“I thought my rear-left was going to blow” – Russell

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In the round-up: George Russell says he aimed to do a one-stop strategy on Sunday but had to pit three times after suffering a blistered tyre.

What they say

Russell said he feared his tyre was going to blow before his third pit stop with 12 laps to go.

Compared to last Sunday, [the race] was much worse. We made a really poor getaway and we lost a couple of positions. Then, from then on in, the tyres were just atrocious, I think, for everybody. We made a three-stop race, we were hoping to do a one-stop at the beginning of the race, which shows how difficult it was. And at the end it was just bringing the car home because I thought the rear-left was going to blow.

After my second stop I did about four or five laps and then suddenly my rear-left blistered drastically. Over the course of two or three laps the blistering just got worse and worse, the vibrations got really bad. And I made a call that we needed to box and change tyre because it was going to go. So not great, a lot to review.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Did high degradation tyres make Sunday’s race or spoil it?

I’d rather ‘conservative’ tires that let drivers push hard and actually race wheel to wheel than going back to ‘extreme high degradation’ formula tire where everybody is cruising around at 70% all day managing tires unable to push for more than two or three corners without destroying them.

There is a reason they started going more conservative and that is that nobody liked the tires when they were softer. Drivers hated them as they couldn’t push and fans hated them because watching drivers cruising around at 70% not been challenged at all wasn’t fun.

Sunday’s ‘race’ featured very little competitive racing which should be the opposite of what fans want. Give them harder tires that let drivers push hard so we can see more competitive wheel to wheel racing rather than easy drive-bys created by tires that artificially fall apart resulting in drivers been left defenceless.

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41 comments on ““I thought my rear-left was going to blow” – Russell”

  1. Almost everybody had problems with these awful tyre and Russel is another example.
    But everyone likes to focus on Mercedes…

    Atrocious. Now that is not only me saying this about Pirelli. Good


  2. Excellent COTD, and while we’re at it let’s drop the mandatory pitstop/2 compound rule.

    1. Agree to a point. However, if you drop the mandatory 2 pitstop rule with Harder tyres available, wouldn’t that just drive everyone to eke out 1 set of tyres? We may see some variation in strategy in the midfield where it actually is competitive, up front, I doubt it would make difference most weekends.

      1. Sounds good to me. Why not have someone try to complete a race distance without pitting? So long as mixed strategies are viable, that would be fine.

      2. @jaymenon10, Only need 0.5seconds advantage per lap to cover a pitstop !

    2. If we’re going to have conservative tires week in week out, we may as well give Mercedes the trophies now…

      1. Already done back kn Austria

        1. Already done back in winter testing

    3. Montréalais (@)
      11th August 2020, 4:13

      @hohum Yes. I agree with you and with the COTD

    4. It’s a bit unfair that the tyres get all the flack, when drivers are as much managing their PUs.
      At least they can decide themselves how much to manage the tyres, whereas they need to ask the team first if the PU can be turned up a bit.

      Also tyres can be swapped in 20s. It takes a week and a possible grid penalty to swap the PU.

      There is not a single sport where they go flat out for up to 2 hours.

      1. Agreed, every team gets the same tires and its the design of the car and the driver that keeps them alive.

        Lets race with all compounds mandatory during a race. Strategy is a part of racing.

      2. @coldfly, The teams make (or choose to buy) their PU’s, but the tyres are completely out of their control. And those that love strategy above all else should demand fewer rules, not more.

        1. Indeed @Hohum, teams can make/buy their PU’s. That means to me their should be a bigger uproar that they still need to ‘manage’ them.
          At least the tyres are the same for all; and (nowadays) they have the same opportunity to test them.

          Agree with you that there should be fewer rules. You might recall that I prefer free tyre/pit stop choices. But at the same time I think we need shorter pit time (losses) until cars become easier to follow.

          1. @coldfly, Consulting my rose-tinted memory bank I seem to recall that back when I 1st. started following F1 the definition of a perfect engine was one that suffered catastrophic failure as it crossed the finish line. It seems to me that the reliability rules aren’t saving any money, just curtailing the racing.

