Pirelli super-soft tyre, Hockenheimring, 2014

Pirelli says it can hit 2017 lap time target with more testing

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Pirelli counters claims its tyres will not be able to make F1 cars five seconds per lap faster in 2017.

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A big thumbs-up for McLaren’s move to hire Jost Capito from Volkswagen:

Very nice catch, I first heard of him after Volkswagen announced they were joining the World Rally Championship, and I saw an interview where he was very passionate but also level headed about the venture. They then went on to utterly wipe the floor with the competition.

I think McLaren probably need a bit of outside influence at this point to get the enthusiasm levels up, and I can’t think of a better appointment.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ed!

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On this day in F1

Happy birthday to former F1 driver David Kennedy who is 63 today. He made seven attempts to qualify for F1 races in 1980 with Shadow but never made the cut. He did make it onto the grid for the 1980 Spanish Grand Prix, but the race was stripped of its championship status.

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61 comments on “Pirelli says it can hit 2017 lap time target with more testing”

  1. As much we all love to hate Pirelli, they do have a point about testing though.

    We keep harking back to the good old days when tyre’s weren’t made of play-doh, but we should remember that testing was unlimited back then. The likes of Bridgestone and Michelin would have had a significant advantage compared to our friends at Pirelli today.

    So here’s an idea. Since Bernie loves Pirelli so much, why doesnt he build them a current spec F1 car for tyre testing! I guess there will be complication with where to buy the engine from…but Im sure his friends at Brixworth or Maranello will be happy to help. If Pirelli get a proper test car…they wont have any more excuses!

    1. @jaymenon10 the amount of money needed to make a brand new F1 spec car only for Pirelli would be huge. And it’d never represent what the proper teams, with hundreds of engineers and competitive suppliers can race. Pirelli tried with old F1 cars, Renaults and Lotuses if I remember correctly, but those old cars were not a good representation of current cars and current loads, not to mention future developments.

    2. @jaymenon10

      As much we all love to hate Pirelli, they do have a point about testing though

      Couldnt agree more. When the tyre war was in full swing, Bridgestone and Michelin would do a mountain of testing with multiple teams before the season even started.

      Pirelli seems to have cottoned onto Bernie’s way getting what he wants when using the media – hit people with the shocking headline (ie current tyres wont withstand huge increases in downforce / allow cars to go 5s a lap faster) before revealing what they really wanted afer all (more tyre testing!).

      1. Exactly! Bernie is giving Pirelli some coaching on “get-what-you-want” PR!

    3. If they want more testing and real world data give them it. I hope that all teams will participate and to do so they should have more incentive, if cars are going to run on track let them test their own stuff as well, why have the expense of a test only to have to go back to the factory and use the wind tunnel and CFD when they ran the cars anyway so incurred the cost, they might as well get the highest quality data available from the tyre test. Killing 2 birds with 1 stone so to speak.

      1. The question is, how many teams can afford to go testing more often.
        TR & Sauber were totally against more tyre testing, because it will be an unnecessary waste of money, according to them.
        The private teams obviously fear more testing will result in the big factory teams pulling away even more.

        I’d put it very simple: Take it or leave it!
        If you don’t wanna go testing then don’t.
        But don’t you dare to complain afterwards about the tyres or another disadvantage to your competitors.

        1. Spectators can go and watch testing but they cannot watch CFD analysis or wind tunnel testing, F1 is a spectator sport after all and it gives more exposure to sponsors and so could entice more sponsors. Also people think today the gap between the haves and have nots is larger than ever but in the good old days racing was closer, in the old days testing was unlimited so if this is true testing may contribute to closer racing. I find compromising things for the lowest common denominator drags everything down to a low level, F1 currently amongst the fans seems to breed a very left wing Communist attitude to the sport which is completely at odds with what it is about.

          1. markp, in the past, test sessions organised by teams were normally private sessions, with members of the public barred from entering the circuit as a way of preventing photographers from leaking spy shots.

