Reader: F1 no longer united
MUCH TO ANSWER FOR: Wheels24 reader ROWAN KELL believes the FIA and its president Jean Todt is to blame for the current state of F1.Image: AP
Author: ROWAN KELL
The 2013 British Grand Prix was overshadowed by focus on the exploding tyre debacle. Formula 1 lashed out at Pirelli while the tyre supplier shifted the blame towards participating teams.
Pirelli said some teams had deliberately put tyres intended for the right rear of the car on the left, used lower than recommended pressures and used extreme cambers for performance advantage.
Wheels24 reader ROWAN KELL shares his thoughts on the tyre fiasco:
“It’s argued that the drama in the 2013 Formula 1 Championship stems from Pirelli’s tyres. Is this really the case?
The view is that inconsistent wear rates, unreliability and proper clarification regarding laws of the sport, is an issue when they are not looking deeper at the root of the problem.
It’s easy to point out the obvious, that there are problems regarding the durability and safety of Pirelli’s tyres.
High-speed tyre blow outs are dangerous for drivers but the real problems goes far beyond than what meets the eye.
‘CREATE A TYRE TO MAKE RACING EXCITING’
The instructions given to Pirelli regarding tyre expectations from the FIA were to create a tyre that would force drivers to make three pit stops at least per race.
Due to concerns that mounted from refuelling during pit stops, it was banned and rules were changed in regards to designs so that an F1 car could carry an entire tank of fuel for the duration of the race.
It was vital to still keep the racing exciting and so therefore the strategy for Pirelli was made clear – create a tyre that would make racing exciting again.
This meant new techniques of driver management to the car and a tyre that would last more or less a third of a race.
The Mercedes/Pirelli tyre scandal brought up big concerns. Whether it is alleged that Pirelli were in control or not, or that Mercedes was kept in the dark, there are still plenty of unanswered questions.
First of all, this testing took place after a race weekend, so all race weekend equipment stayed behind.
At every race, each team brings along extra parts for Friday testing for a race weekend to find the best possible setup. Was this not at the disposal of Mercedes?
Parts of which Mercedes could have brought along to cure the degradation problem that the team has had and had funnily enough disappeared ever since.
The fact is, its two drivers, plain crash helmets or not, spent more time running in an F1 car than other teams. Surely the team has benefitted from the private test?
The FIA, which created a loophole in their own rules and regulations, were embarrassed so much that they had to render a light punishment.
Sorry punishment is not the proper word here, more like the infamous Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ sequel with the FIA being the referee.
‘NO ONE CAN GET THEIR HEAD AROUND THIS’
At this point, it has only been Ferrari and Red Bull being vocal about the scandal and wanting to rebel. The real reason for other teams not being able to do the same, is that the rest of the teams all belong to FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) and would therefore be united.
The one team to support this “reprimand” is however McLaren.
This is a very peculiar stance taken for any of what is known as the top elite of F1. Is it due to them not being in the title hunt of the championship, for their shift of focus to their 2014 car or is it due to the alliance that they have in FOTA?
No one can get their head around this.
Ross Brawn wants to curb filming days as teams use this as a way to test new parts. This came in an interview with Sky sports, days after Mercedes’ Tribunal appearance.
Filming days are a way of exploit the testing ban in season by running new parts on the car during promotional filming days. Each team is allocated a certain amount of shooting days for their sponsors and in the midst of the tyre-gate scandal; this was Ross Brawn’s way of creating even more tension with Teams.
RED BULL WERE CAUGHT OUT
Red Bull blames teams for the unsafe tyres being used in the sport and is seen as those who vetoed the new structural changes for the 2013 tyres. As seen from the Ross Brawn interview with Sky Sports, this is another way teams are turning against one another.
The changes were vetoed because Red Bull would gain on the likes of Lotus F1 and Ferrari who manage their tyres and therefore have a superior race day pace.
Red Bull were plainly caught out and are trying to regain that their supremacy during qualifying and race.
In truth, the sport has not just become divided from a governing level but from a unity level as well.
IS THE FIA FIT TO GOVERN THE SPORT?
FOTA saw several teams withdraw from it in 2012 and its organisation is therefore being questioned as to its purpose in the sport. The uncertainty that has taken teams by surprise, is how the sport is actually being governed.
Is the FIA really fit to maintain its hold on the sport? With uncertainty in the sport, it is only the governing body that can shed light on information and make it available to all the teams.
The FIA clarification on Pirelli’s tyre testing was not made clear enough and brought the tyre supllier into a bad light.
‘PIRELLI NOT THE MAIN CULPRIT’
Remember, teams only had actual testing on the 2013 tyres at the beginning of the season with the three tests and on the Friday of the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.
Surely the testing ban created by the FIA hurt the sport. The tyre expectation set out for Pirelli from the FIA should also be looked at. It shows that Pirelli is not at all the main culprit for the outcries of teams regarding safety.
Pirelli has become the victim in 2013 and also being held on a stick as to secure their contract in 2014.
While all this plays out, the teams however start to turn on each other with silly suggestions and therefore lose their unity against the FIA.
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