Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

“Massive differences” expected when teams reveal true performance

2017 F1 season

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“Massive differences” in performance are expected when teams unleash the full potential of their new cars for 2017, according to Pirelli.

Formula One’s official tyre supplier has seen very low degradation from its new, wider tyres. However it believes teams are holding back from showing just how quickly they can go.

Motorsport directory Paul Hembery told F1 Fanatic that Pirelli that in terms of reducing degradation they are “well beyond the levels that we were asked to provide so there’s much less degradation.”

Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
In pictures: Test one at the Circuit de Catalunya
However he admitted “it’s hard because when we looked at data [on Tuesday] it’s hard to believe some of it because we were having a few tenths of a second [degradation] over 18 or 19 laps.”

“You really don’t know what they’re doing, what programmes they’re running. It’s very early days.”

Many of the top teams are not expected to run with their first race specification parts until they arrive in Australia. Hembery said Pirelli “need to get the cars with the correct performance because if we’re talking three or four seconds quicker than we’re running today that’s like going from GP2 to Formula One.”

“So these are massive differences yet we are going to see, that could change absolutely everything. It may be that we’re being too conservative, that’s one aspect, then some say you’re being too aggressive. You could only tell that when we’ve got the true performance of the cars.”

“We can look at the data, we’ve got an idea of the cornering data, which you can imagine people in testing maybe aren’t running the power train to the maximum of its ability, which is normal.”

“We’ll probably get some cornering speed data which will tell us where we’re at. Even having said that we don’t believe that there’s many cars running with their definitive aero packages, if at all. It would be very strange if they were because it’s such a big change. They’ll all be wanting to keep hold of any details right to the end.”

Pirelli has predicted lap times at this year’s Spanish Grand Prix could be as low as one minute 17 seconds – five seconds inside last year’s pole position time.

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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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  • 27 comments on ““Massive differences” expected when teams reveal true performance”

    1. yeah sure !! For ex. McLaren are clearly 5 seconds quicker than what they’ve shown thus far !! :D

      1. Cant tell if sarcasm or Zak Brown.

      2. If we all took Mclaren as the benchmark, formula 1 would become one of the slowest racing series on earth.

        I think the rest of the grid would probably improve by 3 to 4 seconds from last year’s times.

        1. “If we all took Mclaren as the benchmark, formula 1 would become one of the slowest racing series on earth.”

          I started following F1 as a seven year old in 1988. I never in my life expected to hear a statement like the one above.

          1. @maroonjack The late 80ies were my starting point as well, and little me used to hate McLaren quite a lot… I am missing that. A team which’s competitiveness is missed by the fans of their rivals is a team that went downwards too far. Now we have to race energy drinks and a saloons-for-the-elderly-manufacterer, which just isn’t quite the same.

            1. Tony Mansell
              6th March 2017, 15:11

              Hes saying the 2-4-5 seconds they’ve been quicker is just the top of the iceberg. Im thinking 10 in qually.

              We are going to see a lot of drivers run out of talent and go straight to the scene of the accident. Wont be a Stroll in the park for everyone. Just hope it doesn’t end in something worse than tears.

          2. To be fair, McLaren was 3 seconds off the pace in 2009 as well, and by the end of the season, they were competing for podiums and wins.

            Of course, they also had the only decent KERS system at that point too. :)

            1. They had a Mercedes in the back at that point of time… now they have a Honda

    2. Paul Hembery has said several times now that the new tyres are “well beyond the levels that we were asked to provide so there’s much less degradation.”

      Am I reading this wrong or does that mean they have failed? If I ask someone to build a wall 4ft high and they build it 5ft, that’s not a good thing. If F1 wanted tyres that were more durable and Pirelli’s solution is to create tyres that can last a whole season, that is not good…..

      1. @petebaldwin I read it more as a statement from Pirelli: “You asked us to make high degrading tyres and we were criticised for it, now we make low degrading tyres so don’t you dare to criticise us again”.

        1. ExcitedAbout17
          6th March 2017, 14:42

          It’s more that they’ve been ask to build a 4ft wall around a kindergarten so the kids can’t jump over.
          And now suddenly all parents show up with the short 3yo children rather than the normal 5yo’s.

