F1 2018: Talking Tyres

Pirelli have introduced two new tyre compounds ahead of the 2018 F1 Season in addition to the 5 tyre compounds in 2017. So what are the new compounds and how will this effect racing in 2018?

18/02/18

For 2018, Pirelli, the official tyre supplier for Formula One, have introduced two new tyre compounds for 2018. These two will be the Hypersoft and Superhard tyre. This is in addition to the Ultrasoft, Supersoft, Soft, Medium and Hard compound tyres.

In 2017, the rules to widen the tyres, Pirelli decided to play it safe and constructed the tyre in a way so it wouldn’t degrade quickly. This led to a lot of races in 2017 being very predictable due to normally having a one-stop race. So for 2018, Pirelli have widened their range.

The softer a compound is, the faster it will be and it will have a short life-span. The harder a compound is, the slower it will be and it will have a long life-span.

The Hypersoft tyre will be the softest tyre on range with the Superhard being the hardest tyre on range. Having a wider range means that Pirelli can better select the right tyre for a GP weekend. Their hope is to have as many races as possible to have a two-stop race. For the viewers, this should mean more unpredictable and exciting races.

The colour coding for 2018 as follows: Hypersoft (pink), Ultrasoft (purple), Supersoft (red), Soft (yellow), Medium (white), Hard (blue), Superhard (orange).

Tyre Choice

Before a GP weekend, Pirelli chose 3 compounds that they’ll bring to a race. These decisions have to be made:

  • 9 weeks before a European race (e.g Monaco, Belgian GPs)
  • 15 weeks before a non-European race (e.g Australia, United States GPs)

Each driver will have 13 sets of tyres to use during the weekend. In this set, Pirelli will choose two mandatory tyres to be used during the race. Each driver must use at least of these tyres during the race. Pirelli will also pick one tyre to be used in Q3 if the driver makes it into the final part of Qualifying. The remaining 10 sets of tyre can be chosen by the driver and team.

Giving back tyres

In a F1 weekend, there are 7 sessions. 3 Practise sessions, 3 parts of qualifying and the race itself. The team must start giving back sets of tyres to Pirelli at certain points throughout the weekend.

  • One set of tyres must be given back to Pirelli 40 minutes into Practise 1.
  • One set of tyres must be given back to Pirelli at the end of Practise 1.
  • Two sets of tyres must be given back to Pirelli as the end of Practise 2.
  • Two sets of tyres must be given back to Pirelli at the end of Practise 3.

This leaves 4 sets of tyres for Qualifying plus the tyre for Q3. If the driver makes it through to Q3, they must hand that tyre back at the end of that session. If the driver make it through to Q3, they must start on the tyre in which they set their fastest time on in Q2. Everyone else can start whatever tyre they want.

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Williams unveil their 2018 challenger

Williams have unveiled their 2018 challenger during a press event on Thursday night in London.

15/02/18

The FW41 is the first car to be fully credited to technical chief Paddy Lowe after joining the Grove team in 2017 from Mercedes. It is also notable to credit Dirk de Beer. The head of aerodynamics for Williams who also joined in 2017.

“All Formula 1 cars are an evolution of what has gone before to some extent, but the FW41 does involve a number of departures from the directions that have been pursued in the past.”

“All Formula 1 cars are an evolution of what has gone before to some extent, but the FW41 does involve a number of departures from the directions that have been pursued in the past,” said Paddy Lowe.

Williams are the second F1 team to unveil their car after Haas unexpectedly launched pictures of their 2018 car yesterday.

It also features the “Halo” concept which will be on all cars this year. Unlike Haas, who painted theirs black yesterday, Williams have painted, for now, the halo white along with their colour scheme.

For 2018, Williams have kept Lance Stroll and have signed Russian Sergey Sirotkin to replace Felipe Massa, who retired from F1 last year. With the pairing, they have the least experienced line-up on the grid for 2018.

Further 2018 Car Launches

Red Bull are scheduled to reveal their 2018 challenger, with the RB14 to be launched online on the 19th of February. Renault and Sauber are next up, due to unveiled online on the 20th. Mercedes and Ferrari, have both picked the 22nd as the day they will reveal their respective challengers. McLaren will launch their MCL33 on the 23rd with Toro Rosso on the 26th. Force India to be confirmed.

How did the F1 drivers fair at the Daytona 24hrs?

The Daytona 24hrs is considered part of the triple crown of endurance racing and is one of the first major motor-sports events of the year. For 2018, F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll are competing in the event. So how did they get on?

30/01/18

In the midst of the of a three-month race ‘shutdown’, F1 drivers have been training hard and have been taking some well-needed time off. But Alonso and Stroll are getting their racing season started early by competing the legendary 24hrs of Daytona.