          2. It seems to me that the reliability rules aren’t saving any money, just curtailing the racing.

            Don’t mention it, @hohum! They might prohibit quali modes next.

    5. I don’t agree with the comment of the day. We had more durable tires in 2017 and the racing was terrible. The more the drivers complain, the better the racing it seems.

      1. We wouldn’t need gimmicks if Mercedes wasn’t in front of everyone by a full second.

        1. @paeschli Ferrari and Mercedes were very evenly matched in 2017. Vettel even led the championship until early fall. These races could have been epic, but most of them weren’t. There were only a few races (Spain, Belgium, US) in which Hamilton and Vettel were really battling for position. Those races had one thing in common: high tire degradation. The current generation of F1 cars is so aero-sensitive that indestructible tires produce very static and dull races, so I don’t really understand why people want this.

          1. This is true.
            Viewers ask for harder tyres, but then complain about processions when everyone does a one-stop strategy.

          2. Why force people to do one stop? There might be more interesting tyre strategies with more durable tyres but without mandatory pitstops.

          3. @f1infigures It was always thus. Fans complain about poor races and inevitably want what makes them bad. And I mean everything.

    6. @hohum I’d be more in favor of dropping the Q2 tyre rule as it’s something that shouldn’t be in place anymore. At the beginning of the post-refuelling era, there might’ve been a reason to have a rule of this type, but this hasn’t been the case for a few years anymore. Everyone should be allowed to start the races on the compound they desire, not just those who didn’t reach Q3. Without this rule, there wouldn’t be any tactics with tyre choices for the middle segment of QLF, only the softest compound available for a given event would be in use throughout QLF as no one would have to worry about having to start with a less desirable compound option, especially from P7-P10 on the grid.

      1. @jerejj, OK do both!

  3. I mostly agree with Mark Gallagher’s comment about Vettel. I don’t think there should be any doubt how talented Vettel was.

    Of course the car and team were excellent too. No doubt winning helps a driver stay in the best mindset to keep winning.

    My concern is something has changed. Meaning Vettel isn’t just stuck in a rut. Rather his reaction times, concentration, or something else has declined.

    His current situation seems embarrassing. I hope he either recovers or retires at the end of the season.

  4. In regards to COTD and the tyres, hasn’t F1 considered expanding the tyre rule to one like MOTO GP, where they are allowed to use a different compound of tyre for the rear and front. I wonder if it would do us any good when the teams are allowed to run a different compound for the front and rear tyres and removing the rule that the drivers must use one set of the mandatory harder tyres in the race.

    1. @krichelle Mixing compounds actually used to be allowed & was something teams would do to help even out tyre wear across the car on some circuits.

      Teams used to have a lot more freedom in terms of how they ran the tyres. Good Year for instance used to take 5-6 dry compounds to every race & teams had free selection of which compounds they ran when. There was no mandatory stop so if a team felt they could no stop on the hardest available compound they could do it, If they wanted to go softer & stop 1-2 times they had that option & of course they could switch strategy/compound during the race. There was no mandated minimum tyre pressures or camber angles, No rule forcing them to start on the tyres they qualified on & nothing forcing them to use specific compounds.

      A lot of that started to change when refueling was introduced in 1994 as strategy became more about that than tyres. That then led the FIA to start limiting compound selection etc.. as it was deemed expensive & unnecessary to take all compounds & give teams free choice given how strategy/stint length was dictated by fuel rather than tyre wear.

  5. I think having races with really soft tires is fine as long as there are races with really hard tires. It doesn’t matter what kind of tires we choose as long as there is variety and each race is little different. I think having two silverstones one after another with different tires was good. I hope that keeps happening.

    What is good for f1 is technical unredictability. Even if it all revolves around trying to slow down the mercs. Because if f1 goes with conservative tires until the end of season it is merc 1-2 every race. Yawn. Soft tires gives us the unpredictable results at the front, harder tires give use the hard fought battles in the mid field. It is about having the mix of both and not choosing one over another.

