Mercedes man Niki Lauda says that REd Bull would be wise to avoid signing Fernando Alonso. The Ferrari driver was linked to talk with Red Bull at the Hungarian Grand Prix but Ferrari deny those rumors even though the president, Luca di Montezemolo, was publicly critical of Alonso’s behavior after the race with comments he made about the car. Some see this as a souring relationship and suggestions have been made that a get-out option on a performance clause could mean Alonso might move teams.

That’s a lit of assumptions and speculation to be honest but anything can happen in Formula 1. Auto Motor und Sport put the question to Lauda in a Q&A and while Google’s translation of the German language suggests a terse commentary on Alonso, I believe Lauda may simply mean that having Vettel and Alonso at the same team would be very difficult to manage.

Lauda also feels that Ferrari are under tremendous pressure and that if the chance is there, they should hire Kimi Raikkonen to balance the Alonso equation and give him a real test from a former world champion as a teammate… a 2007 world champ with Ferrari no less.

Tires in 2014

Toward the end of the article, Lauda also offers some news that the FIA have made a decision regarding Pirelli’s request to make a wider and taller tire for 2014. According to Niki, the FIA have scuttled the request and says that the teams are too far along in the development cycle to start monkeying with the tires shape and sizes…I am paraphrasing drastically here.

Seems logically as Lauda says the last thing they want to do is change the tire specs this late and then end up in Australia with their thumbs in the bums again trying to figure out what’s went wrong with the tires. It is perfectly logical but I will be honest, I’d like to see F1 actually use a tire size that’s more in keeping with current motorsport design. Something like Le Mans LMP1’s use for instance. Who actually uses a 13″ wheel anymore? My tires are much larger than that.

Now before I get on a rant, there are safety reasons and speed reasons why the FIA might not like the idea much. An 18″ wheel and tire flying through the pitlane for instance. Then again, F1 have some seriously smart people and a re-think on wheel connectivity, crash safety and technology might be a good thing…even for road cars.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Schmorbraten

    Lauda says Pirelli should have had free reign in changing the tire size. Now that they won’t, Lauda says no one should complain about Pirelli if next year everyone has huge problems and if the tires can’t cope. But what I don’t understand is why that wasn’t discussed earlier, after all it’s been known for some time that next year torque will increase big time.

    • MIE

      Increasing the wheels to 18″ was discussed three years ago when Pirelli came into the sport. At that stage the excuse from the FIA was the teams’ were too far along with the design of the cars to change. This is the case now, just because the FIA have left it too late to tender for the tyres for 2014 and beyond.

  • strF1

    an18″ wheel with a 1 1/2″- 2″ side wall wouldnt be that much different in diameter to the current overall wheel size.
    Im not suggesting it for 2014 as yes the 2014 car suspension has been designed and as we know a lot of the travel comes from the tire but would it be that hard for 2015? the airflow over the tires wouldnt be that different if the overall size is about the same.
    A big heavy 18″ wheel could also work to slow the pit stops down.

    • MIE

      Which is heavier, the wheel or the tyre?

  • AntioBob

    I think that Mercedes was the only team to approve of the larger tire idea. The idea was that they are expecting more power out of the Merc power unit, and would benefit from the traction added. Or at least that’s the argument posited in some recent articles. I suppose they might also feel more rubber is possibly more durable? I don’t know.

    From my perspective larger/wider rear wheels, a lower rear wing, and slightly narrower front wing (and the dream of a non-step nose) could make for a very nice looking car by modern standards. Last year was truly awful… can we just say it now that we’re not actively in denial.

  • warthog

    Er, wait, isn’t the larger tire that Pirelli requested for next year a completely separate issue from the larger wheel-size Pirelli requested when they came into the sport? An 18″ wheel on a lower profile tire would require a complete reworking of the cars’ suspensions. Not something that could likely be achieved at this point in the 2014 development.

    For 2014. Pirelli wanted the rear tire width to be increased by 20mm and the diameter to increased from 660mm to 690mm. This was to cope with the increased torque of the new power systems. I don’t think they were requesting a wheel size increase:

    • MIE

      Apologies, I commented without fully reading the background. You are correct.

      • Warthog

        Actually, I wasn’t completely clear if Todd was referring to the same thing. Though I do agree with him…I’d like to see F1 cars move off of the “moon buggy” tires they currently use.