Teams prefer softest rubber again in Austria tyre choices

2017 Austrian Grand Prix

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Most teams have opted for large quantities of the softest tyres available for next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Formula One’s official tyre supplier Pirelli has confirmed the selections made by all the drivers for the race at the Red Bull Ring.

Mercedes has chosen eight sets of the ultra-soft tyres for its drivers. That’s one more than the seven chosen by Ferrari and one fewer than Red Bull. Force India and McLaren have selected the largest quantity of ultra-soft tyres and will have ten sets available for each of their drivers.

Last year Sebastian Vettel suffered a sudden failure on one of his super-soft tyres while leading the race.

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
Fernando Alonso 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 Austrian 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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    25 comments on “Teams prefer softest rubber again in Austria tyre choices”

    1. Going to be interesting race watch. guess it will be another 1stop race.

    2. This season tyres so far:
      “Teams prefer softest rubber in [insert race here] tyre choices”

      1. Yeah but to be honest I prefer this than saving the tyre era.

        1. It would be ideal if starting on US would need two more stops (another US and a SS) OR a one stop for S. This would also alow those outside of Q3 to start on S and either go for two (US) stops or just one for S.

          If you can’t follow, my point is basically that at least having two viable strategies (1 stop vs. 2 stop) would make things more interesting.

          1. While what you say is wonderful to have. The truth is, across circuits, the surface, the type of corners, relative strength of cars vary significantly. Hence, to make a US-S strategy and a US-US-SS strategy or for that matter any two strategies to be within 10 seconds of each other in terms of total race time and that too for 11 different cars is incredibly difficult. Reason I have chosen 10 seconds is because that is the typical time difference that could be variable in a race due to factors such as SC, good/bad start, traffic and strategists would hence consider the two (or more) strategies as equally viable

            Consider this: 10 seconds difference in a typical 90 minute race amounts to a difference of less than 0.2% (practically nothing). So, what we fans are asking for is for two solutions and both to be equally optimal to solving the same problem. However, if one were to study optimization in some deeper detail, it can be easily observed there is almost always one and only one solution that is most optimal. Other solutions would be near the optimal, but would they be 99.8% optimal? Only in very rare cases.

            1. Well, that’s why we don’t have just 3 tyre choices but 5 to pick from depending on the track. If Pirelli could soften all of them a bit you could chose tyres from those 5 more or less like this:

              Softest Tyre: 20%-30% race distance before significant laptime dropoff
              Middle Tyre: 40%-50% race distance before significant laptime dropoff
              Harder Tyre: 60%-70% race distance before significant laptime dropoff

            2. @jeffryj: Again,very difficult to even have a 10% range. In races like Monaco and Sochi, even the softest possible tyre would do over 50% of the race.

              And I almost forgot to mention that while the tyres are fixed for a season, the cars are not. Teams are allowed to make advancements to the cars which would enable them to extract higher life from the tyres but Pirelli can make no changes to their tyres. Hence, the US will do more % of the race on the tracks that are later in the season.

              Overall, we must accept that trying to have multiple strategies (within 99.8% of each other) for every race and for every car is pretty much impossible. Pirelli and FIA did that experiment for 6 years and got nowhere.

              The current long lasting tyres are the best solution available, no doubt.

            3. @sumedhvidwans, I’m glad that people like yourself and sumedh are rightly pointing out that it is rather difficult to design a tyre that will do a set race distance when you are dealing with a very wide range of circuits, where you can have fairly sizeable differences in ambient conditions, surface abrasiveness, cornering loads and so forth, combined with a range of cars that, whilst some might moan are too similar, can be quite different in handling characteristics (which,a s you rightly point out, is compounded by the fact that the cars are changing during the season as they are developed).

              If you have, for example, a car which tends to be front traction limited – there is an argument that the W08, at least in the early season, was slightly front traction limited – then tyre compounds which may suit them are likely to be different to those for a rear traction limited car, which appears to have been the case for the RB13 (Ricciardo and Verstappen both made reference to lacking rear grip and downforce in the opening races).

            4. Racing dave
              27th June 2017, 22:42

              I think considering a 10 second time difference over 90mins for different tyre strategies just shows how bloody awesome the drivers are!!

          2. I think the only way to get truly viable multiple strategies is to force a lap limit per tyre type. For example teams are only allowed to do 15 laps on the softest tire before having to change the tyre, no matter how worn the tyre is. They can then do a max of 30 laps on the medium compound selected for the weekend and unlimited laps on the hardest compound. Of course the super clever statisticians will have to work out pit stop times so that each tire becomes a viable choice and how many laps you are allowed on each tyre.

      2. @hugh11 Pretty much! Let’s see what happens when they pick how many ultra-softs they want for Spa…

      3. It’s already because of the qualifying teams go for softest option. Mostly it’s 1-2-4 or 1-1-5 (from hardest to softest) when two sets have been relinquished after each practice session.

    3. This year is much better without the stupidly high degradation, I’d rather see no pitstops than tyres made of cheese.

      1. @sham Most low-degradation races are boring, as everyone is on the same strategy. Those races may be more interesting if the drivers are not required to use different compounds in the race, so there may be some strategic variation. Still, I found the multiple-stop races in 2011-2013 generally more fun to watch, even though I didn’t like the tyre saving.

        1. I don’t mind the need to use two compounds, though I wish there was no mandatory selection. I think having some strategy variation is great… My ideal would be free choice from 3 compounds which all have stable performance over their life, but a life that falls short of a full race distance. Obviously the softer compounds should not last as long as the harder ones but none should be so fragile they can’t be pushed for 20 laps.

          But I would prefer no pitstops to cheesetyre™, that’s all.

    4. Seems a little pointless having the Medium and Hard compound tyres anymore – perhaps it’s time to do away with them. Simplify the situation by renaming the US, SS and S tyres as soft, medium, and hard.

      Just seems a little silly that the hardest tyre that gets significant usage is the so-called soft compound.

    5. If you’re going to be rammed from behind, I guess a softer rubber is best.

      1. Brilliant. Hahaha.

      2. or harder rear

      3. Comment of the day!

    6. I really think they should be allowed to mix the compounds on the car. If the circuit means front right degrades faster than have a step harder perhaps. Fully expect to be shot down, but wouldn’t this help to potentially diverge strategies.

      Williams and Valteri Bottas have of course been penalised for an accidental trial of this strategy.

      1. True, that penalty was in Spa in 2015 when Valtteri had a Medium on the left rear while all other tyres were Soft.

    7. Fairness should prevail always even among competitors

    8. brilliant idea it is. going the rubber way

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