          Pirelli just wants the normal sized 5yo’s to show up, to test if the wall is high enough.

      2. Well I guess when you aren’t allowed to test anything properly it’s a hard task!

      3. Once the cars actually start leaning on these tyres when the season starts for real, i don’t think they will be quite as durable as it seems right now.

        1. @N That’s what I’m reading into this too. No final aero packages on the cars. Them just doing systems runs and setup experimentation. Track temps lower than will be the case for most of the races. And they haven’t followed cars lap after lap under said true racing conditions to see how the fronts will react in dirty air.

      4. I don’t want to see build to degrade tyres, nor super durable tyres – just the fastest tyres.
        Then let it to the teams and drivers If they push and do two stops or If they try to preserve the tyres and do zero stops.

        It just destroys so many strategy options and all the excitement for the viewers when everyone knows that a driver hasn’t done the mandatory pit stop yet so will definitely Fall back at the end.
        I wanna see drivers stay out and risk it!

        1. it always will be a trade off.
          Extreme grip comes with degradation and less degradation means lesser grip. So somewhere in the middle they will meet.
          The fastest tires ( looking at some of the turnspeed in Barcelona they succeeded already) with little degradation .

      5. @petebaldwin My understanding from that statement is based upon the pre-season testing Pirelli are easily meeting their contractual obligations, which is a currently good for Pirelli, but also a bit of a worry because none of the cars are performing to real race conditions. So the problem for Pirelli is they won’t know if they have guessed correctly the performance of this season’s cars until well into the race at Melbourne.
        A better illustration for your wall is if you asked a contractor to build a wall around the garden so your dog doesn’t wander onto the neighbours property or out on to the street, and they built the wall 4 feet high, but when the contractor asked you to trial the wall as it is for a week to see if the dog would jump over, so he could see if it was adequate or not, you kept the dog on a long chain. Maybe the wall will do its job, but you can’t be sure until you unleash the hound.

        1. Completely agree with what @drycrust and @robbie are saying; don’t forget, Pirelli got simulation data from all the teams to produce the tyres; seems that so far they aren’t close to what those say.

          But in addition, Pirelli had to built the tyres strong enough to cope with what downforce teams expect to have end of season (again, simulation data) which is both expected to vary lot, and be a big step too.

      6. I think the problem Pirelli have is that no-one has yet really opened up the taps and given the tyres a good belting. The tyre deg will almost certainly be higher then, but Pirelli have no data to work with. Mercedes appear to have used the first test mainly for familiarisation and reliability proving and this week they may go for performance testing and then the tyre durability will finally get properly tested.

    3. Estaban de los Casas
      6th March 2017, 15:33

      Seems obvious after four days. Baring mechanical issues Hamilton wins the Drivers Championship with ten victories

    4. Feel for Pirelli. They are going to get criticized no matter what. They are such an easy target.

      They have to make these tyres extra durable as they have no idea what these genius teams are going to come up with. Just look at Brawn and co. in 2009. If Pirelli don’t allow for the most durable tyre they can to withstand the most downforce ladden car that is possible then their tyres start going pop, and we saw what happens here for Michelin in 2005.
      .
      So I think we need to cut Pirelli some slack. And also remember that Pirelli have to design a tyre that will hold up not only to the Melbourne spec cars, but to the rapid ongoing development up until Abu Dhabi. That is no easy task, and I for one would rather see one stop races than no racing at all – or with these new cars with huge cornering speed, potentially worse.

    5. I think Ferrari and Red Bull are definitely hiding some performance. Not sure if Mercedes is or isn’t.

      1. I would be pretty shocked if it was released that the Mercedes engine was at 100% during any point of the first test.

        1. I don’t think the Ferrari was either. They managed to run one engine throughout the 4 days of testing, as did Haas! I’m pretty sure that engine wouldn’t last if they were running it at 100% output. Since Renault introduced a new layout, I doubt they were running at 100% either. Just think about Honda though. They never ran any engine at 100% output and yet they went through 5 engines in 4 days.

      2. Mercedes will hold their true performance till Mid year the way their going

        1. Haha. Till Melbourne Q3.. I’m pretty sure of it.

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