    1. I think I agree with that, variable races that are not a write in prediction are good to have @socksolid, all races like last Sunday would get stale too.

  6. Is it so hard to make tires that degrade to the point that 2 or 3 stops are the norm, and a 1 stop is risky (basically the opposite of what it is now), while remaining race-able for the duration of a stint?

    I’m no expert, so I don’t know but it would seem that isn’t too much to ask, no? Also, other than in F2 you don’t seem to hear this much about having to drive at 70% etc. to perserve the tires in other series. Or am I wrong about that?

    1. @jeffreyj Pirelli managed to do exactly that back in 2011. Unfortunately, drivers learned to preserve the tires, so Pirelli had to reduce the durability of the tires, which led to even more tire saving. If they somehow can make the tires degrade no matter what, then that would be great. Perhaps the high-degradation concept works better in F2 because of less downforce/less experienced drivers/shorter races, I don’t know.

      1. @f1infigures I think the ‘designed to degrade’ concept will also lead to more negatives in the longer term because of the nature of F1.

        You can start out with a tyre that acts exactly as you want in terms of wearing at a faster rate while still allowing drivers to push/race. But by the end of that season the teams & drivers will have figured out how to drive around the wear to extend tyre life so the tyre supplier will always then have to make bigger changes than it perhaps ideal to try & continue to catch teams/drivers out the following year.

        I think thats why while 2011 was largely fine we then started to see more issues as the years went on as Pirelli needed to go softer with different concepts (The steel belt of 2013 for example) in order to try & continue to keep teams guessing. And I think the same will happen again if F1 decides it wants to go back down the high deg route, The first year may be about right but from then on they will have to start going softer & softer & we will end up back where we were when drivers, media & fans were complaining about how much nursing was required.

        It’s why I think they should look at & fix the things that hinder the racing rather than sticking band aids like DRS & high degredation tyres over the top of it. The hope is that 2022 will be the start of the fix & that F1 can start to move away from the band aids….. I’m just not sure they will.

        1. @stefmeister I think the current format is quite good. Still, some things can be improved. Reducing the aero-sensitivity of the cars is one step. Hopefully this will mean the end of DRS as well. It would be good to see some unassisted overtaking again.

          I don’t think the tire situation is as hopeless as you describe. These tires are still high-degrading tires, but due to the excessive tire management, it’s not very obvious. While I think it would be better if the drivers weren’t able to nurse the tires as effective as they do now, different tire strategies, as well as differences in tire degradation or tire management induce overtaking. Also, drivers may set up their car for race day, thereby sacrificing qualifying performance (or vice versa), which ensures drivers don’t necessarily finish near their starting positions, which I think is a good thing. I know a lot of people out here would like to see the return of rock-solid tires, but I’m not convinced that’s the way to go.

  7. I expect the final number of races for this year to be either 16 or 17 based on the likelihood. Either two Bahrain races followed by the Abu Dhabi GP after Imola (16), or a standalone between Imola and Bahrain I (17), or two races (two places or the same place) in which scenario a single event for both Bahrain and Abu Dhabi each (17).

    I don’t really agree with the COTD. A decent level of variation isn’t necessarily for the bad.

    The Le Mans 24H without spectators in attendance, so could Mugello’s F1 event nor the Russian GP happen with spectators any more than this 24H event? Yes, different countries, but same month for all three.

    Dieter’s tweet, though.

  8. I think it would be interesting to just let Pirelli deliver the tyres they want to, rather than a construction that fits the long list of demands set out by F1.

    For a start, I think the double header races at the same circuit could use the 2020 spec tyres, not the 2019 spec for the second race. While a step softer delivered a different result this weekend, it still wasn’t a particularly exciting race.

  9. I agree with the COTD. While it is great that Max won, it was still the faster car winning by maintaining a 5-10 second gap to the car behind.

