Drivers prefer ultra-softs in first tyre choices of 2017

2017 Monaco Grand Prix

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Drivers have overwhelmingly preferred the ultra-soft tyre in their first selection of compounds for 2017.

Next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix will be the first race this season where drivers have been given the choice of how many sets of each compound to use.

With the exception of the returniung Jenson Button, no driver has taken any sets of the soft tyre beyond the one they are required to take under the regulations.

The Red Bull, Renault and Williams drivers have also taken just one set of the super-softs, giving them a maximum allocation of 11 sets of super-softs. The Mercedes drivers were content with just nine sets of the latter, having selected three sets of super-softs.

Driver Team Tyres
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
Valtteri Bottas Mercedes
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
Max Verstappen Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
Sergio Perez Force India
Esteban Ocon Force India
Felipe Massa Williams
Lance Stroll Williams
Jenson Button McLaren
Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren
Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
Romain Grosjean Haas
Kevin Magnussen Haas
Nico Hulkenberg Renault
Jolyon Palmer Renault
Pascal Wehrlein Sauber
Marcus Ericsson Sauber

2017 Monaco Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    30 comments on “Drivers prefer ultra-softs in first tyre choices of 2017”

    1. Typo returniung

    2. I wonder if Jenson just didn’t bother changing any tyre options from default before submitting his choice because he cares so little?

      Let’s be honest, I think he’s on track for a no stop race. Actually, if a driver isn’t on the last lap at the end of the race, can they still be classified if they haven’t made the mandatory tyre change? I mean nothing in the rules says you can’t wait until the last lap, but if you’re classified before you’re on the last lap are you penalised for not yet having made the stop?

      1. Neil (@neilosjames)
        16th May 2017, 23:09

        Had never even considered that could happen. But from the way the Sporting Regulations are worded I’m near-certain it would count as not using both specifications and he’d get disqualified for it. Can’t even see a way to creatively interpret the wording to make it OK (unfortunately, because I think it’d be great if someone did it and a massive argument blew up).

        1. I wonder if you could make the pit stop after the final lap is completed and you’re classified. Then even if you lose places in the pit, you’ve been classified and you’ve made the mandatory change.

          1. Here is interesting one:
            I understand that the formation lap is counted as lap 1. What if you start the formation lap on the harder compound and enter your pit box; lights go green; 3sec pit stop for US; and off you go being last but having the best tyres.
            By the end of the lap you will have caught up the other cars.
            And if there is a SC you’ll be laughing your way to a super result ;)

            Is this legal/allowed? @neilosjames, @philipgb

            1. @f1-liners

              I understand that the formation lap is counted as lap 1

              Erm, no.

            2. Thanks @?nase, probably confused with the reduction in race laps when more than 1 formation lap.

              But even so, technically it is still possible:
              – a tyre is deemed used when leaving the pit (which it has)
              – as soon as the lights goes green the tyre is used in the race (similar for all other cars who now count their tyre as being used);
              – swap to US and leave the pit, and you used both sets.

              This is probably not what the rules intended, but I cannot see which rule it explicitly breaks.

            3. Neil (@neilosjames)
              17th May 2017, 18:05

              @f1-liners That might work… depends on what counts as being a ‘live’ part of the race track at the start, and how a tyre becomes officially ‘used’. I think a tyre has to pass a certain invisible line to record as ‘used’, so if the car was stationary as the race started, I don’t think those tyres would count.

              Maybe if we didn’t park the car in the pit box first, there’d be more chance of it working…

              So, pull into the pits at the end of the formation lap. Park in the pit lane before the point of the start line (pit garage after the start line necessary). When the race starts, drive forward over the start line – which might record those tyres as used – pull into the pit box, fit new tyres, drive out.

              But I’m not convinced that’d work either – cars starting from the pit lane aren’t in the race until they actually cross the line at the end, so the start line might only work as a ‘trigger point’ for cars on the actual track.

              (I bet a few of the teams have employees whose sole job is to sit pondering loopholey stuff like this…)

          2. @philipgb

            I wonder if you could make the pit stop after the final lap is completed and you’re classified. Then even if you lose places in the pit, you’ve been classified and you’ve made the mandatory change.

            If you pit after the final lap, your race is officially over. That way, you would be unable to complete at least one lap on a second compound (completing another lap after the end of the race would only make matters worse for you, as it wouldn’t count as a lap of the race, and of course it’s illegal to cross the finish line again after seen the chequered flag – be it in the pits or on the track), falling foul of that rule.


