Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Circuit de Catalunya, 2011

F1 planning return to 2011-style high tyre degradation

2020 F1 season

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The FIA wants to bring back the high levels of tyre degradation which was previously seen in Formula 1 in 2011 and 2012.

A tender issued to potential tyre suppliers for F1 between 2020 and 2023 sets targets for degradation. It includes a soft tyre compound which becomes two seconds per lap slower over 10% of a race distance.

F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli was asked to produce high degradation tyres when it returned to the sport in 2011. It was later requested to produce more durable rubber, but the company’s sporting director Mario Isola says the new targets will move it closer to what was seen in 2011.

“We are analysing the numbers for degradation,” said Isola. “They’re quite high.

“That’s why before replying we are, with the guys in Milan, trying to make some simulations to understand what we achieve with these numbers. They are probably not far from 2011, 2012. We are making the comparisons to understand.”

Isola pointed out that while the tyre degradation targets can be reached, teams will always be able to reduce how much degradation they experienced by telling drivers to manage their pace.

“Pure degradation [is one thing], a different thing is degradation during the race. Because during the race, the teams have it in all their interests to manage degradation and reduce it without reducing too much the pace in order to achieve the best result. They are in competition, so they have to do that.

“So we need to put on the table all these aspects to understand which is the final result. Because of all these numbers, it’s not very easy to predict that without support from the numbers.”

The degradation levels specified are “high”, Isola stressed. “Honestly they are quite high.”

The Spanish Grand Prix saw over three times as many pit stops in 2011 compared to 2018 (with four more cars in the field). Although car performance was around eight seconds per lap slower, the race winner’s lap times dropped off more quickly over a stint as well:

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The FIA’s tyre degradation target for 2020

The FIA has set the following targets for tyre degradation aimed at “improvement of the show” from 2020:

The provider should commit to using their best endeavours to achieve these criteria in 75% of circuits in 2020, and to improve their performance with respect to this objective throughout the whole period of the tyre supply.

Target A1: The provider will make available three compounds at each race event, which, considering the nature of the circuit, will target the following performance and degradation characteristics:

• Hard compound: 2s degradation achieved at 22% race distance. Base lap time
• Medium compound: 2s degradation achieved at 18% race distance. 1.2s/lap quicker than Hard compound
• Soft compound: 2s degradation achieved at 10% race distance. 2.2s/lap quicker than Hard compound

The intent is to create the maximum number of race strategies yielding race times such that multi-stop strategies provide just enough potential of a beneficial outcome to encourage the greatest variety in the racing spectacle. For a typical circuit:

1x Medium Compound + 1x Hard Compound = 1-Stop Race
1x Soft Compound + 2x Medium Compound = 2-Stop Race
3x Soft Compound + 1x Medium Compound = 3-Stop Race

Note that the provider need not be constrained to a three compound range in order to achieve this target. It is perfectly acceptable for a named compound to be different at different circuits.

Targets for tyre performance life and stiffness at different temperatures are also specified. The tyre degradation targets indicates tyre performance levels over a hypothetical 50-lap race distance should vary as follows:

The FIA has also told tyre suppliers they can suggest changes to the proposed targets for tyre performance.

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2018 F1 season

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96 comments on “F1 planning return to 2011-style high tyre degradation”

  1. It won’t work. You’ll just end up with one stop tyre saving races like Monaco this year. It’s because pit stops take so long and track position is so important.

    Just mandate using all three tyres in a race and make one tyre much faster than the other two. Forget high deg, concentrate on high performance for each tyre.

    1. Just mandate using all three tyres in a race

      I can see where you are coming from, but I would hate to see this happen. We are already in a situation where at least one possible strategy is ruled out (zero stop using a hard compound) and they can’t do a multi-stop race using just the quickest tyre. The more restrictions, the less variability in the strategy, the less interesting the races.

      Personally, I’d go the other way: let them use any combination of tyres they want, but attempt to judge and build them so that several strategies give a very similar result: e.g. using the hardest tyre zero-stop would be slower over a race distance than multi-stop using the softest, but the softest would require lots of overtaking where the hardest would maintain track position. Basically, make it so the simulations would put at least 3 strategies on a very similar footing.

      This would probably require a wide range of tyres to choose from, maybe even specially developed tyres for certain tracks, but it would definitely give a more exciting race.

    2. If teams were forced to use all three tires then effectively you have forced them all to use 2 stop strategy.

    3. Just mandate using all three tyres in a race

      I really don’t like this idea. There are too many arbitrary tyre rules already. This would be yet more needless complication for no real purpose.

      Do we really want to see all the drivers pitting on the last lap to get their one mandatory stint on the slowest tyre compound out of the way?

      1. What about mandating two pit stops, but only if you use the softest compound tire. And make the softest compound tire a very fast tire.

      2. Agree 100%. All this “mandatory stop” and “mandatory degradation” stuff is born out of one source- that the current formula is much too reliant on dirty aero to allow for close racing. Artificially neutering the cars with tire degradation to improve “the show” just shows how incapable the sport is of real reform. Fix the roots and the rest takes care.

    4. It’s because pit stops take so long

      That’s the most important reason why we see fewer pit stops.
      FIA should focus on how to (safely) make the time lost driving through the pit lane shorter. Where safe they could increase the speed limit, or reduce the length of the speed limit area. See where you can ‘cut the final corner’ to get to the pit faster, or skip the first chicane. Or maybe give a car which stops 3-laps ‘free use’ of DRS.
      Or any other idea to reduce the time lost in the pitlane.

      1. @coldfly Bring back Donington Park then. Senna posted fastest lap while going through the pits when he aborted his stop.

      2. I like this idea. Make pitlane modifications to reduce the delta. Find ways to reduce the length of the speed limited sections. Maybe raise speed limiter. Create a pit exit or entry that cuts a corner on track.

