Red Bull exit ‘would be a disaster’ – Pirelli

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In the round-up: F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli warns of the damage the sport would face if Red Bull carried out its threat to quit.

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Has Haas found a good way of going about its F1 entry?

I am a bit more optimistic for Haas. They have a close technical partnership with Ferrari, already using their wind tunnel and using as many components as the rules allow. Now if we assume that the 2016 Ferrari engine will be even better, that’s a very good start that could put them above McLaren and Renault.

On the chassis side, they have partnered with Dallara, who could in theory help them create a competitive package, given their prior experience and active participation in other series.

Finally they seem to be strong financially, and not just another case of “we got the F1 entry first, now let’s see what we can do”. Hiring Grosjean is also a good move, considering the available drivers one could argue that it was the best move.

I guess when next season’s testing starts we will have a better idea about how fast they’ll be.

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A thrilling European Grand Prix resulted in a home victory for Michael Schumacher after a superb pass on Jean Alesi on this day 20 years ago:

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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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71 comments on “Red Bull exit ‘would be a disaster’ – Pirelli”

  1. Pirelli , better worry about your own exit.

    1. And guess rbr is really leaving then, perfect answer to being ditched by f1 from pirelli. We leaving only because rb is gone.

      1. @peartree, Correct, excuses all round.

    2. I suspect Bernie is preparing to ditch Pirelli and scapegoat them for his stupid “high-degradation multiple pit stops” formula for non-racing, because he now realizes that it is doing too much damage to be allowed to continue until the fans no longer know or remember that it was one of Bernies brilliant (read “catastrophic”) ideas.

      1. @HoHum It would sound Bernie like, which never sounds quite sound in the first place.

      2. So far Bernie has been a fan of Pirelli because they have been spending the most money on sponsorship deals with FOM, and he is in favour of the “made not to last” tyre formula. Unless Michelin suddenly offer more money, I doubt Bernie would change his preference @hohum, @peartree

        1. To be honest, I think that a lot of this is coming down more to a spat between FOM and the teams over who gets the sponsorship money from tyre companies.

          When Bridgestone was around, Bridgestone was directly paying the teams a considerable amount of money in direct sponsorship (I believe that Bridgestone, when they pulled out, mentioned they were paying the teams over $100 million a year in sponsorship alone).

          However, with Pirelli came in, the lack of interest from other bidders meant that they were able to strike a much tougher deal that has resulted in a significantly reduced amount of sponsorship money – and most of that is being spent by Pirelli on trackside sponsorship, which effectively goes to FOM rather than the teams.

          Now, I would suspect that Michelin’s sudden increased interest in F1 has come about because Michelin is in the midst of a major rebranding exercise and wants to create a sportier image.

          It should be borne in mind that Michelin has been under pressure in recent years – they have recently accelerated cost cutting plans and tried to expand the scope of their cost cutting to try and shore up their profit margins, which are under pressure in the automotive sector.

          Pirelli, by contrast, have been doing relatively well – their profits and sales have been progressively rising in recent years – and that is in part down to their focus on larger diameter, low profile sports tyres that carry a higher profit margin.

          Seeing that rivals have made ground and profits in that sector, Michelin has recently been pushing harder to move into the premium tyres market to boost their profit margins. Part of that strategy has involved taking a more aggressive line with linking the performance of track and road tyres and making a more concerted effort to create visual links between the two.

          To that extent, it is not surprising that Michelin has recently pushed for the World Series to adopt 18 inch tyres – the 18 inch tyre market is particularly profitable, given high demand for that product, and a sector that Michelin is therefore very keen to break into.

          To that end, Michelin’s pitch has involved using larger diameter, lower profile tyres, a project that Michelin itself has said is about “creating a visual association” between F1 and road cars. The teams in the past have not been particularly enthusiastic about the idea given that it would require them to redesign the suspension systems on the cars and, in turn, the chassis itself (given it would alter the fixing points).

          It seem that Michelin, sensing those objections, have sweetened the deal for the teams by promising them improved sponsorship terms compared to Pirelli – in effect, Michelin would pay for the reconfiguration of the cars in order to fit their new tyres and to boost the sponsorship income of the teams in the longer term.

