Tyre blisters on a Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Tyre blisters show rival teams are trying to influence Pirelli – Vettel

2018 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel believes the reason blistering was seen on some tyres during testing last week was because rival teams were trying to influence Pirelli’s choice of compounds for this year’s races.

“I think it’s quite normal that, after the first days of testing, every team tries to get the tyre supplier in the direction that suits their car best,” said Vettel when asked if blistering might be a real issue in the upcoming season.

“We think Pirelli has done a good job with their compound selection,” he added.

Vettel also dismissed concerns over the race pace shown by Ferrari’s rivals in testing, pointing out they weren’t conducted in circumstances which were representative of a real race. Some teams used only the medium compound tyres for conducting race simulations, whereas in a real race they are required by the rules to use more than one type of compound.

“Our competitors – Mercedes and Red Bull – used one type of tyres for their race distance simulation,” pointed out Vettel, “which is something you can’t do in a grand prix.”

“This has an impact on the strategies and ultimately on the result.”

Pirelli’s Mario Isola said on Friday that although some teams had only used medium tyres during their race simulation they had conducted long runs on softer tyres separately.

“They were making long runs with many different compounds because they knew the selection only yesterday, last night. Obviously they had a draft but they didn’t know if we were going to confirm the selection or not.

“So they tested medium more than last year but they also tested soft, super-soft. We found long runs on more or less all the compounds, not the hyper-soft.”

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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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37 comments on “Tyre blisters show rival teams are trying to influence Pirelli – Vettel”

  1. Mind games.

    1. Have to say that Vettel’s theory sounds plausible. During the second week of testing, a few commenters, including myself, remarked that the wear patterns on Mercedes’ tyres looked atypical for Barcelona, leaving the impression that there might be sone degree of purpose to it. Vettel’s explanation offers a plausible reason that would be consistent with tyre politics in the recent past. Of course, his comments are no exception to this.

      1. I’m pleased you included the last sentence.

  2. Pirelli should just let the teams choose the tyres they want to bring to each circuit. If Mercedes can’t make the hypersoft last around Australia while Ferrari can, then so be it.

    Also, get rid of the mandatory stop rule.

    1. @emu55 Not mediums, I heard that the softs and the ss picture above were blistering, but yes that’s what’s he’s saying. @kingshark I agree and with nase, anyhow I think anyone including Ferrari is still going to try to persuade the manufacturer to choose a root that suits their car the best, change the tyre construction and compound philosophy.

      1. The rumours that Mercedes are having tyre issues is false. On the first day of the second test, yes you could see blisterings on Bottas’ softs, that was it. They’ve no issues and that’s evident by the amount of US they’ve chosen for Australia.

        1. SparkyAMG (@)
          14th March 2018, 13:00

          The fact that it was reported that Bottas was lighting up the rears whilst running through the pit lane also points towards Mercedes deliberately pushing the tyres to the point of blistering.

          Whether this was for testing or political reasons is something only they’ll know, but you can usually assume that anything displayed by the teams in public will always have a political element to it.

        2. They had to select their tyres well before Barcelona testing. So at the time of tyre choice they did not know how good would they fare on the softer end of rubber. IMHO they would choose differently if their tyre choice was after the testing.

    2. F1 won’t eliminate mandatory pit stops. They are there to put more excitement in the race and provide strategy options that can potentially make the racing more interesting. Without it there would be too many processional races where the leaders just jump out out in front and pound around for the entire race.

      Fans often site the bygone eras in F1 where there were less predictable outcomes and lesser teams could sometimes steal a win, etc. But that was almost always due the extensive reliability problems on the fragile cars back then. It was a very common occurrence for cars to have failures while a leading most of the race, giving a golden opportunities for others. It made for great excitement but I don’t think F1 can turn back the clock on technology and make the cars more fragile.

      1. @partofthepuzzle Actually that would be easily done for once: Introduce spec bolts. The 2 £ kind.

        1. Hah, hah, great idea! Esp, for the oil tanks. Nothing like a few little greasy puddles on the tracks to even the odds.

      2. @partofthepuzzle

        Without it there would be too many processional races where the leaders just jump out out in front and pound around for the entire race.

        That is just as likely to happen with mandatory stops as it is without them.

        They are there to put more excitement in the race and provide strategy options that can potentially make the racing more interesting.

        But the mandatory stops & the way tyres in general are controlled actually give teams/drivers less strategy options & in a way make things less interesting.

        Dropping the mandatory stops & giving teams/drivers access to the full range to run how they want, That would provide real strategy options, Makes strategy less predictable & make things far more interesting.

        Having the mandatory stops, Having the high-deg tyres & offering teams a limited choice of compounds more often than not forces everyone down the same route. For all the talk of the way things are providing strategy options, It actually more often than not forces everyone down a very similar route anyway…. Especially with the undercut been as powerful as it now is due to the artificially generated high degredation.