            There were some instances where teams might not bother with sponsor decals on their cars – in a few instances, some teams even deliberately left them off so flow-viz patterns would be clearer – so a return to that style of testing is unlikely to do any real good for the sponsors or for the fans, neither of whom would get much exposure to the cars.

          2. It’s still an opportunity to do this and makes sense so I guess if they had more testing they would mess it up and make it a private session. Strange as you can go and watch pre season testing. Sky once screened pre season live.

    4. I was thinking they should just “lease” an old 2015 car from a couple of teams. It wouldn’t be hard to fit a larger front and rear wing on that would mimic the higher level downforces and get some good test data on how the tyres react with the higher downforces. They could let them run with maybe 10% higher fuel flow than normal regulations to simulate a little more speed to go along with that down force.
      It seems like they could just let them put on enough wings (front and back) until it matched the predicted down force for 2017. And the extra fuel flow would let them overcome the extra drag to keep the speed up.

      It would sure be cheaper than building a new F1 car and it’s not like the teams are doing anything with old 2015 cars now so they’d even make a little “leasing money” out of the deal.

      Just a thought.

  2. I don’t really mind for quicker laptimes. It’s just something that goes on a board, or in the newspaper. It’s impossible to “see” with the naked eye a time, we will never realize someone is going 3 tenths quicker round a corner complementing a 5 second gain over a lap. It’ll feel the same, it’ll look the same.

    I want cars to be harder to drive. I really doubt improving cornering speeds will gives us that. The tyres will be able to take it, the cars will be able to do it, the speed coming to the corner will be low enough (specially with wider tyres and more drag), braking zones will get even shorter and it’ll be a boring blur, in a blink of an eye whoever is sitting in the car will have effortlessly completed the task of going round a corner. Difficult corners will get easier, and with that whatever is left of challenge in our F1 calendar will be erased.

    Bring power up. Getting on power earlier will be more important than entry and mid-corner speed, and voilá! good for safety as corner speeds will be lower, and good for the spectators and hopefully “the show”.

    1. maybe it’s just me, but I for one can spot an on-limit-5-second-faster lap from on boards…

      again, maybe im out of the scope of the ‘average’ f1 fan.

      1. I for one can spot an on-limit-5-second-faster lap from on boards

        I suspect the part you can see the most is that the car is on the limit.

        If the car could go 10s/lap faster, but was driven at only 5s/lap faster, they would probably look slower than they do now.

    2. Trust me you will definitely see a 5 second lap time improvement with the naked eye.
      It’ll look like the thing is on fast forward compared to now.

      1. Yeah, seeing 2004 era videos compared to now, the cars almost look lethargic compared. They really look like charged up, dart beasts back in the V10 era

        1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
          15th January 2016, 3:41

          @frankjaeger I agree. I remember how impressive it was to see (on tv) cars jumping really fast over the kerbs, and as you correctly say, it was as if you put nowadays’ races in fast forward way.

      2. When you are at the track you can actually tell the difference on corners between cars separated by tenths. I remember Silverstone on a Friday a few years ago standing at Maggots and thinking the Torro Rosso looked really quick but convinced myself they could not be and it was just me, when I saw the lap times after the session they were right up their and you could see it with your own eyes.

        1. I agree. For 2014 I was at Abbey and you could absolutely see that the Mercedes was much better through there than any other car. It was more planted than the others. Other teams were squirming through there.

    3. pretty much sums it up perfectly @fer-no65.

      Start of last year we saw drivers struggling to bring the torque to the track. That was interesting to see. But since they all added back more DF than they ever had before, and fine tuned the electronics to be easier to drive, its cars on rails again.

  3. “Helmut Marko says Renault should prioritise Red Bull over its own factory team.”

    If Helmut Marko had brains like dynamite he wouldn’t blow his ears off.

  4. Re: Pirelli:

    “Of course you can do it, but you’re not going to be able to do it with a product that you see today.”

    I think I can get away with recycling what I said three days ago.

    1. I’ll answer the same thing then:

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

      Doesn’t sound like “of course we can do it” to me.