    5. i would like if there was a point system you have to use for example 6-tyre point each race 6 for hard , 4 for medium , 2 for soft so it would be 1stop (hard) , 2stop (medium-soft) , 3stop (soft-soft-soft) obviously you can exceed the minimum so other options that suit the car are possible

    6. This whole tyre degradation idea is ridiculous. In the real world tyre manufacturers strive to make tyres last as long as possible. In a world of diminishing resources it’s a crazy message to send to consumers who normally want to maximize tyre mileage and save cost. You want to improve the show? Make circuits overtaking friendly, with wider corners or whatever is needed, and eliminate difficult overtaking tracks from the calendar.

      In the 1950s, 60’s to the 80s, the so-called great years of F1, there was none of this artificial tyre nonsense. Drivers always had to look after their tyres, it’s part of racing. Stop the mandatory tyre changes, provide soft, medium and hard tyres and let the drivers and strategists figure out the fastest route to the checkered flag.

    7. I know… every team has to roll a set of 12 and 20-sided dice before the formation lap– Then the driver is required to pit on the lap intervals that came up on the dice. If a 1 comes up, then you roll an additional die, and take that pit stop too.

      I mean, if you want to make it completely artificial, then let’s throw anything resembling strategy out the window.

      If you *actually* want more pit stops, make it advantageous to the teams to make more pit stops. Otherwise, it’s not going to happen, Full Stop, and every time the pit lane speed limit drops, the teams will resist pitting even more.

      I still say put in reasonable durable tires (like now), and bring back refueling– Lighter cars, faster lap times, more strategy options. If you tie the refueling rig into the garage rigs that already exist, via a standardized unit that delivers at most gallons/minute, and add a safety switch that says the car can’t go out of neutral unless the hose is out, you take care of most of the cost, and safety issues.

      Watch an IndyCar race for contrast– they have multiple stops per race, they’re juggling two compounds of tires (4 if you count used vs new) and fuel strategies and it’s frequently the team that has the best strategy that wins.

  2. Please No!
    Fans want to see the drivers push the car to the limits.

    1. Fans want to see the drivers push the car to the limits.

      And that’s exactly what isn’t happening today. The problem with the current tires is that drivers have to drive carefully to make the tires last the distance. Degradation is usually so low that if a driver runs out of tires and has to stop a second time, he just wastes 20 seconds (as Vettel in Spain and Hamilton in Austria found out). With higher degradation drivers still have to manage the tires somewhat, but they can push harder as they have more strategic options available.

      1. I hated those high deg years, and if memory serves so did most fans. Stop dancing around the truth with gimmicks. Go to active suspension and modern ground effects. That’s the only way the racing or “show” will improve. This whole tire thing is FIA stupid, as usual.

    2. Does this ‘pushing to the limits’ actually exist though? The problem in F1 is that race engineers and data munchers are always going to be able to tell drivers that nursing tyres or saving fuel (weight) can produce a faster ‘optimal’ race time over all. They can get this wrong and a more aggressive team can make an apparently less optimal strategy work (e.g. an extra stop and pushing the tyres to the maximum like you’re suggesting). But with race management as hi-tech as it now is, it’s difficult to see how you could achieve ‘flat out’ racing except maybe with one tyre for the entire race and set fuel loads, and nobody is going to approve that. The one track where tyre nursing proved farcical this year was Monaco – but that’s because Formula 1 still contrives to race at a track where overtaking is often virtually impossible.

      I still think F1’s primary issue is ‘dirty air’. The big difference would be slightly faster cars being able to approach and overtake the car in front, without DRS, rather than needing the big speed difference now needed to even try a move. Everything else is compensation to try to make up for this impediment to overtaking (and race action).

  3. I don’t mind high degradation, I do mind the extremely sensitive tyres that can’t be raced on.
    A tyre that wears but has a high working range is fine by me.

    1. I don’t mind high degradation, I do mind the extremely sensitive tyres that can’t be raced on.

      I think that’s the point. If they can develop tyres with a predictable degradation profile, maybe with a predictable cliff-edge at the end of it’s life, all is well and good. It is the predictability which is important, along with the ability to push them hard without major penalty and the ability to follow closely (which is mostly down to aero, but tyres could play a part too).

      1. I doubt if that is even possible. Softer and higher degration tires are always going to be more sensitive to wear and sliding. Following another cars puts more wear on the tires and with higher deg tires the problem is always going to be that you only get one chance to overtake. If you try to follow too long waiting for opportunity you’ll just wear out your tires. This is why we have more durable rubber. So that the cars can follow longer timers waiting for that overtaking opportunity without destroying their tires.

        1. @socksolid added to that, less degradation = less marbles because at some point it’s just two rails with marbles everywhere else, going for alternate trajectory is killing your chances. Will the tire supplier be able to produce degrading tires that do not put loads of marbles everywhere? The good news is the 2019 front wing spec – at least I hope so – that will help following and overtaking.

          1. Are you suggesting to …. “Loose the marbles ..”? Too late, already lost.
            What tyre manufacturer would want to be associated with a race series where the drivers complain (constantly) about tyre degradation and get what … 10 to 20 laps out of a set.?
            This idea is wrong in so many ways. The saddest part is that someone, somewhere thought it was a good idea.

    2. These tyres today are quite hard and can be raced on for sure, but the problem now is dirty air and fuel. I must admit that F1 was indeed more entertaining in 2011 and 2012 as much as I lambasted those Pirelli cheese tyres, in the face of the boring racing we have today I welcome the back!

  4. I thought the tyre balance between degradation and performance was pretty good this season. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t just stick with this year’s balance.

