Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2016

Hamilton allowed to replace damaged tyre

2016 European Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton will not have to start today’s F1 race on Baku on the tyre he damaged during qualifying.

The Mercedes driver made it into Q3 despite flat-spotting one of the super-soft tyres he set his best lap time on. Under the sporting regulations any drivers who reach Q3 are required to start the race on the tyres they used to set their quickest time in Q2.

However an exemption is allowed if the drivers’ tyres are damaged. Pirelli has confirmed Hamilton will be allowed to exchange his tyres.

Article 24.4 (g) of the Sporting Regulations states: “Any such tyres damaged during Q2 will be inspected by the FIA technical delegate who will decide, at his absolute discretion, whether any may be replaced and, if so, which tyres they should be replaced with.”

Mercedes confirmed on Twitter that only one of Hamilton’s tyres will be changed.

“The team received permission to swap the left front tyre of Lewis Hamilton’s race start set,” the team announced. “We have done so with the left front tyre from a different set. Only the left front was flat spotted on the Q2 set, not both fronts.”

2016 European Grand Prix

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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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70 comments on “Hamilton allowed to replace damaged tyre”

  1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    19th June 2016, 10:23

    This could set a horrible precedent.

    1. Agree. He should not be allowed to gain an advantage, so the tyres should maybe be exchanged against a well worn set from Friday practice.

      1. “Any such tyres damaged during Q2 will be inspected by the FIA technical delegate who will decide, at his absolute discretion, whether any may be replaced and, if so, which tyres they should be replaced with.”

        He’s not going to get a brand new set! It says right there that the FIA will choose which tyres they’ll be replaced with. It will be a set of similar mileage. He’s lost a set of tyres (even if they were ruined) so he’s gaining nothing.

      2. He damaged them so should be tough luck. If cannot complete a stint on them he should pit at the end of lap1 or if changes them start from the back.

    2. Lose the stupid tyre rule then!
      Keep it simple, let everyone choose their start tyres every time.

      1. I agree. Let everyone change to whatever they want whenever they want.
        In the end it’s the same for everyone.

    3. William Jones
      19th June 2016, 13:05

      It’s already far more than a president, it’s a rule of the sport and a safety regulation – when it happens to other competitors though, it doesn’t make the news because, believe it or not, you can’t send a driver out knowingly in a dangerous car.

    4. Precedent? What precedent? It’s always the same with this guy. Rules are for the rest.

    5. He should have been made to start with the damaged tyre then made to go into the pit for a change straight away, or start in the pit and make a change of tyres when green lights came on for the go.

  2. Destroy your tyres, guys! FIA will replace them for you, freebies for everyone!

    1. That was my first thought after reading that tyres could be replaced. How many drivers will ‘accidentally’ lock up when returning to the pits.

      The only fair solution I see for damaged tyres is Pirelli to have a couple of replacement sets available which are on the limit of wear already.

      1. “How many drivers will ‘accidentally’ lock up when returning to the pits.”

        My guess is none. This rule isn’t new, it’s been around for ages, no one has tried to take advantage before of it because its pretty pointless, the marginal gain you will get from it vs the potential disadvantage of actually being told your not allowed to swap them because of obvious cheating, is outweighed.

        As per the rule “the delegate will decide, at his absolute discretion”

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      19th June 2016, 11:32

      This is something that I thought yesterday. Everybody who knows they are in the top 10 in q2 may as well try to lock up just before heading back to the pits causing damage to all 4 tyres then they will all be able to get all new tyres for the race. That sounds silly but that seems to be the case. So many people did seem to lock up and that would mean that it world be very hard to tell weather it was an accident or not.

      1. @thegianthogweed

        You have to first lock up your tyres and then set a quick enough time on them for you to advance. Very few cars/drivers can do that and it will be a huge gamble. If you lock up and destroy your tyres on the cooldownlap im not so sure he will get away with it. FIA also chooses what tyre to replace with so presumably they choose an similarly weared town tyre.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          19th June 2016, 18:49

          Ah, ok then. I did type this a bit too quick without really thinking about the fact that they were not new.

      2. You don’t get new tyres, you get tyres with similar milage and age. So it doesn’t matter. If you lock up they will go to the first set of tyres you used not the new ones.

