Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

Pirelli may repeat ‘step’ in China tyre selections at other races

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In the round-up: Formula One’s official tyre supplier Pirelli is considering more non-consecutive tyre selections having been pleased with their choice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Pirelli sporting director Mario Isola explained why they chose the medium, soft and ultra-soft tyres in China, skipping the super-soft:

When we selected the tyres for China we had the information coming mainly from [the] Abu Dhabi [test] because it was in January. Based on that number we saw that soft, super-[soft] and ultra-[soft] were very close. We had 0.3 [seconds] and 0.4, something like that.

So we said we can make a selection where we don’t choose one level and we jump. In that case if they’re really close we should have a delta lap time between soft and ultra that is in the range of 0.7, that is the same range we saw with medium [to] soft, obviously with higher degradation. So we should create the right crossover to have different strategies, that was the approach

If we look at what happened in Bahrain, soft and super-soft were not so close. This is part of the experience we are collecting. All these numbers we are collecting from races we put into our system to make even better selections for the next events. That could mean jumping one level or not.

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Comment of the day

@Phylyp offers some thoughts on whether F1 should get rid of ‘mission control’ in a bid to improve racing:

On the one hand, I can understand the argument around getting “back office” support and not letting the racers race. Particularly since it implies that teams that are able to staff a larger mission control, with more telemetry, more expensive computers, are better positioned to leverage that.

On the other hand – and partly as a technical geek and IT professional, the idea of harnessing telemetry in real-time is impressive. It is somewhat easy to sling gigabytes of telemetry around the world once it is off the car, but to sift through it and make it useful in near real-time is in itself an achievement. And this is something that is not done often (the exceptions would be spacecraft and possibly defence applications). Even aeronautics doesn’t use such telemetry in real-time (the loss of MH370 served to illustrate just how little telemetry is transmitted outside a plane).

So, in its own way, mission control is a demonstration of information technology, just as the MGU-H/K demonstrate engine technology.

F1 has always been a team effort, with the drivers as the most visible members of that team, and in some ways mission control is just an extension of that, and an illustration of the pervasiveness of IT in numerous walks of life.

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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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40 comments on “Pirelli may repeat ‘step’ in China tyre selections at other races”

  1. If F1 goes to spec cars I think it is the end of F1. It’s the pinnacle of motorsport, technology is still important.

    I’m really a bit sick of hearing “F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport”. It’s just a buzz phrase. Continuously saying that gives me the impression that a lot of people don’t see it that way. Similar thing with “the DNA of F1”.

    Talking of IndyCar, one small yet very noticeable thing that I hate about the new graphics is the double flags symbol that is displayed in the top left corner whenever a flag is shown. The only time double flags are ever used in F1 is for a double yellow. Double checkered flags and the double flags symbol is an IndyCar thing and something F1 has always dissociated itself from in the past

    1. Is it really just a buzz phrase though? What got me interested in F1 above other racing series was the realisation that this is where the most investment in Motorsports occurs. I heard a quote a long time ago from a successful economist talking about how worth is indicated by financial value. Smart people invest their money in worthwhile pursuits.

      For Formula 1 to be as valuable as it is, to attract the sponsors and teams that is does implicitly indicates that it is, indeed, the pinnacle of Motorsports.

      If nothing else is inherent to the “DNA of Formula 1” I believe the teams developing and engineering their car and having that being part of the competition is. Moving closer and closer to a spec-series really would be more of an erosion of that “DNA” than going further towards electric engines or closing the canopy or wheels ever would be.

      It’s not just about the drivers at the end of the day, and I really do think the drivers understand and appreciate that as much as anybody. It’s a team effort and finding yourself in the right team at the right time and establishing yourself within it is as much a part of the game as race-craft (as a tangent, something I wish Codemasters would capitalise on in a career mode).

      1. F1 risks to become the pineapple of motorsport.
        I am always amazed by how entertained I got with supercars australian series.
        Terrible more fun than F1 and the budget from a f1 team may cover all it sexpenses.
        Furthermore I’d dare tp say that Motogp and Wrc drivers display more talent than F1 drivers.
        And maybe Wec – in closed car dev – and Motogp – in limited weight – represent as much of a tech endeavor.

        1. If you feel that way, you shouldn’t be watching F1.

          For me, Formula 1 is the pinnacle, and it’s as much about the teams, the cars they build, and yes, even the pushing the rules to the limit.

          Since there has been a Championship for Constructors for almost as long as that for Drivers, clearly this is beyond doubt

          1. Well, in fact I can’t remember the last live F1 race i’ve watched.
            If a taped version of the race is not easily available and the rating here is not great, I do no care skipping some of the races at all.
            Sometimes the coverage here is more than enough.

        2. Furthermore I’d dare tp say that Motogp and Wrc drivers display more talent than F1 drivers.
          And maybe Wec – in closed car dev – and Motogp – in limited weight – represent as much of a tech endeavor.

