a huge amount of effort in that.

        It won’t have any averse affect on the racing as such if we go to larger wheels, so if it gives the sport the opportunity to have better tyres – in effect that is what Michelin says, that is can afford more development, because it will have more ROI for them, when the sport changes to larger rims – I am perfectly fine with it.

        1. Due to the increased mass of an 18 inch wheel, the wheel tether systems currently in use would need to be redesigned to cope with higher loads. You would therefore also need to rethink the chassis regulations and redesign the front mounting points for the tethers – not necessarily a trivial exercise.

          1. Wouldn’t they be lighter? The rubber part of the combination always seemed the heavier when helping my dad around the garage and I can imagine lifting up an F1 wheel and having it feel like a feather.

            1. ColdFly F1 (@)
              4th June 2015, 8:12

              @darryn, rubber weighs roughly half as much as the lightest metal alloy they can use in the rims (per cm^3).

              It will be slightly less overall though as the rubber has 2 sides versus only 1 side to the rim.
              But on the other hand rubber gets its overall structural strength also through the pressure from compressed air, which the rim does not have.
              All in all too difficult to calculate which one weighs how much more ;)

            2. There is more to a tyre than just rubber.

              And some of the rims are made of forged magnesium.

              I still don’t have any idea of which one of the components is the heavier.

            3. @darryn, the preliminary work by tyre manufacturers suggests that an 18 inch tyre would be fractionally heavier overall – for example, when Pirelli produced their prototype 18 inch tyres for Lotus’s demo run, they revealed that each wheel was around 2.5kg heavier than the equivalent 13 inch tyre would have been.

          2. I did not argue that it would be “trivial” Anon. Off course it would mean quite significant changes to the cars, to the weight balance, possibly to ground clearance, to the suspension layout and to the aerodynamics. As such, its not hard to understand why the teams are not too keen on it.
            I just pointed out that this change to different tyres does not mean compromising F1, in contrast it might mean Michelin bringing inherently better tyres.

    4. I’m still undecided concerning the 18-inch vs 13-inch wheel argument, but I am certain Michelin would be great for the sport. General consensus rules out a tyre war and Michelin would only enter if the sport adopted 18-inch wheels, so this is a sticky situation. The business with the Ferrari-Hass windtunnel scheme is also pivotal for the future of f1, so we are reaching a real crunch point given the driver’s opinions of the last month. We do need faster cars. We do need to reduce the number of gimmicks. Hopefully the next few years, together with the ousting of Bernie, will be more positive for F1. Though as we all know the powers that be seem least capable of rectifying current issues.

      1. I don’t think we really need faster cars at all @rbalonso. I think what we need is a better divide of the revenue (lowering the part that gets sucked up by CVC, giving tracks more breathing room and make sure the income covers at least running cost and basic part of development cost for a season), start promoting the series to get NEW fans interested.
        And maybe we could have a look at what makes it “easy to drive” and cut down on that, to give us all more of the feeling that its the driver driving instead of the technology and the engineers.

        1. @bascb
          While I agree that the cars don’t need to be faster, I think we need them to be able to run closer to their fulĺ speed for longer.
          The cars look fast during qualifying but too often they look slow during the race, and as a result I just don’t feel the same sense of excitement as it’s visibly obvious when drivers aren’t attacking the braking zone and apex, which now happens a lot more.
          There used to be a lull in the middle of a GP where most of the drivers were in fuel/tire/car saving mode, but now it feels like we get a few flat out laps at the start, end and around the pit-stops, with the other 80% or more of the race spent in conservation mode.

          1. I think you are wrong there.

            For example with refuelling, we often had people trying something in the first 2-3 laps, then maybe before and after the pitstops, and sometimes towards the end. In between all the cars were also keeping their distance, saving fuel or using clean air to go fast, make way and pass by strategy that way.

