Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2020

Sochi could be final appearance for softest tyre compound this year

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In the round-up: Pirelli’s softest C5 compound, which Mercedes found not to its liking in Austria, may only be used once more over the remaining 14 races.

In brief

No more C5s after Sochi?

The softest tyre in Pirelli’s range was previously due to appear at three more races following last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. However the cancellation of Singapore’s round of the world championship meant one fewer appearance for the C5 tyre.

Now changes to the Yas Marina circuit may lead Formula 1’s official tyre supplier to revise its decision to use the C5 tyre at the season finale.

Pirelli is awaiting final details of the changes to the circuit before committing to its selection. It previously announced the C5 would be used for the race at Yas Marina.

Artist's impression: Changes to Yas Marina circuit for 2021
Analysis: Will Yas Marina’s changes put an end to F1’s follow-my-leader finales?
However the removal of several slow corners and the creation of a new, high-speed banked turn may prompt it to select harder-rubber. If it does, Sochi in Russia will become the only remaining race on the calendar where the C5 is nominated.

That may come as a relief to Mercedes, who have not taken a pole position or a win at any of the three races so far this year where the C5 was used. “On the C5, we just seemed a bit further off than we were on the medium,” admitted the team’s head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin last weekend.

The Abu Dhabi race will take place on December 12th, leaving Pirelli until the end of September to determine any changes to its tyre selection for the season finale.

Formula E plans longest-ever calendar for 2022 season

The FIA World Motor Sport Council approved Formula E’s longest-ever calendar for the 2022 season, with 16 races scheduled, though the details of some are yet to be confirmed.

The championship will conclude at a new track in Seoul, South Korea, and also make its first visit to South Africa, on a track in Cape Town. Canada will also return to the Formula E calendar, with a race in Vancouver.

1Saudi ArabiaDiriyah28th January
2Saudi ArabiaDiriyah29th Januray
3MexicoAutodromo Hermanos Rodriguez12th February
4South AfricaCape Town26th February
5ChinaTBA19th March
6ItalyRome9th April
7MonacoMonaco30th April
8GermanyBerlin14th May
9TBATBA4th June
10CanadaVancouver22nd July
11USANew York City16th July
12USANew York City17th July
13United KingdomLondon30th July
14United KingdomLondon31st July
15South KoreaSeoul13th August
16South KoreaSeoul14th August

Doohan mystified by poor straight-line speed

After finishing third in the opening F3 race at the Red Bull Ring last weekend, Jack Doohan slipped to seventh in the second and failed to score in the third after contact with a rival left him with a puncture. The Red Bull-backed Trident driver was puzzled by his poor straight-line speed from race two.

“The car balance was good but we had a bit of a mystery on speed and I couldn’t do much on the straights,” he said. “I came in seventh after starting 10th.”

The team trimmed his downforce levels for Sunday’s race in a bid to improve his straight-line speed. “I was even trying to squeeze down in the car to help the aero, that is the extent we were going to,” he said. “I made a good start, got up to 6th, but without the DRS I couldn’t stay with the cars in front.

“I lost a few positions but some cars went out and I was sixth, I made the overtake for fifth. Then I had no DRS so when [Matteo] Nannini cam back at me I was thinking about racing for the title and let him have the position as I knew that I could get him back again. Then another car ran into the back of me and gave me a puncture.”

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Comment of the day

Shouldn’t F1’s points system differentiate between all finishers?

I don’t see why people find points as being almost some sort of magical thing that should only be awarded to a select few on special occasions. The entire reason for any point system to exist is to differentiate drivers and teams over an entire season. To then only give points to the few that finishes a race in the top positions and say that everyone else performed equally bad, is strange to me. Whether we are talking about a driver or a team, is a single 10th place finish over a season really a better performance than regularly finishing 11th? And what’s the difference of that compared to the same discussion but for third and fourth?

I would give points for the entire filed, provided the car reaches the finish. How much the scale should ramp up, or not, and how many points one would get for a win is an even longer discussion. But like I said, it’s just a matter of differentiating. The important thing is that any one position gained on track must have an impact on the total season result, otherwise why race at all? Or at least, why have a season of races?

Systems that give points to say half the field was logical when usually only half the filed finished the races. That is not the case anymore and has not been for many years.

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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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29 comments on “Sochi could be final appearance for softest tyre compound this year”

  1. pastaman (@)
    9th July 2021, 0:19

    Agree with CoTD, points should be awarded for every classified position. Why should millions of dollars be awarded to a team who scored a single point by some miracle over a team who regularly finished ahead of them during the course of a season? You should be awarded according to your performance, not some arbitrary cutoff

    1. If we have a medal system, how many silvers will be equivalent to one gold.
      currently in F1, two silvers or two bronzes are worth more than a gold, ie win = 25pts(gold), 2nd= 18pts(silver), 3rd=15pts(bronze)
      Two 4th positions are almost equivalent to a win.
      When teams are tied on points, then we fall back to finishing position.
      A points system will always be arbitrary and never fully compensate one for effort.

