An idea for tyre rules?

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    So, after the somewhat dull USGP, with most drivers taking part in a tyre management exercise as apposed to a race, I couldn’t stop thinking of ways to change the tyre rules to help create better races. And after what I suppose was a worryingly short amount of time I think I’ve got a good solution.

    First of all, we have four compounds of tyres as it is, so why not bring them all along. Give the teams the choice of all tyre compounds throughout the weekend. However, at the end of Friday, each team chooses one compound that they don’t use for the rest of the weekend.

    Come Saturday, everything is pretty similar to how it is now, with teams trying to save as many tyres for the race, and using the softest tyre available to set their qualy time. Obviously, this is where things could be mixed up slightly, as some teams have chosen a softer compound for the weekend than others, giving them and advantage in qualy, but could cause them problems later in the race.

    Then we reach Sunday, and the first thing that’s scrapped is the Q3 runners starting on qualy tyres rule. Then, each team must use at least one set of their 3 tyre choices during the race. This will guarantee at least 2 stops, however, teams who have gone for a softer set may choose to go for 3 stops.


    … So what do you guys think. I’m sure I’ve missed an obvious major flaw in the idea, but it seems to me that, with 2 stops guaranteed, and giving teams an opportunity to pick tyres that suit them, we are more likely to see drivers pushing, as apposed to managing tyres for the majority of the time.


    I actually would support giving more choice to the teams in selecting from the range of available compounds but I think that there are some flaws to this.

    (1) One of the purposes of the rules limiting number of tyres was to reduce the cost and wastage of shipping huge numbers of tyres to every Grand Prix. The number of tyres transported around would be doubled since the tyre supplies would have to include enough tyres of all four compounds if there is uncertainty as to which 3 would be picked. In reality I would expect at most tracks there will be an obvious choice of which tyre to drop and so teams would end up on similar strategies anyway.

    (2) I don’t like forcing teams to make a pit stop and I think forcing them to pit twice is worse, it means that every driver knows that if they are stuck behind another driver early on they have at least two chances to pass ‘in the pits’ and therefore reduces the need to worry about trying to pass on-track.

    A variant would be that teams are allowed to pick which two tyre compounds are brought for them to a particular race, so if a team can build a car which is better able to look after a softer/faster compound then they gain that advantage.

    The other problem with your solution and my variant (as well as the current situation) is that unless there is sufficient testing and stable tyre construction/compounds throughout the season then there will still be an element of luck as to who is able to get the most from the tyres at any particular event. Without more testing I think we need to have stability of tyre constructions for several years to give engineers a chance to understand and develop the cars to use them properly.

    One solution to both of the problems I have highlighted is to go back to 2005 style single tyre set rules. I didn’t like that rule at the time, but then the teams were still pitting for refuelling at the time so it seemed a bit silly. Now that refuelling has gone again a single set of tyres makes more sense. 22 drivers line up on the grid knowing that when the lights go out they have a race all the way to the flag and the only way to make up places is to overtake the guy in front (and the cost/number of tyres is significantly reduced). For me, personally, I enjoy the tactics involved in the strategy side of F1 so I would be sad to see this change.


    I see your point in terms of costs, however, what irks me about that is we take sets of wets to every race when we know they won’t be used because a race will be red flagged if they are required. Also, maybe only a few extra would be needed,as less of each compound could be taken. For example. Teams could take 4 of each tyre, so 16 overall, as apposed to the 11 that are taken now.

    There are definitely flaws, but I think giving teams the choice of which compounds they use is definitely a good thing.

    Max Jacobson

    I personally would suggest that teams must nominate their tyre choices well before a weekend (two weeks minimum): they can choose two compounds, with a maximum of two steps between each (e.g. SS & M or S & H). The top 10 rule would be applied to all runners, although it only has to be the same compound and not necessarily the exact same set of tyres. That is to say you could use the soft during qualifying and start on a soft, but would have to pit for hards likely as they wouldn’t last, or you could qualify on the hards and perhaps not have to pit.

    There would be no option to use SS for qualifying tyres and then just use the hards to prevent every team doing that of course by one of the aforementioned prefixes, so strategy will be important and the costs shouldn’t be a problem as Pirelli would know what tyres they are to bring.


    Grosjean’s smile

    I think this would be over complicated, and make a car/drivers true pace even less transparent.
    I would like to make it as simple as possible.

    As it is now, the tires wear a lot, which often makes overtakes lacklustre, because the driver being overtaken either had older tires, or harder tires. Worst case scenario, is that the faster car is just let by, because there is no reason to fight him, because their strategy is different – I just hate that!

