Strategy Group’s grand plans for 2017 in tatters

2016 F1 season

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Mid-May in 2015: Mercedes have just completed a predictable rout of the opposition in Spain, three-quarters of a minute ahead of their closest rival.

Five races in and it’s clear this championship will be just as uncompetitive as the previous one. Within Formula One a hue and cry goes up for something to be done to inject more action into the competition.

Riding to the rescue comes F1’s Strategy Group. Bernie Ecclestone’s group of F1’s wealthiest teams plus representatives from Formula One Management and the FIA announce they will reinvigorate the racing by making the cars faster, louder, sexier and handing the teams much greater strategic freedom.

It made for a nice press release but eight months later it’s clear it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Every significant pledge made has since been watered down or abandoned entirely.

Free tyre choice in 2016

Drivers won’t be free to choose any tyre compound
While most of the Strategy Group’s plans concentrated on the 2017 season, it had one major change in mind for the coming championship:

Free choice of the two dry tyre compounds (out of four) that each team can use during the race weekend

After much debate and following considerable opposition from Pirelli a far more restrictive implementation of the idea was eventually agreed. While the total number of compounds has gone up to five, only three will be available to teams each weekend.

Furthermore drivers can be told which two compounds they must use during the race. In one restrict the new rules are more restrictive than they were before – drivers are now being given a mandatory tyre compounds for Q3 as well.

Unsurprisingly drivers and engineers have already commented that the new rule will make little difference, and whatever new strategic avenues it may open will be quickly sussed by the teams.

Refuelling in 2017

Refuelling is not making a comeback
One of the Strategy Group’s promises for 2017 never came close to getting off the ground:

Reintroduction of refuelling (maintaining a maximum race fuel allowance)

Refuelling was dropped just six years ago on grounds of costs. That case against it is arguably even more pressing now than it was then, making it hard to imagine how its return would see the light of day.

Moreover, the very fact the current generation of engines consume much less fuel than the V8s and V10s did reduces the potential gain from refuelling as a means of improving performance. Consequently there was little expectation it would make a great difference to strategies.

Most F1 Fanatic readers were against it, so perhaps there will be little disappointment the idea gained no traction.

Lower lap times

Don’t expect a return to 2005 performance levels
The most eye-catching part of the Strategy Group’s announcement was the goal of making F1 cars almost as fast as they were during the record-setting V10 era.

Faster cars: five to six seconds drop in lap times through aerodynamic rules evolution, wider tyres and reduction of car weight

A reduction in car weight would have reversed a trend which has seen F1 car weights rise by over 100 kilogrammes in less than a decade – an increase of more than 17%. However most of this increase has come from the new power units, the weights of which are also set in the rules, and as yet there is no indication these will be revised.

Designs have emerged for a wider new generation of F1 cars featuring some very tightly-prescribed aerodynamic enhancements. But the chances of them seeing the light of day took a dive when Pirelli told the teams their tyres could not withstand the expected rise in downforce without a corresponding increase in tyre pressures which would eras much of the lap time gain.

FOM faces must have turned a shade of ultra-soft purple when it learned the tyre supplier which lavished praise on last year and awarded a new three-year contract was now swinging a wrecking ball into what remained of its plans to make F1 more exciting.

Stability: A change for the better?

It seems increasingly likely we will see little change in 2017. That itself is something of a departure in a sport which has developed a worrying habit of making knee-jerk changes to its rules.

Despite the Strategy Group’s pronouncements it now seems very little of their planned 2017 changes will come to pass. That may well turn out to be not to be such a bad thing after all.

2016 F1 season

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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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85 comments on “Strategy Group’s grand plans for 2017 in tatters”

  1. What shocks me is the level of surprise that this U-turn has caused. I saw it coming the very day I read that original press release. They were noble aims, and they were put on the list with good reasons, but they failed to realise how much chaos they would cause. Thankfully we’ve seen a number of voices (most notably Pirelli) speaking up for common sense and these watered-down changes should produce a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario.

    1. As you mention, it was not altogether unexpected how this went. We saw much the same with the aero changes that were supposed to be coming in together with the new 2014 engine rules, we saw it before with the push to help overtaking by reducing the effect of aero wake (pre 2009 plans) etc @keeleyobsessed.

      Shouting out some populist bullet points does not make a workable and realistic set of rules. And the ideas would most likely not have helped overtaking, would not have eliminated DRS, would not have done away with build to thermo degrade tyres and would certainly have raised cost instead of bringing them down.

      Now we can just have some minor adujstments and the smaller teams can gradually eat into the advantage of the big ones.