          There is therefore a question over whether the teams are really pushing for this deal on performance grounds alone, or because signing a deal with Michelin is likely to be better for the teams and worse for FOM whilst a deal with Pirelli is likely to be better for FOM and worse for the teams.

          It has also been pointed out that the deal over the tyre contract is, in effect, a proxy war between the FIA and FOM over control of the sport. The FIA are understood to be biased towards Michelin, and therefore a deal with Michelin would be seen as a victory for the FIA over FOM and be seen as shifting the balance of power back towards them.

    3. Good opportunity to get rid of both. Thumbs up!

      1. As much as RB have acted like spoiled brats, the exit of such a significant team would still be a blow to the sport. Hopefully a Renault factory team can step up to the plate but seems unlikely in the short term

        1. There is a really good article on BBC sports about the rise and fall of RB. It includes news on RB’s efforts to build their own PU via Illmor that outperforms the Renault unit now, plus lots of other stuff.

          Well worth the read.

          1. Why don’t they use Illmor engines for next season?

            Red Bull-Red Bull would be pretty badass =P

    4. Leadin teams have been pressuring Ecclestone for Michelin. Dunno if RB is included though. Maybe not, if they like each other that much. And Mercedes? Not sure Michelin will do “secret tests” with them.

      1. I think RB was one of the strongest detractors of Pirrelli. Wonder how come Pirrelli are now supporting RBR. I think Bernie is behind all this.

        1. Brand association, being able to associate your brand with one such as Red Bull is hugely valuable due it’s reach especially with younger demographics typically ignored by F1 but valued by sponsors.

  2. MB (@muralibhats)
    1st October 2015, 0:14

    Even after all the public bashing done by Red Bull to Pirelli? Michilin is the reason for the concern I guess.

  3. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    1st October 2015, 1:28

    Don’t really understand the connection as to why Pirelli would reconsider their future if Red Bull leave. Also, if Red Bull do leave, then good. They’ll have only themselves to blame as all this strife they find themselves in is purely of their own making.

    1. @Chris Basically they would see the disappearance of RBR and TR as a big blow to F1 and it’s marketing impact going forward. There’s already so much turmoil, including issues with tires due to their mandate to make them as they do, the drivers hating them, that two solid teams leaving would not be pretty whatsoever.

  4. My big worry with all these teams suggesting ways to improve overtaking and make the cars harder to drive is that they are probably all nodding their heads sagely but thinking ” beauty, we can beat that”.

    1. @hohum You’ve summed up F1 in a nutshell

  5. The best thing about this new engine formula was more power than grip. Watching cars wiggle under power and being wrestled through the corners is entertaining to watch. These cars have way more downforce and grip than the cars from the 80’s so why is it less entertaining to watch?

    It’s because they can’t afford to spin the wheels up or have too much lateral slip when cornering. I don’t really care about more downforce, grip and lap times 5 seconds quicker it makes the cars look inert when lapping. Open up the fuel and engine rules to let them find another 200hp or so, tyres that don’t die if they are used even if that brings us back to 1 stop races (which means passing has to be done on track) and front wing rules to allow following cars.

    1. The overtaking comes from drivers being on different types of tyres, or tyres being in different conditions. When F1 cars are very close to each other in terms of lap times, you just can’t overtake that easily.

      Back in the 80s the differences between cars was much greater as it is now, and you would need go back to big differences between cars again (something which would never be accepted by the public). Which would bring you back to needing to go back to refuelling (different fuel loads would bring back differences so overtaking could be done, but you would also end up with undercutting and not much overtaking).

    2. IMO the fuel limits are set too low, thus drivers cannot waste an ounce of power on wheelspin, but certainly tire conservation plays a roll as well.

      Now with the proposed advent of A and B grade PUs, as in the case of Ferrari and Red Bull, F1 is just not racing anymore. There is only 1 happy party in F1 today .. Mercedes. Everyone else is left to wonder if it’s all worth it and soon fans will be asking, in mass, “is this really racing?”. It’s really disheartening .. I’m on the edge too.