      1. Not really sounds like 4 seconds rather than 5 is cheaper to achieve. By producing tyres for much faster cars they will have to spend and the faster the more money. If they stay as is their development costs would not increase much.

  5. I certainly don’t, but Bernie must have a perspective that the pitwall is a sexist entity, otherwise he wouldn’t believe what he’s saying. I would welcome with pride a woman in F1. I have previously cited possible biological shortcomings that may hem a woman’s entry into F1, along with issues of fairness on the competition involved. But by no means would I ‘not take a woman seriously’ if she were to enter the pitlane, I’d maybe have more appreciation for her since I would think she would have been at a disadvantage during her route the F1.

    This brings me onto the subject of ‘grid girls’. Vettel was vocal about the suggestion that would be mixed gender grid people (if that what you’d call them hehe?) and it seemed his argument have sexual overtones. I say either get rid of them all together, or have mixed gender grid people. Why a sign can’t do the job I don’t know and isn’t it a tad bit degrading being a human signpost? Everyone has seen those poor individuals that hold up signs in city centers that point to local businesses. I feel the consensus is that the the woman look beautiful, admittedly they are sublimely attractive, and it fits in with the ‘glamour’ of the sport I suppose but it seems awfully superficial and sick to me.

    Another relevant point is a driver and seat ballast policy where a driver and his seat must match all other drivers on the grid. It reeks of fairness and I don’t see why they don’t enforce it.

    In my opinion what needs to happen to F1 is larger tires, less time loss when trailing a car (I believe this can be created by less reliance on wing downforce and more on ground effect downforce, i’m no great physiologist), more powerful engines (whether this is achieved through mechanical power, electrical power or both aka hybrids), smaller teams need a fair crack of the whip (invite them to the strategy group, give them a bigger chance for voicing their opinion), stop being a laptop for oil money, try to achieve a more democratic cooperation within the body, end soulless circuits, give Pirelli the boot, customer teams receive identical engines, cut costs (that’s a tricky one).

    That’s my belated Christmas list, maybe Bernie will come down my chimney and fall awkwardly in the process. That would be the best Christmas ever.

    1. Oh yes and ban DRS, that would be brilliant.

    2. Here’s a thought.

      To dispense with the whole idea of male or female models being paraded as grid “people”, why not start a competition to ascertain who would get to stand on the grid, proudly holding a placard with the driver’s name an number upright?

      It could be fun if the competition is set up in a fair manner. When I say fair, it means that given the right circumstances, a fat hairy bloke such as myself, could get on the grid holding up Fernando Alonso’s number!!..hahaha

      1. I’d would much rather subscribe to that idea than the current haha

      2. That is exactly the kind of thing I would love to see too @jaymenon10. It helps get fans involved, it makes it more interesting to see who is there, and one could even make a huge mid week show of deciding (pulling numbers, some kind of criteria, or even a game show!) who wins the chance to be there. And one can also reward a local karting champ or something like that

  6. Helmut Marko says Renault should prioritise Red Bull over its own factory team.

    I’m kinda torn with this sentence. In one hand I can’t read german language so I can’t read the source article. This sentence really looks like click-bait or sensational journalism. On the other hand, it’s Helmut Marko and it’s actually a possibility for him to say stupid things like this…

    1. The sentence is in there seemingly in a general meaning, but Marko compares what he thinks Red bull can achieve now (with its chassis and slick operations) to the current state of the Enstone squad, with a somewhat deminished staff, not that impressive line up and having had a lack of development recently @sonicslv

      He is quite likely right that their newly bought back team will not be a Red bull beater and even less a Mercedes beater this season. But he chooses to ignore that Renault has long term plans to make Enstone mix with the best and win on its own, not with Red Bull

      1. @bascb Thanks for giving more information and I agree with you. Marko is right if we only talking about 2016 season but I think it’s clear Renault in planning on long term plan and focusing on their own team is better for them.

      2. I also don’t understand German (could use Google Translate though) so I will just comment the sentence and @bascb comment.

