Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

Haas didn’t have right tyres to pit under Safety Car

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said the team couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to pit during the Safety Car period because it didn’t have any suitable tyres.

What they say

Q: In hindsight do you think you should have pitted under the Safety Car.

GS: We didn’t have any tyres which would go to the end. That was our problem. We had the strategy and the Safety Car came just at the wrong time.

Q: Earlier in the race, did Kevin Magnussen ask to be let past his team mate?

GS: We sat down before the race and said we need to play strategy here and at some point we need to get whoever is faster… because starting 11th on a soft was clearly faster than than starting 10th on a [ultra]-soft.

We were at that point pretty quick so we just let him go. But it is so difficult when you’re running behind a car, you need a few laps to get the heat in again, that you can get away and it took him three or four laps to get away from Romain [Grosjean] because it drops so quickly.

Once he achieved that he was pulling away and he overtook [Carlos] Sainz [Jnr] on merit. It was quite a good situation for us.

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Comment of the day

Would shorter tracks make for more intense racing?

That’s something I wish F1 would embrace when they start considering post-2021 plans—if cars are able to overtake, then not all tracks need to be three-point-something miles long. It would be great to see more tracks in the two mile or even sub–two mile range that promote a real ‘bull ring’ atmosphere.

This race was 85 laps, and St Petersburg was 110 laps, which also gives spectators far more value, and in turn increases the odds of chaos and passing.
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  • 25 comments on “Haas didn’t have right tyres to pit under Safety Car”

    1. Wham bam thank you Dan, how appropriate to remind us of the parable of the old bull and the young bull.

      TV viewing figures,……in Australia, who knows ? with the ChineseGP taking place at 4pm Sunday (eastern standard) it should have been a top rating broadcast but there is currently no live FTA coverage of any GP other than the OzGP. With 26 + – FTA channels, I (and most Australians) have no need or desire to pay a high subscription to the single cable provider Foxtel (Murdoch Sky/Fox) purely for F1. Please Liberty, fix this problem.

    2. Who are those two guys watching Red Bull mechanics repairing Ricciardo car? Honda Racing assessment team?

      1. Technical scrutineers for the FIA @ruliemaulana . Look at the vests they’re wearing – that’s standard attire for trackside and pitlane personnel not affiliated with a team (e.g. photographers, marshals, etc.). You can just about make out the words “pit lane” beneath the Chinese flag indicating they have access up to the pit lane.

        Here’s an article that outlines the roles & responsibilities for the Singapore GP – you’ll see the accompanying picture shows them similarly attired.

        1. @phylyp Ah. Thanks. Very detail info about race officials there…

      2. LOL. It does look like a couple of Honda spies trying to get a sneak peak at the Renault power unit.

    3. I disagree with the COTD: TBH, I don’t think the length of a circuit makes any difference to the quality of racing. Yes, the shorter a circuit is, the more laps a race contains, but the total race distance is roughly the same (everywhere bar Monaco, of course) regardless of the number of laps due to this practice of longer circuit/ fewer laps and shorter circuit/more laps.

      1. I think the point COTD is trying to make, is that the more laps, the more times the cars pass by the spectators, meaning they see more car time for their money.

        No matter how short or long the track is, it needs at least 2 overtaking opportunities, otherwise wise the crowd will just see more cars running nose to tail.

      2. @jerejj it makes a difference to the possible amount of quality racing. for example, austria has the potential for a great race because the cars have so many overtaking opportunities purely because there are so many laps. ditto for interlagos. it’s one of the most simple ways of increasing the overtaking opportunities – do more laps!

        in singapore they only do about 60 laps (if they make it to the end) so there are fewer opportunities. abu dhabi is far too long a lap too – if they cut out the whole final sector it would be a better grand prix.