Fernando Alonso

  • Team: United Autosports
  • Car: #23
  • Class: Prototype

After contesting in Indycar last year, Fernando Alonso is showing his ability by taking part in the famous endurance sports car race. It was confirmed in late October in 2017 that Alonso would take part in his first ever endurance race. Accompanying Alonso in the #23 United Autosports car would be McLaren Test and Reserve driver Lando Norris and Philip Hanson.

Although admitting before the weekend began, Alonso said it would be a “very big task” to win on his Daytona 24 Hours debut. Once again, success was not to be as the McLaren driver finished 38th overall and 13th in class.

The team had a good start as they ran as high as sixth from 13th on the grid into the early hours of the night but a combination of problems – including a puncture and brake failure – dropped them down the field.

Lance Stroll

  • Team: Jackie Chan DCR JOTA
  • Car: #37
  • Class: Prototype

Stroll competed in his first full season as an F1 driver with Williams and finished a brilliant 3rd at the Azerbaijan GP. Accompanying Stroll would be current Formula E Championship Leader Felix Rosenqvist, Robin Frijns and Daniel Juncadella.

They were in the hunt for a podium finish early in the race but lost time when they were forced into the pits to repair bodywork and suspension damage caused by a puncture. Ultimately they finished 15th overall, 31 laps behind the race winners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F1 News Round-up #10

The 10th instalment of the monthly F1 News segment with stories including Daniil Kvyat joining Ferrari as their development driver and the death of US legend, Dan Gurney.

27/01/17

Latifi joins Force India as reserve and test driver

Force India have signed F2 race winner Nicholas Latifi as their test and reserve driver for 2018. The young Canadian, who competed in F2 in 2017, finished 9 times on the podium including a race win, finished in 5th place in the championship.

The former test driver for Renault in 2016 and 2017, will participate in a number of Friday practice sessions for Force India over the course of 2018.

Kvyat joins Ferrari as development driver

Former Red Bull and Toro Rosso driver, Daniil Kvyat has joined Ferrari as a development driver. The Russian lost his F1 drive after the American GP at Toro Rosso with Red Bull later confirming that he was now out of the Red Bull program and free to do anything he wanted.

Kvyat made his F1 debut in 2014 with Toro Rosso and made the step up to Red Bull in 2015. A podium at the Chinese GP 2016 would be the highlight of his year as the Russian was demoted back to Toro Rosso (for the rest of the season) after he punted Sebastian Vettel out of the Russian GP.

US legend, Dan Gurney dies

Former American Formula 1 driver and Le Mans winner Dan Gurney has died aged 86.

Competing in F1 from 1959 to 1970, Gurney contested in 86 GPs, driving for Ferrari, Porsche, BRM, Brabham and his own All American Racers squad. Gurney won the famous Le Mans 24 Hours race in 1967, and was the first driver to win races in F1, IndyCar and NASCAR.

Gurney, who won four grands prix, began the tradition of celebrating a victory by spraying champagne which is still a tradition in F1 to-date.

 

 

 

 

 

Sirotkin to partner Stroll for 2018

Williams have announced that Russian Sergey Sirotkin will partner Lance Stroll for 2018 F1 Season.

16/01/18

Williams are the last team to complete their driver line-up for 2018 after months of speculation of whom was going to get the race seat alongside Stroll.

With Felipe Massa confirming his retirement for good this time at the end of the season, Williams were left with a number of potential drivers that could fill the vacant seat. After impressing with Renault with a private test in Valencia, Robert Kubica was the main contender for the seat. The list also included former F1 driver Paul di Resta, who filled in for Massa at the Hungarian GP, former Toro Rosso driver, Daniil Kvyat and former Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein were also in the mix.

After the final race of the F1 2017 season in Abu Dhabi, Williams choose Kubica and Sirotkin to fight it out in a driver test.

The seat has ultimately went to Sirotkin with Williams impressed with his technical feedback and secondly his budget which he is bringing to the team.

For Williams, they field the least experienced driver line-up on the grid. Stroll made his debut season last year with the highlight of Williams’s only podium in 2017 with 3rd in Azerbaijan GP.

Kubica given Reserve role

Having lost out on a race seat for 2018, Williams have kept Kubica on as their reserve and development driver.

Kubica, winner of the 2008 Canadian GP and a veteran of 76 F1 starts will help Williams over the course of 2018. The Pole will participate in a number of practise sessions along with pre-season testing and in-season testing.

