Williams to investigate bizarre Bottas tyre mix-up

2015 Belgian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

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Williams have promised to investigate why Valtteri Bottas was sent onto the track with an illegal tyre combination during the Belgian Grand Prix.

Bottas was fitted with three soft tyres and one medium at his first pit stop on lap nine. This violated article 25.2 (c) of the Sporting Regulations which states “a set of tyres will be deemed to comprise two front and two rear tyres all of which must be of the same specification”.

Williams’ head of performance engineering Rob Smedley said: “As a team we have made a mistake, and on behalf of the team I am very sorry that we cost him what could have been a podium position.”

“There will be an investigation into the processes in place to understand what happened fully, and to put in place a procedure to stop this happening again.”

Smedley said the team’s lack of pace on the soft tyres at the start of the race compromised their result.

“The rest of our race was dictated by the lack of pace in the first stint and from then on we had to fight our way back,” he said.

“The big difference at this race was that there were five teams all with very similar race pace. Unfortunately though, because so many cars were close in performance, the result was dictated primarily by what happened in the first stint when we were struggling.”

“After that we had the pace on the [medium] tyre and as a result still managed to finish with both cars in the points.”

2015 Belgian Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Lewis Hamilton Soft (13) Medium (17) Soft (13)
Nico Rosberg Soft (12) Medium (19) Soft (12)
Romain Grosjean Soft (9) Soft (12) Medium (22)
Daniil Kvyat Soft (9) Medium (18) Soft (16)
Sergio Perez Soft (8) Soft (12) Medium (23)
Felipe Massa Soft (9) Medium (12) Medium (22)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (11) Soft (10) Medium (22)
Max Verstappen Soft (9) Soft (12) Medium (11) Soft (11)
Valtteri Bottas Soft (8) Soft (13)* Medium (22)
Marcus Ericsson Soft (9) Medium (19) Soft (15)
Felipe Nasr Medium (10) Soft (17) Soft (16)
Sebastian Vettel Soft (14) Medium (28)
Fernando Alonso Medium (8) Soft (12) Soft (12) Soft (10)
Jenson Button Medium (11) Soft (9) Soft (15) Soft (7)
Roberto Merhi Soft (15) Soft (14) Medium (13)
Will Stevens Soft (16) Soft (14) Medium (12)
Carlos Sainz Jnr Soft (5) Medium (18) Soft (9)
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (7) Medium (12)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (1)
Nico Hulkenberg

*Bottas was fitted with three soft tyres and one medium at this stop.

2015 Belgian Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22.403 13
2 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 22.563 0.160 27
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 22.578 0.175 11
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 22.637 0.234 7
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 22.681 0.278 14
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 22.765 0.362 31
7 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 22.796 0.393 9
8 Sergio Perez Force India 22.918 0.515 20
9 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 22.942 0.539 32
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22.955 0.552 30
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 22.973 0.570 8
12 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 22.997 0.594 12
13 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 23.041 0.638 21
14 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 23.143 0.740 21
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren 23.191 0.788 32
16 Felipe Massa Williams 23.282 0.879 9
17 Roberto Merhi Manor 23.282 0.879 29
18 Felipe Nasr Sauber 23.288 0.885 27
19 Valtteri Bottas Williams 23.319 0.916 8
20 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 23.348 0.945 23
21 Felipe Nasr Sauber 23.439 1.036 10
22 Valtteri Bottas Williams 23.489 1.086 21
23 Romain Grosjean Lotus 23.493 1.090 21
24 Sergio Perez Force India 23.562 1.159 8
25 Roberto Merhi Manor 23.643 1.240 15
26 Felipe Massa Williams 23.655 1.252 21
27 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 23.684 1.281 28
28 Romain Grosjean Lotus 23.717 1.314 9
29 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 23.732 1.329 5
30 Jenson Button McLaren 23.761 1.358 35
31 Will Stevens Manor 23.826 1.423 16
32 Jenson Button McLaren 24.083 1.680 11
33 Jenson Button McLaren 24.151 1.748 20
34 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 24.183 1.780 9
35 Will Stevens Manor 24.450 2.047 30
36 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 24.564 2.161 9
37 Fernando Alonso McLaren 26.103 3.700 20

2015 Belgian Grand Prix

Browse all 2015 Belgian Grand Prix articles

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Williams to investigate bizarre Bottas tyre mix-up”

  1. I remember a team put 2 compounds on once before, but wasn’t penalized, i think it was Toro Rosso in 2011 or 2012, and i think maybe they were not even in the points, maybe that’s why they didn’t bother penalizing.

    1. I think Force India might have done it a few years ago as well. IIRCC in those cases the car was brought back in on the next lap and the correct tyres fitted. Bottas just carried on with his stint in an illegal car.

      1. @sharoncom The decision wasn’t Bottas to make, as you imply. The stewards could have required a pit stop, black flag, etc. but they didn’t. Williams was within their rights to keep racing if not required to do otherwise.

        1. No, it wasn’t Bottas that should have understood what happened. But the stewards, as soon as they saw it, reacted by penalizing Bottas. To prevent that, the team should have immediately called Bottas back in to change that tyre, just like STR and FI had done in earlier years Andy

    2. Elmo Carstairs
      24th August 2015, 12:06

      IIRC Alonso did try a mix of compounds sometime in 2006 or 2008, on a drying track without much success.

      Everyone assumes it was a mistake by Williams !!! It may just be a brainwave that went awry ….

      1. Maybe they were afraid of their right rear blowing out, so they used a medium compound there.

        1. lol. So it wasn’t a mistake after all

  2. It was clearly a mistake as you could see a man holding the correct tyre come into the picture hesitated took another look a the tyre he was holding in a tyre blanket and then walked back.

  3. What is there to investigate? the mechanic was sleeping and simply got the tyres mixed. Since this is the first time it happens I don’t think there’s something wrong with their procedure, just human error.

  4. I didn’t hear any interview of Bottas, after the race. I wanted to hear whether the 3/1 mix improved handling!

    1. @sleeper Surely there are tracks where option on the front and prime on the rear provides a long consistent stint.

      1. Neil (@neilosjames)
        25th August 2015, 23:43

        Always did the trick in the Endurance races in early Gran Turismos…

  5. Williams could avoid this again by giving the job of tyre stacking to someone who isnt colour blind

Comments are closed.