Tag Archives: tyres

Formula One: Drivers make first in-season tyre selections

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Pirelli have released driver tyre selection data for the Spanish Grand Prix. The Spanish Grand Prix is the first time the Hard tyre compound will be used this season, but also represents the first event where drivers have made tyre choices having raced on 2016 compounds.

Owing to the production process of Pirelli Formula One Tyres, teams and drivers are forced to make decisions on tyre usage 12 weeks ahead of schedule for fly away races and 8 weeks ahead of time for European races. This means that drivers had selected tyre compound weighting for the opening races before pre-season testing had begun. As the first European race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix represents the first time drivers have been able to build actual race experience into their decision making process.

As we have come to expect this has led to drivers focusing on the softest compound available. Intriguingly Spanish Grand Prix tyre selection sees far less disparity between drivers in the same team that in other races.

It can be expected Mercedes will again dominate the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. 100% of their pre-season testing was carried out on the Medium and Soft tyre compound, where as other teams split efforts across a wider range of compounds. This increased knowledge of the Medium and Soft tyre will likely facilitate a smooth optimisation of set up allowing the team to focus on race and reliability performance.

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Mercedes AMG Petronas have put together a short film on the impact of introducing a 3rd tyre compound option to race strategy. This offers an interesting perspective on what we might expect to see at the Spanish Grand Prix later this month:

Formula One: Unnecessary Risk?

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Nico Rosberg will start the Chinese Grand Prix tomorrow from pole position having set pole an incredible 0.5 seconds faster than his closest rival. Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo will line up second on the grid, with the Scuderia Ferrari duo lining up on the second row.  Lewis Hamilton will start from either the back of the grid or the pitlane with MGU-H issues curtailing his qualifying session and likely forcing the team to introduce his second power unit of the season significantly earlier than planned. Something which could cause a headache for the team later in the year.

With Formula One returning the 2015 qualifying procedure for the Chinese Grand Prix, regulations around tyre selection have also returned. One such regulation is that drivers progressing into Q3 must start the race on tyres they set their fastest lap on in Q2. Intriguingly in Q2, the Mercedes team elected to send Nico Rosberg out on Soft compound tyres, despite all other contenders electing to set times on the Super Soft. The rationale for this decision within the session proved logical with Nico setting the fastest time in the session despite running a harder compound tyre. However with heavy rain preceding the event and cooler temperatures than were seen on Friday and are forecast for the race, the impact of tyre compounds had been marginalised.

This decision forces Nico Rosberg to start tomorrow’s race on a tyre compound which is known to be slower than every car around him. Whilst the performance of the Mercedes W07 suggests a significant advantage over the field, there is a growing belief that that aerodynamic efficiency of the car creates challenges for drivers when dealing with traffic. With Nico Rosberg’s likely title contender Lewis Hamilton starting at the back of the grid, and with  Mercedes struggling to consistently optimise start line performance in the opening races of the 2016 season, why did Mercedes make this call?  Nico could have elected to run Super Soft tyre in Q2 along with every other car in the top ten and in so doing have taken a considered and calculated approach to the race, mirroring or reacting to the strategy of those around them. In starting on the Soft tyre compound this is no longer an option.

Should Nico fall behind the Ferrari’s or Red Bull around him, spending his opening stint on a suboptimal tyre possibly 0.8’s per lap slower could  damage the team’s prospects of securing victory in China. Question marks over the longevity of the Super Soft tyre seem somewhat unwarranted with the soft tyre compound having lasted only 6 laps long in Free Practice stints.

Such a strategy call suggest that either the team have a genuine concern over the race pace of Ferrari, or locked themselves into a strategy ahead of the session and choose not to respond to Hamilton falling out of the process.

Pirelli commented on the strategy call

“Tyre wear and degradation in China is traditionally high, so the optimal strategy should theoretically be a three-stopper: start on the supersoft and then change to the soft on laps 11, 26 and 41. An alternative strategy (Rosberg, for example) would be to start the race on soft, run soft for the majority of the race (changing around lap 16 and 31), and then put on the supersoft for the final stint around lap 46. Am S/S/S/Mediuum strategy looks interesting but slightly slower.”

The Chinese Grand Prix has all the makings of a classic Grand Prix.

Formula One: Excessive Tyre wear thwart’s Hamilton’s chances

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Mercedes AMG Petronas have confirmed excessive tyre wear on the medium compound tyre prevented Lewis Hamilton from challenging for the win at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Following a difficult start in which Hamilton’s W07 again struggled to get away from the line, Valtteri Bottas made contact with the Brit as he approached the first corner.