          Can’t take you seriously after those comments.
          Maybe you should stop watching F1.

      2. @skipgamer @nvherman I not saying F1 shouldn’t be the top competition, my point is the phrase is thrown around so much and is overused, it feels to me like it has lost all meaning. Whenever anything is suggested you can guarantee somebody will say it, and very often it’s not actually constructive to finding a solution.

        Regarding the “DNA”. At some point or another over F1’s history it has done pretty much everything, including customer cars and F2 cars. What DNA?

        If it were hypothetically to become a spec series, they could still be the fastest cars in the world with the some of the best drivers in the world. It’s not something I would like to see either, there are a lot of changes they are making that I don’t like, but it would still be F1

        1. @strontium To be fair last year I’d have said it hadn’t done the halo (despite having done 4WD, wheel covers, FR, MR, Fancar, 6 wheels, circuit dumb-down(s), even some sort of windshield, etc interestingly enough)

    2. Similar thing with “the DNA of F1”.

      Wholly agree. We already getting used to altering DNA on living things, so to modified F1 rule is not beyond morality bound at all.

      Even in human, we see evidence of genetically DNA adapt like in one of my country ‘sea tribe’ who could dive more than 12 minutes. They had 50% bigger spleens.

      I don’t think social media activist will be holding a rally against genetically modified F1.

  2. I never understood Pireli if I’m honest, and ot gets worse by the day.

    They created an extra compound and made all the others softer, and now there is practically no difference between them, 0.3s could be gained or lost easily with other factors, making their range redundant.

    Moreover the goal of all this was to make them stop at least twice, and in order to do that, they make steps between designated rubbers, essentially nullifying the purpose of the new tyres.

    The pinna of motorsport ladies and gentlemen

    1. Two compound tyre gap, two compound, aargh!

      Also yeah it is absolutely ridiculous. Going the
      same stintlength on Soft and USoft and basically going the same speed as in China i mean what is this?

      1. The most expressive Finn in motorsport history

        1. Just saw the kvyat Full Wet tyre test tweet. I just don’t get it, they Keep testing ‘full wets’ on slightly dampened, sunny, fast drying tracks. Wasn’t there some sort of in between tyre for these in between conditions, long long ago?

          1. Their medium tyres are these year’s soft, their intermediate tyres are this year’s wet

            Bridgestone grooved tyre were better in the rain

          2. Lewis says it’s still better Than bridgestone inters in the dry though

          3. It’s something ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  3. It’s really grating on me that ‘dumbing down F1’ has become the new catchphrase now that people with a vision that includes something more than sucking the most money out now not later have taken over the sport. Where were these voices when F1 was getting saddled with a bunch of cookie cutter tracks that don’t punish mistakes, a push to pass system, aero rules that inhibit proper competition and a reward system that keeps the haves on top and the have nots at the bottom?

    1. Well to be fair, Steiner was not involved in the sport at that time… Isn’t it better now that there is an opportunity for the long-term goals of F1 to be set, that people are starting the discussion about such topics? Or do we just want to complain about everything?

      1. @skipgamer, the only way that you can describe most F1 fans these days is “Jamais Contente” – whatever you do, they will never be satisfied.

        They want a more level playing field, but will then complain about the results being “too random” when somebody whom they dislike might benefit from it. They want people to relax the rules, but then want constraints imposed on teams that are “dominating the sport too much”: they then complain about the FIA “dumbing the sport down” or “manipulating things” if the FIA does introduce changes that hits a leading team, but if they don’t then they are accused of “being in the pay of team XYZ” or being “too scared to tackle team XYZ”.

        When more major rule changes come up, they complain that the FIA is biased towards certain teams when they change regulations, and then accuse them of being biased towards different teams when they don’t change the regulations to outlaw whatever is the latest grievance they have towards a particular team.

        They want non stop wheel banging action, but then fly into fits of rage whenever clashes occur on track between their favourite drivers: drivers go from being the latest sensation to being dismissed as reckless hotheads or completely past it in mere moments.

        They criticise people within the FIA for “knee jerk reactions” all the time, but instantly demand changes and scream that the FIA “must do something now” if they perceive something is wrong (such as, after the pit lane incidents recently, demanding that the FIA force the teams to go back to a lollipop man – even though there is no evidence that would have helped at all in any of those incidents).

        We end up in a situation where people complain about teams struggling on the financial brink and claim that things were better in “the good old days”, which these days usually means the late 1980’s and early 1990’s – yet that era saw huge disparities in financial resources and around 20 teams go into bankruptcy, as well as attempts to introduce a number of cost cutting measures that fans now say are necessary now, but derided at the time (as well as seeing teams such as Williams now wanting to introduce measures that they themselves vetoed in the past).

