Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya

Ferrari would’ve been “worse off” on Pirelli’s original tyres, Vettel admits

2018 Spanish Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel admits the new thinner tyres Pirelli introduced for the Spanish Grand Prix did not put Ferrari at a disadvantage.

Prior to Sunday’s race Vettel complained Pirelli had introduced the revised tyres, which were 0.4 millimetres thinner than the original versions, because of problems rival teams experienced in testing. Afterwards he suggested the new tyres might not have suited the Ferrari as well as other cars.

But after testing both the thinner and original tyres today Vettel admits Ferrari would have been “worse off” on the original tyres.

“Obviously normally you don’t get chance to revisit these kinds of decision that are made,” he said after today’s test.

“Now with the data we had today and I think the result is if we had the normal tyres on Sunday we’d be even worse off. So I think it was the correct call and it was our fault not to have the same tyre wear or life as other people.”

Vettel said today’s test was well-timed for Ferrari given their struggles in last weekend’s race.

“It’s good to have the test to be honest to be able to compare. I think we have some idea and now it’s up to us to turn those ideas into reality.

“As I said it was quite good in terms of timing. It was a poor weekend for us. We were not quite, I think more than not quick enough we were obviously struggling to make the tyres last. Those two things are linked. But it was good to have the possibility to revisit and now as I said it’s up to us to take action.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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Posted on Categories 2018 F1 season, 2018 Spanish Grand Prix, F1 news

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  • 63 comments on “Ferrari would’ve been “worse off” on Pirelli’s original tyres, Vettel admits”

    1. Fair play, and an honest admission. That should shut down the conspiracy theories as well.

      Obviously normally you don’t get chance to revisit these kinds of decision that are made, but I think we did.
      “Now with the data we had today and I think the result is if we had the normal tyres on Sunday we’d be even worse off. So I think it was the correct call and it was our fault not to have the same tyre wear or life as other people.”
      Vettel said today’s test was well-timed for Ferrari given their struggles in last weekend’s race.

      Yep, this must have been invaluable information.

      1. But is he going to issue an apology to Pirelli & Mercedes?

        1. I hope they are big enough to accept this as an apology. I would.

          1. @KGN11 @waptraveler It already has I think (PlanetF1):

            Pirelli boss Mario Isola welcomed Vettel’s comments, telling Motorsport.com: “Absolutely. I am very happy, I cannot hide that I am very happy! After a weekend like the last one, yes.”

            1. Thanks. I thought Seb’s comment was pretty gracious.

        2. There is such thing. Ask Charlie to think about his decisions towards Max and his car pieces scattered all around the track.
          Ask him for sudden tyre changes in the midst of the year. Shame on Merz cheaters and Baku vicory of small boy.

        3. He would, but he is awaiting for Mercedes and Pirelli to apologize for the illegal tyre test.

          Some people

        4. SV needn’t apologize for anything, for he has not accused anyone of wrongdoing. If we go back to mid-March, SV raised his suspicions that Merc and RBR were behaving in a way that appeared to be trying to influence Pirelli toward tire choices or changes for upcoming races. He also said at the time that is normal, and that all teams do it. It just so happened that Ferrari seemed fine with the tires at the time and did not feel the need to try to influence Pirelli.

          Having suspicions that something is happening does not by default imply something nefarious is happening…just that something appears to be going on, good, bad, or indifferent. Having suspicions does not equate to making accusations. Having suspicions equates to making observations and coming to conclusions.

          Fast forward to last week, and ahead of the race we had SV confirming his same suspicions that the new tires might help Mercedes and RBR, why? Because it was their behaviour in pre-season testing, which he said is normal, that influenced Pirelli, so naturally as the ones most concerned, should have benefited them the most. At no point does SV call this unfair, unusual, or a conspiracy. He states it like it is a fact, and underlying it is his comments made back in March…this is normal.

          So yesterday SV had the unusual opportunity to compare old vs. new and concluded they were also probably better off on the tires that Merc and RBR influenced Pirelli toward, which back in March they didn’t feel the need to fight for. Fair game all around. There is no need for SV to apologize for what factually happened, and the only ones accusing anyone of conspiracies or cheating are posters on this site (and no doubt other sites).