        1. @frood19 Wrong, the number of laps doesn’t make a difference to the possible amount of quality of racing, but rather the track layout itself regardless of the lap length. Monaco, for example, is the shortest current F1 circuit length-wise, and yet it’s the worst circuit for overtaking at the same time solely due to the layout despite having the highest number of laps (78) of the whole Championship. It has nothing to do with the lap length if a circuit just doesn’t feature enough proper overtaking spots. The reason, Red Bull Ring, for example, has so many overtaking opportunities is because it has enough proper overtaking places rather than the number of laps as the total race distance is the same (300-something km) regardless of the number of laps as I pointed out in my original comment above. Spa, on the other hand, contains the lowest number of laps (44) of the Championship and yet it still usually produces better racing than many of the shortest circuits due to the layout being more close racing-friendly and overtaking friendly.

          1. ‘overtaking-friendly’

          2. Wow, Spa often has some of the MOST boring processional when excluded DRS passing in the season. It is not a track friendly for modern F1 cars as a majority of the track relies on the tiny amount of aero they allow for top speed. It is a race sadly worth ending at this point, paint drying has as much excitement.

          3. @jerejj sure, i get that, but you’re missing my point completely. if a1-ring was only 44 laps then there are fewer overtaking opportunities during the gp. it’s not rocket science. the race distance is absolutely immaterial to this argument.

            spa hasn’t produced a great race for years and i think the small number of laps contributes to that (also drs has spoilt it).

            1. @frood19 I get your point to a certain extent, and I agree that if the Austrian GP had a similar number of laps to the longest circuits of F1 then there’d be fewer laps to try to overtake other cars, but then again, Monaco has 7 more laps than Red Bull Ring while Hungaroring has a similar amount of laps to Red Bull Ring, and yet these two venues never really produce great racing despite having similarly great amount of laps = great number of laps to try to overtake other cars like the Red Bull Ring, so my main point is that the number of laps doesn’t automatically/directly lead to better or worse quality of racing, but rather the track layouts itself, and even more importantly than that, how well the cars can follow each other through the corners, which is, of course, the primary reason for the long-standing overtaking issue of the sport. Giving Spa, or some other ‘long’ circuit a similar number of laps to the shortest ones, wouldn’t, after all, really make a difference in the end, as long as the difficulty of following another car is as significant as it is.

          4. I see what both of you are saying. A 2 mile track with 2 overtaking points will have the same number of opportunities over a race as a 3 mile track with 3 overtaking points. But of course, a 2 mile track with 2 overtaking points gives you 50% more overtaking opportunities over a race than a 3 mile track with 2 overtaking points—and infinitely more than Monaco, at 2 miles with 0 overtaking points. ;)

            But aside from the sheer number of overtaking points per race, shorter tracks increases the amount of lapped traffic, which brings its own intensity. I completely agree with @frood19 that the overuse of blue flags have killed off the art of negotiating traffic. I didn’t realize just how much we’d lost until I watched St Petersburg and Long Beach this year. Both tracks are shorter than Monaco at less than 2 miles long, yet put on very good races, and backmarkers contributed to some of the best passes.

            Even when there weren’t swaps for position, there were overtakes galore. And far from being empty overtakes, it was quite entertaining to watch gaps ebb and flow as leaders worked through lapped traffic. Force the drivers to make overtakes—even on lapped traffic—and you breed impatience, mistakes, and excitement.

            A longer track kills that off. Comparing Albert Park to Long Beach, its length of 3.3 miles gives 65% more track length to space cars out. Plus, if you consider the spacing of the field at the start, it takes almost 75% longer for the leaders to reach traffic in the first place—so if you throw in a mid-race safety car, traffic is almost a nonissue. By contrast, the leaders at Long Beach were hitting traffic just 10 or 15 laps into green flag runs.

            Of course, I don’t want to see more Monacos added, or great tracks shortened like Hockenheim. I agree with @mrboerns, variety is the spice of life! But of the current sub-3 mile tracks, the most recent to be newly-constructed was Barcelona, almost 30 years ago. I hope we haven’t lost short tracks forever.

      3. I really really really hate these Kinds of arguments- we need shorter tracks, we need longer tracks, we need better overtaking tracks- i tell you what we need: we need DIFFERENT tracks. That is what makes it fun! That is why tilkedromes suck: its because there is a ton of them and they are all the same!
        Short tracks are boring if all tracks are short. Long tracks are boring if all tracks are long. Fast tracks are boring if all tracks are fast. Twisty tracks are boring if all tracks are twisty. Please Stop wanting everything to be the same before somebody listens to You.

