Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Tyre graining “not fun” but made race entertaining – Hartley

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Brendon Hartley suspects the high levels of tyre graining seen in the Mexican Grand Prix made the race more entertaining.

What they say

Several drivers struggling with heavy graining on Sunday, as Hartley explained:

I think a lot of people’s tyres were recovering at the end after going through some tricky periods.

It probably made for some entertaining racing seeing drivers go through different periods of the levels of graining. It’s not not particularly fun when it happens and there’s a lot to manage behind the wheel. I don’t know how exciting the rest of the race was.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Do F1’s tyres exaggerate the performance differences between the ‘big three’ and the other teams?

Could the tyres also exacerbate that gap between teams. They are so sensitive and not forgiving, therefore it makes sense that teams who spend more on how their cars treat the tyres will have a performance advantage, basically making the tyres a performance differentiator when they shouldn’t be.

On the other hand if we have tyres that are constructed to enhance performance instead of hindering it that aspect of tyre preservation would be reduced and would make the midfield teams a bit more competitive.

This makes me wonder that when a top team is conserving tyres they are for example running at 80%, but for a smaller team to achieve the same level of conservation they have to run at 60%. The difference in performance seen in the Mexican GP could be connected to this.
Joao (@Johnmilk)

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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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43 comments on “Tyre graining “not fun” but made race entertaining – Hartley”

  1. At least F1 have listened to fans and have delivered on the Top 3 Most Wanted:

    1. Fragile, designed to degrade Tyres

    2. More aero for more records and less close racing

    3. Less close racing and more space between F1 and F1.5

    We must be so happy. Only thing that could make the sport better is more Paywalls and unreliable, unavailable streaming everywhere. Oh well…. maybe next year.

    1. In Australia we’ve already got the paywalls and unreliable illegal streaming (no legal streaming options).

      Heaps stoked.

      1. @jimmi-cynic @justrhysism
        Don’t forget that now, with Alonso, Ocon and Vandoorne out, finaly F1 can say that it is a pinnacle of motorsport with drivers such as Stroll, Sirotkin and Kvyat…

        1. Something to look forward to. Thanks Biggsy!

          1. @jimmi-cynic, I’m curious, how did you get your pen-name ? Must be a reason, I just can’t see it.

          2. @hohum – it’s a mystery, isn’t it? :-P

        2. @Biggsy Sirotkin isn’t that bad, though. He just hasn’t been able to show his potential at all due to the machinery.

          1. One could argue that the poorer the machinery, the easier it is to spot real talent.

          2. @coldfly, I would disagree and say that, if anything, a poor car has often sunk the career of a promising hopeful more often instead.

            In the case of the Williams car, I doubt that anybody could really shine in a car that is so fundamentally bad that it has problems with the rear aero randomly stalling. Whilst Stroll was given a fair bit of mockery during the Spanish GP for spinning several times in practise, Kubica admitted that, when he drove the car during the practise sessions, he nearly crashed the car a couple of times because he also lost control when the rear bodywork stalled – I think that he ran off the track at least once because of that, and admitted that it was basically luck that he didn’t have a worse accident.

            If you are in a situation where the behaviour of the car is almost semi random, then any driver behind the wheel of the car is going to look bad – you can’t really “drive around” randomly stalling bodywork which causes sudden drops in downforce and random shifts in handling.

          3. He is loosing… to Stroll…

  2. Saw a note in “Leclerc told 50 times ….” that his fastest lap was over 5 seconds faster than the target time from the team.
    This makes no sense. If he only took back 3 seconds, that would be 10 laps to make up the pit stop delta. All other things being equal. Is there a strategy aspect that I am missing here, or did they just not have any tires left.?
    Why or how is it that the top 6 cars can get so much more out of their tyres than the rest of the grid.? If it is design and set-up, you would think this would get learned and incorporated. Seems it isn’t.
    Is this another example of a lack of real (not simulator) testing that is separating the haves and have-nots.?
    So when I go to source new tires for my car, where do I put Pirelli in the list.? Those Hankooks are looking pretty good.