    And simply put, the tyres are confusing. One weekend, left fronts are going bust, now Russel says rear-left is going to blow, the highlights package on F1’s youtube channel states that the right front of Bottas was blistering. I mean, what’s happening?? How can 7 days, little bit of weather change and different tyre specs changes the car characteristics so much. We are F1 Fanatics here and I am sure most of us also can’t understand this. How is the casual viewer supposed to understand this!! (On a side note, thankful to this unique 2020 season which is allowing us to have these back-to-back comparisons). Pirelli should IMO remove itself out of this equation. Just prepare 2 tyres for the season (qualifying, race) and be done with it.

    I remember in 2010, Webber or someone once made a comment that the tyres were so durable that he could have done another race on that same set of tyres. Vettel in that year’s Italian Grand Prix did the entire race bar one lap on the soft tyres! Would prefer if we go back to that situation.

    1. it was still the faster car winning

      That’s not correct. The Mercs are way faster but doing so they ruined their tires. Still everyone get the same tire and the car should cope with it.
      So, no not the fastest car won but the best team :driver. strategy, chassis. engine, tires.

  10. Let’s drop the BS.
    PIRELLI has made a mess for Formula One by producing tires that fail to survive in race conditions. Only RedBull seems to have figured it out. How is that possible ?
    Amazing they got away with it. But I enjoyed seeing Max force the Mercedes to melt their tires. When most all teams can’t figure out how to make them work, one team looks to have solved the problem by getting suspicious good results while others faced dire times.
    Build better tires Pirelli before we lose drivers. I think your current tires in hot conditions are stupid dangerous. Max doesn’t, but almost the rest of us do. Build tires for success where the car won’t ruin a set in a couple of laps. Makes the current product seem not up to F1 standards.
    Drama times in Formula One.

    1. Only RedBull seems to have figured it out

      not true, several teams succeeded a one stopper with nice tires.
      Its good to develop a fast car, but if its eating tires for breakfast there is a serious design problem.
      Every team receives the same tires, cope with it!

  11. At 2005 they tried to introduce a rule to have not tyre changes in dry conditions except punctures. I don’t remember whether they were allowed to change an unsafe tyre in it had no puncture. But that would introduce a problem: who decides whether it’s unsafe enough to allow a pitstop an give someone tyre advantage over the others?
    After Kimi had an ugly accident they allowed to pit and change an unsafe tyre set.
    That was the one year they tried this rule, and for 2006 they reallowed tyre changes.

    So I think the opposite: that no pitstop effort had been sunk quickly and for good, just like Windows 8.

    I consider managing tyres an important and valuable skill, and if one or two team can’t get along with the tyres while most can, that’s far from unprecedented. I think because most of the competitors of they slayed their softs before the race last weekend that’s not a reason to foget softer tyres forever. They can adapt, they are very good at adapting, so it’s very likely that they would soon come up with some new attitude using them (for example less entrants would try to set a time at some parts of the qualifying, what often happened before too… but giving them one or two more set would look better if compounds will be softened a bit), making compromises is also part of the challenge.

    And if they alter the compounds why would they need to alter all into the same direction?
    Imo as the most soft ones are useless or at least rarely used, C4 and C5 should be hardened a bit, and C1 and C2 should be softened a bit, because the less pitstops there are the more managing available. If there would be one set should not or would not be managed at all? Would not they complain or appeal or debate a lot if some entrant would pit for a new set while not having an obviously destroyed tyre?
    And if they bring they soften C1 and C2 and harden C4 and C5 would not be those too close to eachother? They why not to drop at least one compound. Imo the pace difference is not big between the compounds, and the hard’s durability is making up for most, so to have a bit bigger gap between the compounds would be better. F1 is already quite much about managing and strategy, and it’s not necessarily bad, at least more distinct tyres would add some strategy options. But I would not mind having only one kind of dry compound combined with pitstops, then it would be easy to develop the car for that one, but they still would have strategy.

  12. f1tv should have their own pundits like dorna. keith from BT can get ultra cringy.

    1. I have no idea what this means. BT, dorna? Is this really common knowledge for everyone except me?

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