    1. @todfod Why do you think that? There is almost no degradation because drivers are nursing their tires pretty much all the time. This year, races have generally been decided by safety car interventions, but apart from that there wasn’t too much racing. It’s a shame that during the high-degradation era one driver (Vettel; 2011-2013) or one team (Mercedes; 2014-2016) dominated. Last year, we finally had two extremely closely-matched teams and in my opinion the most interesting races were the races in which tire degradation was high and the optimal strategy was unknown.

      1. @f1infigures

        Depends on how you look at it. This year so far the degradation of tyres and alternate tyre strategies have been responsible for some great races – Bahrain (Bottas on mediums chasing Vettel of degrading softs), China (Red Bulls on fresh softs start overtaking the entire field), Baku (Bottas going long), Austria, Germany (Lewis’ charge on the ultras).

        All I remember from the 2011 and 2012 seasons were incredibly tedious amounts of tyre saving. Then sometimes there was a cliff in tyre performance… which although it did add to the drama, honestly felt really artificial.

        I don’t see what’s wrong with 2018’s tyres from a racing point of view. Maybe the only issue is that they overheat when following another car closer, but that’s always been the case.

        1. @todfod High-degradation tires are extremely artificial, but I think they are needed to produce interesting races. I really liked the dynamic and usually unpredictable races in 2011 and 2012. I think the examples you mentioned precisely prove my point. Bahrain was interesting because it was intended to be a 2-stop race, so at the end of the race Vettel was really running out of tires). China was somewhat similar, but the race was greatly helped by the fact that the leaders couldn’t change tires during the safety car, whereas the others could.
          Azerbaijan was a really odd race, as the tires took ages to warm up, so theoretically the best strategy was to pit at the end of the penultimate lap. Talking about artificial…
          Austria was extremely tedious last year, but this year the higher temperatures caused some blistering, which made the race somewhat more interesting. Germany only got interesting when it started to rain.
          What I miss is races like Spain last year, when Ferrari pitted Vettel early to avoid a Mercedes undercut, which cost him later in the race. I think every race should be a challenge to strategists, especially now the top teams are so close.

  5. Reading the article it had me worried but reading the actual requirements, it gets interesting.

    2011 type is only really valid for soft tyres which is meant to degrade differently from medium and hard. I have not computed the numbers but they need to have the more stops strategy being substantially faster in order for this to work to take into account extra pass manoeuvres to get back to previous running order and then few extra seconds of tyre damaging behind your rival…

    The idea is quite interesting though and I am looking forward a deeper analysis from someone who has time to crunch the numbers (time advantage of 3stops vs 2 vs 1).

    And while the objective is interesting, you never know how teams will handle the situation and turn it around.

    1. According to the degradation rate provided/requested, here are how the 3 strategies compare to each other. Time delta is provided based on a race run at constant speed (lap 1 of hard compound as this is also the basis in FIA’s request). The race is considered as 60 laps (this is the average number of laps for a race).

      Fastest 1 stop race is 29 laps on hard and 31 on medium, it will take +110,43 seconds (pit stop excluded)
      Fastest 2 stops : 2 x 22 laps on medium + 16 laps on soft, time + 37,56 sec
      Fastest 3 stops : 18 laps on medium + 3 x 14 laps on soft, time + 5,33 sec

      Adding ~20 sec of pit lane loss (lower than total pit stop time since a car on track also take time from pit entry to pit exit and that’s the delta which matters) gives the following :
      1 stop : +130,43 sec
      2 stops : +77,56 sec
      3 stops : +65,33 sec

      Looks like enough time in hand to favor 2 stops strategy over the one stop (except maybe in Monaco, especially given the shorter distance).

      Disclaimer: this will not reflect the reality and is just meant to feed F1fanatics curiosity.

      1. @thanks for doing that calculation for us @jeanrien, that’s an interesting set of ballpark numbers.

        If I interpret the article correctly, I think Pirelli is sort of saying that they will try to get the asked for profiles, but that with all the extra bits of variability reality, and the teams add, don’t expect this to work as simply as these numbers suggest! Seemingly, they are telling the FIA that it probably isn’t going to work much better than currently.

      2. In this excellent YouTube channel Chain Bear mentioned the cliff would return, which would reduce the lifespan of the tires. Still, even with the high degradation, the crossover points are fairly late, which means that the softer tires are always faster than the harder tire until they reach the cliff.
        Also, bear in mind that the actual time losses due to tire degradation increase quadratically with the number of laps driven. I must say it’s weird that degradation is defined in seconds per percentage of race distance. At the short Red Bull Ring 2 seconds per lap is much more than 2 seconds per lap at Spa-Francorchamps for example. It really makes a difference:
        At Spa-Francorchamps the (optimal) 1-stop strategy costs around 160 seconds on track, whereas the 2-stop strategy costs almost 130 seconds. As a pitstop costs about 20 seconds, the 2-stop strategy is faster, but not that much.
        At the Red Bull Ring the 1-stop strategy costs nearly 330 seconds on track, whereas the 2-stop strategy costs around 215 seconds, which is too much of a difference.

      3. If those calculations are right I’m all for this change, it would be nice to see 2 and 3 stop races again.

      4. lovely analysis @jeanrien, thanks.
        This way the requirements make a lot of sense.
        IMO they can flatten the curve a bit for the hard compound; now it takes 63 laps before the hard is a better option than the medium, this should be somewhere in the low 40’s. (i.e. ‘Hard compound: 2s degradation achieved at 30% race distance’)

    2. “You never know how teams will handle the situation and turn it around.”

      Isn’t that the point?