        Whatever they do, there will be a sizeable chunk of the fan base who complain “no, they should be doing things this way” instead, or will always find something to criticise – and if a change is made, then they will usually complain that the change hasn’t had the effect they wanted it to, even when they were told in the first place that it probably wouldn’t have the effect they expected it to have.

        The sport can never live up to the idealisations of the fans, and in many ways it is a fool’s errand to even try – the best they can hope for is that the fans are less grumpy than usual.

        As an aside, for the idealisation of IndyCar, what is kind of forgotten is that the same handful of teams has continued to dominate IndyCar for 16 years and counting by now – the last time that a driver won the title who did not drive for Penske, Ganassi or Andretti was in 2002, and this year is seeing the same trend given that the two top drivers in the series both happen to drive for Andretti or Penske.

        1. @anon +1 Completely agree…I’m quite tired of the “nothing is good enough” attitude and the general impatience in the fandom.

      2. @skipgamer my point is that they say ‘don’t dumb down F1’ and I hear ‘we don’t want a really competitive playing field’ – I like Haas, but they are Ferrari clients, so hearing Marchionne’s words from Steiner’s mouth rings a bit hollow

  4. Many thanks for the COTD, Keith!

    1. I almost fell asleep reading through your excitement there of how fast data can be utilized in real-time.
      This has nothing to do with Motorsport. ZERO.

      A bunch of muppets sitting in front of screens in another country running calculations and algorithms.

      Who cares…

      1. Ha ha, different strokes for different folks, I guess. The thing is, there’s a lot of non-motorsport stuff going on behind the scenes – material engineering, thermodynamics, and one can argue even aerodynamics. All of which finds its place in motorsport, despite not being racing.

      2. I don’t care whether an engine is naturally aspirated or not, or how loud it is… But I don’t bash people over the head for liking such things.

    2. Congrats on the CotD @phylyp. I think you make a great point about how using live telemetry is something pretty amazing that F1 does.
      I also wonder whether it doesn’t make more sense to have these activities done from their base instead of hauling equipment – and engineers to operate them – around the world (talking about cost, environmental footprint, need to have things mobile/hot plug in).

      1. Thank you @bascb – that is an interesting point you make. I’d never thought of it that way until I saw your comment, but yes, it would appear that FIA’s cap on the number of personnel allowed in the garage (60, I think) is something that would have partly contributed to the growth of these mission controls. And in turn, the teams would have realized benefits the way you described, once they got over the hurdle of telemetry transmission. If anything, it also goes to show that with the smart people that F1 employs, rules made with the best of intentions can have unexpected benefits and ramifications.

  5. ”When we selected the tyres for China we had the information coming mainly from [the] Abu Dhabi [test] because it was in January.” – The post-Abu Dhabi GP test took place in November, though, not in January, LOL.

    “If F1 goes to spec cars I think it is the end of F1. It’s the pinnacle of motorsport, technology is still important.
    – I agree with Guenther on this front, and I also agree with the COTD.

    1. @jerejj They were referring to the fact that they had to make their choice for the compounds for the Chinese race in January, not that the tyre test was then.

      1. @mashiat OK, that explains it. I just got a bit confused by the wording.

  6. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    22nd April 2018, 8:58

    Seeing as though the new Indy Car setup is absolutely fantastic, if that’s what ‘dumbing down’ does then bring it on. No one is suggesting F1 copies all of Indy Car and become a spec series, just taking some good ideas that work well, such as push to pass over DRS and the brilliant new ground effect over external aerodynamic downforce that is making the cars a real handful but able to overtake without dirty air. F1 doesn’t have to do exactly this but would be wise to note how well the principle is working. At the end of the day F1 has been ‘dumbed down’ for 30 years now to slow down lap times, let’s just do it in the right way rather than big heavy aero dependant cars that are only lapping 5 seconds a lap quicker than the 90s but with none of the fun.

  7. +1 to this. I think F1 definitely has things to learn from Indy Car. It’s also quite an ironic comment bearing in mind that Haas put less work into producing the car themselves than probably any team on the grid!

  8. +1 was supposed to be to the comment above!

    1. some for this one I guess ;-)
      Always tricky to comment to the last comment, @phil-f1-21.

      1. Tell me about it! Not my day but I was doing it on the phone.

  9. Ricciardo licked the stamp and sent it!


  10. Can’t think of a book more boring to read than a Kimi Raikkonen biography.

    1. Me too. The person who seems to have had his personality removed.

      It might be good for insomniacs.

  11. Why am I the only Formula One fan in the world who thinks Kimi Raikkonen is the dullest man on the planet?

  12. Kevin Magnussen admitting that once he gets in the car there’s suddenly a fear element … for the other drivers.
    Does he ever listen to what the rest of the paddock thinks about him, or is he completely oblivious … until he kills someone?

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