      1. COTD for me. Well said!

        Although the ridiculous issue of the tyres being even more restrictive in terms of choice per driver seems to have escaped virtually all other sites and comments.

        Well noted Keith – an absolute first…

      2. Well said… Rules do 0 to eliminate greatest issues of our era.

        1 Poor tyre philosophy
        2 DRS
        3 innability to conduct close racing

        Instead they try to make cars faster, admirable goal trying to solve #4 cars are slow. Atleast compared to 2004.

    2. @keeleyobsessed -“What shocks me is the level of surprise that this U-turn has caused.”

      Amen to that. This whole farce turns out to be much ado about nothing. There is barely enough time at this point to even implement watered down regulation changes properly.

      The main problem is there is no one completely responsible to make these decisions. Everybody and nobody in charge leads to either nothing happening or complete chaos. Welcome to Formula One.

    3. I’m not shocked by anything. Knee jerk reactions that’s all this was about. I would say that time was the factor here.
      I really wanted refuelling, refuelling costs a little, does much more advertising, is a little dangerous and finally is capable of achieving the aforementioned 5 sec’s easy and relatively cheaply. I just wanted more attractive cars… Anyway I don’t care about the 5 secs, it’s for the good of F1 Pirelli says they need a new tyre to cope with the 5 sec goal. It’s good news for Merc, it’s ok for Ferrari and bad for RB.

  2. could be a good things to those who don’t want the high downforce regs to come in to effect in 2017. as that would hinder overtaking.

    1. Trying to get more downforce from ground effects was a great idea but Pirelli ruined that for us.

      I was less excited about the other rule changes. Let’s wait and see how many of these ‘meh’ ideas will make it into the 2017 rules.

      1. It was not Pirelli that ruined anything to do with more use of ground effect @paeschli. If you look at the proposals, the teams themselves had already taken most of that out of the proposal.

      2. I didn’t know the tyre supplier was responsible for the aero regs.

        1. @raceprouk supposedly (according to the bbc), basically, Pirelli told the work group that their tyres wouldn’t cope with more than a 10% increase on aero.

          1. As I outlined below, they said the 2016 tyres would only withstand 10% more aero. However, instead of letting Pirelli come up with a 2017 tyre, the rulemakers have panicked and done a hasty U-turn.

          2. @raceprouk

            Sources say Pirelli made a presentation to the teams in which it said its tyres, made to the planned 2017 dimensions, could not cope with more than a 10-15% increase in downforce without it needing to impose much higher tyre pressures.

          3. @paeschli, did you even bother to read what I wrote? Clearly not, otherwise you would have understood that that quote is about the 2016 tyre, not the as-yet-undesigned 2017 tyre.

  3. Is there another sport which routinely irritates and infuriates its fans more than F1?? FOM are lucky that fans are so loyal thanks to the product being so great in the past, or we’d all be off by now. It’s so unbelievably frustrating being an F1 fan at times…

    1. F1 is no longer a sport. It’s a great gossip forum that make us keep coming back.

  4. Its a proof that F1 was well aware about the power of the media.
    F1 knows how to keep producing provocative theories that will create contradiction which lead to constant buzz in media.

  5. Want to know what the real reason is for hard overtaking over the past 20 years? The professionalism that goes into developing the cars before and across a race weekend. It used to be a borderline amateur circus but now they now make very few mistakes.

    If you compare the blunt aero, rock hard tyres, manual gearboxes and near complete lottery of pit-stops in the 80s to the detailed preparation and simulation that goes into today’s, it’s no wonder they can’t overtake anymore.

    These days, a race is so planned and simulated that those mistakes either never happen or they already have well-prepared contingency plans. You can tell from where it all falls apart when the heavens open.

    I was born into IT and part of my job includes software development. If anyone were to ask me how to make F1 genuinely close and genuinely exciting, I’d say to switch off the computers.

    1. I think you have a very valid point there @joshgeake. The fact that the teams can simulate and think through gazillions of variants up front, finetune setus in the simulator and make quality parts that do not break completely unexpectedly anymore takes away an enormous chunk of unpredictability.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        12th January 2016, 13:42

        @bascb – Button hit the nail on the head when he said they need to rip most of the sensors off the cars so that skill and technological understanding of the engineers and drivers once again play a bigger part than money and computers.

        I think the Mickey Mouse tyres Pirelli have been producing was an attempt to artificially re-create the effect of components being unpredictable with the sudden drop off in performance but even then, the teams only took a few races to gather data and everything was worked out for them by their computers.

        1. yeah, the issue with artificially making things “break” is that there is always a logic behind such things @petebaldwin. Which off course means that one can find the logic from studying the data and analysing it. Something the teams have grown extremely good at.