  6. It seems to me that in the graph the degradation for the medium tyre is too flat compared to the hard (or the hard is too steep) to make these strategies viable. With these stats it would take running the hard tyre for about 55 laps to break even compared to running the medium. Sure, you can’t run 2x medium for the race, but almost certainly the preferred strategy would be starting soft + medium (while saving tyres) over starting on the slower medium + hard, with the race being too short to take profit from the hard tyre.

    1. From what I’ve gathered about this reading other articles, the goal is to have non-linear degradation. I.e. Soft compound: 2s degradation achieved at 10% race distance -> that doesn’t mean that after 20% race distance the degradation has to be 4s, it looks like the goal was to have an exponential degradation.

  7. The tires are fine as they are, Pirelli is just too scared to select the softest compounds, so we always get 1 stop races where drivers use the softer tires twice as long as Pirelli thought they would. Just select softer compounds (e.g. HS/US/SS instead of SS/S/M) and we’d be seeing more varied strategies right now.

    1. That’s what they used in Monaco and Montreal and both races still saw 1-stops and drivers basically nursing from start to finish

  8. Tbh, whatever they do with tyres, it’ll be terrible. Ideally, you’d want it to be a 1 stop with saving tyres, and a 2 stop with full on pushing, and have them end up being about the same race time. However, track position is so important that everyone will just do a 1 stop. Whatever they do, people will do the minimum number of pit stops and be saving the tyres because it gives them a better chance to win.
    And if they make them have basically no deg so everyone 1 stops, it will also be ridiculously boring.

    1. @hugh11 If tire degradation is high enough, fresh tires will be more important than track position, so there will be multiple stops.

  9. I think f1 should just drop the tire selection altogether and let pirelli decide what tires to bring. The 2 compound rule should be left as is so there is minimum one pitstop (races with average of less than one pitstop are boring). But the main thing to change is that pirelli should bring tires to races that the teams don’t know. There is ample time in fp1 and fp2 to figure out the tires. So make the tires little different for every weekend. For every race the tires should have different optimal temperatures, different wear profiles for races and all other parameters. Every weekend the teams would need to relearn the tires.

    You could make tires that come back if you push in the beginning of the stint and then wait and then have the grip come back. You could make tires that have sharp loss of performance. And you could make tires that gradually lose grip. Maybe one tire that is super hard but can be driven full on sideways all through the race. Maybe even make some tires crossply and some radials. Maybe even use different moulds so the tires have slightly different aerodynamic properties, shoulder profiles and handling characteristics. Even make grooved tires for some races just because why not. The teams have hundreds of engineers. Make them try to understand the tires instead of trying to figure out the last thousandth of performance for the most optimal race programs. Of course every team would have the same 3 tires per weekend (soft, medium, hard) but those 3 would be the different tires every weekend.

    It would add little unpredictability as teams would not always get it right and sometimes some tires work better for one team than the other. After each weekend the tires go to shredder anyways so there is no wasted tires because of non-matching compounds.

    1. I like these ideas….

    2. But the main thing to change is that pirelli should bring tires to races that the teams don’t know

      So we can go back to 2012’s “You get a race win .. and you get a race win … and you get a race win” and never ending talk of lottery tyres? No way.

      1. In 2012 it was not lottery. And more importantly there were 8 different race winners that season. I don’t see that as a negative.

        1. @socksolid It was a lottery in the sense that for the 1st half of the season it was all about who could get the tyres to switch on by getting them into an extremely narrow operating window with nobody having any idea on how to do it.

          Teams were turning up to the early races finding they were either contenders for the win or struggling to make the top 10 with no idea on why. One weekend you would turn up & find you were in the tyre sweet spot yet the next you would be nowhere despite doing nothing different.

          8 winners in the 1st 8 races sounds great on paper but there was no flow to the season, The results felt so random with performances varying so dramatically from race to race that they all felt completely disconnected rather than been part of a season. It was hard to know what was going on even for the most knowledgeable/long time fans, Everything just started to feel completely random.

    3. I like these ideas too. Also makes practice sessions more important as teams will have to run pretty much the whole time to understand all the tires while tweaking the setups. I don’t think it will become a full free for all as stronger teams will still probably come out on top.

    4. races with average of less than one pitstop are boring

      @socksolid How do you know? The last time we had such races was back in 1993.
      I think getting rid of the mandatory stop and allow drivers to freely choose whatever tire they want to start the race on might produce very interesting races, as the drivers who try to do the whole race distance on one set of tires are very likely to be overtaken at some point by cars running a more aggressive strategy. The main disadvantage is that eventually most drivers will choose the same strategy…

  10. The only way high degradation helps the show is if the driver’s have to drive too slowly to extend their life.

    We’re talking a pace like 2 seconds per lap slower to get any meaningful extra life from them. If they can milk the tyres by dropping 0.5-1 second then they just bumble round knowing anyone pushing is hit with a costly pit stop.

    2013 was awful for tyre saving because the teams understood them too well. The racing this and last season has been great. I don’t understand why they’re tampering with it.

  11. Why do need different compounds? What for? One soft tyre on the edge between one to two stops would provide the variation and excitement we need.

  12. It’s an interesting theory, but is it possible? Last time they tried, the degradation itself wasn’t so much the problem but rather the cliff where performance drops off immediately. The key component to that performance graph is that all performance is linear, for the tyres to degrade but not become suddenly unusable. Add to that the insane amount of marbles on the track making any kind of racing off the racing line dangerous to attempt.

    These theoretical lap time deficits are indeed large, a car going 5 to 7 seconds a lap quicker on a different strategy will of course promote more overtaking, but is it even possible? Or is this just pie in the sky stuff?

    And as Michelin pointed out, why would they even be interested in learning how to develop tyres that degrade quickly, that defeats the whole point of making good tyres…

  13. Pleas don’t do this, I’m really gonna stop watching F1.
    There’s absolutely nothing exciting in watching drivers nursing their tires… Still remember Hamilton’s infamous response “I can’t drive any slower than this…” after being asked for the third time to look after his tires.