    3. I’m guessing that’s easier said than done. i.e. Intentionally locking up enough for the delegate to say they are dangerous but not push too much you crash the car.

  3. Next Headline: Hamilton tells F1 fans to stop moaning about FIA special treatment.

    1. @ruliemaulana Aren’t you afraid of the Hamilton fans?

    2. @ruliemaulana To be fair I think he was right telling drivers to stop moaning, drivers and F1 fans moan just too much and about everything, including him.

  4. If I remember correctly Hamilton didn’t have any new supersofts left, so all of his sets will be worn similarly and there shouldn’t be much advantage in terms of overall wear anyway.

    Having said that, in a sport where driver mistakes go increasingly unpunished (huge run-offs, lenient track limits etc) it does get a bit frustrating that a driver can have an appalling qualifying session, ruin his tyres in the process, but then not carry that over as a disadvantage to the race.

    A large part of the appeal of Q2 for me is the balance between doing enough to get through to Q3 and saving as much of the tyre life as possible for the race. This does set something of a precedent and might encourage drivers to take more out of their Q2 tyres, but I’d hope that this rule is only activated in extreme cases going forward where race safety is a genuine concern.

    1. There should be a penalty (a grid drop) if you have to change your tyres before the race. It just doesn’t make sense that a driver can ruin the tyres that they are supposed to start the race on, and get away with a ‘free’ change. It’s the drivers responsibility to maintain his tyres during Q2, not overdrive them to a ruined state and then ask the FIA for a set that is worthy of starting the race on. I think a 5 place grid drop would be an apt penalty for this.

      1. Then he would use brand new tyres wont he?
        I don’t see the bug deal here. The article clearly said he will replace the front left with a worn tyre from the sets he used. How is that an advantage? It’s like people want him to race on a tyre deemed dangerous by pirelli themselves.

      2. Should have been the case. I thought of a 3 place drop but 5 should be ok too.

  5. Pirelli has confirmed that he will be given a used front left tire with identical mileage as his for the race. So it is one tire, and it is used. Hardly setting a terrible precedent!

  6. I had not read that NASCAR bought FOM from CVC. I’ll have to look for that article.

    1. Really? NASCAR wouldn’t never have had these tires rules in places to begin with.

  7. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    19th June 2016, 10:40

    Ridiculous. He ruined his car, yet has special dispensation and gets to change tyres for new ones. What’s next? They engineer a safety car period just to get him to the front of the pack?!

    1. @peppermint-lemon It’s not a “special dispensation”, it’s written right there in the regulations as quoted in the article.

      1. If so, what’s to prevent a driver from doing a full-tire-lock from 190 mph on the in-lap after Q2 and make the tires square?

        1. Nothing

        2. Erm, because that would be blatant, stupid, and/or dangerous. Didn’t you read the ‘to his absolute discretion’ part of the rule. Theres a reason no one has tried to take advantage of this rule, which has been around for ages. People need to stop getting up in arms about it just because it involves Hamilton.

        3. You’re making the assumption that the FIA will let him use fresh tyres, which isn’t the rule.

          “Any such tyres damaged during Q2 will be inspected by the FIA technical delegate who will decide, at his absolute discretion, whether any may be replaced and, if so, which tyres they should be replaced with.”

          That almost certainly means they’ll have to replace them with tyres that have experienced similar, if not more, usage.

          1. Arnoud van Houwelingen
            19th June 2016, 12:10

            yeah but without the flatspot .. that’s the whole point. He made a mistake and if he is forced to put other tires on at least give him a penalty of some sort. This doesn’t make any sense at all.

          2. Anything at the ‘discretion’ of an FIA delegate makes the entire tyre change matter subjective, not to mention, the entire process is completely corruptible. There should be a grid drop. The driver messed up his tyres and wants a change? Take a 5 place grid drop and replace the tyres

      2. Still, it’s an absolute joke. There should be a rule written in that you drop two grid positions if this happens, so as not to gain an advantage in the situation.

        Otherwise next week we see Ferrari cruise around for three laps 40+ seconds off the pace just to put the mileage on the tyre but with no energy through them and basically are still left with a new set to start the race on after they lock up massively in q2 on their in laps

        1. No, not ‘still’. Your theory is incredible to say the very least.

          There’s a reason no one has tried these stupid tricks since this rule has been around for years, and other drivers whose name isn’t Hamilton have had to changed a tyre before for the same reason. It just hasn’t made headline news on BBC 24 because it wasn’t Lewis.