    1. @rekibsn You are missing that apparently the overtake delta had to be more than that, if it’s to be a viable strategy. It worked, so, well, guess it was?

    2. He could have gone 5s faster but everybody else around him was saving and managing tires as well. In reality his difference was closer to couple of seconds to cars around him. This is also not slow enough for others to overtake. You need to remember that driving close to other cars speeds your tire degradation and makes the graining worse so the cars behind him could not just sit close and wait. Not to mention driving behind someone makes you slower as well as you have less downforce and thus less grip and less cooling. Then you have the dirty air effect simply because of how much downforce the current cars have. Then you have the heavy engines with computer controlled power output. Any driver can get good exit out of any corner because the computer manages your wheelspin. And last but not least leclerc had his team mate ericsson being used to slow down other cars.

      The top 3 are faster because they can spend more time and money researching the tires. But mainly they are faster because they can spend enormous sums of money to aerodynamic development. F1 aerodynamics is about getting as much downforce as you can with as little drag (and cooling). The best cars make lots of downforce with less drag. Also 60% of downforce in modern f1 car comes from the floor via ground effects. This means the suspension is really important to get all out of your ground effects. The top teams use really complex suspension systems designed to help with maximising downforce and reducing drag. Smaller teams spend bigger portion of their budgets on engines which means this kind of development is not possible for them in the same scale. F1 has never had this much downforce (in slow corners the fan car probably had an advantage because it did not need airflow to generate downforce) and when you combine high downforce levels and high tech you get an equation where spending more money allows you to keep fine tuning the car design indefinitely cars making them faster.

      Understanding the hybrid road car engines in race car situation is also a very complex and expensive problem which relies a lot on doing lots of prep work so you have all your maps ready for the tracks you are going to. Factory teams have full access to the engines and can spend an eternity getting the maps just right for the computers whereas the division 2 cars have worse engines, less information to make all the maps perfect and less money to do so. It is a classic case when you artificially increase the complexity by 100 then teams that have most money are best equipped to make sense of the complexity. The more computers and people you have the more the more problems you can solve. And when you are at all time high with all of the problems (fuel saving, high downforce levels, aerodynamic complexity, data handling reliance on engines, tire sizes and loads, suspension freedom, price of getting the car to the grid, time it takes to design and make parts) the lap time benefit for any problem you can solve with money is bigger than ever before.

      1. It sure makes a mockery of the argument that less downforce would make the cars too slow, and the other one that says durable tyres would make the cars too slow. Oh well, you can lead a horse to water………………..

        1. @socksolid @hohum

          I remember when the hybrid cars came out and everyone was griping about them because they weren’t loud, they were heavy, etc, etc. I was a big supporter because I wanted to see new tech progress.

          I’m starting to come around to the point now where I’d like to see them start to limit the tech and go towards much smaller wings and a vastly limited number of elements and total size of these elements on the front wings. At this point, I wouldn’t even mind if they ditched the hybrids because Formula E is carrying the banner for the tech front now.

          Of course, if they ditched the hybrids, they’d have to go back to refueling in race and I’m not a fan of watching someone end up doing a “Johnny Blaze” when we have a mishap in the pits.

          1. Of course, if they ditched the hybrids, they’d have to go back to refueling in race

            Why? We have not had refueling since 2010.

  3. I agree with Hartley. Yes, the last race was decently exciting, but perhaps not entirely for the right reason(s).
    – I agree with the COTD as well.
    – Regarding the ‘On this day in F1’ section: The 2013 race is also the first and so far only race in F1 history to feature a (partial) solar eclipse. Furthermore, one thing from that race I still don’t understand to this day is this: How on Earth did Alonso manage to go entirely unpenalized for his off-track passing move on JEV at the exit of T3? It was equally clear-cut to, for example, the Hulkenberg-Perez move on the same venue last season or the infamous Verstappen-Raikkonen COTA move, or the Verstappen-Button move also at YMC, but in 2015, and yet still no penalty even though he clearly gained a lasting advantage from that off-track excursion.
    – The 2011 Ferrari F150 in its original livery fitted with the Santander logo even though it isn’t a sponsor of the team anymore, LOL.
    – Why aren’t Red Bull using the RB6 or RB9 for the non-race weekend and or official test day runs at all? They used only to use the RB7 for the demo runs, but in the recent past, they’ve tended to use RB8 equally much if not a bit more often even though it wasn’t as competitive during its active season than RB7 was, and the two cars mentioned above were more competitive than RB8 as well.
    – ”Is that Glock?” – It should’ve all this time been clear to everyone that he didn’t help Hamilton to win the WDC. It was merely a strategic gamble to stay out on dry-weather tyres on a damp track that backfired massively, not only him, but also his then-teammate. If he/Toyota actually wanted to impact the WDC fight, then they would’ve done it in a much more obvious manner.

