McLaren make most aggressive tyre selection for Suzuka

2017 Japanese Grand Prix

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McLaren has been especially aggressive in its tyre selection for next week’s Japanese Grand Prix.

At the home race for engine supplier Honda, McLaren has picked ten sets of the super-soft tyre to use at the Suzuka circuit.

Championship contenders Ferrari and Mercedes have been considerably more conservative. All their drivers will have seven sets of the super-softs. Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel will also have one more set of soft tyres than their team mates.

The Red Bull drivers will have nine sets of the super-soft tyres for next weekend’s race.

Lewis HamiltonMercedes
Valtteri BottasMercedes
Daniel RicciardoRed Bull
Max VerstappenRed Bull
Sebastian VettelFerrari
Kimi RaikkonenFerrari
Sergio PerezForce India
Esteban OconForce India
Felipe MassaWilliams
Lance StrollWilliams
Fernando AlonsoMcLaren
Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren
Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso
Daniil KvyatToro Rosso
Romain GrosjeanHaas
Kevin MagnussenHaas
Nico HulkenbergRenault
Jolyon PalmerRenault
Pascal WehrleinSauber
Marcus EricssonSauber

2017 Japanese 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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    15 comments on “McLaren make most aggressive tyre selection for Suzuka”

    1. 3 sets of mediums for the Force India’s? Interesting decision

    2. Should be interesting, only mclaren has committed to a tyre. Sfi has an eye on 1 stopping but it might be the case that the soft can last very long thwarting any alternative strategy.

    3. Does it matter when your car can’t reach Finish line

      1. If they get the tyres right, Alonso can have a bit of fun for 3 laps before the switch the DRS on…..

        1. It’s just to look in good shape for f1fanatic’s “first lap positions gained” tables.

    4. Thought it was the Malaysian grand prix??

      1. The Malaysian Grand Prix tyre selections were announced last week:

    5. I’m going to the Japanese GP and looking forward to a good time – I hope McLaren-Honda can catch a break and get a decent finish.

    6. What I took from this is more about the tyre choices of Bottas and Kimi. I note that both Merc and Ferrari feel the same about their second drivers.
      1 : Probably won’t qualify as high as their team mate and will need alternative race strategy.
      2 : Even if they qualify high or start well, they will be needed to keep others behind them. Switch drivers on track and then run them long on a slower tyre and reduce the risk of the #1 drivers stealing points off each other.

      With note #2. It just goes to show that while they aren’t saying it publicly, both Merc and Ferrari are backing their #1 drivers. They will only admit that after a race where they ask their drivers to switch positions. They may never need to admit it if the #1 enter the 1st corner in front of their team mate, so why admit it publicly? However, these tyre choices suggest the decision has been made behind the scenes. I am not criticising. I agree with that decision.

      1. @mickharrold When team-mates have different tyre allocations, it usually means that Friday practice programme is different. In this case, most likely Hamilton will start FP2 using softs while Bottas is on mediums. Getting data from both tyres is helpful while creating strategy for the rest of the weekend.

        1. I do get your point. Maybe it’s just testing differences. However even leading into practice, there is a situation where one setup is more likely than the other to work. You will give your #1 driver the more likely choice. So even if it is just testing differences, it seems like the #2 drivers are testing the #2 option.
          However, I do think that testing difference are not the major reason here. I think this is more about keeping the #1 driver from the opposition behind in race situations. Even if I am wrong and it is about testing, it is still clear that there is a clear #1 driver at both teams now. Nothing wrong with that either IMHO.

          It could be coincidence too I guess. Unlikely, but possible. Your opinion probably depends on which driver you support most.

          1. @mickharrold, Lets get this right. You conclude that as Bottas & Raikkonen have one more Medium compound set than their team mates that they’re no. 2 drivers? You would conclude this even if you didn’t know the driver history? That’s clever that is. Perhaps we can use this algorithm next year to spot the no.2’s before they know it.

            1. Actually, that pretty much covers it for me thanks!

              Look, I am not stupid and I know there are a bucket load of variables that go into tyre choice. However usually the #1 rule is “Choose the quickest tyre and make it last”. The top drivers do this. Choosing a second grade tyre and then trying to make the most of it is the domain of the mid field drivers hoping that chance will avail them.

              When the teams work out strategy, there is always a clear #1 option before the race starts. Once the flag goes down, things change, but before the race, there is always an Option #1. The same goes for now when the teams are choosing tyres 4 weeks out from a race.

              The option I know that closing down these orders is something knew to you and something I should have enforced more stringently earlier. Going back to old jobs makes it hard to track labour costs if there is not a job sheet you can find.

              What I am sying is that the #1 option for Seb and Hammy is to win the race on outright speed. I think the option now for Bottas and Kimi is in this order.
              1 : Test alternative race strategy in practice sessions. (So their #1 driver can benefit from this learning)
              2 : Hold up the #1 drivers from the other team.
              3 : Win the race if their team mate can’t do it.

              Have a look closely at the tyre choices for all teams.
              – Ferrari and Merc are the front runner and have chosen exactly the same tyres.
              – Red Bull have gone aggressive. (Nothing to lose)
              – Force India have cone conservative so that they have options in the race to run long.
              – Williams have gone middle of field. (Because they lack the confidence to gamble like FI) Don’t get me started here
              – McLaren. Aggressive like Red Bull, because they also have noting to lose.

              It can’t be a coincidence that Merc and Ferrari both chose the same tyre choice for both of their drivers while a team like RB has bone aggressive. Why not go aggressive for Kimi and Bottas? Why go conservative on their choices?

    7. It would be nice to see some race day tyre analysis at some point to compare teams

      For example, does it really matter what tyre allocation teams take to the circuit or after practice do the teams all seem to end up with the same amount of the same tyre for quality and race anyway

      And do certain teams prefer to run either the softer or harder compounds for the race it’s self

      Maybe that’s something @keithcollantine could look at in the off-season😉

    8. Hi Keith. The reason why Mercedes teamate always have a tyre difference is because they use those dissimilar sets as experimental sets. And they alternate each race which driver test the hard set or soft set. For actual qualifying and the race they should have the same set of tyres if nothing unusual happens.

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