Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015

Williams to investigate bizarre Bottas tyre mix-up

2015 Belgian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

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Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015Williams 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 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4
Lewis HamiltonSoft (13)Medium (17)Soft (13)
Nico RosbergSoft (12)Medium (19)Soft (12)
Romain GrosjeanSoft (9)Soft (12)Medium (22)
Daniil KvyatSoft (9)Medium (18)Soft (16)
Sergio PerezSoft (8)Soft (12)Medium (23)
Felipe MassaSoft (9)Medium (12)Medium (22)
Kimi RaikkonenSoft (11)Soft (10)Medium (22)
Max VerstappenSoft (9)Soft (12)Medium (11)Soft (11)
Valtteri BottasSoft (8)Soft (13)*Medium (22)
Marcus EricssonSoft (9)Medium (19)Soft (15)
Felipe NasrMedium (10)Soft (17)Soft (16)
Sebastian VettelSoft (14)Medium (28)
Fernando AlonsoMedium (8)Soft (12)Soft (12)Soft (10)
Jenson ButtonMedium (11)Soft (9)Soft (15)Soft (7)
Roberto MerhiSoft (15)Soft (14)Medium (13)
Will StevensSoft (16)Soft (14)Medium (12)
Carlos Sainz JnrSoft (5)Medium (18)Soft (9)
Daniel RicciardoSoft (7)Medium (12)
Pastor MaldonadoSoft (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:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes22.40313
2Daniil KvyatRed Bull22.5630.16027
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari22.5780.17511
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull22.6370.2347
5Sebastian VettelFerrari22.6810.27814
6Nico RosbergMercedes22.7650.36231
7Daniil KvyatRed Bull22.7960.3939
8Sergio PerezForce India22.9180.51520
9Max VerstappenToro Rosso22.9420.53932
10Lewis HamiltonMercedes22.9550.55230
11Fernando AlonsoMcLaren22.9730.5708
12Nico RosbergMercedes22.9970.59412
13Max VerstappenToro Rosso23.0410.63821
14Kimi RaikkonenFerrari23.1430.74021
15Fernando AlonsoMcLaren23.1910.78832
16Felipe MassaWilliams23.2820.8799
17Roberto MerhiManor23.2820.87929
18Felipe NasrSauber23.2880.88527
19Valtteri BottasWilliams23.3190.9168
20Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso23.3480.94523
21Felipe NasrSauber23.4391.03610
22Valtteri BottasWilliams23.4891.08621
23Romain GrosjeanLotus23.4931.09021
24Sergio PerezForce India23.5621.1598
25Roberto MerhiManor23.6431.24015
26Felipe MassaWilliams23.6551.25221
27Marcus EricssonSauber23.6841.28128
28Romain GrosjeanLotus23.7171.3149
29Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso23.7321.3295
30Jenson ButtonMcLaren23.7611.35835
31Will StevensManor23.8261.42316
32Jenson ButtonMcLaren24.0831.68011
33Jenson ButtonMcLaren24.1511.74820
34Marcus EricssonSauber24.1831.7809
35Will StevensManor24.4502.04730
36Max VerstappenToro Rosso24.5642.1619
37Fernando AlonsoMcLaren26.1033.70020

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. 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

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