    Anything that does not motivate F1 drivers to push to the limit ALL THE TIME doesn’t belong to F1. I’d rather watch the rerun of the 80’s soap “Dynasty” if they decide to go back to the tires that fall apart every time you squeeze them a little…

    1. Thank goodness, I’m not alone. As it is I’m much more entertained by MotoGP and their pit-stopless races, at Assen they had 174 on track passes IIRC, at Brno the race was more of a procession due to concerns that even the hard tyres would run out of grip (very inconvenient mid corner at 200kph and a 60 degree lean angle) due to the conditions but was, in the last 1/4 as exciting as any F1 race that suddenly comes to life due to a late safety car giving all the drivers new tyres, and more exciting than 90% of F1 races.
      This will indeed be the final straw for me.

  14. This is so stupid. Why do they not just say you are only allowed to run the soft tyre a max of 15% of race distance, the medium a max of 25% race distance and hard a max of 40% race distance (These are just arbitrary numbers). After that amount of laps you have to pit and change tyres even if you can go another 100 laps with those tyres because you drove so slowly. Then you should be able to push as hard as you want, especially if they make the tyres to last double the distance you are allowed to do with them.

  15. Worst idea ever. Why don’t we create yet another element that will stop us from being able to see who’s the best driver. I got another idea that fits with this: Let’s make it all remote controlled. Let’s save the driver salaries.

  16. Unpopular opinion, but scrap this tyre saga and bring back refuelling. If DRS and these high-deg tyres are still around after the next regulation overhaul, I can’t see myself staying interested–especially as Alonso and the old guard will have departed, or soon be departing, the scene.

    1. bring back refuelling


    2. Not that unpopular, I would like to see refuelling again as would most people I talk to who watch. It means drivers could set fast laps all through the race.

      1. But there would much less action on the track. Overtaking would predominantly take place during pit stops instead of on the track, as history has shown. Since the ban on refuelling overtaking on track has doubled in 2010 (without other major rule changes) and since the introduction of gimmicks like DRS and high degrading tyres even more.

        1. @silfen People always mention 2010 as the reason why in-race refueling was bad, but I think the overtaking figures are artificially inflated by having a lot of very slow back-markers and drivers pitting early to get their mandatory tire stop out of the way. There were some great races in 2010 (Canada comes to mind, but that race was affected by extremely high tire degradation), but in the grand scheme of things, nothing much changed compared to earlier seasons. Drivers could still find themselves in the middle of train of slower cars with no opportunity to overtake. There were only fewer ways for them to improve their positions via strategy.
          Some time ago I was re-watching some races in the mid-2000s and I thought they were actually quite good. The drivers were going flat out all the time, there were interesting race strategies and the overtakes we had were at least genuine. Nowadays we have more “easy” overtakes (DRS-assisted or made possible by considerable tire differences).

          1. Michael Brown (@)
            6th August 2018, 15:23

            @f1infigures The worst part about refuelling was that it encouraged saving fuel behind another car and then setting fast laps once that car pitted to pass them. At least without refuelling there was an incentive to do the pass right away without waiting for the pitstops in 2010.

    3. @mbr-9 Thank you for your reply.
      I can see that fuel saving was detrimental to racing. Still I think it mainly became a thing when the tires were virtually indestructible, so pitting as late as possible was advantageous. However, until the mid-90s pitting early was generally advantageous, as tire degradation was relatively high, so I doubt fuel saving was much of a problem then. So yes, the combination of very durable tires and refueling may not be such a good idea, even though I would usually prefer a pitlane overtake over no overtake at all.

      1. @glynh @f1infigures I was never a fan of refueling, Felt the racing was better before & better after. I do think refueling hurt overtaking & the racing.

        I think with refueling races became more about pit strategy & less about the on-track racing with drivers having a lot less input on that strategy than they do when it’s just about tyres.

        For instance with refueling the strategy guys would decide strategy on Saturday & if they decided to put 20 laps of fuel in the car for the 1st stint there wasn’t much scope to extend it. Drivers could save a bit of fuel but usually only 1-2 laps worth. From then the strategy was dictated by the computers, If the computer simulation said pitting twice was the fastest it’s what they would do & again the driver had far less input in making that decision.

        When it’s primarily about tyres strategy is far more reactive/dynamic & drivers have a lot more input. You can go into a race planning a 1 stop on lap 20 but maybe tyre wear is worse or better which requires you pit sooner than lap 20 or are able to extend beyond lap 20. Maybe the driver i harder on the tyres which forces them to stop sooner/more often, Maybe a driver is easier & allows them to extend/pit less. Maybe they plan 2 stops but the driver makes the call to ditch the 2nd stop (Which is what gave Schumacher his 2nd F1 win at Estoril in ’93).

        Refueling was also far more predictable, It was fairly easy to look at lap times & stuff & have a good idea when everyone was stopping. With tyres there are more variables so it can be harder to narrow down exactly what everyone is planning.

        Refueling also offered far less possibility to recover from damage or a mistake because the penalty for pitting early was far greater than it is when it’s just about tyres.

        It was also less of a challenge in that cars were always at there optimal while without refueling starting on full tanks & seeing the fuel load go down changes the car throughout a race. Maybe a car isn’t good on full tanks but gets better as the fuel burns off or vice versa. That added to the challenge & was something some drivers were better at than others & which some would factor into car setups & tyre strategy.

        1. @stefmeister In-race refueling most likely had a negative impact on overtaking, but I don’t think overtaking is the only important aspect of Formula 1. It’s debatable if refueling is desirable, but these are my replies:

          For instance with refueling the strategy guys would decide strategy on Saturday & if they decided to put 20 laps of fuel in the car for the 1st stint there wasn’t much scope to extend it.