If Kubica can perform well over the course of the year, his dream of returning to F1, full-time as a race driver, could be on the cards. If so, this legendary comeback will be the biggest comeback the sport has had for a while.

Analysis

2018 needs to be a strong year for Williams. Williams finished 5th with 83 points, 104 behind Force India, a team they were fighting very closely only a couple of years ago. The Grove team ultimately didn’t want to risk running Kubica, hence why they gave him the role of reserve and development driver.

The pairing of Stroll and Sirotkin will be the least-experienced on the grid. This line-up will receive major criticism as both will be perceived as two ‘pay drivers’. Williams needs to watch their backs with the resurgence of McLaren and Renault likely to move both teams up the championship. As a result, Williams could potentially drop to 7th or worse.

2018 could be very tough.

 

 

5 Burning Questions Ahead Of F1 2018

With just 70 days left until the F1 season begins, there are many questions to be answered. Here are just a couple of questions and story lines heading into what promises to be a massively exciting and competitive season.

14/01/18

1. Can anyone stop Mercedes?

For a 4th year in succession, Mercedes claimed another Constructor title after battling with Ferrari throughout 2017. Mercedes in the end were able to beat Ferrari to the crown by 146 points. In the hands of Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas, Mercedes claimed 12 out of a possible 20 victories.

Although Ferrari seemed to have the overall better car, it was the implosion in the second half of the season were the title fight slipped through their fingers. Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says he has no doubt that the Prancing Horse will again be fighting at the sharp end in 2018.

Another team who were impressive in the second half of the season claiming 2 victories and are eager for another constructors title is Red Bull. Shocking reliability at the start of the season effectively ended Red Bull’s title hopes very early on. Maybe a better start to this years campaign could end up in a 3 way title fight.

2. How far will McLaren climb with Renault

After 3 tough, disappointing and baffling years, McLaren ended their engine relationship with Honda and instead have signed with Renault for 2018.

Attempts with Mercedes and Ferrari fell flat with Renault the only engine provider left. McLaren believe it is a significant step forward over the Honda engine with estimations around of somewhere in the region of 45-60bhp. Combined with the McLaren chassis, which is believed to be if not one of the best on the grid, McLaren could be close to the top of the pecking order.

McLaren need decent results in 2018 having claimed just 30 points in 2017. Two time World Champion, Fernando Alonso, who has been with McLaren throughout the whole ordeal with Honda, has expressed his disappointment several times. Could the Spaniard taste the champagne for the first time since 2013 and will McLaren win for the first time since 2012?

3. Daniel or Max? Who will win the Red Bull battle

As seen as one of the best driver pairing on the grid, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen are both very highly rated drivers. The intra-team rivalry throughout 2017 was fierce with both drivers pushing each other to the limit.

Ricciardo was able to finish higher than Verstappen (5th vs 6th) in the Drivers Championship but it was Verstappen who claimed more wins (2 to 1) and was decisively the quicker of the two in qualifying. If Verstappen hadn’t had such poor reliability at the start of the season, how much closer would they been in the championship?

Looking towards 2018, this will be a very tense battle. Unlike Ricciardo, who is keeping his options open, Verstappen has signed a new Red Bull contract until the end of 2020. Place your bets, this will be a very tight battle.

4. Can Alfa Romeo and Leclerc lift Sauber up?

Once a solid mid-field team, Sauber has had a miserable two years accruing just seven points as they have struggled at the back of the grid.

But things look to be on the up. They have a new technical and commercial partnership with Alfa Romeo and have the latest spec Ferrari engines. By not having latest spec power-units hampered the team massively throughout 2017, just achieving 5 points.

Sauber have also signed F2 Superstar and Ferrari young driver Charles Leclerc alongside Marcus Ericsson for 2018. Leclerc, dominated the F2 championship in his rookie season and is one of motor racing’s brightest talents. With exciting prospects and deals, can Sauber return to the mid-field and challenge more often for points?

5. Can Nico Hulkenberg finally reach the podium?

The German driver has now started 135 races and has come so close to reaching the podium. In fact, Hulkenberg is now the only driver to have started 135 races and not to finish on the podium. The current Renault driver has finished 4th place 3 times during his F1 career so far.

Hulkenberg came close to finishing on the podium, and winning back in 2012 at the Brazilian GP. At the time, driving for Force India, Hulkenberg led for almost 30 laps before a mistake with Lewis Hamilton ended the German’s hopes.

Hulkenberg was also running inside the top 5 during the Azerbaijan GP last year but a lapse of concentration saw him catch the wall, breaking his suspension. Hulkenberg is running out of time and if the opportunity arises a long anticipated and well deserved podium could be on the cards.