            This year the cars seem a bit easier to handle than last year (remember all those failed braking moments, spins etc while drivers were getting to grips with huge torque and unbalanced BBW?), I think THAT is where the “good” racing can come from. Another thing that does make it more tricky is having to adapt to both high and low fuel loads.

            Off course when the cars run like on rails (i.e. a lot of downforce), are harmed by getting close to other cars (again, mostly DF, but part the way the current tyres degrade from that), while all cars brake easily with short braking zones (super grippy carbon brakes) and drivers are micro-managed to take the safest way to a reasonable finishing spot (drivers getting and adhering to these instructions, telemetry) its hard to expect them to live up to all of our rose tinted memories of great races. Lets also not forget to mention that wet races end up being SC following bores nowadays (tyres? safety concerns?). And cars/drivers accepted to get off track and on track more or less at will instead of at least losing time by doing so.
            All of those are of far more importance to how races play out than how large a portion of the race they are driving at full speed @beneboy

            But maybe the solution is far easier. Turn off the commentary talking about how unhappy everyone is with “driving slow” (yes, you mr. Brundle), ignore radio calls (and maybe tweets) and I am pretty sure that you wouldn’t even know how much they had been “fuel/tyre etc saving. Just like it was hard to know a decade or more ago, before we, the fans, requested and got more access to radio messages (and the big teams encrypted theirs).

            1. @bascb
              I should have been more clear, I was referring to the driving, not necessarily the overtakes and racing incidents. Whenever I watch classic races and see drivers hitting every apex, braking late and pushing the car it’s something I find thrilling.
              This is what made me a big Schumi fan, there were many times he looked like he was doing (fuel adjusted) qualifying laps from lights to flag and even during the “boring Ferrari domination years” I’d still be on the edge of my seat watching him putting in amazing laps even though he was miles ahead of everyone else.

              Too often these days it looks like the drivers just aren’t pushing that hard and sometimes it looks like they’re doing parade laps, rather than racing.

              I used to enjoy races even when there wasn’t much overtaking or action as I found the excitement of seeing drivers pushing entertaining enough on its own. Be it Senna sliding the car round corners, Prost’s smooth lines, Big Nige bullying the car into submission or Schumi’s pure genius, it always amazed me how hard those guys could drive – even before the days of live timing and the like being available on-line and with Murray talking nonesense, it was just the visual thrill. Which is something I feel the sport has lost.

              There are obviously other problems in F1, most of which should be easy enough to fix, but for me, this is something I miss.

            2. Oh, I get what you mean. But really, apart from FOM still missing a lot (although there have been far worse directors in F1s past than the current crew), I think there is still a lot of inch perfect driving all over the field, and I am not sure there is less of that now than there was in the past.

              Yes, I think some of the strings of quick laps Vettel has done in his championship years were as exciting to watch really (although its less fun having to much of it, as with just about anything). Thing is, we knew that he was going only for a delta or making a gap/making up a gap, while mostly we would have not known about it in the times of Fittipaldi, Prost or even most of Schumi’s career or with a Häkkinen.

            3. @bascb & @beneboy. I think F1 is a victim of its own vicious cycle. Pay-per-view TV all but eliminates the casual viewer from half of the season. Most F1 news is negative and drivers criticise the sport for being too easy so visibly slow cars are not going to have the same effect on the public imo. In terms of qualifying pace, I think the cars are fine but race pace, where most casual fans tune in, is a real worry.

              We were told in 2005 that the cars could not overtake because they were too fast, but we are considerably slower per lap and no nearer to seeing genuine overtakes. It belittles the appeal of F1 to see them doing comparative lap times with a spec series designed to be slower.

              I am by no means saying that 2005 F1 was the pinnacle, merely that I enjoyed the way the cars looked on track then. I also appreciate that a fair comparison between cars which could refuel but not change tyres is different from a car that can change tyres but not refuel. But the gaps are enormous.

