Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Paul Ricard, 2021

Ferrari concerned Paul Ricard tyre woe could recur at Silverstone and Hungaroring

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In the round-up: Ferrari struggled with their front tyres during the French Grand Prix, and are aware the issue could recur when they go to circuits which place high demands on the front axle.

In brief

Ferrari could face repeat of French GP troubles

Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr suffered with severe graining on their front tyres at the French Grand Prix, finishing the race outside the points.

Ferrari’s sporting director Laurent Mekies said their tyre difficulties at Paul Ricard could recur at Silverstone and the Hungaroring, as they are both tracks that put more stress on the front tyres.

“There are certainly venues that we are looking with more attention,” Mekies admitted. “Silverstone is one, Budapest is one.

“Tracks that normally put more stress on the front axle is the one that got attention for. In the meantime, as I said, we are trying to find ways to mitigate or to increase our margin.”

Vettel calls Styrian GP “boring”

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Vettel’s run of points finishes ended on Sunday
Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel started 14th and finished 12th in the Styrian Grand Prix, and he did not find enjoyment in the race while team mate Lance Stroll scored four points in eighth place.

“Today was pretty boring because I was stuck in traffic for the majority and then not quick enough in the second part,” said Vettel. “It can only get better next week.”

A better performance in qualifying could have led to a more engaging race for the four-times world champion.

“We needed to start a little bit further ahead and then it can change the race. And then on our side we were stuck in the train, we pitted as one of the first cars and then we didn’t have enough tyres at the end to make a difference, so not great.”

Schumacher’s seat struggle not a safety issue

Mick Schumacher has complained of having a ‘crooked’ seating position in his Haas car this year, a problem the team is now solving after his mother took the issue to them.

F1 race director Michael Masi said that seating is not something the FIA would involve itself in unless a driver’s position compromised their safety, and Masi is confident that the Haas VF-21 complies with all the necessary regulations on the subject.

“From an FIA perspective, we obviously look at the extrication elements of the seat from a safety perspective,” he said.

“The driver comfort elements is obviously for the driver and the teams to work through because it’s so individual and tailored to each individual driver’s needs, wants, desires along the way. So from all of the safety aspects in the case of an incident, I find with that car they’re all completely compliant. So driver comfort I don’t know is an area the FIA would pursue.”

Schumacher finished 16th in the Styrian Grand Prix, a lap ahead of team mate Nikita Mazepin.

McLaren supports youth charity with Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

McLaren will partner with the long-running Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofFE) this summer, with a prize to attend next year’s British Grand Prix one of the incentives for young people to get involved.

The team will be part of a fundraising challenge called ‘Do It 4 Youth’ which plans to increase participation in the DofE through the money raised after the Covid-19 pandemic hit not only the programme’s base of existing participants but also has led to many more people being unable to afford the cost of taking part.

DofE wants “a million more young people from the hardest-hit communities to take part” to “help build resilience, confidence and to feel strong, powerful and limitless”.

McLaren’s involvement comes to donating two team VIP passes to the 2022 British GP and running the DofE logo on its cars for this year’s edition of the race.

“The past year has been difficult for so many young people, so this is a great way to get active, challenge yourself and raise important funds to help more young people discover their strengths and support physical and mental wellbeing,” said McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris.

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Comment of the day

Pierre Gasly‘s Styrian GP was ruined by contact on the opening lap, and the driver he touched with – Ferrari’s Leclerc – went unpenalised. F1 race director Michael Masi said the incident didn’t even merit “further investigation”, with brought the ire of many as Leclerc has been involved in multiple lap one clashes since joining Ferrari in 2019. Randon Mallard pointed out that Masi isn’t necessarily the man to be annoyed at when such decisions are made.

I don’t understand why people keep talking about Masi when talking about stewarding. Masi isn’t a steward, he is the race director. Yes Masi can note an incident to be raised by the stewards, but the stewards are also allowed to investigate incidents noted by themselves. Article 38.2 a) states that:

It shall be at the discretion of the stewards to decide if any driver involved in an Incident
should be penalised.

Therefore, Masi has no say over what penalties should be handed out (or at least he shouldn’t, and I can’t find any evidence that he is involved when he shouldn’t be). It just so happens that he is the media mouthpiece for the FIA at a race weekend.
Random Mallard

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On this day in F1

  • 35 years ago today Fabrizio Barbazza won round three of the American Racing Series at Meadowlands, but was awarded no points and had one-eighth of his prize money confiscated for a collision which took Cary Bren out of the race. Tommy Byrne was second.

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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9 comments on “Ferrari concerned Paul Ricard tyre woe could recur at Silverstone and Hungaroring”

  1. Enough with the Leclerc talk.

  2. I’m happy to be corrected but I thought that the stewards only get involved if the Race Director refers an incident to them.
    Just “noting” an incident with a “no further investigation required” I thought was solely in the Race Directors wheelhouse, which means the responsibility for Sunday’s incident was in fact Masi.

    Happy to have that clarified though.

    1. It was a weird part of the regulations for the CotD to quote (38.1 is more relevant), but the CotD is right:

      The race director may report any on-track incident or suspected breach of these Sporting
      Regulations or the Code (an “Incident”) to the stewards. After review it shall be at the discretion
      of the stewards to decide whether or not to proceed with an investigation.
      The stewards may also investigate an Incident noted by themselves.

  3. “Michael Andretti does not expect all of Andretti Autosport’s current full-time drivers to return when the 2022 IndyCar season begins.”

    Hunter-Reay has to be one getting the chop, I’m surprised he still has a seat as he hasn’t done anything of note in years. I sometimes forget he’s still racing, never mind for one of the big three teams. Hinchcliffe has to also be worried, he’s a nice guy and all but he isn’t really doing the business at the moment.

  4. COTD is 100% spot on.

  5. I don’t think Ferrari’s issues with front tire graining are track specific, considering it also happened at Monaco (Sainz, 2nd race stint on C3) and Baku (Leclerc, FP2 long run on C3) and those tracks have completely different characteristics compared to Paul Ricard.
    The reason it hit Ferrari so hard at the French GP is connected to the characteristics of the circuit (corner types) and generally high tire wear that day. The combination of high wear and graining meant Ferrari had no pace at all, not even on fresher tires. They simply missed the narrow operating window of the front tires. That’s their main issue and it seems to appear whenever the track conditions change overnight (i.e. less grip, lower track temperatures). I can’t see how Ferrari can solve this problem this season, they can only avoid it by keeping the front tires in their optimal operating window.
    I guess Laurent Mekies is mentioning Silverstone and Hungaroring as potentially difficult races, because if you experience front tire graining there, it will hurt you a lot, because they are generally very hard on tires (just like Paul Ricard).

  6. Re Ferrari: They can’t do jack s-word at the moment, unless…
    Re Vettel: Keep your former team close…

  7. I know its’s not that important, but I found Mazepin’s interview after the race quite interesting where I think he was basically saying he and Mick do not have equal cars, and won’t have equal cars for about 6-7 races to come. Does anyone know what that was about?

    1. He took it well when Savage Steiner gave him that gift. Felt like a mockery of his season so far.

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