        Marko is right that Red Bull is a better team than the now works team. If Renault wants its engines to win ASAP focusing on Red Bull would seem logical BUT:
        1) the engines are now branded “TAG Heuer” and if Renault thinks that Red Bull didn’t give them enough credit before, for sure they will give them even less now;
        2) They have a freakin works team!!! Focusing more on a rival team that even uses a different brand name for the engine will only give more disadvantage to their works team. And it will even be more embarrassing if Red Bull can win big and the works team lags well behind!

        Renault bought Lotus because they realized or wished they needed more visibility on F1. If they have a works team, their focus is there. The same as Mercedes and Ferrari focus are on their respective works team.
        Focusing on a customer team will at best only bring the results they had before, that the company already considered weren’t enough.

        1. How about Renault focuses on the engine! It doesn’t really matter which chassis it goes into, they just need to make it better. As far as I am aware, Redbull and Renault will be using the same power unit next year so it is largely irrelevant which chassis/team they focus on.

  7. Regarding women racing, I can see situation when I won’t take female driver seriously: when she’s on the grid just for political correctness and for saying F1 is not sexist. On the other hand, I would love to see a legit female driver.

    Case in point: I won’t take Carmen Jorda seriously. Wolff is 50-50 because she’s not that good driver too, but when she actually posted quite respectable lap times on practice this year (considering she not in the car for long time and we don’t know if she actually still do simulator runs), I actually hoped Williams gives her more practice run and see if she actually have decent performance. Give me a female driver that actually won championships in kart, F3, F3.5, GP2, or other junior categories before entering F1 and I shall give same respect to her as any other male drivers.

    1. Parachuting a sub-par driver into one of the top leagues to be a ‘role-model’ is easily the worst possible method of handling the situation, and it always annoys me when people focus on individual names as some sort of solution. Wolff’s plan for a karting scholarship to build involvement from the grass-roots up is the correct way to do it.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      15th January 2016, 12:07

      @sonicslv – Totally agree. Most people tend to misunderstand the meaning of sexism but it is very simply explained as: prejudice or discrimination based on a persons sex

      Bringing Carmen Jorda into F1 is sexist because she is only here because she’s a woman. If she was a man, he wouldn’t be the Lotus test driver and the coverage wouldn’t constantly jump to shots of his rugged manface.

      The lack of female drivers in F1 stems from one simple problem and in my opinion, it isn’t sexism. I have no doubt that there are women out there capable but if you head to your local karting track at the weekend, you’ll be lucky to find 1 female driver for every 50 males. Same if you look at any other cheap entry-level category.

      There are lots in F1 who truly believe that women aren’t capable of competing with the best male drivers – Alonso, Hamilton, Senna, Schumacher etc.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        15th January 2016, 12:11

        *hit post too early!

        ……. There were also lots who “knew” Vettel wasn’t as good as his car made him look but they got proven wrong. All it takes is a women to come through who is there because of her ability to drive a car fast and people will pretend they always knew it could happen.

        1. if you head to your local karting track at the weekend, you’ll be lucky to find 1 female driver for every 50 males.

          @petebaldwin This. It’s just simple statistics because there’s not a lot female that interested in racing career means it’s almost impossible to get a female driver inside top 20 best drivers* in the world. Some career choice is far more interesting for males to pursue and there’s nothing wrong with it. After all we not going crazy because catwalk supermodels is dominated by females right?

          (* maybe not the absolute best driver in the world, but its still super high standard)

          All it takes is a women to come through who is there because of her ability to drive a car fast and people will pretend they always knew it could happen.

          Too bad most of F1 drivers doesn’t have money and a daughter that want to follow their daddy. Imagine a female Verstappen, Sainz, Villeneuve…. What? You said there’s a racer who have money and daughter? The name is… Ecclestone?

  8. ‘Helmut Marko says Renault should prioritise Red Bull over its own factory team.’ Hahaha

    1. Wow, Red Bull people seem to be in their own world, possibly an experimental version of their drink laced with LSD causing hallucinations? This Cyclops is the worst of that lot.

