Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2017

Harder tyres are “way too hard” – Ricciardo

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Formula One’s harder tyre compounds are far too hard this year according to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

The hardest tyres will be used for the first time in a race weekend next week at the Circuit de Catalunya but Ricciardo is concerned drivers will find it difficult to use them.

“We’re going for the harder tyres for the first time this year in Barcelona,” he said. “I’m not sure if it’ll help us or not but I just don’t think it’s going to be good for anyone.”

“The tyres are already hard enough so the harder compounds are just way too hard. Hopefully for Barcelona’s sake it’s hot and therefore these harder tyres work, but if it’s cold then it’s going to be a struggle for everyone.”

Pirelli’s new, wider tyres for 2017 were developed in a series of tests involving Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari next season. F1’s official tyre supplier has also produced a back-up set of more aggressive tyres but has not used them yet and has said it does not expect to.

The final sector of the Barcelona track is where drivers often have the most problems with their tyres.

“The end of the lap is quite slow and that’s where your tyres start to drop off which is why it’s really hard to finish the lap clean,” said Ricciardo.

“Barcelona is one of the better circuits on the calendar and it’s got a bit of everything. Turns 1, 2 and 3 are really good flowing corners and the last section is very technical.”

Red Bull is bringing a revised version of its RB13 to the next race having been unable to contend with the top two teams during the opening four rounds.

“I hope the upgrade will give us a chance to really fight with Mercedes and Ferrari or at least get us closer,” said Ricciardo.

2017 Spanish 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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  • 44 comments on “Harder tyres are “way too hard” – Ricciardo”

    1. I agree. Why not go one step softer and encourage more pit stops.

      1. Because the FIA mandate to Pirelli was to stop the ‘designed to degrade’ tyres.

        1. That’s fine they shouldn’t degrade but what Ricciardo means is there is not enough GRIP!

          1. This is Pirelli we’re talking about! None have blown up yet and the general opinion seems to be that drivers and fans don’t hate them…. I think we should accept that this is much better than we could have possibly hoped for.

            It’d be like the Honda engine being miles off the pace but being more reliable. You could criticise them for being slow but it’s to be expected so why bother? You’d be better congratulating them for finally designing an engine that can last a whole GP weekend!

          2. @s2g-unit, what Ricciardo means is that Red Bull cannot get the tyres into the correct working temperature range to generate the maximum performance out of them, which is why they don’t have enough grip.

            A couple of days ago, Marko gave an interview to Auto Motor und Sport where he stated that Red Bull have had a lot of problems with the rear tyres being too cold because they are lacking rear downforce, and therefore cannot “work” them hard enough to generate enough core temperature.

            In an attempt to compensate for that, they have been running extremely marginal rear brake cooling to heat the inside of the tyre with hot air from the rear brakes, helping them get them up to temperature. However, as we saw in Bahrain and Russia, they are now so marginal on rear brake temperatures that they are extremely prone to overheating and failing, hence the failures for Verstappen and Ricciardo in quick succession.

            Even with the updated car coming for the Spanish GP, I can’t help but wonder whether Red Bull are worried that they still won’t be able to get the tyres up to temperature and are desperate for softer compounds to try and help them out.

    2. With the new wider tyres it was an opportunity to change the names of the compounds. Having only one ‘hard’ compound and three ‘soft’ (including super and ultra) makes no sense. They should have shifted 1 compound up with introducing extra hard and dropping ultra soft.

      I know it sounds cooler to have an ‘ultra soft’ rather than an ‘extra hard’ but being able to do 41 laps (Hülkenberg Sochi) on ultrasofts does not sound cool.

      1. I agree, the Pirelli naming strategy is a bit odd.

        “Super Soft – Soft – Medium – Hard – Extra Hard” would seem to make sense as the Medium would be back in the middle of the range again.

      2. That’s what I thought too

      3. So what we’re saying is that they need some softer tyres? What is softer than Ultra Soft?

        1. @petebaldwin hypersoft, duh!