    3. @Philip, even when teams had ultra-durable tyres, the engineers did their utmost to mitigate against the effects of wheelspin – just think about how much effort was poured into traction control systems in the mid 2000’s, or into variable engine maps that replicated the effect of traction control during the late 2000’s.

      Even if you absurdly overdesigned the tyres and boosted the power output by 200bhp or more, as you propose, drivers would still be trying to avoid spinning their tyres up and minimising the amount of side slip. When drivers are focussing on getting around a race track in the fastest possible manner, spinning the wheels up or sliding the cars around a corner is a fundamentally inefficient and slower method of cornering – it is more visually dramatic and creates more interest for the fans, but drivers care more about the stopwatch than the cameras.

      It kind of reminds me of an old Motorsport magazine, where the author was watching Prost during the practise sessions for the 1981 Dutch Grand Prix. The author noted the way in which Prost was driving around the circuit in his meticulously smooth manner and commented about how his driving style was so undramatic that virtually nobody was watching him out on track.

      However, whilst commenting about the fact that Prost’s driving style was not particularly interesting to watch, he also marvelled at the fact that Prost was not only significantly more consistent than all of the other drivers in the field, he was also miles faster than anybody else (in the order of 1.5 seconds faster than the next driver). In that situation, that journalist felt the internal conflict between wanting to witness the technical perfection of being the fastest driver (and Prost was quite clearly faster than everybody in that situation) against his desire for a flamboyant method of driving that was visually more impressive, even if it was slower.

      1. I’d call it a really valuable observation, amigo!

  6. I was just thinking about Haas’s second driver. They should hold off a bit. If STR can’t compete next year due to no power unit, they could pick up Max Verstappen for a year. That’d be exciting to watch, and going against a known entity in Romain Grojean.

    1. Maybe Ferrari is already working on getting either Ricciardo or Verstappen by offering their better engine only in return for a first option on the drivers @uan

      1. That’s silly. No driver can make up for that much horsepower.

        1. Haha, funny!

      2. @bascb

        stranger things have happened – I wouldn’t be surprised.

    2. sunny stivala
      1st October 2015, 6:02

      The door is wide enough for both Pirelli and RBR/Toro Rosso to go out side by side, if that happens most probably many of the FIA ills will be gone.

    3. I just hope that Haas do not have a frustrating, unreliable backmarker car the next year.

      1. I’d be happy if it was unreliable but quick, we could do with some different faces being lost in Q1 and newer teams at least starting further up the grid.

      2. I think Haas will surprise many. For starters, they actually have a real, non backmarker budget.

        They will have a Ferrari engine that is close to the class of the field.
        They didn’t enter into the Formula as soon as possible (i.e., this year), but are spending the time they need to be prepared.
        They have a great relationship with Ferrari and have been spending a lot of time in their wind tunnel.

        Obviously, they need to come up with a good chassis, have an understanding of the how all the bits and pieces go together to get a car competitive, etc., but from the outside they certainly are doing everything right.

        Plus Haas is an experienced racer and he’s in it to win it, not trundle around in the back.

  7. Now we need Bernie to say – I will quit F1, if RBR will not be there next season. This way we could have Bernie and RBR gone next season with Pirelli saying good bye at the end of season. Wow.

    1. No, he should say “I’ll quit if Pirelli quits”. Then we need just Ferrari not to give engines to Red Bull and voila! No reason to get your hands dirty. And we all know how much Bernard loves him some Pirelli.

      1. I will be fine with that statement as well :P

    2. Maldonado quits if Bernie quits!!!!

      1. That is almost worth it!

    3. And Tilke quits if Bernie quits !

      /mode dream on

  8. We must all watch out for this weird thing were we agree with each other and consider it fact. One guy posts about it being fine Pirelli leaving, another one agrees and suddenly ‘Pirelli leaving is what the fans want’. Same for Red Bull. I’m really amazed at the reactions some post, and even more so that so few realize what an actual loss they would be. The contrast with Manor who have basically contributed nothing to F1 last year could not be any bigger.

