Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2019

Vettel puzzled by Silverstone qualifying struggle

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel is unsure why he was quicker in the race at Silverstone after struggling to sixth in qualifying.

What they say

Vettel was asked why his car was more competitive in the race than it had been in qualifying:

I’m not quite sure I have an answer to be honest. The car felt a lot better in the race.

Obviously we didn’t change the car, you’re not allowed to do that. But [on Saturday] I just couldn’t extract the performance from the car whereas today it came naturally and was sort of a no-brainer. I had more confidence in the tyres and the car overall.

The first stint in particular was quite strong. I stayed out for longer with the used tyres as well.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Could refuelling improve the racing if drivers were forbidden from changing tyres when they pit for fuel?

If they bring it back then refuelling and changing tyres should be separate stops and refuelling should be optional. After qualifying you can pick your fuel load for the race. You can choose to load your car up for the whole race or you have to stop on lap X and be faster. Then refueling would be fun and you can have a blast with dummy radio messages.
Mark (@Blueruck)

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On this day in F1

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Author information

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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34 comments on “Vettel puzzled by Silverstone qualifying struggle”

  1. Jean Todt: Hey guys we introduced a series of regulations that are aimed to reduce costs and the environment footprint by reducing the amount of components teams use. And since F1 is at the forefront of technology I’m pretty sure the effect on performance will be minimum…oh! Almost forgot it wouldn’t be great if they also were unreliable.

    This is the sort of mind that also thinks ideas like “tyres that last 3/4 of a lap and don’t let drivers race are great”

    We want unpredictability because the cars are close in performance. Who wants to see a Williams win because the other didn’t finish?

    Also. Bit more light hearted after this slight rant

    I’m I the only one that thinks of Barney Stinson self-high-fighing when Keith posts one of his tweets on the round-up?

  2. re: COTD — intereresting concept. i always liked re-fueling bcz the cars were light & flat-out all the time. most of the angst against its return is based on fear, which is ironic in the sport of auto racing. also blaming it for a lack of on-track passing is inaccurate. the elimination of risk through over-engineering & aerodynamics are to blame for that. re-fueling makes the cars more exciting to watch while adding a variable of risk to the show.

    1. I disagree. Although the cars were lighter they were definitively not flat out all the time. There was just as much fuel saving going on because you’d want the strategic upper hand when the all important pit stop comes. So instead of adding variety you’d just be making sure now everyone has the same strategy.

      The only way to ‘make them go flat out more’ is to have tires which allows them to do so and a minimum fuel load. Otherwise they’d still under fuel because in the end it is faster…
      And if you’d want more variety with stops you’d have to look at the circuits and pit entry/exit for example. If you could cut a corner by changing the pit entry the cost of pitting might go down from say 23 seconds to 15 or something. But that’s quite hard to do…

      1. maybe, but the only time the cars are light or flat out now is on the last couple of laps. most people have gone home by then. in fact, bernie used to leave right after the start. would surprise me if the new guys didn’t do the same. nevertheless, we always have fp3 & quali for the excitement of watching fast cars on track.

    2. @fast As far I remember, it was the massive costs of transporting all the fuel rigs from race to race that were the main reason for Bernie shelving refuelling.

      1. @shimks – yes, that was one of the fear-based reasons. about spending too much money. which was rich, pun intented, coming from a billionaire.

    3. @fast ”also blaming it for a lack of on-track passing is inaccurate.”
      – The historical overtaking statistics disagree with you on that.

      1. @jerejj – i wish there was a one sentence answer to this. yet, any statististics buff, such as myself, can tell you that the accuracy of statistics is directly influenced by the variable input singularity and/or lack thereof. ie. the important bit is what the numbers are & where did they accurately come from versus what outcome you are attempting to conclude from them. it is inaccurate to singularly blame re-fueling because in that era it also coincided with the banning of active suspension and a switch to grooved tires. latterly, both of which increased the reliance on aerodynamic efficiency for overall lap speed. soon, engineering logic knew the quickest way to win a grand prix was to pre- “plan” a race distance broken up into stints. along with the FIA’s constant efforts to reduce cornering speeds, resulting in on-road performance more akin to an F3 car, the actuality of “racing” was suddenly, ironically, the last thing you wanted to do because it would disturb your “plan” to the fastest overall race-distance finish. hence the “trend” toward overtaking cars in the pitlane rather than on the road. it wasn’t until 2009 when cars could “race” each other again yet by now, as we all know, they began to suffer from aerodynamic over-reliance. still though without re-fueling the engineering approach to a race distance didn’t really change. only the number of variables that would allow cars to avoid each other on-track and unimpede their individual race distance runs. so coincidently, the last decade has been highlighted by great inter-team racing between drivers in the same machinery with similar strategy options yet the strategic preference to pass opponents, unless completely unavoidable, in the pitlane rather than on the road remains. Add DRS to the mix and it’s impossible to conclude anything from the statistics as they are too fluid and numerous in variability to accurately quantify with certainty any of the causes they may attempt to claim. In short – the reality is the problem with passing seems to be due to the lack of mechanical grip, with an unbalanced reliance on aerodynamics for lap speed. In addition to the over-engineering from teams on everything from componentry to driver-aids to strategic decision making. Statistics and spreadsheets do not make for exciting motor-racing.