          1. Miss Pronounced
            6th May 2017, 7:19


        2. Cheese, Marshmallow, Jello, all good choices for Pirelli F1 tyres.

    3. montey carlo (@roundtheoutside)
      5th May 2017, 14:30

      I was saying as early as before pre season testing that I wanted tyres to last as many laps as they did in 2016 but be able to do those laps on the limit. It would make strategy more diverse. There’s no strategy diversity apart from stopping a lap sooner or later than your rival with little or no variation. Ultras should not be lasting 47 laps distance like hulk did. Last years ultras had about 6 tenths over the SS and would last around 7 laps compared to SS that lasted about double that on paper. No point in even having medium or hard tyres this year if ultras can get to half distance, same kinda thing in the bridgestone vs Michelin era, the difference is refueling made tactics more diverse. I’m against refueling but comparing the refueling bridge stone vs michellin era to strategy this year, u see less diversity this year and its more about whoever blinks early enough or too late with little to no in between. I wanna see guys trying 3 stoppers and more sprint stints, and seeing people try to make it on 1 stops, or even at a colder race where the specific circuit isn’t so hard on tyres people could try no pit stops. If u want good racing u need this diversity

      1. I agree wholeheartedly that these tyres seems to be too hard, and that a perfect race would be between a 2 and 3 stopper like much of 2016 was.

        However, ‘sprint’ stints will never be a preferred strategy over ‘endurance’ stints when the cars cannot follow and pass each other. Track position is king in this formula and changing the tyres again won’t change much unless the aero changes. I have hope we’ll get there, but it’ll take another few years yet. 2020/2021 perhaps.

        1. montey carlo (@roundtheoutside)
          5th May 2017, 15:26

          I think it depends on the track too. Places like Canada, China , spa, sepang, usa , mexico, bahrain, promote overtaking more than other tracks, but yeah you’re right, the calander as a majority does not favour passing, so sprints could work in the places i mentioned. Or a midfield or back marker can bank on a safety car in the last third of the way through the race.

      2. @roundtheoutside True, if there is less degradation, the gaps in outright pace between the compounds should also be smaller. As in the Bridgestone era, the harder compounds should actually be faster over a race distance, because otherwise they won’t be used (very much) in the weekend otherwise. Last year in Spain, with a few exceptions, only the soft and the mediums were used in the race, which actually reduced the strategic possibilities as every driver had a set of useless hard tires and therefore not enough useful mediums. This year the situation will be much worse if the current soft tires are similar to last year’s hard tires. With the current degradation levels the gap between adjacent compounds should be no more than a few tenths to get strategic variation. Unfortunately, these small speed differences are likely not enough to promote overtaking. We need a little more tire degradation. I must say I don’t understand why Pirelli elected not to bring the supersoft tire to Spain.

    4. Michael Brown (@)
      5th May 2017, 14:35

      How about soft tires but they don’t have that dumb thermal degradation?

      1. pastaman (@)
        5th May 2017, 15:45

        They have those already this year, but this race they are required to use the hard compound.

        1. @pastaman Wrong, both medium and hard have the ‘must be used in the race at some point’ status, so, i.e., they aren’t required to use the hard compound. As long as they use two different compounds (soft-medium, soft-hard, or medium-hard), they’re OK. The exception of only the hardest compound of any given combination having the ‘race mandatory’ status was only applied to three circuits last year.

          1. pastaman (@)
            6th May 2017, 1:46

            @jerejj thanks, I know how it works. The point I was trying to make is that we do not have thermal degradation tires this year like we’ve had previously.

      2. I don’t think Pirelli knows how to make tyres that do what we would really want them to do.

        1. I don’t think Pirelli knows how to make tyres that do what we would really want them to do

          I can’t blame them given how F1 fans don’t even know themselves what they want half the time.

    5. AntoineDeParis (@antoine-de-paris)
      5th May 2017, 14:39

      As a fan I don’t see any problem with tires so far. Enjoying this season very much.

    6. I’d love to see the chicane in the final sector go.

      1. This. Just imagine the overtaking if the chicane was deleted, and the last two corners were merged and rounded off to make a multi-apex sweeper…

        But no, we can’t have nice things.

      2. I’d love for the last sector to change into a Turkey turn-8, but obviously a right hander.

        Multiple apexes, very fast and sweeping, leading onto the main straight. Incredible speeds.

    7. I’m actually afraid that suddenly RB steps ups and dominates faultlessly. We know that today’s Ferrari can make races unpredictable by making mistakes but RB is the type of team to win every race it has a sniff to win (monaco last year excluded)

      1. @peartree, they’ll need a Ferrari, AMG or equivalent engine for that to happen, not likely this year.