Whilst the severity of the impact was not sufficient to retire the car, Hamilton lost several positions and Mercedes estimate that the loss of downforce due to damage to the floor and sidepod may have cost Hamilton up to 1 second per lap in performance. In a bid to recover from this early misfortune, Lewis and the Mercedes team attempted to switch from a planned 3 stop strategy to a 2 stop. To achieve this Mercedes fit Lewis’ only set of Medium compound tyres available for the race weekend on lap 13 of the race, on the same lap as Rosberg fitting soft compound tyres and one lap later than Raikkonen who also switched to the soft compound tyres.

Unfortunately this gamble did not pay off for Lewis, with his performance on the harder compound tyre relative to his immediate competitors unlikely to be sufficient to improve his overall finishing position. On lap 28 Lewis stopped again, this time fitting a set of worn super soft tyres, thus reverting to a 3 stop strategy making his final stop for soft compound tyres on lap 41.  Had the 2 stop strategy been successful with Lewis maintaining the gap to his teammate after the first round of pitstops he could have saved a total of 24 seconds, the time lost in a pitstop, which could have delivered a finishing position ahead of Raikkonen in second and may have lead to a challenge for the lead overall.

On the strategy call Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical), commented:

“We decided to try something different to get him [Lewis] past by taking the medium tyre and targeting a two stop strategy. Initially this looked promising, as he was gaining on Kimi despite running a slower compound after the first stops. However, it soon became apparent that the medium was degrading as badly as the soft, so that strategy unfortunately began to unwind quite quickly. We therefore converted him back to a three stop – but of course Ferrari shadowed and we then had to cover that in turn with Nico. At that point, with all three cars on the same tyres, we had to just hold position to the end”

Formula One: Pirelli confirm Monaco tyre compounds

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Pirelli will bring the following three compounds to the sixth round of the 2016 Formula One season in Monaco*, to be held (May 26-29) on the street circuit in Montecarlo:
P Zero Yellow soft
P Zero Red supersoft
P Zero Purple ultrasoft (at its GP debut)

These are the tyres that Pirelli has said must be used at some point in the race:
One set of P Zero Yellow soft
One set of P Zero Red supersoft.

Each driver must have both these sets available for the race, and must use at least one of them.

There are the tyres assigned for Q3 in qualifying:
One set of P Zero Purple ultrasoft

Following the regulations, each driver must save for Q3 one set of the softest of the three nominated compounds. This set will be given back to Pirelli after Q3 for those who qualify in the top 8, but the remaining drivers will keep it for the race – as is the case currently.

The teams are free to choose the remaining sets; making up 13 sets in total for the weekend.

Formula One: Ferrari & Williams avoid soft tyre in Bahrain

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The FIA has communicated to Pirelli each team’s tyre choices for the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix.  It is important to note that driver choices on tyre selection for the early rounds of the championship were made before pre-season testing.

As you may expect in the second round of the championship teams have tending to make the same tyre selection for both drivers. With only Sauber and Haas F1 electing to vary the weighting of tyre choice between drivers.

Both Scuderia Ferrari and Williams have weighted tyre selection away from the soft compound  opting to focus on the medium tyre (hardest available) and the super soft. This suggests both teams will maintain an aggressive approach to race strategy, with multiple stints on the super soft likely.

Mercedes have elected to take only a single set of the medium compound tyre to the race weekend, which may suggest they don’t intend to use the compound. However, Lewis took took only one set of the medium compound to Australia then used it for the majority of the race distance.

It should also be noted qualifying regulations are not resolved at the time of driver tyre selction.

 

Formula One: Pirelli Ultrasoft to debut in Montreal

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Pirelli will bring the following three compounds to the seventh* round of the 2016 Formula One season in Canada (June 10 – 12):

P Zero Yellow soft; P Zero Red supersoft; P Zero Purple ultrasoft

These are the MANDATORY tyres to be available for the race:
2 two sets of P Zero Yellow soft

Each driver must have both these sets available for the race, and must use at least one of them.

These are the tyres assigned for Q3 in qualifying:
One set of P Zero Purple ultrasoft

Following on from the 2016 regulations, each driver must save for Q3 one set of the softest of the three nominated compounds. This set will be given back to Pirelli after Q3 for those who qualify in the top 10, but the remaining drivers will keep it for the race – as is the case currently.

The teams are free to choose the remaining sets; making up 13 sets in total for the weekend.

See the video below to understand more about the Ultra Soft compound

Formula One: Constructive progress towards 2017 Regulations from Milan

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In a meeting between leading figures within Formula One; from the FIA, Teams, Drivers and Formula One Management, held at the Pirelli headquarters in Milan earlier today, reports are emerging of positive progress regarding 2017 technical regulations, the role of Pirelli, and importance of a unified approach and agreement around tyre construction and usage.