          I guess we would have to give up most monitoring of statuses (to get rid of in time knowledge that something is soon going wrong) and/or do away with some of the quality control.
          But given how people made fun of and critisized Honda and Renault for experimenting with that second option (showing that we nowadays think taking things to the limit is not good), we have only the first route left available.

          So, yes. Lets stop allowing anyone to simulate every possible thing they can measure everything online, and instruct the driver what to do with that online. We only need to establish where the limit is in regards to safety (see introduction of even more measurement to learn more for prevention of injuries)

          1. Oh for goodness sake, have we not seen enough of the joke that artificial gimmicks bring? Now people want the cars to spontaneously combust or break down even more than they do now, thus providing what? Nothing more that ‘Entertainment’

            It’s a racing formula allied with a technology race. It is not a reality show and I just cannot comprehend why everyone seems to think that every race needs to be won by a different driver or team? It just does not happen. It does not even happen in the most fragile of technical classes of karting or any other single seater racing. Some racers and some teams are just better. Money or not.

            I have seen many rise through the ranks due to ability and to do so despite all their disadvantages of funds and equipment (I just wish for example, all those suggesting LH only got good following Ron Dennis could see just how good he was prior to this with a simple roof rack vs vast transporters and multiple awning and coach leisure outfits. I know because I was the other one winning with a roof rack – it’s rare.

            Kimi and others not so wealthy made their name by being good. Despite Their equipment.

            Let’s not turn F1 into more than the joke it is with the current DRS etc please..

            I really do wish people would recognise that actually some racers are very much better than others and all attempts at trying to bunch everyone up or ‘equalise’ the formula to ‘let everyone have a go is essentially, just race fixing. Our current tyres are doing just that.

            Not everyone is equal. It’s the same throughout all forms of Motorsport. Let’s not try to make it even more so.

        2. @petebaldwin @bascb @joshgeake

          I totally agree that the level of professionalism is behind most of the lack of uncertainty in the sport. There would be a fairly simple way of introducing some though – Stop telling the teams which tyres they’ll get. Unfortunately they’re going the opposite direction and instead allowing the teams to choose which ones they want. But I think it would have a much better effect for Pirelli to show up with an ‘option’ and a ‘prime’ tyre for each race, but the teams have no idea which of the five compounds they’re actually using. Instead, they need to use Friday practice productively to evaluate and understand the two tyre compounds at each race.

          It’s not an artificial gimmick – it’s an added technical test of a team’s abilities. And if you get a rainy practice, then they go into the race having to create their strategies completely reactively as the tyres degrade.

    2. while i don’t deny that this professionalization plays SOME part into it, I think you’re really overestimating. otherwise, this would be a problem we would be seeing across the boarding in other racing series, yet I don’t see anyone complaining about the numbers of overtakes in Formula E, IndyCar, DTM or even WEC, which is arguably as professional as F1…

      1. Formula E is only in its second season, so there’s a lot less data to simulate with; the budgets are also lower, which means less computing time. And with the short WEC races being six hours (3-4 times a typical F1 GP), and having four different classes of machinery (performance-wise), there’s just too much variance to allow decent simulation.

    3. Good idea turn of computers once race starts…

    4. Yes, but bike racing hasn’t suffered that much in comparison, the tech is definitely part of why racing is less alluring, not saying otherwise but it’s metaphysical issues that thwart racing. No air no aero, it’s great for slipstreaming, but unlike the 80’s cars, the current crop relies a lot on the wings which results in a much more dramatic loss of performance.

      1. I think you can make it even more precise by saying that the 2015 cars relied more on optimum wing performance and hence the drop (when slip-streaming etc) is far more significant. Likewise for the tyres and going off-line.

  6. Great, great comment for this or any other day. The nearest thing to a magic bullet in F1

  7. I think I or someone here should run for FIA presidency with the idea of basically going back to the old late 90’s regs with minor changes for safety.

    That was F1 in its prime. I remember Di Grassi’s tweet that appeared in the round-up not long ago. It said that F1 is for the fastest cars, WEC for innovation and FE for electric motorsport. Or something to that effect at least.

    More realistically this just shows the complete inaction and destruction of F1 during the Jean Todt-era. His only win is the set up of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The FIA is just as bad as other world governing bodies with less corruption (maybe). At least during the Max Mosley era, Mosley had control. He wasn’t perfect (McLaren fan here) but now it is just a bottomless pit of madness.

    We must not let them screw F1.

