Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Hamilton: Tyre operating window ‘even narrower than before’

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says it has become even harder to keep Formula 1’s latest generation of tyres performing at their best.

What they say

I think the tyre this year seems to be a little more complex than last year understanding it.

The beginning of every season we’re always struggling. Everyone is trying to understand the different tyre windows. The window of these tyres is even more narrow than it was in the past, which was pretty small before and it’s even smaller now. They keep putting up the pressures every weekend or every year so it gets harder and harder.

[We] build a car to try to work on as many of the circuits, 21 grands prix, so trying to find the balance is very, very difficult because there’s never a perfect balance on each one, there’s kind of an average balance that might work everywhere. But when the tyres then come into it and also the engine, it gets harder and harder.

But as we get through the season we’ll learn more and more. I think we’ve definitely lucked [in] at least in one race, which was in Bahrain, but we were pretty good in the race and [China] was obviously spectacular for us.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Is Jean Todt right to say the driver needs to make more of a difference in motorspots such as F1?

I don’t think Todt is necessarily talking about a spec series, but an F1 in which the performance of all the teams is so close that the driver can make a difference.

Essentially, think of it as F1 without any of the ‘big three’. In the midfield, any combination of car or driver could win on their day. If Sainz has a blinding weekend for example, more often than not, he will come best of the rest, or at least challenging up there. If Verstappen does the same, it just means that he’ll still finish fifth, barring any issues for the cars ahead.

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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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  • 26 comments on “Hamilton: Tyre operating window ‘even narrower than before’”

    1. Jean Todt says drivers should be more important the day before F1/FOM announce a festival in Chicago that will not have any current driver (bar some ridiculous stunt of flying from Montreal after qualifying and then back in time for Sunday’s race) — but presumably will have some F1 cars doing donuts as in the video.
      Makes me wonder if Jean was informed about the event and his comment was a jab directed at FOM? Such rumours don’t happen as much since Bernie isn’t around! ;)

      1. Yeah – I imagine it will be about as “successful” as the one in China.

        I’d love to have some of what Bratches smokes :) He has a very different interpretation of success than most.

      2. ColdFly (@)
        9th May 2019, 7:50

        Todt was referring to Roboracing.
        But of course the headline statement can be used out of context as well.

    2. Apparently the organizers for the Brazilian GP have a contract that includes the 2020 GP. So, the announcement is incorrect. If the race were to return to Rio de Janeiro, it would only happen in 2021.

      1. @svianna, there does seem to be some confusion about when the changeover would occur – some articles have said it would be in 2020, despite Interlagos asserting that it has a contract for 2020, but some others have suggested that it won’t happen until 2021 (the article that Keith links to seems to suggest 2021 would be the switchover date).

        That said, it seems that there are a number of Brazilian news organisations which are wondering where exactly the money is supposed to be coming from, given Bolsonaro has claimed that the track development and the race will all be paid for from private investors.

        Given the price tag for the circuit alone has been put as high as 850 million real, or about €190 million, and given that the state of Rio is in a deep financial crisis – the state declared a “financial calamity” in late 2017, and unemployment in the state is running at 12% – the idea that private financiers will find the money has met with considerable scepticism. The state of Rio has already had major problems with trying to sell off or reopen the former Olympic venues that were built in the Deodoro district, so the idea that there is a group of investors willing to spend vastly more on a circuit seems improbable to most.

        Furthermore, there is also scepticism given that, in November 2018, the Mayor of Rio proudly announced that IndyCar was going to be holding a race on a street circuit in Rio from 2020 onwards. Unfortunately, nobody seems to check that IndyCar was on board with the announcement, with IndyCar downplaying the claims and saying that they were just weighing up the possibility of a street race, not that they’d signed an agreement for a race. Bearing in mind the confusion over what is supposed to be happening with IndyCar, the announcement of an F1 race is being met with the same scepticism as the idea of an IndyCar race happening.

    3. Pirelli’s tyres are complete garbage & no asking for multiple pit stops per race doesn’t mean Pirelli needs to make the tyres the way they do.

      The tyres should have a wider operating window & shouldn’t make drivers back off in parts of a lap in quali just to have enough performance left in the last sector. It’s so ridiculous that for years drivers have only been able to attack for a few corners before the tyres overheat and have a hard time cooling back down.

      Drivers have spoken out for years about the tyres, when they got more vocal, Bernie gave them a finger waving.

      @gt-racer Can re confirmed and or re write what the inside info from the teams is on Pirelli since they’ve been in F1.

    4. I don’t quite agree with the COTD, because in the top 3, I am pretty sure that between Ferrari and Mercedes, it’s about who made the least errors in that weekend – drivers and rest of the team – and if you include ‘and during the season preparation’, then that includes Red Bull, as they just didn’t do a good enough job with their chassis (yet), even as Honda came pretty good on the PU side.

      Not enough about the driver? Well, as the COTD alludes to, we can still see that Verstappen is doing a great job while Ghasly has struggled, and that Leclerc has been doing a better job so far than Vettel (but dampened by team orders/strategy), apart from the Baku Q2 crash which did him up for that weekend; and Bottas has shown up good against Hamilton, who wasn’t bad either, so that’s why they are now 1 point apart only, at the top. To me, the evidence for the ‘without the top three’ in the COTD at least is pretty thin.