              AUS 05 FL: 25.6, AUS 15 FL: 30.9 (+6.2%)
              MAL 05 FL: 35.4, MAL 15 FL: 42.0 (+6.9%)
              BAH 05 FL: 31.4, BAH 15 FL: 36.3 (+5.3%)
              ESP 08 FL: 21.6, ESP 15 FL: 28.2 (+8%)
              CHI 05 FL: 33.2, CHI 15 FL: 42.2 (+9.6%)
              MON 05 FL: 15.8, MON 15 FL: 18.0 (+2.9%)

              I want to be clear that I don’t think we need to go back to 2005 level cars but seeing slow cars perform well within their limits and not challenging the drivers into mistakes unnecessarily removes some raw appeal from the sport for me.

            4. I agree with this part @rbalonso:

              I think F1 is a victim of its own vicious cycle. Pay-per-view TV all but eliminates the casual viewer from half of the season. Most F1 news is negative and drivers criticise the sport for being too easy so visibly slow cars are not going to have the same effect on the public imo. In terms of qualifying pace, I think the cars are fine but race pace, where most casual fans tune in, is a real worry.

              As for the overtaking, look it up and you will see there is a significant difference in amount of overtakes per race between 2015 and now. And its certainly not all DRS. Sure, for a driver it might be more fun, but putting them in the situation of having to cope with the change in behaviour is exactly one of those things that can bring mistakes.

              Which brings me to again, agreeing with your last paragraph, although we might be of differing opinion on how to achieve that (making it more challenging for the drivers).

    5. pxcmerc (@)
      4th June 2015, 2:24

      there is a simple solution, don’t force teams to use Michelin’s. But don’t ban competing tire manufacturers.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        4th June 2015, 8:14

        @pcxmerc, the problem is that Michelin (says that it) does not want to get in with current tyre sizes!

        1. pxcmerc (@)
          4th June 2015, 9:44

          the problem is forcing people to a particular standard when more diversity might offer far more interesting solutions and opportunities for both teams and the spectacle.

    6. Yes, Ricciardo mentions poutine – nice. For those of you who do not know this exquisite Quebecois delight http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poutine your tastebuds and bellies do not know what they’re missing.

      I work for a delivery company and was at the track today, security so tight I couldn’t make my delivery! Hoping they send me there Friday so I can get a freebie glimpse of practice : )

      1. That makes my mouth water. Ooooh…. if anyone’s in for the GP, grab a pint of one of the Unibroue beers. Blanche de Chambly, La Fin du Monde, Trois Pistoles… whatever. IMO the best beers made in Canada :)

        1. Yeah they’re definitely good, I really like Don de Dieu. Quebec has a plethora of fantastic microbreweries these days – if ever you get your hands on a Saison du Tracteur by Trou du Diable brewery – that’s Tractor Season and Devil’s Hole : ) – really gorgeous beer. http://farm9.static.flickr.com/8694/16804957264_16c3a69be3.jpg

      2. That seriously looks like a heart attack on a plate!

    7. “The Ferrari-Haas shared tunnel programme was given full prior approval by the FIA’s Charlie Whiting. There is a general will among F1 that the American Haas team, as an entrant from a country that F1 needs to engage with, should be a credible and competitive entity immediately. To have it following in the wheel tracks of the last three new teams to enter – Caterham, Marussia and HRT – at the back of the grid would probably be counter-productive.” …this, this make me happy…as an F1 fan and an American. So much potential for a huge F1 fan base in the US, powered by success, social media, and general F1 awesomeness.

      1. This reads like a typical Mark Hughes article: a lot of assertions, no named sources, a comprehensive denial by all the parties he accuses, and to top it all off an official FIA involvement and OK throughout the entire process. At least it got his article linked to a couple of times, that’s a plus for his employer I suppose.

    8. “The 13-inch tyres are not used by any road cars and maybe should give the highest performance for only 10 laps. That’s not what we want to show”

      Right. So what about those cascade front wings? I want that on my Corsa. Or maybe that pull rod rear suspension… because that’s obviously a lot more relevant to road cars.