    1. F1 is for the fastest cars, WEC for innovation

      Funny; back in the 70s and 80s, and even the 90s, the home of innovation was F1.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      12th January 2016, 16:34

      The genius in the governance of F1 is that they get away with things that would be called corruption in any other sport! There are people in FIFA being arrested because of alleged dishonest payments – eg not awarding tournaments to countries that deserve it but instead, to ones who pay the most. In F1, everything is controlled by who pays Bernie the most!

      1. @petebaldwin Is capitalism a crime? The EU concord agreement is what put F1 in the hole. FIFA made the mistake of riling up the americans and the brits. It’s a similar situation to the IAAF scandal, Russia got it where it hurts them the Americans at WADA said no more doping for Russia not everyone. What’s changed is not the end of corruption. What changed is that the world order was enforced upon these 2 organizations. I’m not said for FIFA, I can’t stand discrimination, I hope they at least lose that aspect.

    3. Tout is not the leader that Mosley was.
      He is just chasing medals and titles. He prefers to be seen at the United Nations than in a paddock. Driven only by his ego and surrounded by useless people.

  8. i just fervently hope that BE and T force through the independent engine and take away the control of F1 by the manufacturers, including pirelli. it sickens me to see how easily they can manipulate the series and contribute absolutely nothing to actually improve the racing. two years of mercedes racing mercedes is against all the sporting principles so frequently espoused. this is further proof, if any was needed, to just how farcical F1 has become.

    1. How is an independent engine going to counter the tyre maker?

    2. Hi Kenneth.

      You did notice how the tyre supplier ended up ‘manipulating’ 2013 (after warning such would happen mind) yet being forced into such by your preferred team did you not?

      In essence a half season completely dominated and manipulated by a single team screaming safety knowing full well all they needed were harder tyres? The joke was they even managed to get another team blamed for it.

      Yet you advocate and support their wish for a non equalised (it’s not possible) engine just because they persist in screaming that no one will supply them with equipment they had no hand in developing nor any wish to support, nor any entitlement to. Choosing only to stamp all over the supplier they had won multiple championships with, regardless of their own ability?

      Look I want DR to have a competitive car as much as you do but please, RB are not ‘entitled’ to win just because they exist and the fact they have the very same funds as those that have developed and funded their own power units but spending it on aero instead does not in anyway make them deserved of an ‘independent engine’ better than those others have developed . It would be better shutting up and enduring the pain of humility like the such of Williams or Macca or Renaults never deserved, yet get on with and endure.

      That makes a racing team. Not a screaming ‘ I deserve to win and want it changed until I do’ rant.

      I suspect their drivers would agree…

      1. Given Kenneth didn’t mention Red Bull once, I wonder what your beef really is…

    3. So years of Ferrari racing Ferrari or McLaren racing McLaren or Williams racing Williams or Lotus racing Lotus were all okay but MB v MB is not ?

  9. A reduction in car weight would have reversed a trend which has seen F1 car weights rise by over 100 kilogrammes in less than a decade – an increase of more than 17%.

    Ah my biggest pet peeve in modern F1. Why the minimum weights are so high is beyond me, particularly as teams were able to build their cars light and add ballast last season already. Surely the crash tests and load tests the cars have to go through are stringent enough to ensure the cars are safe. If a team can build a car light and pass the crash tests they should be allowed to gain a benefit.

    1. it was largely to stop the drivers starving themselves!

      1. Have you seen Esteban Gutierrez lately @asanator? It isn’t working! ;) Even Hamilton and Rosberg are significantly leaner than the were circa 2008.

        1. It’s still an advantage to be skinny for a driver as they then get to position ballast for performance. But it at least now means guys like Button and Hulkenberg don’t have to try and look like the cast from Dallas Buyers Club.

          1. May be the FIA should ban the usage of ballasts (or any similar material) to bring up the weight of car to the minimum level @geemacc @asanator @philipgb ? No?

          2. Correction I meant @geemac

          3. @seahorse The teams use ballast for several reasons, not just to get to the minimum weight. The primary reason is actually to try improve the car’s balance.

          4. Yes, I understand that @geemac. But, as you say despite the actual weight of the cars without the balancing ballasts is considerably lower than the minimum weight limit, still drivers are starving themselves. Even with the current minimum weight regulations there is no assurance that the teams would not try to reduce the actual weight of the cars further. As the teams are able to pass the stringent crash tests with these lesser than minimum weight cars with added ballast, why not introduce a minimum weight limit albeit without the use of ballasts? Or at least restrict the quantity of ballast that can be used? That restriction could be based on the driver weight, may be?

          5. Banning ballast would make the advantage of being skinny even higher. If Hulkenberg weighs 80kg and his car has say 5k of ballast and Perez weighs say 70kg and his car has 15kg of ballast then the total weight is equal but Perez has a slight advantage in being able to have 15kg positioned in a better place on the car for performance where as Hulkenberg is stuck with it being wherever his body is.