    F1Fanatic is (though by far the best site, @keithcollantine) not being read by every single F1 fan and the opinions posted are from a very select group of fans.

    1. No really. It’s similar to this everywhere. At the most people are close to 50% who want them to stay, but still others edge them. I don’t think people want them gone gone. But they are so petulant and entitled. And they are already badmouthing Ferrari which is really annoying even if you are not Ferrari fan. And it makes little sense for Ferrari to give them works deal, that makes no sense whatsoever for Ferrari.

      1. How are RB already bad mouthing Scuderia “We will only give you older, uncompetitive engines” Ferrari.

        Sell Red Bull engines, or don’t sell Red Bull engines. This in-between stuff deserves to be slagged.

        What Mercedes and Ferrari fear, and rightly, is that RB would beat them with the same engine.

        It’s so funny, fans always want the different drivers in the same car – if only Hamilton and Vettel were in the Merc or Alonso and Hamilton or Vettel and Alonso, etc.

        But fans aren’t calling for this with teams? No “if only Red Bull and Mercedes had the same engine, we’d see who had the best car” or “Red Bull and Ferrari….”?

        Amazing. And @xtwl is absolutely correct – RBR and STR not on the grid will impact the show. The beauty of 2010 and 2012 is that you had 3 and sometimes 4 constructors vying for wins week in and week out. The past two years we’ve had one constructor. We’ll be lucky if we have two next year.

        Again, RB should criticize Renault. They got it wrong not once, but TWICE. That they didn’t come in with an improvement over the previous year was embarrassing. That it’s 50/50 a brand new engine will last an installation lap is mind boggling. They are the Pastor Maldonado of engine manufacturers. If Pastor didn’t get a drive next year, would be people be criticizing Lotus? No.

        RB is better off leaving the sport than driving with a GP2 engine, and a manufacturer that can’t compete at an F1 level.

    2. First there is no way that even one of the two Red Bull teams won’t be bough by someone. So worst case scenario only one team will be lost. Second Michellin can replace Pirelli so who cares. We still have a tyre supplier.

  9. So let’s get this right. Bernie wants the British government to use tax payers money to partially fund the British Grand Prix. I know this model is replicated in other countries but it doesn’t make it right. Especially when BE and CVC are walking away with millions in their back pocket every year. By my reckoning it’s a kind of pseudo Sheriff of Nottingham scenario with Robin Hood nowhere in sight.

    1. @mccosmic Better to give some money to develop Silverstone and its Motorsports hub than on a frivolous new circuit idea in Wales (disclaimer: I’m half Welsh). True, Wales needs some economic development, but the best bang for buck would be from strengthening an already strong Silverstone. Not to mention that the Welsh money has already gone missing…

    2. @mccosmic maybe if Bernie coughed up the £1bn to HMRC rather than challenging it the Government could afford to use some of that to secure the future of the British GP!

  10. It might seem insignificant, but Gasly being promoted to reserve driver is an important step. RBR aren’t short of ex-drivers like Buemi to do the role – perhaps negotiations with Renault to cancel the contract include Kvyat? That would allow Verstappen to step up to RBR while Gasly comes into Toro Rosso.

    1. @fastiesty KVY to Enstone then?

      1. @davidnotcoulthard Hard to say.. Kvyat, Vergne, Magnussen, Palmer, Vandoorne etc. will all be looking at it!

    2. @fastiesty
      Silverstone and the surrounding area has had loads of government funding over the years, and I’ve got no problem with that because it’s been spent on infrastructure and other projects that have benefited the area and the wider economy.
      State funding for the GP wouldn’t do that, it would just go to fill Bernie and CVC’s bank accounts, and that is not acceptable. I’d rather not have a British GP than see my taxes spent on F1. The sport generates over a billion pounds of year, it doesn’t need state support, especially at a time when people are literally dying as a result of benefit cuts and funding cuts to the NHS, social services etc…

      1. @beneboy True, and as @jerseyf1 says, perhaps if the government chased Bernie for the money he stashed in Liechtenstein and then said “come and get it”, knowing full well he was exempt from any fines, then perhaps they would be more obliging!