      The only way to make F1 tyres relevant to road cars would be to use exactly what road cars use. Which they won’t, because that’ls plain stupid…

      Tyre… size… doesn’t… matter… changes nothing appart from the looks of the car. Won’t make any of us enjoy F1 more.

      I just don’t get it. What’s so important about 18 inches wheels? why does it HAVE to happen? I guess I’ll never be convinced about them.

      1. There are differences…

        1 – the inertia of an 18in wheel/tyre combination is higher than a 13, therefore they accelerate slower and decelerate slower than a 13.

        2 – 18’s have less compliance so require more suspension travel for the same application.

        3 – 18’s are heavier so require stronger suspension, and weight reduction in other areas of the car to compensate (more driver anorexia), and being an unsprung mass, wheel/tyre mass is quite critical to handling.

        4 – 18’s look cool apparently.

        5 – 18’s can run bigger (cheaper) brakes.

        Point 4 is the reason they want 18’s, that’s the reason Automotive designers use them, they sell really well. I say start a tyre war, but Pirelli can run 13’s and the rest can try with 18’s!

        1. I don’t believe an 18 inch magnesium wheel would weigh more than the extra thick rubber sidewall on the 13 inch wheels. I would be interested to see some actual data on the difference. I know that magnesium racing wheels weigh very little, as I’ve picked up a 17 inch magnesium wheel, and it weighed far less than the tyre that was about to be fitted to it.

          1. pxcmerc (@)
            4th June 2015, 9:47

            yeah, but if you are running heavier rotors, then it probably doesn’t make that much of a difference. I completely agree with the last point, just give the teams a chance to choose for themselves. The more variables and risks, the more opportunities exist for the smaller teams, and the larger the cost for the manufacturers who want to try and cover all the bases.

          2. Pirelli say around 4.5 kilos extra per wheel… http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/12990651/pirelli-doubts-f1-adopt-low-profile-tyres

            and importantly most of that mass is further away from the hub… F1 Tyre sidewalls are very thin and very light.

        2. Ya I don’t get it either. None of these are guaranteed to improve racing. The only thing that needs to happen with tires IMO is that they be made to last longer so drivers don’t have to conserve them as much as they are doing. That will improve racing.

        3. In last 40 years automotive industry gradually increased the size of wheel rims. The reasons behind are not only of aesthetical nature. The most important is the influence on vehicle dynamics. For that reason you’ll never see a super sportscar of its era fitted with the same wheel rim size as ‘C segment’ cars. Can you magine GT40 with 12” wheels or Veyron with 15”?

          1. I doubt the brakes size would allow for it on a Gt40 or Veyron, that is the only technical positive, but undoubtedly balloon tyres would give benefits in ride, handling, speed and efficiency, but to use them on a commercial enterprise sportscar would be an industry laughing stock, and would be commercial suicide.

            1. Larger wheels with smaller tyres sidewalls give better lateral liad allowing for faster cornering. Like all engineering solutions there is a compromise and that is less grip in a straight line. This is why dragsters have huge sidewall tyres but when the rules allow circuit cars go for bigger wheels of course also with bigger brakes.

          2. I’m not so sure. Wheels 19 and bigger hurt performance on most road cars. Only massively overpowered sports cars can make good use of wheels 19 and above. And even then the advantage is in traction only really. Big wheels hurt braking and overall acceleration and add unsprung mass. Indeed, if you look at touring car series, they do not use 20s. Max 18s for these types of cars. If you wanted to track your GTI or BRZ, I think you would find that 19s would be a liability, unless you spent big bucks for a light (19lb and lower) wheel. Bigger is not always better. You can have a low profile tire on 17s. Yes, you get more contact patch for a bigger wheel, but you are adding a lot of spinning metal to the wheel for that small improvement. The primary reason for increasing wheel size is that road cars are getting bigger and so wheels need to grow to keep the proportions of the design.