Rosenqvist wins tight race in Marrakesh

Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist wins the Marrakesh ePrix ahead of a rejuvenated Renault e.Dams Sebastian Buemi and DS Virgin’s Sam Bird as reliability once again hits Season 3 champion Lucas di Grassi.

13/01/17

The big news heading into the weekend was that Neel Jani had left Dragon Racing just after one race weekend. Taking his place alongside Jerome D’Ambrosio would be Jose-Maria Lopez, who competed in Season 3 with DS Virgin Racing.

Tom Blomqvist makes his series debut with Andretti after Kamui Kobayashi stepped in last time out.

Earlier in the week, it was also revealed that Formula E would drop the minimum pit-stop time with immediate effect heading into Marrakesh. Although, it was successfully overruled after many teams lobbied to have it changed back to the original for this weekend.

Qualifying Result

  1. Buemi  2.Bird  3.Rosenqvist  4.Lopez  Di Grassi  6.Lynn  7.Piquet  8.Abt  9.Evans 10.Turvey  11.Filippi  12.Blomqvist  13.Vergne  14.Engel  15.Prost  16.D’Ambrosio  17.Heidfeld  18.Da Costa  19.Mortara  20.Lotterer

Race

There is a couple of drivers missing from the starting grid. Jerome D’Ambrosio and Oliver Turvey will start from the pit-lane. They were due to start on the grid in positions 10th and 16th. The lights go out and it’s a clean start by everyone with Sebastian Buemi leading from pole position ahead of Sam Bird and Felix Rosenqvist.

It’s been a pretty clean first lap until down into turn 1 on lap 2, Alex Lynn spins off. The Brit recovers but has dropped down to 19th. Contact was made with Daniel Abt. Abt tried to go down the inside of Lynn into turn 1 but contact was made. Lap 3, Lucas di Grassi overtakes returning Jose-Maria Lopez for 4th down into turn 7. Lopez is then overtaken by Nelson Piquet. Behind, Nico Prost is spun round by Andre Lotterer. Prost continues on without major damage.

Lap 7, unbelievable scenes. Di Grassi is slowing and is crawling, trying to make it back to the pits. The Brazilian gets back to the pits but his race is over as he becomes the first retiree. There’s more bad luck for Audi, Abt has received a drive-through penalty as he is blamed for the turn 1 incident with Lynn. It’s revealed that Buemi, Abt and Di Grassi are the winners of Fanboost.

Lap 11, the top 3 are covered by just 3 seconds. Lap 12, Abt takes his drive-through penalty. Lap 15, Hong Kong star, Edoardo Mortara makes is way up the field after he overtakes Lynn into turn 1 and then Tom Blomqvist into turn 4. Lap 16, Rosenqvist is showing in 2nd with Bird 3rd. The replay shows Bird slowed just before turn 1 with Rosenqvist taking advantage. A gearbox issue could have slowed Bird down.

Lotterer’s day has come to an end. He has stopped on the track and a full-course yellow has been. Buemi, Rosenqvist, Bird and others stay on the track for another lap but Mitch Evans, Da Costa and Abt pitted a lap before it came out. Everyone piles into the pits on lap 18 to change over into their second car.

Buemi emerges out back into the lead with the gap to Rosenqvist increased to 1.6 seconds. By stopping a lap early, Evans has lost out big time from running in the top 8 to now outside the points in 14th. Lap 25, Rosenqvist has cut Buemi’s lead down to under a second but Bird in 3rd, has drifted to 2.5 seconds behind the leading two.

Lap 29, Rosenqvist is now within striking distance of Buemi with the Swede overtaking Buemi, for the lead, down the inside of turn 7. A great move and the Swede has the pace to build a small gap.

Lap 31, Mortara and Heidfeld look to have sustained damage. Both were running very closely and were inside the points. The replay shows that Maro Engel, Mortara’s team-mate, was trying to overtake Heidfeld into turn 10 when Mortara tried to overtake Engel. Heidfeld was half-spun but continued on but the same couldn’t be said for Mortara. Lap 33, Rosenqvist crosses the line to win ahead of Buemi and Bird.

Race Result

  1. Rosenqvist  2.Buemi  3.Bird  4.Piquet  5.Vergne  6.Lopez  7.Heidfeld  8.Blomqvist  9.Lynn  10.Abt  11.Evans  12.Engel*  14.Prost*  14.Da Costa  15.D’Ambrosio  16.Filippi  17.Mortara  DNF Turvey, Lotterer & Di Grassi

Engel* was classified 7th but was given a time equivalent of a drive-through penalty post-race for causing a collision and dropped to 13th.

Prost* was given a post-race time penalty which dropped him from 10th to 13th.