        5. @KGN11 if they dont force him, he doesnt admit anything… he rammed hamilton last year, and he justified being handling stuff on the circuit and doesnt remember any wrong doing… well until he was forced to… so i doubt he will eat his words…

      2. @phylyp, not to mention the photographs of the rear left tyres on Vettel’s car when he tested the conventional construction that also had fairly sizeable blisters on the rear left tyre, which would be consistent with some of the people in the pit lane who suggested that even the thinner gauge tyres that Vettel used during the race were still showing signs of blistering.

        Like yourself, I hope that the fact that he has now acknowledged that Ferrari would probably have been worse off if Pirelli hadn’t made that change will quell the conspiracies – though given how F1’s fan base do seem to love their conspiracy theories and the fact that Vettel did help stoke those theories in the first place, I expect it will not die down quickly.

        I wonder if perhaps the complaints came about out of frustration given that Ferrari have faced a few setbacks in recent weeks. Their decision to go for so many supersoft tyres seems to have backfired when the soft and medium tyres turned out to be the better compounds to use this weekend, whilst Kimi’s reliability problems might be causing a few concerns given how reliability issues damaged Vettel’s title bid last year.

        The fact that the FIA also quickly moved against the winglets on Ferrari’s halo mounted mirrors won’t have helped moods either, and the team might also have resented the fact that they were outmanoeuvred on the 2019 regulation changes (Ferrari having opposed those changes, and Vettel did complain about those changes in the pre-race press conferences).

        Given that the team has suffered from a few misfortunes in quick succession whilst, at the same time, their rivals are doing a lot better, I can imagine that it would become rather easy to fixate on a single issue and cite that as the cause of your ills.

        1. Not saying it must’ve been necessarily a decision to favour mercedes, but this isn’t enough to debunk the conspiracies, vettel simply said the special tyres to use in spain and 2 more tracks gave better lap times for ferrari, he didn’t say they didn’t give much better lap times to mercedes.

          Look at the gap between mercedes and the others, it’s mercedes who did the jump, what I’m wondering is, would mercedes have been so fast with the old tyres? I doubt that.

          1. Sebastisn Vettel has always been a gentleman and the best driver. He does not badmouth mini Lewis before races. Latter yes. Shame on Brit.
            And yes yes.
            Charlie is cheater and Merzedes is bad because they are weak without innovations. Let them pay pirelli and charlie otherwise mini lewis will cry. Poor him

            1. He just likes to swear over the radio at the race stewards & call drivers ‘cucumbers’

              What s gentleman.

            2. And which team is strong without innovation? What?

            3. I thought F1 was about innovation. Maybe you are confusing f1 with (figure 8) F8 racing.

            4. @Bebana

              Yup, Vettel has always been a gentleman, just like when he disobeyed a team order to steal a win from his team mate, or just like when he runs someone off the track and then three corners later moans and whines when said driver returns the favor or how about when he sideswipped Hamilton under the safety car or perhaps when he launched a foul mouthed tirade at Whiting over the radio?

              Very gentlemanly, but only if you’re comparing him with Raffles.

            5. Always refreshing when fans can see beyond their personal and subjective bias against a particular driver or team (or – if the shoe fits – their personal bias _for_ a particular driver or team).

          2. @esploratore, Red Bull also seemed to take something of a step forward as well, with Verstappen commented after the race about how well the tyres were working on his car. Could it instead be possible that Ferrari just had a bit of a poor weekend in general and the complaints about the tyres is a way of deflecting criticism away from them?

            1. @Anon

              Careful, you can’t use logic against the conspiracy people, you may blow their mind.

              Seriously though, it’s all rubbish. If the tyres benefitted Mercedes so much, why was it their race pace in practice on friday wasn’t the best, both Red Bull and Ferrari were more consistant and quicker. It was only the cooler temps on sunday -conditions that have always favored the Mercs that really made the tyres work.

              Or did Mercedes arrange for the weather change as well?