      PS. See, in the midfield, in fact, Hulk has (apart from bogey track Baku) been doing a pretty good job, but that’s not visible, bc. the car (team) has failed him, and Magnussen at all races, and Grosjean at several, has been showing the best of the car on Saturday, but got hardly anywhere on Sundays bc. the car doesn’t allow him; Sainz points aren’t great, but of course, he had two races that were over almost as soon as he started (though that was incidents) – at least Norris has been able to mostly show he’s great;Giovenacci has now had several ‘bad luck’ weekends where arguably too much failed for him to get to grips with the car and show his worth; And what about at the back, where we know Russell is good, but his Williams doesn’t allow him to show it (leaving Kubica aside for now).

      1. @bosyser I never stated that the car was not a factor in the midfield. My point was that a driver really can’t make that big of a difference if there are quite significant gaps in performance. A Vettel who isn’t having his best weekend can beat an on-game Verstappen simply because his car is plain quicker. In most races, he can drop 3 tenths in qualifying and still only lose 1 position. It’s no coincidence that the top 6 often finishes 2 by 2 by 2 over the past few seasons. How often do we see the midfield battles end 2 by 2 by 2? Less frequently I would have thought. Because a good weekend means 7th, and a bad weekend means finishing 13th for example. Losing 3 tenths in qualifying could be the difference between 12th or 8th. I have no doubt that at the front, the driver does dictate quite a bit in terms of performance. But the margins for errors are far greater. As much as I like him, a driver like Rosberg would realistically not win a championship if it was a closely fought championship with multiple drivers in cars with similar pace fighting it out. But he could, because on his bad weekends, he could finish 20 seconds behind his teammate and still pick up 18 points.

        1. Hence the “don’t quite” instead of not at all @mashiat – I do see your point, and think a working budget cap and other means to minimize how well spend to win will work would be good for the sport, but I do think that Rosberg is an example of good talent, good work, little mistakes and keeping it up winning from great talent (with some luck), and that was interesting to see, though preferably not every year.

          1. @bosyber I agree on Rosberg, he definitely over performed relative to what everyone thought he was capable of, and probably what he really was indeed capable of. And he was one of my preferred drivers in F1, but he really wasn’t very consistent in that there were weekends he was nowhere near Hamilton, but was able to rely on a car that was so good that he only lost 7 points. Hamilton benefitted from this as well, but Rosberg did so on more occasions.

      2. If Verstappen does the same, it just means that he’ll still finish fifth

        Errr except he keeps having blinding weekends and finishing on the podium by nicking places off Ferraris soooo…

    5. ColdFly (@)
      9th May 2019, 9:25

      Ferrari Holds The Keys To F1’s Choice Of A New Boss (Forbes)
      “A pivotal point that Racefans neglected to mention is that Ferrari has a say in whoever becomes F1’s chief executive.”

      1. Very interesting article, @coldfly , thanks for sharing (and formatting it round-up style!)

        1. ColdFly (@)
          9th May 2019, 9:59

          You’re welcome, @phylyp.
          I’ve mentioned it before that I lament the fact that the round-up is no longer what it used to be; less links to the news of the past 24hrs and often including old quotes.
          I now resort to other F1 news aggregators to make sure I get my daily dose of F1 news ;)

          1. I’ve mentioned it before

            @coldfly – have you? I’ve never heard you say this. Never ever. Uh, huh.

            Humour apart, I don’t mind old quotes all that much, they’re from Dieter’s interactions, so it’s fine (to me) to have them spread out in the days after a race weekend.

            But yeah, its another thing if a current article like your Reuters example (dated y’day) is missed out. I’m not sure if RF’s move to a content producer (and with credentialed access to GPs) over the last year and a half has meant that Keith is limited in which competitor sources he can include.

            1. ColdFly (@)
              9th May 2019, 13:22

              I really appreciate the improvement in journalistic content (helped by Dieter and Scarbs joining), but I was hoping that the round-up would stay what it once was: a ‘daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more from hundreds of sites across the web’ @phylyp

            2. I don’t expect Keith and Dieter to be able to do it all, nor do I need to know it all at the very minute it happens. In RaceFans’ defence, they wrote an article focusing on the fact that Wolff ‘could’ be courted, and it speculates about whether he would want the job. It is an article about Carey’s position and about Wolff. That the hundred variables between now and something actually being announced, whenever in the future that might be, hasn’t been tackled on this site yet doesn’t bother me. They are likely gathering information as we speak.

              What I do get a kick out of is criticizing RaceFans for not being on the cusp of everything, shall we say, and yet citing an article that proceeds the one here, with even a reference to the RaceFans article. If Sylt is so on the cusp, where was his article ahead of that which was published here? Rather it is like RaceFans woke Sylt up, who then put his two cents in.

      2. @coldfly Great addition indeed. Thanks

    6. I think maybe the Pirelli tyre window is completely closed. Its either no temperature at all, or overheating. They are lucky that they have a monopoly. Otherwise i doubt Pirelli could win races against a different supplier, with the product they have now.

      One would expect that with a single supplier we would not be constantly talking about tyres the entire weekend.

    7. Pjotr (@pietkoster)
      9th May 2019, 12:26

      Yes lewis, a couple of fast laps to get some space and the race is done, just cruising around to the finish. Any one trying to get close burns up his Pirelli’s. Another boring race this weekend.

      1. Spanish GP is now finished. I told you so.

    8. There wouldn’t be a need for resurfacing the track again had the previous one been done properly, so a waste of time and money.

      If it happens then more likely 2021 rather than next season, though, and should the Brazilian GP indeed move from Sao Paulo to Rio someday, then I assume it’d take place late into the season as does the current venue of the Brazilian GP in Interlagos.

    9. So much for Pirelli claiming this year’s tyres would feature a wider operating window.

    10. They keep putting up the pressures every weekend or every year so it gets harder and harder.

      Well the tyres would get harder then yes.

    11. Bad translator sao paolo?!

    Comments are closed.