            Banning ballast would mean Hulkenberg always has a 10kg weight penalty which is worse than it being in a sub-optimal position. You also can’t mandate the weight to be in a place that rules out it’s advantage for safety reasons as the only way to do that would be making the driver wear weights or putting extra weight in and around the cockpit with the driver.

            Skinny drivers will always have a slight advantage the the minimum weight limit is actually pretty close to the minimum weight they can build the current car.

            In the old Formula they could build the cars so far below the weight limit that it was a minimal advantage. The new hybrid and crash requirements though put most teams right on the limit. Heck in 2014 Sauber couldn’t even build a car below that weight limit to be able to play with ballast.

    2. Why the minimum weights are so high is beyond me

      Must be for cost containment reasons. @geemac
      I’m sure that some teams could go to even further extremes to shave off the last gramme if there were no minimum weight.

      And personally I hope that F1 never becomes like horse racing with all those underfed jockeys. Imagine they have to cancel the podium ceremony whenever there is a breeze ;-)

      1. I have no doubt that is a factor @coldfly, but we all know that F1 teams will spend every penny they have (and more). So if they aren’t spending cash saving weight they will spend it on something else. From a fan engagement point of view surely it is easier to explain to a casual fan performance gains through reduction of weight than it is to explain performance gains through improved MGU-H efficiency or fuel blend improvements.

        1. I think you are right GeeMac (@geemac). It would be a newer and very important factor to increase performance and efficiency (after cars go trough the strict safety rules). We don’t need minimum weight for cars only for drivers (for example the limit would be ~80kg with ballast, less or more). Moreover if you have lighter but not too effective PU your disadvantage could decrease.

    3. @geemac The weight issue was slightly botched, although I remember that Mercedes effectively veto’d a raise for 2014 as it was in their interest (lightest car). It would have been better to have 705kg last year and 700kg this year, (reducing by 5 each year etc.).

      Instead, we got 692kg last year (so the first half of it really benefited small/light drivers), and 702kg this year, where as you say the teams are now using ballast. But, at least it’s a more level playing field, as having some ballast vs. no ballast at all for the same weight can still net a driver a tenth per lap, or 6 seconds over a race distance.

  10. Strategy Group’s grand plans for 2017 in tatters

    I don’t even have to read the rest, I say it many times and they prove me right sadly, the strategy group is a pathetic waist of time and effort.

    1. I don’t even have to read the rest

      I hope you did though, at least just to humour me :-)

      1. Of course I did Keith ;-)

  11. Ugh. What else will an old man ask from us? Our money, patience, interest, put-up-with-gimmicks… the list grows ever bigger…

  12. Once again I admire the forethought and transparency of a well sorted agenda for the sport I love.

    This “sport” is doomed for as long as larger profits for the hedge-fund shareholders is the top agenda and for as long as Bernie and Pirelli run the show.

  13. I’m so relieved about this. I was not looking forward to an era of cars with predictable handling, an even greater reliance on DRS and another spell of single-team dominance, as we usually do following sweeping regulation changes. Yeah, it might be a different team, but the novelty of seeing Red Bull lose their dominant position to Mercedes wore off pretty quickly. What F1 needs is a period of stability — it’s the only way we can expect the performance of the cars to converge. Anyway, look at this season. Ferrari are catching Mercedes, Renault are returning as a fully-fledged factory team, Honda are promising big gains, there’s a new team on the grid, Verstappen will be Ferrari-powered and there’s still a chance we could have Aston Martin Racing on the grid too. There’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic about 2016 and we didn’t need any daft rule changes.

  14. Rule stability only leads to closer competition when the rules in question permit development. When the rules restrict development, as the current rules do, then rule stability only serves to lock a certain pecking order in place.

    Scrap the idiotic rules restricting in-season development or else face up to two more seasons of watching Mercedes take 19 of 20 pole positions and 16 of 20 race wins.

    1. Aero is free to change as is half the engine so still chances to catch. Replacing windtunnel time and cfd with real testing would be better for fans and engineers. May cost more but small teams would get better results as they cannot afford the computing power or windtunnels either.

  15. Formula Farce.

  16. What always baffles me is how these ‘new’ regs are rarely a technical step forward, or a proper innovation. Only a rehash of the past in a new coat. Strategy group is like that younger sibling that picks the same projects as his older brother for the same grade without aspiring to excel his own capabilities.

    I wonder how long these men have sat together and how much the meeting must’ve cost. I’m not arrogant but even with my (perhaps small) knowledge of F1 and some time I could come up with a better overall plan.