        It’s also fair to say that we do have enough money as a country, it simply needs to be used better; F1 is not a priority, as it’s self-sustaining and an ‘export’. Lets hope that the new Silverstone ticket pricing (lower prices, more attendance?) helps next year, rather than just being a PR disaster this year. Maybe they’ll sell out/up as Sylt suggests, and signs look good with increased ticket sales so far.

  11. Feel for Pirelli. They didn’t choose the formula, they were told what the sport wanted. Can’t believe any company would have done much better with the same orders.

    1. No need to feel for Pirelli…nor slag them. They didn’t sign up only to then be told what they were going to have to do. They signed up knowing the tires they would be asked to make, hand in hand with knowing as a sole supplier the only way they’d get marketing impact from us talking about tires is if they are as they are…very much the story of F1 these days…to the drivers’ and fans’ dismay.

      The alternative, which I would prefer, would be two or more makers competing, thus making better tires that the drivers can actually do something on, while both entities get marketing impact from us talking about which driver is on which maker’s tires. The dreaded processions of the past (which exist now anyway) was always about the dirty air effect and refuelling, and the skewing towards one team by a maker (which happened in the anomoly MS/Ferrari era of unlimited testing and a Bridgi headquarters at their own test track) is far less possible and would be far less impactful these days.

  12. I do remember that pass of Schumacher on Alesi. On those years I was not still hooked at F1, I would just watch races very occasionally, but I do remember that pass. 20 years ago, wow :).

    1. And today a DRS pass isn’t remembered 20 minutes later.

  13. One tyre supplier and one team should never be bigger than F1.

    Despite all the blunders that Pirelli are and should be blamed for, you have to admit that their task has not been easy and that their product has contributed to some interesting and unpredictable racing. But it is not the only company in the world that knows how to produce F1 tyres and high-degradation tyres is certainly not the only way to make racing exciting.

    You could say the same thing about Red Bull. Their positive contribution to F1 is undeniable but there are other people in the world, who have a lot of money and would love to invest it in F1 activities if the business model made sense.

    FOM should encourage other tyre companies to try their luck and bid for the new tyre contract instead of threatening the spectators with “no pit stops”. And the likes of Pirelli should encourage new teams to join F1 instead of talking about “a significant disaster” that will happen if two teams voluntarily decide to follow in the footsteps of more than 100 other F1 constructors and disappear from the scene.

    This fear mongering is not helping F1 in any way.

    1. @girts Fair point but I don’t get the impression there are big entities like Red Bull lined up to join F1. Especially not right now that F1 seems to be chasing it’s own tail. Sure more than 100 other constructors have disappeared from the scene. Some of them have even come back. I think this is Honda’s fourth or fifth foray in F1. But I don’t think, with an already small grid, and the current atmosphere in F1, they can afford to lose both RBR and TR just like that, without that having a big impact right now. Sure, Pirelli can be replaced, much more easily than RBR and TR, who could eventually be replaced too, going along with your them of them not being bigger than the sport, but that is not to say their disappearance (the teams, not Pirelli) would not hurt F1 big time right now.

  14. Ah, so it was Bernie who got Pirelli to enter late and propose their/his idea of high degradation tyres. Guess he got them in at the last minute to get rid of Michelin and their high monetary demands.

    Really hope they will get rid of this epic fail now and introduce some proper tyres. People will complain there aren’t enough cars changing places on track, but people are starting to complain about cars just driving past each other on the straight. Although they tend to erroneously blame DRS for, that forgetting there was a 3 second a lap difference because of the tyres.

    1. Not sure where you’re seeing that Bernie ‘blindsided’ Pirelli, which I think is your implication. Pirelli knew all along what their mandate would be, and would have to be, if they were to agree to be the sole tire maker. If Bernie had wanted good tires, Pirelli would have wanted Michelin or someone else with them so we’d still talk about tires.