              Plus people are ignoring the fact that Red Bull were good on the tyres too.

      3. Ferrari have simply started their mid-season melt-down early this tear

        1. You are incredibly wrong. They are just now starting their best part of the season. Merz bad things will have the end and Ferrari fortune will rise and they will bounce back and Lauda will stay where is he now. Shame on all of them cheaters.

          1. Once day I run over Feraaaari the plase many way back lauda drive ford come 10 place too little innovation.

          2. …Welcome, LdM?

          3. Jake (@jagged-jake)
            17th May 2018, 11:54

            Are you always this horrible…or you are just a terrible loser just like your hero and you want to be taken seriously.

      4. No it does not. This only confirms that the tyres are better, even on a Ferrari. What matters hasn’t changed. Does this suit Mercedes? That’s still wide open.

    2. I blame the new ears on the car.

    3. I thought VET said at the start of the weekend that there was no difference between this tire and the previous tire. Why the change of heart now?

      1. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
        16th May 2018, 8:41

        @beejis60 from the article:

        > But after testing both the thinner and original tyres today Vettel admits Ferrari would have been “worse off” on the original tyres

        He hadn’t the opportunity to test both side-to-side before

    4. Is it really 0.4 mm? Not 4 mm? Unbelievable that shaving 0.4 mm off could make such a big difference…

      1. @svend1 Yep, 0.4 millimetres. Incredible, isn’t it?

        1. Yes! It is incredible… a 0.4 mm would be within daily tyre production tolerance…

          1. Weirdly now @keithcollantine‘s profile pictures looks less like the F1F owner’s profile picture than @ruliemaulana‘s

      2. So glad you asked this @svend1 I was thinking the exact same thing!!!

    5. As a Ferrari fan, I find difficult to swallow such a drop in performance in just 2 weeks. I have to admit it was nice to blame the tyres, but if Vettel says so…
      I ‘d like to know Raikkonen’s opinion as well.

      1. Raikkonen said he couldn’t tell if they were slow because of tyres or something else….

      2. @carbon_fibre As you might have already guessed…

        We asked him, and he didn’t have an opinion.

        1. @keithcollantine I’d like to think with all the accusation Vettel throwing around before the race, Kimi just silently facepalming inside the garage.

          1. @sonicslv – Facepalm? Kimi? Naah. He’d have just been having an ice cream. Or avoiding Pele.

      3. Why would you want to know what Kimi said? After all, he wasn’t the one who accused Pirelli of basically cheating to help another team.

        1. You seriously need to get over it or find something else to obsess over. An apology not good enough for you? Hilarious and sad at the same time. U must be one lonely dude

          1. An apology not good enough for you?

            there’s about as much an apology here as there was from Mercedes conducting a secret test with Pirelli – none.

          2. Jake (@jagged-jake)
            17th May 2018, 12:00

            KGN11 is not obssesing or anything, he is just engaging in vibrant debate, it is people like yourself who are hypersensitive when your hero with the feet of clay is entangled in yet another lie.

        2. SV makes no such accusation whatsoever. It is only those who favour other drivers or teams, that are using that language. During the pre-season testing SV raises his suspicions that Merc and RBR were trying to influence Pirelli ahead of the season…and he also says that is normal and that all teams do it. He admits at the time Ferrari didn’t feel the need to try to influence Pirelli as they were happy with the tires.

      4. Leave him alone, he knows what he’s doing!

    6. Whatever will the conspiracy theorists complain about now? Who am I kidding………..

      1. pastaman (@)
        16th May 2018, 2:18

        There’s a conspiracy to hide the conspiracy!

        1. They resurfarced the track so that they can have a reason to change the tyres. It’s obvious.

      2. Here’s one: They gave Ferrari extra bad tyres of the old construction for this test, just to force this admission. :-)

        Damn, I’m good, off to invest in some tin foil stock.

    7. So is it possible to claim that Ferrari’s car is a diva on tracks with new asphalt?

    8. Did not really believe that Pirelli changed the tyres to favour Mercedes and RBR, but I reckon it was a questionable move, to say the least, especially given that exactly in the 1st race where these new tyres were used, Mercedes became unbeatable. But there’s another question tho: what was the state of the old tyres on Mercedes and RBR, worse or better than Ferrari’s?!