  17. Regardless of if your a fan of Pirelli’s tyres & what they have done to F1 the past couple seasons I feel the question needs to be asked on if its right that the regulations are now seemingly been developed around the tyres that the supplier can supply rather than the tyre supplier having to adapt & develop their tyres around the requirements of the cars.

    Up until this point any tyre supplier has had to develop its tyres around the regulations that are in place & had to develop its tyres around whatever stresses & strains the cars of the time were putting on them to ensure a safe, high performance product.
    For a tyre supplier to have as much say in the direction of the regulations as Pirelli seem to have is to my knowledge unprecedented & I am really uncomfortable with the direction over recent season with F1 having to conform to the requirements/limitations of the tyre supplier rather than things working the other way around as has traditionally been the case.

    If you look back through history when turbo’s 1st started been used in F1 in the late 70s/early 80s which started putting a ton more strain on the rear tyres, As ground effects got more & more powerful in the years leading upto the ban which started putting a lot more load on the tyres & as downforce levels got higher & higher over the years which was putting more & more loading on the tyres none of the various suppliers ever asked for the regulations to be changed, The tyre suppliers always went away & came back with better tyres which were able to withstand the increases in car performance.

    In my view if Pirelli really do believe that they cannot produce tyres under the current tyre rules which would meet the requirements of the extra load the 2017 regulations will put on the tyres then they need to either work with the FIA & teams to alter the tyre rules to allow them to make changes to the tyres which would be suitable for 2017 or look at moving out of F1 & allowing any tyre supplier who feels they could make tyres suitable for 2017 a chance to enter F1.

    1. Maybe the fact that they have already been granted a contract for those years, with a fixed price (one for Pirelli paying FOM and another one for how much teams pay Pirelli for the tyres) gives Pirelli the power to say “ok, but that is not included in our offer” @gt-racer

      That said, it doesn’t take anything away from your observation that it is a highly curious situation that Pirelli can do so.

      1. @bascb Pirelli don’t actually have a valid contract for 2017 as of yet, All they have is a verbal agreement with Bernie & a contract which they have signed but the FIA have not.

        I followed up on this with some people & got told that the FIA are not keen on having to sign it because neither they nor the teams are really happy to continue with Pirelli & would quite like Bernie to change his mind before the contract is finalized.

        We seemingly have a situation where 1 person (Bernie) is pushing through a tyre supplier which none of the competitors are happy to use, Very few of them have any confidence in & the governing body would rather not have as the supplier.

        1. Very interesting @gt-racer!

          My guess then is that Pirelli agreed (for as far as their agreement goes) with Bernie to price/sponsorship deals based on not doing any significant changes in tyre structure compared to now.
          Or is it Bernie suddenly wanting to back out of the rules changes as it no longer fits his targets?

          On the other hand, I got the impression that the likes of Mercedes (maybe Ferrari too?) are not very much behind the changes anyway, as it might upset the form book once again and that would not be in their favour.

  18. Want to know what i find so entertaining about the response to this article and the previous round-up? Everyone appears to have missed a key part of the BBC article. I shall quote it for convenience:

    With the new tyre sizes proposed for 2017, we think the load capacity of a tyre built to the current construction would increase by about 10%. But nobody knows what structure we will choose for 2017 yet.

    Let’s break this down, shall we? The first sentence:

    With the new tyre sizes proposed for 2017, we think the load capacity of a tyre built to the current construction would increase by about 10%.

    OK, so the current design won’t work for 2017. But let’s be honest, did anyone really expect Pirelli to use exactly the same design? Anyone with a basic understanding of how tyres work will know that something would have to change.
    Which brings us onto the second, and most important, sentence:

    But nobody knows what structure we will choose for 2017 yet.

    Or, to put it another way, they haven’t designed the 2017 tyre.

    Let’s repeat that so we’re all clear.

    Pirelli haven’t designed the 2017 tyre yet.

    So how can anyone know how well it’ll cope? Well, there’s always testing. Isn’t there?

    He added that one of the problems was that Pirelli was forbidden by F1’s rules from doing on-track testing before 2017, and there was still no agreement on a resolution to that problem.

    Huh. Guess not.

    So, in summary, we’re all criticising a tyre that doesn’t exist, for which there’s no design, and seemingly no hope of testing early enough to work out the issues before 22 cars rock up to Melbourne in 2017.

    Then again, facts haven’t been able to get in the way of a good old-fashioned Pirelli bashing since they came into the sport, so I expect the majority of replies to this post to continue the same tired old rhetoric of attacking the easy target.