    1. How did the gamble backfire? He jumped Heikki, going from 7th to 6th.

    2. Toyota’s gamble didn’t actually backfire – Glock was 7th before the rain came, and he finished 6th.

      1. @paulgilb @akeogh Yes, but still, it still sort of did as he lost two positions on the final lap dropping from 4th to 6th while Trulli also lost a place (to Kovalainen) on the same lap.

    3. @jerejj, it could be that one reason why they’re not using the RB6 or RB9 is a shortage of spare parts – the RB9, at the very least, came at the end of a particular rule set and so Red Bull probably wouldn’t have been stocking up on spare parts for a car that was going to be scrapped at the end of the season (because, unlike earlier cars, there would be considerably less carry over from the RB9 to the RB10 than from, say, the RB7 to RB8).

      As others have noted, the strategic gamble by Toyota did work for Glock, if not for Trulli – what is forgotten is that Trulli stayed out on slicks as well, only for Kovalainen to pass Trulli on the final lap as well, which dropped Trulli back down into 8th place. However, it did work for Glock given that he was 7th before the rain hit, but ended up 6th because Kovalainen did not catch up with Glock.

      It’s sad to see that there are still those who have cooked up a strange conspiracy theory given that there is, ultimately, no logic as to why Toyota would want to help a rival driver or team, nor why they would want to put themselves in a situation where they had thousands of Brazilians trying to kill them (most of the mechanics had to be smuggled out of the circuit disguised as Renault staff because there were Massa fans who were trying to lynch any Toyota staff whom they could get their hands on).

      1. @anon Well, that theory doesn’t really apply to RB6 anyway as the technical regs stayed relatively stable from 2010 to 2011.

  4. Shame on you @johnmilk with the CotD.
    I’m never gonna take your comments with a grain of salt anymore :P

    1. @coldfly, the thing is, I am not sure that it is entirely correct either given that, to some extent, the view of the fans will be biased towards the races at the latter end of this season.

      To some extent, the gap will be exacerbated in more recent races given that basically every single team apart from the top three cut short development of their 2018 car very early on this season, given the upcoming changes for 2019, whereas the top three have continued developing their cars. That is especially true for Mercedes and Ferrari, as they still have the WCC to fight for – the gap has been steadily falling, and Ferrari could overtake Mercedes in the final race for that title – but Red Bull have still been bringing a lot of updates as well (in Mexico, it was noted that they had introduced a new floor that was a copy of Ferrari’s floor design).

      I suspect that what we are seeing is more akin to 2013, where most teams stopped developing their cars halfway through the year, given the changes coming up in 2014, but Red Bull continued developing their car much later into the year than anybody else.

    2. Damn it @coldfly, a guy works to build a reputation and then this happens. Shame

      1. @johnmilk – join me on the dark side, João ;-)

        1. @phylyp are there any cookies?

          1. @johnmilk – Oreos with chocolate filling are the official cookies of the dark side. I had set aside some for you earlier, but finished snacking on them. Burp. In the meantime, your browser has cookies, happy feasting ;-)

          2. @phylyp I know there is a mandatory minimum driver weight, but take it easy

          3. @johnmilk – LOL. But do you know something? Oreos in my belly are cheaper – and tastier – than ballast in the car.

          4. @phylyp, make sure the creamy bit settles at the bottom to keep the centre of gravity low.