    9. FlatSix (@)
      16th May 2018, 6:14

      I’m surprised so many continue to call this a conspiracy theory. It simply has nothing to do with Mercedes or Pirelli consciously favouring a team. It’s about the huge mess Pirelli made of their tyres and the fact they had to change them for three circuits for not one valid reason and thus influencing the championship.

      We’ve had blistering before, we’ve had multi-stop races before. Since when is some blistering (that all of a sudden is dangerous to a point where safety is the leading argument) a reason to alter tyres. On every single weekend you’ll find cars having trouble with it, it’s up to the teams to manage that.

      Then there’s Isola saying we didn’t want this race to be a lottery. So a tyre manufacturer who has been creating lottery tyres for years that lead to even 7 different winners back in 2012 suddenly is so against it introduces new tyres mid-season that are untested.

      This is indeed not a conspiracy where Pirelli tried to help Mercedes. This once again just shows the inability of Pirelli to create tyres that suit the tracks they’re especially built for. We’ve had tracks with new asphalt before and never was this change needed.

      To me it’s simple. Pirelli influenced the championship (cause are you really going to argue the tyres didn’t favour Mercedes hugely) for no valid reason. Even back when Vettel had his punctures two years back or when the tyre blowout happened in Silverstone Pirelli were quick to blame it on the kerbs,…

      1. I generally agree with the sentiment of what you are saying. If the tires weren’t mandated to be temp-sensitive gadgets, ie. a manipulative device in the series, and rather they were just mandated to make good racing tires that drivers can actually push or follow without altering their temps and thus their behaviour, we wouldn’t have these kinds of issues.

        It is my hope and expectation that with the new major changes for 2021, aero won’t still be the overwhelming downside in F1, nor will the resultant ‘need’ for masks to try to compensate for that downside, namely the gadget tires to create variance, and the drs to create passes.

        I expect them to go back to tread wear deg tires, and would prefer that much sooner than 2021, but will believe it when I see it because they said they were going to make tread wear tires for 2017 and they never did.

      2. @flatsix At least Vettel had the honesty to admit he did a poor(er) job than others.

        Now perhaps you can follow his lead and agree with Vettel that Ferrari actually would have been even worse off if they had used the original tyres. Plus that Pirelli, FIA and all the teams actually did make the right decisions to use these tyres with 0.4mm shave off the thread depth.

        BTW Teams actually did test this new construct.

        Anyway, Pirelli brought the tyres which exactly matched the newly resurfaced track (better than the original ones) and you complain they don’t bring tyres that match the track. Do you even try to follow your own rants?

        1. FlatSix (@)
          17th May 2018, 7:38

          @patrickl The fact he did a poor(er) job still doesn’t mean the change of tyres is justified. I’m very capable of forming my own opinion and don’t need to follow someone else. I know you just like to copy Hamilton but that’s that.

          See, the only thing that would’ve happened if they hadn’t change the tyres was a multi-stop race, nothing more. And apparently that’s so terrible we have to change tyres. Had they affected all teams equally I wouldn’t have said a word, but you’re a fool to me if you don’t see it helped Mercedes the most, even if it did also help Ferrari. You’re so stuck in this narrative I’m only of this opinion because it hurt Ferrari… More so Isola said it would have no effect on performance, which we can all see is just a blatant lie, is it not?

          Anyway, Pirelli brought the tyres which exactly matched the newly resurfaced track (better than the original ones) and you complain they don’t bring tyres that match the track. Do you even try to follow your own rants?

          They didn’t really, they had to alter the tyres mid-season to actually suit the track. That’s hardly how they should be operating.

          I wasn’t aware they did test these tyres though, where and when was that, can’t find anything about it. Considering the announcement came around beginning April and the season already started end of March…?

          1. @flatsix OK, so you’d rather ignore the fact that Vettel himself said that they would have been even worse of with the original tyres and that these new slightly shaved tyres were a better fit for the track?