        1. @fast I only care about the comparison of the number of on-track overtaking moves between 2009 and 2010, which doubled from the former to the latter with the ban on in-race refuelling being the only significant car-affecting change, with the technical regs otherwise remaining largely stable.

          1. @jerejj — yes, exactly! the failing of statistics is, if you only look for info to support a pre-conceived belief – then that is all you will ever find. yet, whereas to your point: a ban on re-fueling was hardly the only significant change between 2009 & 2010. 2010 was also the year of the double-diffuser, when teams found a way to regain under-car aero-performance, which by design increases road-holding abilities & cornering speeds. both contrary to the FIA’s on-going efforts over the years to reduce cornering speeds. with double diffusers throwing a big spanner into the whole mess, it only leads to the same conclusion, again: that there were far too many variables, to definitively draw any conclusions as to why anything was different than before. f1 does not need us or anyone else to solve this for them. they’ve done the maths & then some. they know that it is impossible to conclude what went wrong or even right for that matter.
            read more, via wikipedia.
            Banning of almost all aerodynamic devices other than front and rear wing, slick tyres allowed once more (keeping to narrow track dimensions), limit of eight race/qualifying engines for the whole season (every new engine above this eight results in 10-place grid penalty), reduction of rear wing width from 1000 mm to 750 mm and an increase in height from 800 mm to 950 mm, reduction in the ground clearance of front wing from 150 mm to 50 mm and an increase in width from 1400 mm to 1800 mm, rear diffuser to be longer and higher, variable front aerodynamic devices permitted (with limited in car control by driver) and the introduction of KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) to store some of the energy generated under braking and convert it into a temporary horsepower increase of around 80 bhp that can be used 6.6 seconds per lap by the drivers for overtaking.[58] Pit lane is no longer closed when safety car is deployed.
            Drastic cost-cutting measures are introduced. In-race refueling ban returns,[59] as a result fuel can be added to any F1 car after qualifying, but Q3 drivers must start the race with the tyres they set their fastest Q2 time with. The same 8 engine limit is maintained despite the increase to 19 races over the course of the season[59] (with a rev limiter set at 18,000 rpm to assist in this),[59] front tyre width reduced, a ban on testing during the season as well as an agreement with teams about reducing the number of staff employed. 3 new teams mean 7 drivers are now dropped from Q1 and Q2. Scoring system changed to allow the first ten cars to receive points: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1. Backmarkers no longer able to unlap themselves behind the Safety Car. Teams unanimously agree not to use KERS for the 2010 season in order to allow all teams time to be able to develop and perfect their own systems.

  3. On Keith’s Hockenheim tweet…. I agree.

    Blasting through the forest at 220mph+, Dancing through the chicanes & then dealing with the stadium with no downforce. That place had character which the new layout retains none of & will never have.

    The new layout has no character, It’s not unique or special in any way & offers no challenge that you don’t see elsewhere on other modern soulless Tilke circuits.

    And BTW the criticisms people aim at the old layout are valid, It was an engine circuit that wasn’t especially interesting to drive given how most of it was flat out down the long straights but that is what made it special, It was different with it’s own set of challenges for car, driver & engine & for me that layout will always be far better than the soulless cookie cutter Hockenheim in name only we’ve had since 2002.

    Makes me really sad that they had to destroy the old circuit to build the new one & every-time they do a flyover of the old one it brings a tear to me eye.

    1. I used to love the old layout. That blast through the forest and coming out to the stadium section was brilliant, especially the onboard shots.

      F1 always seems to about how good a product it has but they somehow actively seek to undermine it at the same every turn!!

    2. As you said, it was different, a contrast to monaco, the forest and the stadium demands were complete opposites as well, much more so than monza. And it was beautiful.
      New track hasn’t been particularly bad for racing though. I miss bridge on the new silverstone but it’s another example of a revamp that’s more of a compromise than anything else.

    3. @stefmeister, except that it wasn’t really that unique when you also have Monza on the calendar as well, which is also mostly full throttle and long straights.

      I rather take the James Hunt attitude towards the old Hockenheimring – a dull and dreadful circuit that produced processional races that could only be livened up with the randomness of breakdowns and really lacked any challenge for the driver (quite a lot of drivers have said that it really wasn’t that much of a test of driver skill). Equally, there were quite a few within the F1 world who found the old Hockenheimring a dull, soulless, monotonous and monochrome place that they’d really rather not go to, but had to because it was the only venue that would hold the German Grand Prix.

    4. yes, me too. the old hockenheim was magnificent. watching old races on youtube where you can see the layout with fewer chicanes is amazing. besides being fast, monza is not the same, as it is more technical. while old hockenheim was more strategic. the world championship needs circuits of all varieties on the calendar. however you feel about the place, nuetering hockenheim into a tilke-drome has been noted as a big fail.