          5. @johnmilk @coldfly – oh dear God, I read the regulations wrong! The min. weight for a team is 160 kg.

            (Looks wistfully at the slice of pizza as it goes back in the box)

          6. Excellent… I love this site and their people!

          7. @phylyp as long as you keep to @coldfly‘s recommendation you should be fine

            @danielito what a way to spoil a perfectly good COTD am I right? We could be discussing F1’s tyres and yet here we are talking about cookies. Well at least I’m not sure what would go stale first, oreos or Pirelli’s tyres

          8. @johnmilk – not sure I get your complaint. They’re both round, don’t last long, crumble easily, and a big weakness for both is liquids (water/milk). An unsecured one rolling away is a cause for alarm. There’s only limited numbers available. People get to choose from different coloured varieties – although it’s mostly black, there’s a little coloured strip that makes a difference. It’s the perfect analogy!

          9. @phylyp @johnmilk – Nabisco: We have a new candidate for official tyre manufacturer. Or perhaps Pirelli should make amaretti…

          10. And with that we have the new CotD @phylyp

            And surely we can send @tribaltalker‘s suggestion to the FIA

  5. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    3rd November 2018, 12:07

    Woop woop! Red Bull showrun day is finally upon us in my native Belfast.
    Kinda hoping DC can summon the spirit of Max/Kamui and bin the thing

  6. I have been wondering how much of the graining in Mexico is because of the track and how much is because of the tires. At most of the races this year graining has not been a major issue. There have been years where graining was an issue at most of the tracks and this was clearly a tie issue. So I am thinking it is not so much the tires in Mexico as it is the tarmac.

    Any thoughts?

  7. Regarding the gap between the top 6 cars and the rest, I did wonder if part of the reason for the gap was the Blue Flag rule. My thinking was because the track was shorter than some of the other tracks, this made it easier for the leading cars to catch those trailing the field. Once the leading cars did catch a trailing car the Blue Flags would be waved or illuminated, so the trailing car driver is obligated to slow down and let the leading cars go by, thus creating a bigger gap than might otherwise be the case.
    My initial thought was maybe the length of the track needed to be longer so as to enable more cars to complete the race on the same lap as the winner, but looking at some other race tracks from earlier this year we can see that even though the Autordromo Hermanos Rodriguez is at 2,285 m (7,500 ft), it isn’t exceptional.
    Here are some lengths of race tracks and the race lap record:
    Albert Park, 5.303 km, 1:24.125 min; Bahrain International Circuit, 5.412 km, 1:31.447; Shanghai IC, 5.451 km, 1:32.238 min; Baku Street Circuit, 6.003 km, 1:43.441 min; Catalunya Circuit, 4.655 km, 1:18.441 min; Monaco, 3.337 km, 1:14.820 min; Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 4.361 km, 1:13.622 min; and Circuit Paul Ricard, 5.842 km, 1:34.225 min.
    Looking at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, its length is 4.421 km, while the fastest lap time is 1:18.785 min, so fastest lap time isn’t directly proportional to circuit length. For example, the Catalunya Circuit (at around 120 metres elevation) is 234 metres longer, while the fastest laptime is 0.344 seconds quicker than what is achieved at the Mexican GP.
    At the Mexican GP four drivers completed 71 laps, there was one driver one lap behind Verstappen, 10 two laps down, and one three laps down. 16 drivers were classified as finishing the race. Comparing that to the Catalunya Circuit, there were 5 drivers who completed 66 laps, 3 that completed 65 laps, 5 that completed 64 laps, and one that completed 63 laps. A total of 14 drivers were classified as finishing that race.
    While I still think the Blue Flag rule was a factor in the disparity at the Mexican GP, it seems to me there are other factors that influenced the disparity we saw at Mexico.

    1. @drycrust It can’t really be down to the track length as then the same situation where most drivers get lapped by two laps would also be the case in Monaco, Canada, Austria, Hungary, and Brazil as the lengths of those venues are similar to that of the Mexican GP venue’s.

  8. 2008 was a great season, 14 different drivers stood on the podium, this year, there has been 7.

  9. Brazil 2008. Still hurts.

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