  9. Sutil left it a bit late to sue sauber. Maybe his girlfriend is missing the tv time (did normally see more of her than sutil). Id have sued for the embaressment of actually having to drive their 2014 car!!!

  10. ColdFly F1 (@)
    15th January 2016, 7:54

    ‘Deja Vu all over again’
    An ex driver suing Sauber for millions and winning in Swiss courts. I hope Kaltenborn has learnt how to manage a situation like this before she flies to Melbourne.

    The defence Sauber uses to withhold the payment to Sutil is quite funny. It reads like a poor year-end performance review. I can only imagine Sutil being invited for his year-end appraisal and Monisha going through the list.
    Well Adrian I’m a bit disappointed with your performance this year, like when you received this grid penalty in Bahrain, caused the engine to stall, and left your car in an unsafe manner. Based on this I have decided that you cannot drive in 2015 and we will withhold the 3.5million we owe you. Frohe Weihnachten and say hello to your girlfriend.

    1. @coldfly Makes you wonder if Sauber is gonna investigated for fraud sooner than EU commission investigating FIA/FOM ;)

  11. Helmut Marko needs to get real. Prioritise Red Bull over their own factory entry? Like Mercedes do for Force India you mean? Not! I thought this guy held a Doctorate.

    1. I doubt Force India pays Mercedes even half of what Red Bull pays Renault and i doubt the Renault team will be as well founded as RB.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        15th January 2016, 11:38

        True but at the same time, Force India haven’t spent an entire year having a go at Mercedes so they actually have some sort of working relationship left!

        Red Bull aren’t even willing to have Renault written on their car – why should they get preferential treatment?

  12. Pirelli want to do more testing which is understandable but maybe they should use the time they already have more than they currently do rather than asking for what they are not going to get.
    What I mean by that is that they had the option of using the Friday practice sessions to test new tyres since 2011 & how many times have they actually ever used that time to test new tyres, Maybe 3-4 times in 5 years?

    They should use that time a lot more often than they have as I would have thought they would get far more data from race cars with race drivers on actual race circuits under actual race weekend conditions than they would from a cold day at Jerez or Paul Ricard that isn’t always representative of conditions during the actual race weekends.

    Testing is expensive & when you have more than half of the grid struggling to afford the actual racing introducing an additional massive cost is just a non-starter for most of the grid. You could use the argument that those who can afford to test should do so but all your doing then is giving the bigger teams an ever greater advantage over the mid-field than they already have, Especially at a time when understanding the tyres is arguably the most important it has ever been.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      15th January 2016, 11:36

      The solution isn’t to allow more testing for those that can afford it. The solution is to ensure all teams can afford to test their cars. F1 has more than enough money to make this happen but whilst it’s all flying into Bernie’s pocket, we’ll remain as we are.

      1. @petebaldwin Giving the smaller teams more money would not necessarily mean they would then be able to or even want to go testing.

        Even if you gave a team like Force India an extra $50m at the end of each year i’m sure they would rather spend that on bringing in new staff & developing their car rather than spending it on testing because as Ian Phillips (Who was Force India’s commercial director at the time) said on the BBC during an FP2 session when testing was 1st banned back in 2009 “Testing was a complete waste of money, We went to a track & 9 times out of 10 didn’t even learn anything but we all felt we had to go to the test because everyone else was there & nobody wants to give anyone the prospect of gaining any extra advantage so in the end it was a vicious circle & I know many in the paddock like myself are happy that when we all got together in FOTA common sense prevailed & we banned it”.

  13. petebaldwin (@)
    15th January 2016, 11:33

    “Of course you can do it, but you’re not going to be able to do it with a product that you see today.”

    The “product” that we see today is an embarrassment to all concerned so this sounds like a win/win! Get on with it!

    1. But Pirelli and F1 are singing the tune that we are happy with the current tires and in fact would be even happier if they were crappier, for the sake of more pit stops…their current obsession.

      I think many of us still find the lack of testing hard to understand, but have to take their word for it that it is to save money for the smaller teams and prevent the bigger teams from testing a ton because they can.