        1. @mrboerns I can’t agree more with this – variety is the spice of life. what they did to hockenheim was a crying shame because they made it like all the other humdrum tracks – it used to be a unique monster.

    4. Re COTD – ooh, I’m personally not a fan of short tracks. I agree that a shorter circuit will be nicer for the audience in the grand stands, but I’m otherwise not a big fan since it means the number of lapped cars increases, since that just causes moving roadblocks (yes, they are the best drivers and should be able to overtake, but there’s a difference between coming upon a back-marker in a corner, vs. just prior to a DRS zone).

      I prefer longer tracks, but longer tracks that flow and have different zones with their own atmosphere. Spa, Monza, Suzuka are all examples that come to mind. The Red Bull Ring and Hungaroring are a tad shorter than 3 miles, but make up for it with some character.

      What I dread is a short Tilke circuit – that takes away the length that makes a lap interesting, and gives us a paved parking lot with lines drawn on it. Yay… not!

      1. @phylyp tilke tracks are usually too long. i disagree about the lapped cars – that’s an important challenge that has been taken away by overly strict blue flag use.

        austria is very, very short, and usually provides a great race.

      2. @phylyp @frood19
        What I love about the older and more classical tracks is that they are one with nature. They haven’t been built to create a certain flow, they use the natural landscape and features to define the race course – case in point is Spa, elevation changes, valleys and corners that all come together to form (in my opinion) the greatest race track ever.

        The Tilke tracks are the complete opposite. Man made 100%, over designed, forcing features where they are not needed.

        It is easy to look at the most successful tracks in the world, pull the best bits out and smoosh them together to try and create an uber track, but the variances in altitude, climate, atmospherics etc can never be recreated.

    5. Drop VSC, deploy SC more often. 1.5 mile long tracks. Left turns only. High bankings. 4 speeds stick shifter. Free watered down beer for the public. Let’s make F1 great again! (lol)

      1. @dusty – LOL. And permit/encourage Max’s style of driving.

    6. I don’t think the length of a track has any effect at all on the quality of the racing or even the number of overtakes.

      The current Austria is a fun circuit but it’s nowhere near as good as the original/longer version & the same is true of Hockenheim. On the flip side Silverstone is longer than it used to be & I don’t think it’s any better for it.

      With regards to Asutria, Despite it’s short length & several decent overtaking opportunities I don’t believe it’s usually towards the top of the list in terms of overtaking figures either in the Pre or post DRS era so the argument that the larger number of laps gives more chances for overtaking doesn’t seem to stack up.

      Also as i’ve said before we shouldn’t be designing tracks just with overtaking in mind because overtaking alone doesn’t guarantee good racing & certainly doesn’t make a good track. A track should be designed to be a challenge for car/driver both physically & mentally & it should also be entertaining to watch cars been driven around them.
      Suzuka for example isn’t the best track from an overtaking standpoint yet it’s still considered one of the best tracks on the planet because it’s challenging, Fun to drive & fun to watch cars driving around. You can’t overtake in the esses yet watching a car drive through that section at speed is breathtaking. There should be more circuits like that & less of the cookie-cutter stuff been designed just to try & encourage overtaking, That is one of the biggest reasons most modern tracks look/feel the same… This really recent obsession with overtaking.

    7. Incidentally, wasn’t also Ferrari out of new Softs?

    8. Regarding track length, It doesn’t matter how long a track is if it is a badly or over designed track.

      Yes if it is shorter, you may feel more value for money because you see the cars more often, but is that really value for money if the cars are in the same position each time?
      If it is longer it can be harder to keep track of what is happening at other points on the race course, but the length of it also makes more features for someone with a holistic view of the race (i.e. on TV).

      In short, there is no magic answer to a track. What is important for me is that Liberty start to take track ratings into account and change the races year to year to make a constant challenge for the drivers.

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