      2. Michelin needs it to happen because low profile tyres use significantly less materials, but are vastly more expensive. They want the rolling advertisements for their products — which they believe you will aspire to buy after seeing them on the race cars — to represent the products which have far and away the highest profit margins. There’s nothing more or less to it than that: This is a marketing requirement, pure and simple.

        1. @gweilo8888, even Michelin themselves have admitted at times that their proposal is driven by aesthetics (they phrased it as “giving the cars a more modern look”).

        2. pxcmerc (@)
          4th June 2015, 9:51

          yep, it’s all about marketing, sponsors, advertisements, etc… What’s good for the sport is real competition, if Michelin think they can build better tires in a lower profile, let them try. Competition is good for costs, and keeps things more honest.

      3. +1 Agreed 100%

      4. Michelin need to come to F1 if they are interested in serving F1. Else they can safely stay away and let the people who want to be in F1 continue to do so.

        18 inch wheels are ugly and I don’t care for road relevance. No one is going to push through to 350kmph and come down to 60 in 200M distance on a freeway. You build it for the requirements in F1 and be done with it.

      5. if F1 wants to be road car relevant, they should just race road cars.
        will they go back to steel brake pads and steel body work? no
        will they use mufflers and catalytic convertors? no
        will they use turbo diesel engines? no
        will they bring back fully manual gear changing or fully automatic gear changing? no
        will they race on the same petrol as road cars drive? no
        will they use road tyres like road cars use? no
        will they allow more then one seat? no
        will they do enduro races like racing series that ARE relevant to road cars, ie GT like series? no

        stop ruining the sport/show. 18 ince wheels are another stupid thing not needed for open wheelers.
        they didnt need v6 turbos, that has killed so much of the spectable of this sport.

      6. Very glad to see I’m not the only one. I’ve said this time and time again, and most of the times people don’t really get my point.

      7. I agree that the wheel size is much ado about nothing. Just the knowledge that F1 runs 18s would not add to the allure of the sport. It’s not like people will say, OMG these must be real performance machines because they run the same wheel size as a base M4! In fact, a real car enthusiast might wonder why they are so small, when you can get a Mustang or Boxter or whatever with 20s stock.

        But I can see Michelin’s play here. If Michelin wants to sell a set of Pilot Sport Cups on Monday, then it helps to have road car-looking tires, maybe with “pilot sport cup” on the side, running on Sunday. Everyone will know that a racing slick at size 18 has nothing do with the road tire, but marketing is about spurring association and recognition. Of course, now, LMP cars run enormous wheel/tire sets, and the manufacturers there seem to put little effort into passing these off as analogous to the large diameter tires you can buy for performance road cars.

    9. Reg the COTD and with regards to the issue about the run-off areas, do we really want cars to be caught out and retired out of the race when we have so little to begin with? There was big hue and cry after Australia about how there were very less numbers cars running in the race. Yet we crib about run off areas increasing in the tracks.

      With the safety of the run-off areas, racers will push more knowing that they can always take the escape route and return back to racing. How is the opposite true unless each one is a Senna guided by the divine presence? :)

      1. do we really want cars to be caught out and retired out of the race when we have so little to begin with

        While I’d love to see full starting grids, I have no problem at all with high attrition rates during the race (as long as it’s not too much mechanical problems where the driver isn’t at fault). In the past we’ve seen a lot of really great races where we had somewhere between 5 and 10 finishers, sometimes even less. It’s a sign that a race is hard, cars are hard to control and/or conditions are bad.

        I know gravel traps pose risks and I’m not advocating to bring them all back, but there was an exciting element in knowing that if a driver went a tad wide, he could get beached and be out of the race. I’d like that risk to return provided there was a more or less safe way to do it.

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        4th June 2015, 8:23

        @evered7, gravel traps aren’t there to have a higher attrition rate (it was not that bad in the past either), but it creates a better risk/reward equation and therefore better racing.
        Is a driver willing (and capable) to take more risk to be closer to his rival after the turn. And is the defending driver willing to take the same risk, and maybe lose it all by touching the gravel?