          True, strategy was decided before the start of the race or even qualifying during the refueling era.

          If the computer simulation said pitting twice was the fastest it’s what they would do & again the driver had far less input in making that decision.

          Not completely true, as the theoretically fastest strategy could be too risky. Some drivers then might still choose the riskier option, whereas others preferred a less risky, but slower strategy. Hence, there was strategical variation. Strategical variation was less when tire degradation was low, as the drivers were forced into boring 1-stop races, but that’s the same without refueling.

          When it’s primarily about tyres strategy is far more reactive/dynamic & drivers have a lot more input. You can go into a race planning a 1 stop on lap 20 but maybe tyre wear is worse or better which requires you pit sooner than lap 20 or are able to extend beyond lap 20.

          While in theory the increased flexibility is a good thing, practice has shown that it may actually be bad. Nowadays drivers rarely pit because they run out of tires. Usually they pit for strategic reasons. The timing of their stops is in most cases dictated by the strategy of the opposition. Drivers usually pit to cover a rival, which in my opinion is quite boring, as it removes all strategic variation.

          Refueling was also far more predictable, It was fairly easy to look at lap times & stuff & have a good idea when everyone was stopping.

          Really? Commentators used to speculate a lot about fuel strategies and usually they were wrong, for example assuming that a driver was on a very light fuel load when in fact he was genuinely fast. I think most spectators didn’t have a clue either.

          Refueling also offered far less possibility to recover from damage or a mistake because the penalty for pitting early was far greater than it is when it’s just about tyres.

          This is only true in case of mandatory tire changes, a rule I dislike for its artificialness, otherwise refueling or no refueling doesn’t make any difference.

          It was also less of a challenge in that cars were always at there optimal while without refueling starting on full tanks & seeing the fuel load go down changes the car throughout a race. Maybe a car isn’t good on full tanks but gets better as the fuel burns off or vice versa.

          In the past, when V8s were competing against V12s this was definitely a factor, but in the current era I haven’t seen many examples of cars performing significantly better with high or low fuel.

          1. @f1infigures

            but I don’t think overtaking is the only important aspect of Formula 1

            Neither do I. I’ll always enjoy a good multi-lap (Or even race long) fight over a position over a quick/easy overtake. Thats a big part of the reason I dislike DRS & high-deg tyres, I feel they both produce passing but often at the expense of a good fight.

        2. @stefmeister DRS is over the top indeed. Many people dislike it, which shows that they prefer battles over overtakes. Nowadays real battles for position are rare. Battles like the battle between Hamilton and Rosberg at Bahrain or between Vettel and Alonso at Silverstone a few years ago are the exception.
          About high-degradation tires I think it’s 50-50. Yes, they are artificial and un-F1-like, but they can transform otherwise static races into exciting ones.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        6th August 2018, 22:08

        @f1infigures My opposition to refuelling aside I would like to see how it works out with the kind of tires that necessitate more than one stop. Low fuel gives incentive to run the faster tires.

  17. You would have thought the idiots at the FIA & FOM learned their lesson that fans don’t want to see drivers nursing their tires to the extreme. It’s a good thing they made the cars incredibly fast, just so they can be driven at 85% speed because of the tires.

    Driving like grandmothers as if on egg shells – those were the comments being made in 2011-2013 about the cheese tires from Pirelli.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      6th August 2018, 14:29

      @andrewf1 Why would you assume that? Can you think of another situation where they learned from mistakes and applied the new knowledge in an effective way? They’ve reacted to deaths but that seems to be about it….

    2. They are not as stupid as you think @andrewsf1.
      The idea is to get different drivers with different strategies on the track at the same time. This would obviously create some action. Are high degradation tyres the way to go? I don’t think so, but the goal is to create exciting races. @jeanrien provided some interesting numbers on that.

      My point being: dismissing the idea as ‘stupid’ without any analysis is somewhat naïve.

  18. I thought the tyre balance between degradation and performance was pretty good this season. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t just stick with this year’s balance.

  19. If they go along with this then i’m not sure i’ll continue watching because i’m tired of the gimmicks be it DRS or nonsense like high-deg tyres which are to me just as artificial & gimmickey & just as responsible for slowly eroding my love/passion for F1 since 2011.

    I absolutely hated those early years of the high-deg philosophy because the constant need to be talking about & focusing on tyres is boring to me & it’s been getting back to that a bit this year in some races. It can also create racing just as bad as DRS with huge differences in tyre life/performance creating boringly predictable & overly easy passing with the car been passed utterly defenseless & that isn’t the sort of racing I want to see.

    It’s the wrong direction to go in & if they get the formula right for 2021 it’s a direction they won’t even need to go in.

  20. I’d rather see drivers push their car all the time than tyre save, but if one car (Mercedes for instance) dominates highly then regardless how much a Force India pushes it’s going to finish behind anyway and we get processional and super boring races.

    I used to think I liked the high-deg tyres – they were exciting! If I remember rightly the first six or so races had six different winners! Obviously the season stabilised over time and a ‘pecking order’ was established but it was rather fun going into a race and knowing that several drivers and a few teams had a very real chance of victory. It was unpredictable!

    But then I thought about it and realised I don’t like high-deg tyres – what I enjoyed was the close fight between multiple drivers and teams. So while putting the high-deg tyres back would for a short time increase the ‘show’ and competetiveness of the field it isn’t addressing the actual issue – the enormous performance gap between frontrunner and midfield. So I feel this change is addressing a symptom of a problem without treating the actual issue.