    I may be dreaming here, but I would like to see only one kind of tire. The number of tires should still be limited in numbers in practice and qualifying, but be limitless in the race. The tires should be able to be driven hard, and very close to the maximum, but you should still be able to melt/wear them down, by driving too hard, or having a bad setup. And very important: the tires should come back to the driver, if they are overheated, and allowed to cool down (unlike the Pirelli synthetic compound bull crap of today)

    Furthermore the pit stop should be much faster, by making the pit lane shorter/speed limit higher, or as shortcuts as @mike-dee mentionened in this discussion.

    Boring tire management should be cured, as far as I see it, as it just wouldn’t pay off, and some racing should be possible.
    The downside would be that cars would be further away from each other performance wise, but this is where the much shorter pit stops should be an advantage, and bring the performance closer.

    I almost don’t care what the solotion is, as long as there is no more tip-toeing around to save tires.


    I think you’re onto something with the pitstop shortcut or increasing the pit lane speed limit. If the penalty for pit stops was lower, more teams would be inclined to make more pit stops as apposed to saving tyres. I think one thing that is clear is that everyone wants to be seeing drivers push harder throughout the race and anything that achieves that will be good. I watched the 2007 USGP a few days ago, and drivers were going off the track all by them selves, because they were pushing over the limit. When was the last time we saw that in a dry race?



    Just one question regarding those “shortcut” like pitlanes. I’ve seen the comment you’ve linked your point to, where Mike Dee says that Senna got a fastest lap out of going through the pit lane without pitting, rather than going through the checkered line. So how would you stop drivers from doing that, i.e., going through the pit lane every lap so as to gain an advantage?


    @toiago An obvious time penalty or stop-go would suffice if a tyre change is not made when travelling through the pit lane.

    Grosjean’s smile

    Thanks @Jake that is exactly what i mean :)
    The last time I remember seeing driving to the limit, was the first few races after the dreadful Pirelli’s were introduced in 2011.
    @toiago It would simply be made illegal as @Giggsy11 said, so that wouldn’t be a problem.

    Iestyn Davies

    I still think the best way would be to open all choice, like Keith wants; let the teams do no stops on hards, or an attacking 4 stop on super softs (like Alonso in Barcelona, beating all the ‘delta time’ drivers, and catching Red Bull between strategies). Q would be a fast car shoot-out on super softs most likely, unless the tyres couldn’t make 1 full lap at peak grip (!), while we would see a potentially ridiculous (for some!) variation in race tyre strategy. DRS could be then abandoned, as there would be guaranteed overtaking as someone on super softs approaches someone on hard tyres.

    Teams could suit their car around particular strategies, like Lotus with 1 or non stops, and this gives teams like Marussia a chance to move forwards with less resources (like Lotus have done, and they did on the 2013 tyres). A taster of this kind of racing was Kimi’s win in Melbourne, with one stop less, and us waiting until the finishing line to see if he would fall off the cliff or not, or be caught. Ricciardo, Vergne, Perez and Di Resta all swapped places coming out of the last corner in 2012, something which would be more common as different tyres met at the end of the race. It could be also harder for one team to dominate all the races, as different sets of tyres are naturally suited better for some tracks than others, giving variation from race to race (e.g. Mercedes better than Red Bull in Monaco).

    The shipping the tyres argument becomes null and void to me when it is obvious that F1 could just buy the method of transport used with it’s insane revenues (into the billions); but that would require it not to be owned by a financial equity group, who then take over 50% of this revenue out as profit each year, leaving less than 50% for the teams to try and run off of as prize money.

    I thought you were originally going to say that it would be dropped to 2 compounds after Saturday qualifying for the race – and that maybe you have to run one of the sets you qualified on. The slow teams could then do hard and medium, and less stops after qualifying last anyway, while the pole getters would have to go s-soft and hard say, and then try and eek out the hard to the end, or commit to soft/medium as the other tyre and at least 2 pit stops with fast stints to be made.

    F1 could only return to the rock solid full pushing tyres of the Bridgestone era, if aero modifications are made to allow cars to follow closely and hence easier overtaking, else we’d return to the processional pre-2011 type racing. Ground Effect was set to be brought back for 2014, but was shelved due to….. the cost of relearning all the aerodynamics that they’ve spent the last 15 years optimising for. And justified by saying we invested in the cut price solution of DRS already exactly for this purpose. Now there’s irony for ya.

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