    5. @stefmeister – makes me sad every lap when they turn right rather than blasting off into the forest.

  4. Jean Todt: “The cars are too reliable. So if we want to be more unpredictable we must have cars that are less reliable. In a way we make things too perfect.”

    I could make a coherent argument against this, but there would be no changing incoherent thoughts. This goes with success ballasts and reverse grids – penalizing those who excel in engineering.

    1. Jean Todt’s comment perfectly sums up the problem that F1 faces. Their own governing body is unsure which way to go with the sport. They want marvellous efficiency and technology that is too complicated for the majority of viewers to actually understand, and at the same time, they want to hark back to the glory days when an independent could come in & through sheer ingenuity and crackpot-schemery take it to the established marques. He wants cars to break down, easy fix, remove the PU penalties, take off the rev limit and the fuel limit and watch them go bang on the last lap or given Mercedes current level of reliability they’d probably expire with their nose over the finish line.

      1. The FIA want to eat the cake and spare it at the same time.

      2. Ross, no ‘they’ don’t. Todt is just making comments, not setting the new regs. And notice we still don’t have success ballasts, reverse grids, sprinklers (BE’s idea not FIA’s) etc etc.

        1. Comments usually have a base in belief.

  5. Vettel has regularly under delivered saturdays on the harder compounds c1 c2.

  6. Keep refueling away from F1. We don’t try to save time refueling at BP… why risk fires in mechanics garages by forcing it back upon them?

    I can’t see any problem with pit stops since we took it away, and don’t wish to have the fire risk heightened again.

    1. @scottie: +1 and +110L to those against bringing back refueling.

      The sad thing is… it’s Todt that needs to be refueled. Will settle for his retirement.

      If Jean is feeling retro, why not drop the Todt Thong and bring back open cockpit racing.

    2. There is always a risk of fire because of what the sport is, there doesn’t have to be in-race refuelling for there to be a fire, for example in 2012 the Williams garage caught fire in Spain after the race. If anything the return of in-race refuelling (if it ever does return) could actually make it safer because if the mechanics are dealing with the fuel more often they would surely learn to be even more careful with it than they already are.

      The problem with pit stops since they banned refuelling is that they look to change the tyres so quickly that they risk not tightening one on properly, and in my view it is far more dangerous to have a heavy wheel bounce off than to have a fire from a fuel spill because usually you can get a fire under control fairly quickly, with the loose wheel you have no control over it, you have to let it go and hope to God it stops before it hits anybody.

      1. Of course you can never eliminate the risk of a fire, but are you saying that because you can’t eliminate it completely you shouldn’t try to reduce it at all? Sorry but I just don’t see how bringing refuelling back could somehow make it safer – I’m sure all personnel involved are very well informed on how to deal with fuel safely in other scenarios.

        Loose wheels are definitely a hazard but there are other ways to minimise that risk. If they believed that the current high-speed pitstops were too high risk they could mandate a minimum pit stop time (say 5 seconds), so mechanics would prioritise safety and consistency over speed. This is a separate issue to refuelling.

  7. Hej, the refueling is good but I suggest the following, for the entertainment sake:

    – to put 3 ordinary gas stations within the track
    – make the refueling done by the pilot (so he has to jump out from the car and do like he does with the road car)
    – make it by the cash only

    So we will see the true story of talents, will see car’s queue, joking drivers waiting to be served :)

  8. I wish Jean Todt would just step down, here and now. The man has served F1 well, but has nothing more to give. He is stuck with the two ideas he knows and is guilty of sending F1 from regulation A to B to A. Being it aero, refueling, reliability.. Todt does not have the answers or scientific approach F1 needs.

    1. @me4me

      Being it aero, refueling, reliability.. Todt does not have the answers or scientific approach F1 needs.

      He doesn’t need to have the answers or scientific approach that F1 needs. He doesn’t decide on or make the rules, he is the president of the FIA whose role encompasses far more than the small part that is F1 related.

      1. @asanator Exactly. Meanwhile, aero is being addressed for 2021, they’ve only agreed to examine refueling thoroughly but it is far from being agreed to implement, and they are not about to engineer unreliability into the cars just because Todt said it would create unpredictability. It was just a comment. If pressed I’m sure Todt would agree said unpredictability will come with teams closer to each other and cars able to race much more closely. I’m assuming too Todt would have to concede most fans would likely not want more unreliability as a route to unpredictability.

      2. I’m aware of Todt’s position at the FIA. As you said, luckily for F1 there are other people in charge aside from the FIA having a vote in the matter. In my opinion though, Todt has said some pretty stupid things lately which makes me question wheter he is fit for his position and matters related to F1 or anything else. Time for him to move on, step aside, and let someone else take over.

  9. I agree with the COTD in that should refuelling return then all the drivers should be allowed to choose the starting fuel load, not just the ones outside Q3 as is the case with the tyres, but not with that tyre changes shouldn’t be allowed at the same time.

    – That’s one nasty crash.

  10. No fool like an old fool; “I’m looking at you Jean Todt”

  11. Beavis can be such a Butthead.

Comments are closed.