      3. @coldfly @mattds But do we have any proof that the drivers are not pushing to the max (within permissible limit) now other than when restricted to do so (fuel/brake/tire issues). The field is spread thin these days and anymore attrition will probably lead to cars driving in batches and in a race of their own.

        Also with the drivers not following too closely to the lead car due to the dirty air messing up their lines, will it not make them further defensive since they might go out of the race when a move goes wrong? They will try to undercut more to avoid the risk on track.

        I get your point about traps rewarding the brave drivers who choose to drive at the limit but maybe the lack of them means that all drivers are now giving it their fullest knowing if something goes wrong, they can always rejoin the action.

        I would like to have a 10-20% tarmac available for run off and the rest covered with gravel. Give them a little freedom and chance to comeback to the track and if they aren’t able to do so, they may retire in the gravel and see the rest of the race from TV.

    10. Great COTD. I’d add that the other element that creates a great circuit is… fans. Adelaide, Montreal, Imola, Redbullring, Suzuka, Melbourne, Silverstone, Interlagos, all packed with fans and the atmosphere comes across on the TV brilliantly, it looks great and you want to be there. Now compare to Bahrain, Shanghai, Istanbul, Yeongam, I’m falling asleep. Ok there are other examples that don’t fit these examples but what I’d love to see is more events like the former group. Excitement, passion!

      1. digitalrurouni
        4th June 2015, 14:57


    11. Bernie is at it again. The problem does not come in with the teams when it comes down to the stagey group.
      What Bernie is not telling people is that even if you take out the teams and only him and the Fia stays they will not get to a point where decisions will be made.

      Here i will show you how i got to this conclusion. What Bernie is saying is that the teams is blocking the decisions that has to be made to in prove the F1. But if you go and look a bit closer you will notice that this is not true.
      Firstly we need to go and look at how the votes in the stagey group is divided.
      Fia has 6 Votes
      Bernie has 6 votes
      Teams has 6 votes

      What we can see from this is that if the FIA and Bernie wants to push throw a new rule the teams can’t do any thing about it.
      If the Fia and Bernie vote yes for a rule and the teams no the vote count will be 12 votes yes and 6 votes no.

      The problem comes in when the FIA and Bernie does not agree on some thing then the teams has a say.
      The teams at most can only be a swing vote. Lets take a more extensive example capping cost.


      If Merc, Ferrari, Red Bull, Mclarne and Williams voted no and Force India was the only one voted yes the voting count will be 5 to 1 for no.
      But if the FIA and Bernie voted yes for the cost cap the vote count would be 13 to 5 for the cost cap.
      The cost cap is throw.

      What this shows us is that the only time the teams really has a say in a decision is when there is a split between the FIA and Bernie.

      1. It’s a bit more complex than that though. While you’re right that the teams themselves can’t simply veto something which is otherwise unanimously supported (unless it’s for the following season), the Strategy Group does more than simply vote on things. What it gives those teams is a seat at the political table, meaning that they directly shape the motions which are put to the vote in the first place. They’re in a position to disrupt any proposed solutions which might not directly benefit them. How many Strategy group meetings, held in order to come up with solutions to the problems in the support, have resulted in absolutey zero action? The teams being part of the group makes the group far less able to take a completely holistic view of where the sport is, and what actions need to be taken in order to create long term stability.

        Of course, the problem is that both the strategy group, and the inequitable revenue distribution, are written into the contracts of those teams until at least 2020, meaning that the teams would need to voluntarily withdraw in order to make it happen. It’s a classic bit of backwards Bernie logic – First he offers out these preferential contracts to the top teams, financially crippling the smaller teams and ensuring that their voices aren’t heard, and then he blames the group itself when it proves (as predicted) not to be fit for purpose. He can then place the blame on the teams themselves. Very clever. And most of which was put in place in order to float the sport on the Exchange, which never even happened.