        2. Whilst it is not an “absolute joke”, I quite like the idea of dropping 2 positions if this happens.

      3. Does it make it a good rule, though? It’s been around for ages, I remember Red Bull trying to use it at Spa 2011 and they got rejected. I can understand it for safety concerns. However, this was at the fault of the driver and he gets to make a free swap, with no penalty. He ruined the tyres, if he wants to swap them, a grid drop seems only fair.

    2. Perhaps they’ll give Lewis the “Luck Dog”

  8. Appalling. Way to discourage mistakes!

  9. That’s even worse than “special dispensation”. Because the rule states “FIA technical delegate who will decide, at his absolute discretion”, means the delegate does not have to give reasons for his decision, nor does he have to be consistent in the future. This makes a mockery of the concept of fairness in the race, and disadvantages those who looked after their tyres in Q2.

    1. What do you suggest as an alternative? (note, I quite like the 2 place penalty as suggested above).

  10. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    19th June 2016, 10:54

    Surely this isn’t fair? Anyone else breaks a component that needs to be changed in between qualifying and race usually starts in the pitlane, I don’t see how this is any different.

    1. When changing parts between qually and race, the regulations state that it must be ‘like for like’ so if brake materials need replacing it must be for identical spec.

      Besides, how much advantage is swapping out just 1 tyre. It’s not a new tyre but a similarly worn one from another set.

      The start is going to be mayhem enough without a driver in the mid-pack having a massive flat spot that his tyre could easily lock up on at the entry to the 1st braking zone, which in turn will cause several other drivers races to be ruined too. Also I’m sure teams could appeal if they feel it is unfair treatment.

      1. @thebullwhipper

        “Besides, how much advantage is swapping out just 1 tyre. It’s not a new tyre but a similarly worn one from another set”

        quite a big advantage, considering he had a flat spot on that one

        this rule is weird, I understand like you said the safety aspect, but it should be open disclosed which tyre is substituted.

        And it’s not really like the brake change you compared to, the tyre wear and conservation play a large role in the entire strategic game, it’s a factor that was nullified with this change. There should be some slight penalty, as it is now Ham got a completely free lockup just because he locked up worse than other drivers

  11. Relax people, he changes 1 tire from worn tire to another worn tire. It isn’t going to give much perf gain, just makes it safer.

    1. It is a performance advantage if you will not suffer the performance degradation that would have been caused by the flat spot. Could have decided to pit earlier as well. A lots of things were taken care of.

      1. Except you don’t realise Hamilton doesn’t have any new sets of supersofts and will actually be disadvantaged by having to use a well worn set from practice?

    2. Arnoud van Houwelingen
      19th June 2016, 12:16

      yes but he get’s a tire without a flatspot. If it so dangerous they could have pitted him after the first lap or put new tires on and start from the pitlane. I mean he made the mistake to lock up in Q2? Now he gets rewarded for his own mistake!!

  12. With Pirelli tires being unsafe just after a Flatspot for safety reasons we should have Michillien or Bridgestone -Fans of F1

  13. I am just thinking if FIA has allowed Rosberg or Vettel to do the same what a firestorm would have been created of conspiracy theories. But since it’s Hamilton, all we have is some mild mannered criticism of fairness :)

  14. Why don’t you anti Hamilton brigade take a day off …. you are getting boring, other drivers make mistakes, make comments, live a jet set lifestyle etc and nobody say’s a word, but when it’s Hamilton you all jump on the band wagon.

    Claiming he is getting preferential treatment is an obsolete joke, all Mercedes are doing is exercising their right under Article 24.4 (g) of the Sporting Regulations which states: “Any such tyres damaged during Q2 will be inspected by the FIA technical delegate who will decide, at his absolute discretion, whether any may be replaced and, if so, which tyres they should be replaced with.” Under this regulation the FIA decide which if any tyre/s can be changed, not the team and not the driver.

    NO precedent if it is in the Sporting Regulations.

    1. Freedom of speech. Look it up. If you don’t like their comments, why read them?

      1. freedom of speech where exactly? Here, on the internet? On a privately owned website? You must be joking or too stupid to think that.