    1. @raceprouk Pirelli have actually been granted 12 days of testing with a 2016 spec car this year in order to test 2017 tyres & there is also still the provision in the regulations that allows them to test new tyres/compounds during Friday practice at F1 weekend’s.

      Pirelli were also granted the option of using a revised 2004-2005 spec car to test potential 2017 tyre loads. This would also remove the 12 test day limit as there allowed to do as much running as they want with a car that is 3 or more years old (As they did when they had there own Toyota/Renault test cars a few years back).

      Or, to put it another way, they haven’t designed the 2017 tyre.

      Which begs the question, How do they know the 2017 tyres which they apparently have yet to design won’t work with the 2017 cars & what tyre models did they use in the data they gave to the FIA as evidence that the 2017 rules should be altered because tyres would not cope?

      This goes into the point I made in the post above, It’s upto the tyre supplier to supply tyres that work to the regulations… The regulations should not need to be altered because the tyre supplier feels they would be unable to make their tyres work under the regulations, That isn’t how F1 is supposed to work.

      Go back to 2005 when Michelin had its problems at Indy. They never once asked the FIA to change the cars, They went back & changed their tyres to ensure that they did not suffer the same problems at Indy the following year.
      And with the banking & track surface at Indy been unique they actually never got to test those changes to see if they would actually work until FP1 at Indy in 2006, Until then all they had to go on was simulation data.

      1. Which begs the question, How do they know the 2017 tyres which they apparently have yet to design won’t work with the 2017 cars & what tyre models did they use in the data they gave to the FIA as evidence that the 2017 rules should be altered because tyres would not cope?

        That’s the thing though: Pirelli haven’t designed them yet. And since they don’t have a design, they have nothing for the FIA; all they can say is the 2016 tyre design won’t handle much more.
        That left the FIA with two options:
        1. Wait for Pirelli to come up with a 2017 design
        2. Panic and U-turn
        And they chose door number 2. Which means the aero changes won’t happen because the FIA didn’t even give Pirelli the chance to design a suitable tyre.

        1. That’s one way to read the article I guess.

          It should be noted that at no point in the article did Pirelli say that they would be able to come up with a better tyre that can cope with the 2017 regs.

          The whole article is about what Pirelli can not do, which you have to admit isn’t a great prospect.

          1. It should be noted that at no point in the article did Pirelli say that they would be able to come up with a better tyre that can cope with the 2017 regs.

            It should be noted that at no point in the article did Pirelli say that they would not be able to come up with a better tyre that can cope with the 2017 regs.

        2. @raceprouk
          From the same article:

          The spokesman added that Pirelli thought a five-second reduction in lap times was “too much”, and that four seconds was more appropriate.

          So yeah they admit they simply cannot do it.

          Also the last time they changed their tyre structure was 2013; that ended up going really well, right?

          1. The spokesman added that Pirelli thought a five-second reduction in lap times was “too much”, and that four seconds was more appropriate.

            That has nothing to do with whether they’re able to make a tyre or not, and you know it. So how about you stop twisting people’s statements to fit your own narrative?

          2. @raceprouk Ok so fair point that Pirelli needn’t be bashed here. I’ve not been one to bash Pirelli all along either, as they are building tires that they have been mandated to build. I think we all know that all the tires makers who have built tires for F1 in the modern era could build better tires than the current Pirelli’s, including Pirelli.

            I remain firm on the concept or belief that the only reason Pirelli ever agreed to be the sole maker for F1 is if they could make tires that are the story of F1 so that they are constantly talked about and therefore provide marketing impact for Pirelli. And aero downforce addicted F1 wanted that bandage ‘fix’ to lack of variety in the racing at the same time. A single maker making reliable predictable tires that can be pushed would not have it’s brand brought up in the commentary and post-race discussions, as tires would not have been nearly the deciding factor that they are now.

            So I think what Pirelli is now saying is that in order to handle the 2017 spec cars and more downforce, they can’t make crappy degrady tires that are the story of F1 at the same time, at least not without them failing. They’d have to make tires that are actually good, which would no longer suit F1’s mandate, nor their own, of having tires be the overwhelming factor in the races and therefore get constant mention.

            I’m for bringing back a tire competition (not a war any more than any other aspect of competition within F1). The fear of that has been rock-solid tires and favouritism to one best team per tire maker, as well as processions. However, we have processions now anyway, and the conditions of such limited testing would not nearly allow for what happened in the past…namely Ferrari testing with Bridgi ad infinitum to the skewing of all others. That did make for a one-sided affair that needn’t nor would likely be duplicated today. Even back then the other Bridgi supplied teams still had great tires…they just happened to be ones that suited MS’s Ferrari best. And as I say, conditions are far different in F1 now.