        Best thing that can happen to the sport, in my opinion, is for the commercial rights to be purchased from Delta Topco, by someone who doesn’t need to cream big chunks of revenue out of the sport in order to recoup the costs.

    12. “David Coulthard won the Monaco Grand Prix after Michael Schumacher retired with a suspension failure on his Ferrari.”
      Suspension failed because of broken exhaust, it was a chain reaction of failures on F1-2000. It was Dave’s second victory of the season and it made me very happy. I still remember it very vividly!

    13. For those of us troubled by run-off areas, please remember that most circuits host many other types of racing for the majority of the year – it’s not just F1.
      Gravel traps are a particular problem for some vehicles, particularly motorcycles, where “digging in” tends to produce spectacular and dangerous crashes.
      Before we complain about a track (layout, run-off areas, facilities) we need to think about who uses it.

      1. @tribaltalker I perfectly understand that. I know that gravel along the Parabolica was pretty dangerous for motorbikes, so it could definitely be improved. But replacing the entire run-off area with asphalt is not the way to do that, in my opinion. A better option would have been to have grass along the entire edge of the corner, a small patch of apshalt at the corner entry (where bikes are most likely to end up when they fall) and perhaps they could have kept the gravel at the exit of the Parabolica, to add an element of risk when cars enter the straight.

        1. @andae23 – yes, I agree. I was responding to the simplistic “gravel is good” argument I hear all the time, ignoring the fact that F1 uses a circuit for less than a week a year. Sorry if I came across as a grumpy old man (although I am).
          We need to find some way to penalise drivers who go out of the boundaries of the track surface without compromising the safety for all the other track users. As you suggest, it requires a bit of thoughtful consideration and perhaps some creative solutions can be found.

        2. @andae23 @tribaltalker

          There are more reasons that just the bikes, GT, Sportscars & Touring cars tend to prefer tarmac because those cars always tend to get stuck in gravel & are harder to recover than open wheel cars so you tend to see more safety car periods.

          There is also the problem of punctures as gravel been thrown onto the circuit by somebody going off increases the risk of punctures, Especially on faster parts of a circuit where the tyres are loaded.
          Look at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for example, You used to see a lot of punctures there because of gravel that had been spread all over the circuit by cars going off. Since the runoff was paved you see a lot less tyres getting cut.

          Another problem which you don’t hear often is that tarmac runoff is obviously flatter. One of the problems with Grass/Gravel is that over time it can become very uneven which can lead to cars been launched into the air. Think back to the 2009 Brazilian Gp for example with Romain Grosjean during FP3, He aquaplaned off onto a very uneven grass runoff & got launched-
          That bit of runoff was paved the following year I believe.

      2. @tribaltalker Uhm… Termas de Rio Hondo, the newest MotoGP track in the world, was renewed specifically for motorbike use. And there’s very little in terms of tarmac run offs…

        Just the first bit on the outside of the corners is tarmac. THe rest is grass or gravel.

        I don’t think full tarmac runoffs are made for motorbikes. It’s a F1 only thing.

    14. Pirelli “We don’t want 18″ tyres”
      Michelin “We don’t want 13″ tyres”

      Bernies Solution: To get crowds to rock up on a Thursday before a race weekend, throw Paul Hembrey and Nicolas Goubert into the Thunderdome and let them battle it road warrior style, don’t let them kill each other, maybe just til someone is severely maimed or disfigured. The winner determines what tyres are used for the weekend.

      Then 18 months later, Bernie decrees that the method in which tyres are chosen each race weekend is absurd, and says that it a sole tyre supplier is appointed, he then announces the sole tyre supplier (after a significant amount of cash has transferred to Bernie’s cayman island account, with 10% going to the FIA, and 1% going to the teams).

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        4th June 2015, 11:05

        If FIFI can interfere with the elections in Trinidad and Tobago, then surely FOM/Bernie aims at rigging the next presidential elections in the USA ;)

      2. Not true. Pirelli said that they can produce tyres of any size, 13″ inches, 18″ or even 19″ if they are asked to do so. It’s just Michelin that wants only 18″.