      2. Surely if you don’t like comments, you provide a response and have a debate about it. Don’t avoid them.

  15. If someone locks up and flat spots tyres in the race they do not stop the race so that person can have a free stop they have to carry the issue or drive round until they can enter the pits. Same here he should pit at the end of lap 1. Perez gets a 5 place penalty for changing a gearbox for a mistake in a practice session.

  16. At this point, I don’t know the rationale behind this rule anymore. I thought I know (strategic diversity, punishing errors, highlighting a particular skill), but now I’m not sure.
    But I suspect it is because there wasn’t any?

    1. I believe the original idea was to encourage people to select the prime tyre in Q3 for benefit during the race and mix up the grid a bit. Now its Q2, it makes little sense and they should just scrap it.

  17. I don’t want the rules to become even more complicated, but couldn’t a 5 or 10 second time penalty (to be served at first pitstop) be implemented for this? Give the team a choice to either change the 1 tire (not entire set) or serve the penalty.

  18. Hasn’t anyone considered the possibility that this might actually be a *disadvantage*? Had he been forced to start on the flat-spotted tire, he would perforce have to drive with caution. Now, a fired-up Lewis Hamilton didn’t exactly impress during qualification and the chances are that he will overdrive and have to use the escape routes even if he stays out of the walls. Starting 10th, he has few options but to take his chances…

  19. Not sure why people are accusing HAM of receiving a special care, the rule was just applied and if anyone is annoyed with this he/she can claim to the FIA to change that rule and not HAM. I believe this rule was set for safety concerns, at least this is my own opinion. Cheers.

  20. Simple. Hamilton should start the race on his self-made square tyres and pit at the end of lap one. And if using the flat-spot tyres is “unsafe”, which I don’t believe, then he should change them and start from the pit lane.

    1. Matt Muirhead
      20th June 2016, 1:11

      Not unsafe? Maybe you don’t remember but let me cast your mind back to the 2005 European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, Kimi Raikkonen on the last lap was leading by 1.5 seconds over Fernando Alonso but with a flat spot on the front right tyre. His front right suspension shattered, because of the vibrations caused by the flat spot, and nealy collected BAR he was coming up to lap into the first corner. Fortunately there was a gravel trap to slow him down after turn 1, but there is no gravel at the Baku circuit. If his suspension failed at 220mph into turn 1 we could be looking at another Ayrton Senna or another Jules Bianchi, and he’d be lucky not to take someone else with him into the wall, or hurt fans/marshalls with the flying bits of debris. Yes, the flat spot is definitly safe to be racing with.

      Footage of Kimi’s crash here: https://youtu.be/Uw-USwauS9s

  21. If it avoids the risk of a tyre blowing up on the long straight then fair enough, I’d rather the title contenders fighting it out for the win rather than getting airlifted to hospital.

  22. Some stupid people commenting here.

    It’s a safety issue, the fastest straight on the calendar with a defective tyre? No thanks, does nobody remember Kimi Raikonnen soldiering on with flat spotted front tyres and having the suspension disintegrate under the vibration and cause a crash? Don’t start trying to tell me that the wheel can be re-balanced because it will simply lock up again on the flat spot and go out of balance.

    He’s getting a used tyre, so no advantage anyway.

    The stewards rightly judged that since he posted his Q2 time with the tyres already flat spotted, it was a genuine mistake not the tin foil hat scenarios being posted here…

    1. If there ever was a ‘tin foil hat’ scenario, you’d think it was the extra 30 seconds race control decided to wait for Rosberg to set his pole lap before throwing the red flag to recover Hamilton, but it’s somewhat irrelevant as the Merc would have been quick enough to do it anyway.

  23. Hamilton’s worst ever session ever. He made mistakes from lap one, his session-ending one being really stupid for someone of his level. I don’t think a single lock-up can be so dangerous, when done in the race drivers pit not to lose time, not for fear of it blowing up, but I will trust Pirelli. Still, nothing lost yet for Lewis despite having been really dismal.

  24. So by most peoples view on here, if you damage your tyres so that they are dangerous you should start with them like that or a grid penalty. So what if a driver knocks half his wing off? Or if he has a coolant leak? Should they be forced to start like this?

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