            Time for another maker to enter F1 along with Pirelli so that they can advance the cars and F1 and still have the tire makers getting constant mention and marketing impact for being there.

          3. Finally, someone who sees the bigger picture! :)

        3. @raceprouk Pirelli knew what was going to be required of them when they renewed there contract in September & they have had until then to decide what sort of tyres to make for 2017.

          Also Pirelli are a part of the strategy group so they have been involved in all discussions regarding 2017, They have known since the 1st meeting last May what direction the regulations were going for 2017 & what would be required of their tyres & they have had since then to have discussions about what to do with the tyres for 2017.

          all they can say is the 2016 tyre design won’t handle much more.

          Again though if that is indeed the case the emphasis is on Pirelli to come back with proposals that would ensure there 2017 tyres would work.

          To seemingly just throw in the towel & say it can’t be done & to then have F1 change regulations to suit that is ridiculous & is as I said completely unprecedented.

          1. To seemingly just throw in the towel & say it can’t be done

            But Pirelli haven’t said that; all they’ve said is the 2016 design won’t be good enough. OK, so they could have had at least a preliminary 2017 design by now, but it’s only January 2016; there’s still loads of time to get a 2017 design sorted out in time for manufacturing to begin in November/December.

          2. @gt-racer Fair comment. Hard to know what to say in response to your assertion that Pirelli knew all along what they would need to do for 2017. I think the issue is that they cannot make the tires necessary for the potential loads of 2017’s potential cars, and still have them act the same way as the tires of the last 2 or 3 years. They’ll have to be more sturdy and stable which will mean they won’t be the story of F1 which will mean no constant tire-talk which will mean much less marketing impact for them to be in F1.

            I think it is not that they can’t physically make the tires…for any situation really. It is that they can’t make them for proposed new higher downforce faster cars and still have them be the equivalent of banana peels.

            As I think of it perhaps this is why, with F1’s current mandate, F1 cars are ‘slow’…they need to be so that F1 can see through it’s mandate for staying addicted to downforce (read processions) while trying to cover that up with bad tires and DRS. Speed the cars up and it’s harder to use poor tires the same way for the same mandate. Speed the cars up and you have no choice but to make better tires and they don’t want to do that. No marketing impact as a sole maker if everyone is on the same tires and they are not a big decider in race outcomes.

  19. There is nothing what is new except the free tyre choice.

    For example where is the modify of DRS? Don’t allow the using of DRS in every laps. Every driver has 20-30 DRS chance, and they can build strategy with this depend on what are him tyres, engine setup, etc.

    This is a very simple and cheap solution, but the FIA don’t want solve it. They don’t want nothing. They don’t want F1. They want something other.

  20. Was really looking forward to 2017. Sport is being run by clowns. The new rule changes were intended to produce similar lap times as the mid 00s cars. Michelin and Bridgestone were able to produce tyres to handle those loads, grooves and all!

    1. True but Michi and Bridgi were in a competition without a mandate within F1 that their tires be like banana peels…there couldn’t be such a mandate with more than one tire maker in F1. So they made ‘real’ tires, as in, tires that were the best they could make for the teams that bought tires from them. A true tire competition. Pirelli can make such tires too, but then they a) wouldn’t be fulfilling F1’s mandate for bad tires to create the show, and b) wouldn’t be getting any mention, as everyone would be on the same tires, and at that, would be tires that would not be the deciding factor in races so no need to bring them up. As soon as they have two or more makers in F1 then even if the tires are rock solid predictable and can be pushed and the drivers love them, tires still get a mention based on which driver/team is on which make of tire and thus, marketing impact for being in F1.

  21. Most seem to want close racing. With minimal rule changes over a period of time the grid will get closer as aero and engine gains will reduce year on year, so having a year old engine will eventually be worth a few tenths not potential seconds. Added to this the longer suppliers make similar parts or in some cases carry over parts season to season so the costs reduce. Cars as a package will get faster year on year few rule changes is a blessing, we may have to wait but by 2017 or 2018 teams will close up in performance and costs would be reduced. When you reset rules someone will steal a march on the rest and it would take 3 or 4 years for the grid to close up, I am happy few things will change.

  22. Hopefully the failure of their grand schemes means they will focus on small rule changes that improve competition and keep costs coming from rule changes at minimum.

    Then again, this is F1, so no doubt another party will suggest something big to change, it’ll happen and the bottom 3 teams will be in trouble financially again.

  23. Does this mean we won’t wider track cars from 2017?

  24. Won’t we see wider track cars from 2017? If so, I’m massively disappointed to the point that I might stop watching F1 altogether unless, of course, Alonso starts winning…

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