    3. @kingshark agree. I have been saying the same for a while, let’s team chose freely then adapt the tyre selection based on overall usage (drop some tyres if none is using them).

      1. @jeanrien why not give all teams an equal stock of all tires and let them decide what to bring where?

        1. That’s easy @mrboerns, then Pirelli would have to make and ship more tyres to all the races. Since taking the ‘not used’ and shipping them on takes extra time and money, logistics would be difficult too; those have to be discarded. Lots of waste and extra costs. Teams would pay a lot more for them than currently.

          1. @bosyber i Think You missunderstood me. Each team gets a fixed amount of Tyres per season and per compound. Pirelli knows exactly what to produce. The Teams can use their alotement in whatever Way they please and simply bring along what they like. But If they run out of ultras by monaco, they have to do without for the Rest of the season.
            Pirelli just Brings a Full alotement of inters and wets per race

          2. That’s indeed not what I understood from your post @mrboerns! But because ahead of the season, and testing, the teams don’t know how the tyres will be, and how their cars work on them, I think that would still end up with giving all the teams some tyres that just won’t be used at all, and need to be destroyed, in addition to the team having less strategic choices (because they have less info) leading to a lot of them having to go quite conservative. Still, might be interesting to think about it some more.

          3. Well, not if you get the overall amount right. You See, if You were to only go for soft/ss/us/… you’d simply run out and would Need to Complete the season on hard and medium, using those up in the Process. Unless there was to be a substantial amount of rain you should end up with less ‘tyre overhead’ Than You do now.
            Also You would, at the same time, allow for Strategic freedom for the single weekend, while adding a whole new dimension in the overall season strategy.
            For example, the frontrunners would have to be rather sensible in order to favour their shot at a Championship. However, noone could stop force india from going for a weekend of glory by applying a completely bonkers us/us/hs/us strategy. The more i Think about it the more it is the best Thing ever. Might want to add a free set per FP session provided by pirelli to avoid tyrehogging by not running in FP at all if that proved to be an issue.

  3. I don’t understand vettels point, is he implying that Mercedes and Red Bull were wrecking medium tyres so that Pirelli would choose softer compounds for the grand prixs?

    1. They were ruining the softer compounds so that they would take the mediums & harder compounds to the races instead. Can see in the banner picture supersofts on a Mercedes.

    2. Rather the other way around.

      1. Ah, I see. I don’t know if I agree with him, I thought they were doing long stints on the mediums to test the engines

        1. It actually makes a lot of sense. I kept reading people saying the Mercs were doing long rolling burnouts in the pitlane for no apparent reason. Makes sense that if they want the softer tyres to look bad, they’d just shred them doing burnouts and then hope people just pick up on press photos of the ruined tyres and think “oh no, Pirelli have made cheese tyres again”, and pressure Pirelli into bringing harder compounds that might suit Mercedes more.

          1. It may make sense that way @Mick02, or perhaps they were checking how much heat those tyres can take for other, hotter races, since they were there to prepare for the whole season, not just the Barcelona race. After all, didn’t they have problems last year to get the tyres in the right window, overheating thm too easily when it was warm?
            Maybe a bit of both.

  4. It’s like cheating in a way..

    1. Because Pirelli lack the technology to count how many laps the teams have done on the tires?
      I’d guess that they can calculate pretty accurately what the teams have been doing with each tire and evaluate accordingly. The main thing Vettel’s comment reveals are the tires Ferrari want.

  5. Shots fired this early??
    Maranello must have some problems then.

    1. Lol, i think you have your finger on it. I am a Scuderia fan though and hope they are not in trouble.

    2. Doesn’t add up; and for Australia Merc took the most ultrasofts!

  6. Nissan Skyline.
    13th March 2018, 20:04

    Not as bad Hamilton’s trumpish style comments earlier this week. MMGA.

  7. W (@vishnusxdx)
    13th March 2018, 20:22

    “Our competitors – Mercedes and Red Bull – used one type of tyres for their race distance simulation,” pointed out Vettel, “which is something you can’t do in a grand prix.”

    “This has an impact on the strategies and ultimately on the result.”

    Well, they were using the slowest tyre… so what’s the problem with the then? You should worry because their normal pace would be a lot better, seeing the delta between the tyres.

    1. Not if they can’t get the stint length out of the softer tyres!

  8. Hold on, did they not report last year that Vettel’ was heavily involved with the tyres Pirelli supplied last season?

  9. Says the driver who drives for the team with a VETO OVER THE RULES OF THE SPORT.

    Hmmm. Yeah.

  10. Lots of people were reporting Mercedes doing long rolling burnouts in pit lane. If you find better photos you’ll notice the fronts look fine while the rears are shredded. They must have had a reason to keep doing this during testing, and I think vettel’s explanation actually makes a lot of sense. I have no idea why else they’d be purposely destroying rear tyres with long burnouts.

    1. because there was snow?

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