      2. @philipgb as @neilosjames says, the rule probably goes like “every driver must use two different tyre compounds during a race”. So even if you’re a lap behind, you didn’t run both compounds, so you’re not following the rule.

      3. I’d say it confirms that JB has no intention to stop more than once even if that means after a lap 1 safety car. It’s not a bad strategy frankly, pitting on lap 1 and for sure the soft is going to last the whole race, not to say the SS won’t but it might not.

        1. makes more sense to start on the soft and wait for the inevitable safety car, get rid of it for a cheap pit stop and run to the end on the super soft.

      4. When we’re these picks made?
        Before or after Alonso’s Indy announcement?

      5. The rules state that driver will be disqualified if he has not used both compounds. The exception is when the race is stopped early, in which case there’s 30-second penalty.

    3. Interesting that Merc have opted for 1 less set of Ultrasoft tyres than most other teams, including their main rivals Ferrari. Is that because they think the Merc is less ultrasoft friendly?

      Can this race be a one-stopper first the US and then the softer option? If so, Ferrari might try running longer on their ultrasofts if their track position at the time allows it.

      1. It will be an easy 1 stopper this year, as Hamilton even did a 1 stopper with 47 laps on the ultrasofts last year(after doing 31 laps on inters), with much softer variants of these compounds than we have now.

        1. Oh, he started on full wets, not inters.

    4. This years hard tyre really doesn’t work all that well & were unlikely to see it again so I think they should just do away with it & rename the current Ultra/Soft/Medium to Soft/Medium/Hard.

      I also still think they should drop the rule forcing them to run 2 different compounds, Let them do whatever they want. If a driver doesn’t like a certain compound or a car simply doesn’t work on a certain compound I don’t see any positives in forcing them to use it & drive around been less competitive just because of a rule that was brought in purely to keep some focus on the then tyre supplier (Bridgestone) in the absence of a tyre war.

      1. yahbasic (@thedogjustpukedonme)
        17th May 2017, 0:45

        Yep, agree on both points.

      2. @gt-racer You’re forgetting the Super Soft, but yes, I don’t think the hard tyre will be viable at all this year unless Pirelli switch to their ‘aggressive’ set of tyres.

        1. unless Pirelli switch to their ‘aggressive’ set of tyres.

          @sparkyamg Hope they don’t feel the need to do that as I think the tyres have been great this year so far in that there is still some wear but it’s a level that still allows the drivers to push hard without worrying about killing them.

    5. Aggressive strategy by RBR, that said STR has gone conservatively, perhaps that’s why. Mercedes strategy is safe anyway their car suits Monaco I’m sure they won’t want to let a favourable weekend slip away.

      1. @peartree

        Not too sure on the Merc suiting Monaco. I was surprised to see them so strong in S3 in Barcelona, because if we look back at Russia’s S3 where the ultra-softs were last used, Merc (Hamilton in particular) struggled quite a bit there relative to Ferrari.

        It could go either way this weekend and I think will depend on whether Merc can get the tyres working consistently.

    6. Button goes long on his first stint, no one can overtake him in Monaco, there is no place for it really. He pits under a safety car while running 3rd, loses no positions and fits the US with 15 laps to go. Podium is guaranteed.

      Last lap, engine blows up and he loses the podium.

      You heard it here first

      1. Doesn’t work, anyway the field will be in a train behind him so with a safety car he will lose all the places.
        If the McLaren is competitive he should qualify well and just run the best regular strategy – a solid 7th (behind the 3 front running teams) would be certainly help McL.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        17th May 2017, 16:49

        Or more likely, Button breaks down on the formation lap and spends the majority of the race in a Monaco bar.

        1. Ah! I’m a half full glass kind of guy

    7. Strange that Renault, Williams and Red Bull only take one set of super-softs. After all, they will be required to use them in the race (assuming they don’t use the softs) and would probably like to use a new set. However, this means that they do not have a chance to try the tyre in free practice.

      I think Ferrari’s (or even Mercedes’) allocation makes more sense. Try out the super-soft in free practice, and then still have a new set for the race.

    8. I’m wondering, if they only have 1 set of SS, and they will obviously use it in the race, can’t they use any SS sets in practice?

      1. Correct – if they’re planning on running the SS for any significant length of time in the race (which they might not be planning on).

        Sometimes you’ll see teams putting the tyres through a heat cycle before they’re used so you might see Red Bull for example run them for a lap in practice.

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