  21. If a tyre gives up 2s in performance after just 5 laps on the limit, drivers will be extra careful to slow down this degradation. In other words: (a) just let the faster car go by (midfield vs front runners), it’s not worth trying to defend the position and kill the tires; (b) don’t attack the similar car in front (midfield vs midfield or front runner vs front runner), just leave a 2s gap to not get dirt air, it’s not worth to kill the tires.

    Sounds like a solid plan.

    1. You might reduce dirty air with new aero regulations, but attack and defend positions will always put more stress on the tires than just running on your own.

      Few overtakes are fine, drivers not even trying to overtake to save tires is not. But of course, DRS and tires 2s faster inflate the overtake numbers, and some people only look at the numbers.

  22. If the data in the graph holds true, what is going to prevent all drivers from simply following the same strategy ? Start with softs , pit by lap 15 and move to medium. End of story.
    What will happen, atleast with the first season of such a change, is the so called deficit will begin to show with those drivers pitting again for softs but they have crunched the data and identify an “optimal” tyre strategy, they are all going to follow it anyway. And as it is with the sport now, in 2018, safety car could perhaps be the primary source of on track drama/overtakes.
    Status quo in my opinion.

  23. More stupidity from the FIA, it’s like the owner of a Rolls Royce taking his car to the local Shell filling station for a service, they can change the oil but are otherwise clueless.
    They are so short sighted they cannot see that the Aero regs are the cause of the processions, I refuse to use the term races because most are tedious humdrum, but instead of rectifying the root cause they come up with DRS, dodgy tyre’s, penalties for anything and everything, stewarding that could be better handled by children.
    Next years Aero changes will yield little and it transpires that now the much heralded engine changes for 2021 are on hold because there are no newcomers interested. So Realising that it will likely be more of the same we are back to grasping at straws with a single tyre supplier that can be controlled to produce yet more dodgy tyres, I’m astounded at the stupidity frankly.
    In short, the FIA is long since unfit for purpose.

  24. I don’t like this plan. Not really in favor of it. I definitely prefer the current 2017-present durable tyres especially the 2017-specs since they allow the drivers to push for much longer than the pre-2017 ones most notably the early current Pirelli era ones although the lap times in qualifying trim weren’t bad in 2011 but the quality of racing suffered to an extent compared to the season before with the similarly low-deg Bridgestones.

  25. The best seasons racing-wise were 2011 and 2012, rate the race polls confirm it. We haven’t heard messages of the necessity to drop back a few seconds in order to not destroy the tyres. We saw many fantastic races, nose-to-tail stuff like Monaco 2011, China 2012, all the time in dirty air. Last week in Hungary, Vettel had to back off because he would have damaged his tyres and made additional pitstop.

    This year the racing is bad until the SC shakes up the order. China, Azerbaijan and Britain (and even Austria) drama was only thanks to SC deployment. Certainly not thanks to drivers being able to push as much as they could, but rather to the difference between the tyres.

    1. +1

      It seems that many people have forgotten how great F1 was back in 2011/2012.

    2. @michal2009b @f1infigures 2011 & especially 2012 are my 2 least favourite seasons of the 30 odd i’ve watched. DRS was at it’s most powerful & the tyres were a complete & utter joke.

      There was record numbers of passing at this time but it all very very contrived & artificial as it was pretty much all down to drs & the rubbish tyres.
      those 2 years were the start of my loss of interest in f1 & i switched off several races in this period due to how contrived the racing began to feel. most of my friends/family who were also f1 fans also stopped watching for the same reasons.

      also remember that many drivers were complaining back then about how boring & unsatisfying it was to drive so far below the limit with f1 becoming too easy and less physical as a result of the comedy tyres.

  26. I think that the thing the FIA are forgetting is the teams all do the same calculations, so after a few races, they’ll all be on the same strategy making the change pointless.
    I would think the goal (all things being equal) would be to design the tires in such a way that a team doing a one stop on the harder compound can be fast enough to challenge a team doing a two stop strategy on the softer compound or a team doing a three stop strategy on the softest compound. Thus allowing teams to set their strategy based on how their car uses the tires rather than because they are forced to use this compound or that compound.

  27. John Toad (@)
    6th August 2018, 14:26

    Other parts of the cars are limited in numbers by the season.
    Why not give each team a tyre allocation for the season and the let them use them as they want, with no mandatory pit stops to change onto a different compound.
    Make the allocation of each compound such that there are only enough of each compound to run them at, say, 80% of the races.
    We might then get some interesting strategy choices with some teams opting to use their fastest tyres up first and be left with ‘used’ fast tyres and slow tyres for the last few races. Other teams may adopt a more moderate approach and have a mix of ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ tyres left for the last few races.
    Add to this a different allocation of tyres just for qualifying and we perhaps have a recipe for varying strategies utilised by the teams over the season.

  28. I know not everyone will agree with me, but I want to see the fastest car with the best driver winning. I don’t really want lots of pit-stops for tyres that are too easily degraded and I really don’t want drivers having to drive more slowly to protect their tyres. In my opinion no stops would be great if there was the chance of good overtaking. So either ensure aero does not spoil overtaking, or allow drs to be used wherever the driver felt confident. I know refuelling won’t probably happen because of safety, but I would welcome that because it would allow cars to go faster on track and give opportunities for strategy that was not artificial. I would bring back tyre wars – I know not popular, but tyre manufacturers fighting to make the best quality tyres last longest and go fastest – what’s not to love, and also a bit of road relevance and make people actually want to buy their road tyres. Thought does need to be given as to how to get parity for teams, lack of opportunity to keep up with development spoils the sport for all, and so far as far as I can see the cost cutting efforts have actually increased costs and made it even harder for smaller teams. There will always be some lack of parity but, other than safety concerns, reduce restrictions which are turning F1 into a spec sport and small teams might hit on a magic solution, like Brawn did bringing Button his WC. After all McLaren and Red Bull spend a fortune and are not guaranteed success, it’s not that long ago that people were complaining that no-one would ever be able to beat them, and for the last few years Ferrari has struggled to buy race wins, only really finding their feet this last year, while it’s not so long ago Williams came third in constructors, so even with current regs smaller teams can do okay – get rid of unnecessary restrictions, who know? I would quite like to see a 6 wheeler on the track lol.