      To me, tests for future tires needs to be done by top teams who can provide the best data, and the best way to do that is like the ‘secret’ Merc test from the year of explody tires…they never knew what tires they were on, were never given data on whatever tires they were running let alone if they were even on tires that would become the final product. It was a Pirelli test using a team as the medium. The team would have gained no advantage in terms of tire knowledge and many argued some advantage just for having track time, but said advantage would have been negligible.

  14. Helmut Marko could have a great career as a stand up comedian.
    Why in all of God’s green earth would Renault give priority to the team that,
    A) publicly slated them at every opportunity for the last 2 seasons
    B) publicly announced they wished to cut their contract short and then just as publicly sort to secure an engine supply from other manufacturers.
    and C) were so unhappy they had to continue with Renault that they didn’t even what the company name on the side of their car (therefore cutting Renault’s exposure and in turn reducing their return on their F1 investment)
    I know for sure that those 3 acts alone would be more than enough in my eyes anyway, to make certain that RedBull got the bear minimum their contract required in terms of technical support and integration.

    1. @thebullwhipper – Great minds think alike. As I perused the roundup I laughed out loud at Marko’s remark and at Bernie’s too. How great would it be to have Helmut and Bernie go on a stand up comedy tour? They could just stand up there on stage and spout off whatever nuggets of narrow minded narcissistic egomaniacal drivel that dribble out of their festering gobs. Couldn’t be much more offensive than Lenny Bruce in his heyday. Of course, Lenny Bruce was being offensive with a purpose. These guys are cluelessly offensive. They think they are entitled, which is rather sadly hilarious.

  15. Joy of joys we get to have this nonsense debate again.

    Well sure if you want even less overtaking & even less on-track action bring it back, But if you want to see more overtaking & more on-track action then lets ensure it stays banned!

    1. This idea is so stupid, and even dangerous, they will probably go ahead and do it.

    2. this makes me want to cry :(

  16. “They clearly push things to another level, that’s why they are world champions. You want the quickest car and the most extreme conditions and the best drivers in the world. You would want their feedback,” he said.”

    Sooo, and what did they say in their comment? Lets say best current drivers..

    L.H. commenting on future regulations: We need more mechanical grip. (suspension is optimised already… so tyre grip)

    N.R. after following L.H. and unable to do anything: The moment you are second it is impossible to pass.

    S.V. after SPA blowout: This is unacceptable! (and proceeded to say some choice words)

    These are top 3 drivers of 2015, two are multiple world champions, Yeah.

    F1 is hurting itself by banning testing.

    Isnt every race the ultimate test? Can they not gather data from that and upgrade tires in a month or two? How much testing they need? Give it to them. Nothing effects car performance quite so much as tires.

    After every race there should be a test day, before race, after race, when people are there.

    Maybe make fridays open testdays for tire compounds etc. Then saturday free practice + quali… and finally Sunday race. Change the weekend format to facilitate development of both cars and young drivers and tires.

    Let me repeat. It is essential F1 gets tire situation under control.

    1. The problem is they think they have it under control…make bad tires to be the overwhelming story affecting the races, add a dash of DRS, and they think they’ve got the aero addiction (read processions) masked. Ie. They’d have to want to upgrade the tires but they don’t. They (F1) want them to be as much like banana peels as they can get away with.

    2. Excellent post – Formula Pirelli is getting too much control!

  17. Of course you can do it, but you’re not going to be able to do it with a product that you see today.

    The engine system improvements used this season will give an indication as to whether to continue with the current tyres or more advanced ones are necessary for the future because the current spec tyres would start failing earlier than they did in 2015. “Failing” doesn’t necessarily mean blowouts, it could simply mean the tyres loose their grip a few laps earlier than they do now. My guess is Pirelli will need to make small improvements to their tyres for this season.
    I think using 2015 spec cars won’t really give Pirelli as much benefit as if they used 2016 cars, but considering the politics and the fact the reliability of the 2016 cars is unknown, then sticking with last years cars is the safer option.

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