      1. pastaman (@)
        9th July 2021, 13:02

        Plenty of motorsports award points for every position, this isn’t a new concept

  2. I’d always had a view that this [Formula One] was 50-50. I can mount a strong argument that the event should go ahead. I could also mount an argument as to why it wouldn’t go ahead.

    Well why not say that Mr Westacott? All we ever hear from is that it is 100% going ahead. How about a bit of honesty, or a bit of transparancy, every now and then, rather than just telling the public what you think they want to hear. Rather than planning and looking forward to something that you say now was only ever a 50/50.

    confident a Formula One grand prix in Melbourne in April […] would go ahead in 2022

    And here we go again… Maybe in 6 months time he’ll be saying this was only ever a 50/50 too. I’d be betting against it.

  3. COTD: I am good with points being awarded to every driver. Question is, how will we simplify starting from 25 points? If it’s just one point difference over 2nd place, then drivers may decide to settle for 2nd place rather than pushing for 1st.

    1. Ki Chi (@kichi-leung)
      9th July 2021, 6:49

      Maybe we end up with:
      10-20th places: 1-10 points, increase by 1 for each position.
      1-9th places: starting from 12 points, increase by 2*(gap to 10th position).

    2. In sailing, points are awarded according to finishing position. Winner gets 1, 2nd place 2, etc. DNF is number of starters +1. You can discard your worst X results (depending on the number of races in the series).

      I’ve always thought it works really well. It rewards consistency throughout the series, and encourages people to fight hard for every place, throughout the field, and even if you’re having a bad race, every point can make a difference at the end. I think F1 used to have a system of discarding races? Or counting only the best X? Maybe this could be revisited

      1. I think F1 used to have a system of discarding races? Or counting only the best X? Maybe this could be revisited

        Indeed, F1 did (it was discussed in yesterday’s article).
        This site allows you to simulate various points systems. I don’t thin you can exclude races though.

    3. Why would you have to start with 25? You can give first place 50 points, 100 points, 200 points, 342 points, it is completely arbritary what the actual number for each position is, as long as it’s fair in relative gap to other positions. It used to be 8 – 6- 4, then 9 – 6 – 4, then 10 – 6 – 4, then 10 – 8 – 6. It’s all just there as COTD rightly said to make sure that the end of the year the drivers are ranked 1st to last in order of who performed the best over a season. The 7 points between #1 and #2 isn’t something that’s set in stone.

      Example: Start at 50, make number 2 earn 36, number 3 gets 30, and go from there 4: 28, 5: 26, 6: 23, 7: 21, 8: 18, 9: 15, 10: 12 and then 10 to 1 points for the final 10 positions, there you go, just as far as it always was, top 10 still matter more than the bottom 10 and everyone’s fighting for stakes during the race.

      1. Sorted it.

        1 100
        2 80
        3 70
        4 60
        5 50
        6 40
        7 30
        8 25
        9 20
        10 15
        11 10
        12 9
        13 8
        14 7
        15 6
        16 5
        17 4
        18 3
        18 2
        20 1

        Fastest Lap: 5 points
        Best Driver Helmet Design: First place in the after-race buffet queue

        In all seriousness, I’ve always been against awarding points further down the field but I don’t know why. Now that I think about it, it makes sense and makes the racing further down the field worth more, and would actually highlight in the championship rankings the efforts of those drivers who perform consistently well but don’t have a car capable of a top ten finish (such as Russell).

        1. I especially like the inherent fight for 18th and avoid coming in 19th.
          Will be some exciting games at the tail of the field.

          1. That’s the beauty of my system.

            Because there are 2 18th places, there will always be a post race period of confusion.

            It’s the driver in 19th place I feel sorry for – never gets a point.

  4. Really pleased that Abbi Pulling is getting a W series chance at Silverstone next week. She impressed me in the F4 races at Thruxton earlier this year.

  5. Misread for an instant, thought it said final appearance for Sochi. Unfortunately..

    1. Just 1 more year, as in 2023 it should move to St Petersburg (Russia).

  6. Handing points for every driver or every classified driver? Like rewarding for mere appearance. The current system is working adequately well, so no need for changing anything.

    I doubt about April. If opening next season comes too soon, so would probably April, so most likely at the opposite end as was rescheduled.
    The other Melbourne article mistakenly mentioned Japan as a cancelled one alongside Canada and Singapore, although not yet.

    What about bringing the softest compounds to Mexico (should it go ahead without an issue)? IIRC, Mexico has had the softest combination available before, so why not again?
    Jeddah, or would the softest compounds be too soft for it despite being a temporary circuit?

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      9th July 2021, 10:17

      It depends how you look at it – is a point something that should be celebrate like a trophy or is it simply a method to separate the teams’ performance?

      I don’t personally see why finishing 11th being the same as 20th makes the sport better or how giving points to the driver who finishes 19th would devalue anything…

      1. But it isn’t. If teams have no points, finishing 11th does mean more. That’s how Williams are 10th and Haas are 11th at the moment, even when both teams have 0 pts.

        Yes, you could get lucky, but that’s always true, isn’t it? You could award points to every position and luck in to a 5th or a 4th in a crazy, rain-effected weekend and have more points then you should have had.