            So now everybody in the know (including your idol) says these tyres were better and you still maintain they weren’t?

            The track(s) changed. So they actually went out and made an effort to match the tyres to the track. Rather than telling the drivers to just deal with it. That’s as tailor made as it gets.

            The effect of the tyres is the same for all. There are a million things that could have made Mercedes perform better here. Especially the lower temperatures, but possibly also relative improvements through new upgrades brought by all the teams.

            Most likely Ferrari simply didn’t do a good job on the setup combined wuith Vettel over driving the car to keep Bottas behind which was what ruined his tyres in the Americas race too. Hamilton was joking that he could see Vettel ruining his tyres and knew he only had to wait till Vettel would become easy prey. And he did.

            It’s really overly simplistic to pretend that a 0.4mm difference in tyre thread depth is the one and only thing that made Mercedes win.

            It’s really bizarre how far you are willing to spin things to maintain the illusion that you are making some valid point somewhere.

            When they tested these tyres is in the original article.

          2. @patrickl You really are an expert in twisting and making assumptions.

            OK, so you’d rather ignore the fact that Vettel himself said that they would have been even worse of with the original tyres and that these new slightly shaved tyres were a better fit for the track?

            I don’t care what Vettel thinks about it. This could’ve been a fun multi stop race but instead Pirelli chose to implement these tyres to have a boring one stopper that in the process benefitted one team more than another.

            So now everybody in the know (including your idol) says these tyres were better and you still maintain they weren’t?

            They were indeed better, but I’m fairly sure Pirelli can make better tyres for every track than we have now, so that’s a mute argument.

            The effect of the tyres is the same for all. There are a million things that could have made Mercedes perform better here. Especially the lower temperatures, but possibly also relative improvements through new upgrades brought by all the teams.

            I agree, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen an update worth 20 seconds in a GP. Hence it’s far more logical to conclude the tyres were in it for a big part.

            It’s really overly simplistic to pretend that a 0.4mm difference in tyre thread depth is the one and only thing that made Mercedes win.

            I never did that. For all we know Mercedes would’ve won this race either way with the older tyres too. But why did we need new tyres and take away that opportunity to have that particular race that potentially could’ve been much closer than this one, but equally not at all. This simply proves there was no need to bring the changes, because it was already known it would change the balance between the two teams whereas keeping the original tyres wouldn’t have changed a thing.

            It’s really bizarre how far you are willing to spin things to maintain the illusion that you are making some valid point somewhere.

            I could say the same about you. You’re not at all recognising the importance tyres have and rather pretend Mercedes magically found 20 seconds over two weeks.

            Again, I’m not of this POV because it hurt Ferrari, I’m of this POV because there was no point in changing them in the first place. The only thing Pirelli was afraid of was a lottery race, and now they changed the tyres for no real valid reason and influenced the championship when they should’ve stayed out of it.

            1. @flatsix

              I don’t care what Vettel thinks about it

              Sorry, but I’m done right there. No need to wade more of your spin and delusions

    10. @flatsix, did you not yourself make statements in previous posts such as “Pirelli made special tyres for Mercedes”? That does sound like you were making a pretty direct accusation of bias by Pirelli towards Mercedes.

      As for the question of altering tyres, at what point do you stop with those accusations? Would you say that Pirelli influenced the 2017 championship in Ferrari’s favour then when they chose to allow the teams to operate the tyres at lower recommended pressures at certain venues given that those changes happened to benefit Ferrari more?

      1. I understand it can be a hobby to take everything literal, but at no point did I say there was a secret pact between Pirelli and Mercedes against Ferrari. Yes, I mentioned it like that but I feel my further explanations clearly showed that’s not how I see it. That being said, and I’ve told you before, I’m always against mid-season changes unless they really really are needed for the safety of the drivers. So I don’t care whomever it benefits, unless it benefits everyone equally.

    11. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of the rumours around Ferrari’s “over-generous” use of ERS until recently. There’s also talk of Mercedes ICE being hobbled right at the start of the season?

      I’m sure if there is anything to either rumour, the facts will come out soon enough.

    Comments are closed.