      3. @dragoll

        Pirelli “We don’t want 18″ tyres”
        Michelin “We don’t want 13″ tyres”

        Pirelli have actually also been pushing for 18″ tyres, Thats why they have been testing them on F1 & GP2 cars the past year.

        I also recall Bridgestone talking about wanting F1 to move to 15″ tyres around 2009 so they could share some data between there f1 & indycar tyre programs.

    15. Thanks for COTD and the Twitter shout-out, Keith :)

    16. I would have thought the tyre solution fairly intuitive plus offering an extra viewing incentive to our American fans: Run with 18″ on the rear with tall slicks and 13″ on the front. Get a nice rake going… Static pre start line burn out prior to start, rolling burnout to clean tyres and then off! This may have been tried before somewhere else I seem to recall, so I can’t claim full credit for the idea…

      1. And Charlie in a bikini dropping the flag instead of these silly lights!!!

    17. Circuits used to be designed with nothing in mind other than being a challenge to car and driver: Monza had no chicanes and was a series of straights and medium-fast corners to see who could come up with the faster car. Some of them had little freedom: Silverstone was built on an abandoned airport, and most of the layout was already there for planes. Adding chicanes to these circuits was painful, but we still have at least their names on the calendar. Tilkedromes are built thinking how it would be possible for cars to overtake into every corner, and the straight-hairpin solution is indeed the best option. That then became unsufficient and DRS was added. We’re never going to see an overtake at Becketts or at Ascari, and with the flow disrupted by the car in front a driver is hardly going to catch the opponent ahead. A hairpin gives the opportunity to brake later and get through. Tarmac run-offs apart, it is our fault if tracks are becoming more and more boring: we want F1 to be a show, not a sport.

    18. Found some cool concept art for a Marlboro themed McLaren Honda:

    19. With respect to the COTD, Tilke tracks are not all the same. Shanghai doesn’t look like Abu Dhabi or Turkey. Not in the actual track layout. There are some common elements, like the hairpin-straight-hairpin conceit, but these recur for a reason—people want passing and this design is expressly made to foster it, at least with DRS. (I don’t think this works in practice better than alternatives, but they didn’t ask me.) There are certain other features meant to ensure proper run off, like the dog-leg corner after a straight. There is the painting of run-off areas, curbing color and design, etc, which seem to follow a fashion. But this is just taste, and there is no accounting for that. Tilke had certain specs to respect in the designs, but there was no brief to make the tracks the same and this is not the result.

      And on this subject of run off, I cannot accept the idea that tracks need to be more dangerous to be more challenging. Run-off is primarily about safety. Just today a man was killed at the Isle of Man TT–a race that glorifies danger as part of the “challenge” and has the shocking body-count to back it up. The run-off there is hay-bales. F1 is not the Isle of Man–sponsors, fans, and drivers will not accept it. In terms of danger, it used to be; but no more, and that cannot come back. So we cannot accept the tracks of yore with ultra-high speed corners bordered by berms, Armco, concrete, wire-and-stake contraptions, etc. No real fan watches to see serious wrecks or finds them the just desserts of driving errors. With regard to the challenge of skill, it’s one thing when drivers can use run off to make passes or where they lose little time if they go behind a curb, but this is a matter of enforcing rules on track limits. These can be enforced. Ask Hamilton about Austria last year. And this is not an issue with Tilke tracks per se—at both old (Monza, Interlagos) and new (Hockenheimring) the FIA needs to clean up abuse of areas beyond the limits. I’m happy to see the inclusion of grass and gravel, for both “challenge” and aesthetic reasons, but not where you introduce an obvious risk of a car blasting into a barrier out of control on on wet grass or flipping over in a sand trap. Also, when we are facing 20 car grids, who wants a see a car out of the race because of a minor spin?

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