Before I start, I would like to apologise for having not written a blog for what seems like an eternity. The last few weeks have been pretty manic with exams and cricket and I have had very little time to even contemplate writing.
I would also like to thank everyone who helped me achieve 1000 views! After an initial surge when I first started blogging, views were very hard to come by but as I have gone on writing the hits have increased gradually and now I achieve at least 10 a week, a feat which I am really proud of. The landmark was achieved with a view from America, one of 30 countries that my blog has reached. When I began writing I didn’t realise that I would become ‘global’ so quickly so I am really grateful to everyone across the world who has read my views on sport, even if they clicked on the link by accident. I would also like to thank my small but loyal group of readers in the UK who read lots of what I write and give me really positive feedback, you are all brilliant. Let’s see how quick I can achieve my next 1000 views…
Anyway enough of the cheese, let’s get back to business!
After the Monaco GP I wrote a blog criticising the tyres used in Formula 1 this season, with good reason. The sport was no longer about driving fast with drivers and teams instead focussing on tyre management. However, never did I imagine what would happen at this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
The signs were there when Sergio Perez’s left rear exploded on Saturday morning during the final practice session after the tyre had been ‘cut’ by something. No one took much notice of this, however, as it wasn’t the first time that a Pirelli tyre had suddenly disintegrated this season. What we failed to notice, though, was that this was much unlike any other tyre failure seen so far this season. Previously, cars had suffered delaminations, where the tyre suddenly looses pressure, but Perez’s incident was a sudden explosion of the tyre caused by the ‘cut.’ Why this was seemingly ignored we will never know, but it could easily have cost drivers their lives.
Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne and Perez then suffered spectacular blow-outs of their rear-lefts during the race, while Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez had his front-left also implode and Fernando Alonso noted a sudden loss of pressure in his front-right just before a pit-stop. But what caused it? Currently the thinking is that it was a combination of very sharp kerbs cutting into the soft tyre walls, with the pressure of a fuel-laden car causing the tyres to burst rather than slowly deflate. This then raises the question ‘who do we blame – the track officials or Pirelli?’ Probably not the former, as the kerbs have been in place for a number of years now with no such problems. This seemingly places the blame with the tyre suppliers, but I don’t think it’s entirely their fault.
As I stated in ‘It’s Just Not Cricket – Literally!’ I think a large portion of the blame for this season’s tyre fiasco has to lie with the FIA. They were the ones who wanted softer tyres for more interesting races and they are the ones who banned in-season testing, therefore restricting Pirelli’s opportunities to improve the situation. Indeed, it was only last week that both Mercedes and Pirelli were given reprimands for doing a 1000km testing session in order to develop the tyres. While they are the ones who built the tyres in the first place, they are also the people who have wanted to make a change and improve the racing but have been severely restricted by the powers that be.
Pirelli did, though, make a slight change for this weekend’s tyres in that they made the rubber compound stronger and reduce the number of pit stops a driver would need. It’s just a shame that they hadn’t looked at making the sidewalls stronger too. The failures really took the emphasis away from what was a fantastic race, full of exciting overtaking with very few incidents of cars hitting each other. It was just what F1 has been missing all season, with the drivers fighting to win places through pure speed and not trying to conserve tyre usage. Both Hamilton and Massa made numerous manoeuvres while they moved back up through the field after their respective failures, proving that the changes Pirelli have made are the right way to go.
The FIA have finally succumbed to the pressure and allowed Pirelli to change its compound for this weekend’s German GP as well as allowing current drivers to take part in the Young Driver Tests later this month to help develop the further tyres. They have also allowed the teams to revert to the 2012 tyre range from the Hungarian GP onwards, a splendid move as the racing last year was so exciting. But, for myself and many others, this move is far too late. The problem has been there for everyone to see for months but it has taken a serious incident that could have ended much worse than it did to finally get these stubborn so-and-sos to finally give in. The drivers don’t deserve this – they have put their safety at risk as a result of a load of pig-headed men refusing to admit they are wrong in order to maintain status. Let’s just hope the racing does the talking for the rest of the season.