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Much of Formula One’s lack of running on Friday is down to the tires. In fact, much of their lack of running on Saturday is equally impacted by the tires. the reason for this is the allocation of a limited number of tires each team has for a race weekend. Due to the high degradation of the tires, preserving as many sets as you can plays a key role in having fresh rubber for Sunday’s race. This has left F1 fans watching beautiful television shots of an empty circuit and little action on track.

We argued for additional tires for Friday and Saturday so the teams will make the most of the time they have been given and to also provide a good show for the fans trackside and at home. While this seems like a logically sound solution, it too would have an impact on the weekend as the tactical element of the high degradation tire would be somewhat diminished.

Force India offered a solution they felt might be a compromise. The team proffered the concept of being given extra set for Friday as long as the teams would only utilize their rookie drivers on the extra set. They also wanted a more durable compound so they could pound out some meaningful laps with the rookie.

The solution was shot down due to a lack of unanimity amongst the teams as it was difficult to define what a “rookie” actually is. Like all things Formula 1, it’s important to know what words mean. Some teams have veteran drivers that have never raced in Formula 1. They would technically qualify as a rookie in the races but certainly not a rookie to F1.

According to AUTOSPORT, Pirelli’s motor sport boss Paul Hembery was in favor of the idea:

“It’s something we wanted to do to encourage all the teams to run as much as possible right from the start, especially with the rookie drivers, to give fans the spectacle they deserve to see.”

If the intent of the high degradation tire was to improve the show, they may argue they’ve achieved that on Sunday but Friday and Saturday have been negatively impacted by the concept. This weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, however, will see an additional set of tires for Friday as Pirelli will be testing a prototype tire.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • cconf1

    Then just make it that their test/development driver can use it. They are certainly defined well-enough.

  • charlie w

    Sometimes, this sport makes me wanna scream out loud! A unanimous agreement from the teams? The teams can’t agree whether liquid water is wet or the sky is blue. Force India’s idea sounds like a good one to me. Remember the 3 rounds of qualifying was introduced to spice up action on track for the television broadcasts and it worked great…until now. And if the teams or FIA can’t agree upon the definition of a “rookie”, then let the team’s test driver do it as previously suggested. After this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pirelli tells F1, “that’s it-we’re done here. Hey Porsche, do you need a tire partner for that LeMans program?”

    • I doubt that will happen – Pirelli left WEC at the end of last year because they parted company with the one team (JWA-Avila) they still supplied. Also, Paul Hembrey is not a fan of Le Mans, so I can’t imagine him advising resources transfer to there.

    • That’s right, they can’t, that’s part of the game.
      Another example would be drivers explaining situations in front of the stewards – if you have kids and have seen them guilty, trying to make it look like they are not guilty, you know what I mean.

      Generally, it is a good idea and the urgency to implement it becomes even more apparent with the obvious lack of running new drivers get – in F1 everything testing on track is extremely precious (what a revelation, I know!).
      My biggest concern is safety – no matter how talented any individual is, lack of running likely means potential issues for him/her. An example would be the team radio messages to any of the new drivers – there are priceless pieces of information flowing around the air and you are certainly aware which driver knows what to do.

  • Andreas

    I fail to see why there should even be a discussion… Let the teams decide who they want to put in the car using these special tires – be it one of their established development drivers, or a new star they want to give a try. As long as it isn’t one of their designated race drivers, there’s no need to define things further. I don’t see why FIA or Bernie just makes it happen – if one of the teams would rather have their race driver run on the Friday, they’d be free to do so (but using the regular race-allocated tyre supply, of course).

    • danfgough

      Thats perfect! They already initial the tyres for each driver (i’m sure there is more high tech ID-ing too) so just say, these sets are for the 2 listed drivers. Here’s apacking crate full of free to use ones. They could use that crate Stefan F1 sent to Bahrain a few years back!

      Can I also add a set of quali tyres for Q3 entrants? The whole joy of qualifying used to be to see just how fast these machines/drivers could go. I don’t think there is any moment in the weekend when we see that now.