    8. JamesMarcus
      5th May 2017, 17:31

      I don’t get this obsession from some fans insisting races need to feature 2-3 stops.

      I suppose thats good if all you care about is strategy but as somebody that cares only for the on-track action i’d rather the cars be in the pits as few times as possible so we can go back to the focus been on the track rather than the pits.

      Ditch the dumb mandatory stop, Stop using tyres & pit stops as gimmicks & let teams and drivers do whatever they want like it used to be when the racing & proper overtaking on the track was actually the main focus rather than all this tyre degredation, forced stop nonsense we have to put up with today.

      Let them not stop at all, Let them stop once or let them do more if they feel its best to do so.

      Using tyres as gimmicks, Using pit stops as gimmicks & creating all this fake non-racing is a big part of why f1 is in the state its in! The racing on the track is sadly taking a back seat to all this dumb gimmicks & thats why the racing is of such low quality nowadays that everyone seems to feel the need to see those dumb gimmicks!

      1. Hooray! Sense at last :)

      2. Agreed. Also, as Keith noted in a past article, pit stop strategies are fun only in the beginning, when teams are still learning to use it to their advantage. After one season (or after a few races), when everybody has got the hang of it, pit stops become second hand and, barring failure by a mechanic, nothing exciting happens.

      3. Bravo,bravo James, Encore, encore.

      4. Yep, let’s make it all about qualifying and the start.

        Please let’s have more races like Sochi but with tyres that last even longer.

        It would be fantastic if we can stop watching the race after the first corner because we know that no-one can overtake with all this aero and tyres that last forever.

        In fact, let’s stop the race after one lap seeing as there’s no point to it.


    9. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      5th May 2017, 21:44

      I’m shocked to hear a Red Bull employee come out and say they want this and not that.
      Red Bull remind me of a rich kid who were invited to the party, and fuss about everything until they get their own way.

    10. I’m assuming that whatever they feel needs tweeking with tires can and will easily happen since Pirelli now will have proper 2017 cars to test tires on, rather than previous cars with attempts to make them 2017-ish. Ie. If the tires aren’t quite right that’s a function of very limited testing on not quite the right cars. It will only get better going forward.

      1. @robbie, first we have to eliminate the decree that says the tyres must be a major talking point.

        1. @hohum True. I think they’re getting there though. They’re able to be pushed at least. They seem to need downforce to get heat into them, so in that regard, since we need less downforce not more going forward, I can see them softening them up next year, but keeping them with a much wider operating window than the previous narrower tires. Brawn’s influence should help them find a good balance.

    11. Talking about tires and how to engineer them is the wrong way round, we should be talking about how to get the best performance and race.

      First i would remove the markings in the tyre, let the teams guess what the competitor is doing.
      Next i would remove the demanded two compounds during the race, just demand that a tyre change needs to take place some where between 15-85% of the race
      Re introduce the ability to refuel

      This gives the teams to choose the teams the ability to adopt a strategy that suites their car.
      If you can’t get the hard up to temp, just pit three times and refuel. Your lighter and have fresher rubber
      If you can, just go for hard and fill het up, slower in the beginning bat faster in the end.

    12. The hardest compound in all the races thus far has only been used in practice and the selections wete made for the teams so 2 sets of hardest compound. Is Spain 1st track teams have chosen allocation? If so I expect only 1 set of the hardest compound to have been selected. The interest for the rest of the season is the split of the 2 softer compounds. Shame in a way as last year it added interest when all 3 compounds were plausable to use. Maybe next year the compounds will be brought closer. Still very hard to make 5 compounds work equally on 20 different tracks.

    13. Why can’t they just allow each team to nominate the type of tyres they want to run at a particular race at least two races before required . That way we get different strategies and the teams can run the optimum tyres for their chassis set up and race strategy .

    14. My idea would be to change the rules so that each car HAS to use all three compounds during quali or the race.

      During quali, you have to select a tyre compound for each section (q1, q2 and q3), and stick to it for the entire section unless you use inters or wets. So basically you can swap to new tyres of the same compound, but not change dry compound.

      As long as a Sauber on softs is quicker around Barcelona on one lap than a Merc on hard tyres, you could end up with proper one and two stop strategies in the same race and more chance of mixed up grids.

      Use inters or wets in the race and the same rules apply.

      What do you think?

    15. Riccardo’s neck is so wide in that pic it’s like Roger Mellie’s from Viz.

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