  7. Re Pirelli tyres: Brign back the 2018 tyre colours.
    Re Formula E: Why does it start in January and not from September to June like in the inaugural season?
    Re Pasma: Wish him the best.

    1. Brign back the 2018 tyre colours.

      Why bring back that confusion?

  8. Ok, hear me out:
    What about this distribution?
    1 25
    2 18
    3 15
    4 12
    5 10
    6 8
    7 6
    8 4
    9 2
    10 1
    11 0.25
    12 0.18
    13 0.15
    14 0.12
    15 0.1
    16 0.08
    17 0.06
    18 0.04
    19 0.02
    20 0.01

    1. As long as the fastest lap amongst the bottom 11-20 gets an extra 0.01pt.

    2. Stevan Vasiljević
      10th July 2021, 11:17

      Best idea ever

  9. I understand the logic of COTD and it is certainly a fairer concept.

    But I do like having a threshold between points and no-points that requires a certain level of competitiveness to attain. It gives points a prestige that is lessened the more places are awarded. And it certainly adds drama further down the field when the likes of G Russell battle week-in-week for the rare possibility of a single solitary point.

    It’s not much different to the threshold that exists in reaching a podium. The gap between second and third is no different to the gap between third and fourth, yet the top three get a trophy and champagne but fourth doesn’t. It’s a threshold that adds prestige and drama.

    Imagine if the entire system was completely fair and all places received points and trophies of gradually reducing scale and the podium was a staircase of 20 steps !!

    Certainly fairer, but just wrong :P

    1. @aussierod Agreed.

      I already kinda think too many drivers score points as I think that points should be something that feel special when you get them due to having to be earned & not simply given.

      I think back over the years, Especially back when less cars scored points & remember how big a deal it used to be for a mid-field car to score a point & how many moments of both celebration (Mark Webber scoring points on his debut in 2002 in his home country & Minardi’s first points for 2 years) & heartbreak (Luca Badoer retiring from the points at the Nurburgring in 1999) which are special/memorable moments we wouldn’t get if most/all the field score.

      Looking elsewhere, Indycar & NASCAR has a points system that awards points to everyone who finishes I believe & you never hear anyone in those categories talk about points, They rarely talk about the points system & you don’t get that same level of jeopardy or interest for cars battling in the mid-field as you do when there is a cut-off in terms of who scores. Look back at Austria, That late race battle between Russell/Alonso had some extra meaning because it was for the last point, If everyone scored or if points went down a few more spots that little battle would have had far less meaning.

    2. RandomMallard (@)
      9th July 2021, 15:32

      @aussierod I think it could be a good move still. Other championships (Indycar and Aussie Supercars in particular) have systems that award staggered (i.e. not stepped like 10, 9, 8, 7 etc…) amount of points across the whole field (staggering only the top positions, then stepped). The Aussie one is especially complicated so I don’t think F1 should use it, but they both reward 1st over 2nd more than 2nd over 3rd (like F1 currently does with 25 vs 18 against 18 vs 15).

      F1 could use, for example:
      40, 30, 25, 22, 20, (then decreasing by 2 from P6-10, and decreasing by 1 from P12-20).

      This keeps the ‘staggered’ system at the top end of the field, while not treating everyone P11 and below like they had the same performance (Russel finishing 11th in a Williams in Austria is much more impressive/rewarding than Hamilton’s P15 in Baku, but they still got the same – i.e. nothing – out of it). And in the other Championships, especially in America, getting a Top 10 is still considered a big achievement. The other thing I would specify is that a non-classified (i.e. less than 90% distance completed) DNF scores nothing, so that you don’t just get smaller teams running way outside the points retiring just to get a new gearbox.

  10. I’m baffled by how we get so worked up by “fairness” and “we should all be winners” stuff in a cutting-edge performance series. It’s rather simple: either you are good enough or not. If not, it doesn’t matter why, you do not deserve either a win, nor a point. Maybe a nod, and that’s good enough.

    Why do I seem so vicious about it? Because, winning aside, the prime goal is to step on the podium. That is what will always count, regardless of what era we are racing. The “fairness” could come to the ones close enough to the top-3, a.k.a. the Top-5 (oh my, what a coincidence it started this way, eh?).

    I say that’s precisely because of reliable cars that we should narrow the points margin, so that even the front-runners will have to fight for their money. Take this season for instance: certain teams wouldn’t have the luxury to screw the 2nd driver strategy protecting the #1 if there is always a Norris biting for a podium. Having a 2nd car outside the points could be a catastrophe in the long game. Ergo, points should be meant to hurt front-runners, not pampering backmarkers.

    The backmarkers will always remain, regardless of how many points is given to them. Because it won’t ever be enough. What they need is a revised system that can boost them up the following season by, guess what, consistency! Williams scoring 1 point by lucking into 10th a single time in a season means nothing compared to, say, Russell coming home 11th to 13th a good amount of times.

    That’s why, instead of awarding pity points, F1 should revise its system towards an average value measurement. This would definitely prevent cars cruising home satisfied by settling for whatever is left for them in the race.

    Just my two cents.

Comments are closed.