      And people didn’t just start complaining about cars ‘just driving past each other’, nor have they misunderstood that it is not just because of DRS, but because drivers are also on tires that most of the time are far from optimum. Passes these days are almost always driver vs. disadvantaged driver, due either to DRS or significantly different tire states, not driver vs driver in an apples to apples comparison that allows us to judge drivers’ skill.

  15. Has any driver, ever, had as consistent an issue with clarifying their seat for the next year as JB? Right from his very first season in F1, he nearly always seems to end up mid-end of the season in a will-he-won’t-he-can-they-can’t-they soap opera. Some very much out of his control, some very much in it. There has been:
    – Williams initially screwing him over after a pretty damn good debut year;
    – Same at Bennetton/Renault with annual squables with Briatore (again mostly unfair I’d say);
    – the annual battle between Williams/BAR over who’s contract had the best salary, sorry, I mean which car had the most potential & to which team Jenson’s heart was truly and utterly committed to;
    – the sorry sage of Honda pulling out to be rescued by Ross Brawn;
    – indecision on whether to stay with Brawn/Merc or head to McLaren;
    – last year’s stupid situation where he was left to wait until the close season; and now
    – depending on who you read JB’s masterful play of the situation to out flank Ron or JB being left waiting by Ron taking his time on taking up an option.

    If this year’s negotiations did see him play a blinder you can’t accuse the chap of not having had enough practice!

    1. He was also lucky to enter F1 so soon, as Montoya decided to go to America for 2 years (99, 00) and win the Indy 500 and CART title. If not, he would have moved to Williams instead of Zanardi (whose seat he swapped with?) and thus Button, who would have had to do F3000 for a year or two then try to join at Benetton, who might have been tempted to pick Webber instead.

  16. So yesterday Ecclestone admitted that he went a little overboard in reducing Mercedes’ airtime with some story about how it was agreed that midfield teams were to be given more airtime. Yet now he flipflops around and denies that he reduced Mercedes’ airtime at all?

  17. Regarding the Telegraph article about Mercedes airtime, I think something that needs to be looked at regarding some of those other races is that at least one of the Mercedes were actually involved in some bits of close racing in those races because they made bad starts & were not 1-2 from start to finish. As such they would have received more TV time as they were racing with/overtaking the cars they were behind after the start.

    At Suzuka with the exception of Nico having to find his way past Bottas; Neither Mercedes were involved in any good bits of racing so there was never really any reason to show them (Outside of the pit stops which were shown).

    1. I suspect too that BE may have promised the Japanese promoters more ‘midfield’ coverage, no matter what, to get Honda in the picture while in Japan will all their dignitaries there. Although…it is F1 that allows us to hear what radio comm we do, so it is intriguing we were allowed to here FA’s slam, if indeed they were trying to help bolster Honda’s marketing impact a bit with more airtime.

      1. @robbie the BBC team mentioned several times that McLaren would be able to show potential sponsors the benefits of getting their name on their rear wing because of how much TV time they were getting during the race. DC even mentioned how surprised he was to see so much of them during the race, although that could have had something to do with them carrying one of the on board cameras.

        1. although that could have had something to do with them carrying one of the on board cameras.

          Every car carries at least 2 in-car cameras (Forward/rearward facing t-cam on the roll hoop).

          Without going back & re-watching I think the extra Mclaren coverage may have simply been down to them been in or around some of the closest bits of racing (Well been passed a lot) & the director deciding the follow the closest bits of racing & overtaking through the race.

          Earlier in the year I seem to recall seeing a lot of Mclaren during the Bahrain Gp because they were been passed a lot & its probably just the same this past weekend.

  18. Thanks for COTD @keithcollantine :)

  19. Wow, Zanardi just keeps showing how much of a sportsman he is! Doing the last 9 km of the Berlin Marathon by hand when his hand-bike’s chain broke …

  20. I would’nt be to happy as well.

  21. Pirelli suck, have sucked, and are now sucking their way out of F1. Good riddance I say! A new supplier or better still, suppliers would be most welcome! Maybe then F1 can find it’s way back to being the pinnacle of motorsport instead of the farce it’s become.

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