  29. Michael Brown (@)
    6th August 2018, 15:14

    2011 tires were good imo. But in 2012 and 2013, pirelli went even softer and softer to the point where they had the change the construction midway through 2013 because they were ripping themselves apart.

  30. Jonathan Seymour
    6th August 2018, 15:17

    Please no, as others have said 2011/12 were a bit of a joke because of the ‘cheese’ tyres.

    How about simply removing the rule that you have to use both compounds in a race? Combined with a reasonable but not huge gap in grip vs longevity between the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ compounds, it would open the racing up to those wanting to run a conservative strategy with fewer stops on the ‘hard’ compound, and those wanting to run an aggressive ‘sprint’ style strategy on the ‘soft’ tyre with more stops?

  31. eliminate blue flags and let the team choose whatever tire they wanna use from the 7 or 8 types available xD.. game on

  32. If they want more stops and strategies, mirror when you see more stops–safety car and VSC.

    Not talking about some Bernie madness such as sprinklers on the track, rather figure out how to contract the pit stop delta. Increasing pit lane speed limits likely won’t happen, but it would help. Shortening pit lanes may be possible in a couple tracks, and likewise lengthening the track relative to the pit lane could be possible (I’d hate to see what that would look like). I think Monaco would have seen more stops if it didn’t have such a ponderous pit speed limit. Maybe unlimited DRS on all in laps and out laps. Imagine the fun of thread bear tires and DRS through corners!

    Absent this change in delta, I just don’t see it happening.

  33. The other day I watched the 2011 Spanish GP again, where Vettel won with most making 4 stops, and Button making 3 stops to good effect. This is what I conclude from watching it.
    – The best drivers with the best equipment still made a difference, but mainly this was how quickly they could get through the back markers when you pitted.
    – With two cars at the same stage of the stint, there were very few attempts to pass.
    – The drivers were pushing all the time as far as I could tell.
    – It was pretty chaotic, to know what was happening you needed to be aware of where people were in their stint window.
    – I could enjoy some races like that, but not all of them.

  34. Better to bring back the tyre for the weekend rule of 2005, then.
    They can race hard with the tyres but still manage them if needed.

    Man, that was bad. But chewing-gum tyres weren’t much better.

  35. Tyred of tyre talk… V8s, reign in payment disparity, mandate that aero for each car must produce a minimum “passing pocket” that allows cars to follow and pass (no more DRS). Honestly, what tyre manufacturer wants to produce “degrading” tyres! …it’s degrading!

  36. Sergey Martyn
    6th August 2018, 19:15

    FIA constantly tells us they want to make F1 ‘green’ and to bring cutting edge technologies to the road cars.
    6 sets of tyres should be handed back after FP1, FP2 and FP3, couple of sets used in qualifying + 1 or two extra sets in race – i.e. 9 to 10 sets per car which means 720 to 800 tyres are wasted during the weekend by the whole grid = 14,000 to 16,000 tyres wasted every year.
    Consider energy and resources wasted to manufacture them, to haul them around the globe, to recycle them (not sure if they are recycled) and they want to tell us they are going ‘green’ making ridiculous fuel consumption restrictions.
    FIA rule books are the diaries of a madman – everything is restricted, prohibited and mandatory.
    Last year after DTM race I spotted few Hankook tyres marked “OK for Hockenheim” i.e. the next race) which were loaded to the truck. That’s what I call ‘green’.
    So they want us to buy road tyres which last a month?
    I’m fed up with artifically reduced lifespan of the things they sell us – in 70’s manufacturers wanted us to buy cars and electronics which last for decades, now every instruction manual begins with “Lifespan is 3 years”.
    I want flat-out racing on the edge with four wheels slides, not hearing endless radio exchanges about fuel and tyre saving instructions.

  37. For Monaco it’s difficult to produce multiple-stopper regardless of tyres used if those tyres are going to be used elsewhere. The combination of shortest race and smallest tyre wear of all circuits makes that happen.

  38. Just give points for quali and reverse grid.

    Tires should be 18″ and as fast over a race distance they can make them. Can be soft as butter and last entire race. No mandatory pitstops.

  39. Yeah, bring it back. With those 20″ rims, when they deflate we’ll have an espectacle like Ghost Rider. Good for the show I say. In the meantime, Williams’ cars will reach 88mph and travel back to their time of glory.

  40. How’s this .
    Two mandatory tyre pit stops both at fixed lap distance ,pits open for two consecutive laps at 25% race distance and again at 75% race distance .Teams pick tyre compound after practice 3 and must use that compound for all quali sessions and for race.No requirement to change compounds during race .
    This formula effectively creates two sprint stages and a mid race tyre preservation/degradation strategy.
    With the pits only open for two consecutive laps per stop it creates a pitting stratagy getting both cars in and out with multiple cars in the pit lane.
    Tyre degradation is not the answer.

  41. The last 18 months have had considerably better racing than the prior few years precisely because high degredation tyres were removed. Reversing this decision will only make the situation worse. Though given that viewing figures plummet regardless of what is done with the tyres, I can see why desperation moves are being done.

    If the tyre manufacturers are sensible, they will completely ignore all of these recommendations and simply tell the FIA what parameters they want. It’s not as if the FIA is likely to have a choice that is any better than the market feels like granting it, and after messing Pirelli about for a decade, tyre manufacturers have every reason not to trust it.

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