The meeting is reported as having been highly constructive acknowledging the need to accelerate clear definition of the new regulations. Once defined Pirelli, with the support of the teams have agreed to develop prototype tyres and test them on circuit as soon as possible.

Pirelli have again stated the criticality of a clear and timely testing programme to ensure are parties are adequately prepared for the 2017 season.

 

Formula One: Pirelli to host a meeting of F1’s key stakeholders to discuss the joint development of tyres for 2017

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A meeting will be held at Pirelli’s Milan headquarters next week in which key Formula One stakeholders will take part. The meeting will be to discuss target tyre performance guidelines in the light of the 2017 regulations.

Pirelli sees this meeting as being of vital importance in order to further consolidate the close collaboration that got underway last year with the FIA, FOM, and the drivers. Of the more than 250 championships in which Pirelli takes part worldwide, Formula One is the biggest challenge.

In 2017 the technical aspects will become even more complex, so Pirelli is even more convinced of the need to carry out more on-track testing.

This is a factor that has been extremely limited in recent years, despite the important evolution of the cars and subsequent increase in performance. All these are vital steps towards tyre development that takes into account the future evolution of the cars and added performance, which will be particularly notable in 2017. This will allow an even more effective use of the advanced technology that makes Pirelli the world leader in performance tyres.

Formula One: 6 Million Litres of water used for wet weather test

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With the Pirelli wet weather simulation test at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the South of France having reached its conclusion yesterday. JWGP spoke to the circuit management around the environmental impact of this form of simulation.

In order to simulate the wet weather conditions required for Pirelli to trial revised compounds and construction of the wet and Intermediate tyre the circuit utilises 400 sprinklers installed around the circuit. These sprinklers dispense 20 cubic metres of water per minute across the circuit amounting to a total of 3 million litres of water per day.

In total 6 million litres of water hit the track over the 2-day test session, which would be the same as filling  4 Olympic sized swimming pools.  Whilst water scarcity is not an issue in the area surrounding the circuit, some may question if this is an effective use of resources. However, the Paul Ricard circuit has installed an entirely closed loop waste free solution to facilitate wet weather simulations.

The water used through such tests is recovered rain water, no water from the local water grid is used by the circuit for wet weather testing.  The drainage system in place throughout the circuit channels all water back towards a lake situated near the circuit (pictured)

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Through this system the circuit is able to offer wet weather simulation capabilities with zero impact to the local water grid. This closed loop solution not only minimises the cost of such a test (water is not free!) but also ensures minimal negative impact on the local environment. Should FOM ever seriously seek to investigate the use of such systems in race situations, a closed loop solution as achieved at the Paul Ricard circuit would have to be incorporated into any proposal.

Formula One: Final Laps of the Wet Weather Simulation

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Pirelli’s two-day wet tyre test, held at the state-of-the-art Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France, concluded today at 4pm – with the specific aim of developing the latest generation of full wet tyres.

Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull were present at the test, having accepted Pirelli’s invitation to all the teams to take part.

The Paul Ricard circuit’s sophisticated variable sprinkler system allowed Pirelli to test with different amounts of water on the track, in order to simulate a wide range of wet conditions. This meant that the drivers could try a number of full wet tyre prototypes, with different compounds and constructions compared to the existing 2015 Cinturato Blue.

As this was a ‘blind test’ the prototypes did not carry any colour markings on the sidewalls, and the teams and drivers did not know which specification of tyres they were testing. All the cars ran in unaltered 2015 specification.

The test and development programme was completed within two full days at Paul Ricard, with 659 laps of a short circuit configuration run by the five drivers involved, totalling 2326 kilometres.

Temperatures remained consistently low throughout both days of the test, peaking at 11 degrees centigrade. Although these were not ideally representative conditions, a wide range of data was collected that will subsequently be analysed at Pirelli’s headquarters in Milan.

McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne was the only driver to drive during both days, while Ferrari ran Kimi Raikkonen on Monday and Sebastian Vettel on Tuesday. Red Bull tested with Daniel Ricciardo on day one and Daniil Kvyat on day two.

These were the quickest times set over the course of the two days:

 Vettel  (Ferrari)  1.06″750  (134 laps)
 Kvyat  (Red Bull)  1.06″833  (113)
 Vandoorne  (McLaren)  1.07″758  (87 + 127)
 Ricciardo  (Red Bull)  1.08″713  (99)
 Raikkonen  (Ferrari)  1.09″637  (99)

The development programme will now continue back at base, when Pirelli will compare each team’s telemetry with its own data, in order to obtain a full picture of every prototype’s performance.