Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2017

F1 lap times ‘up to 1.5s faster in 2018’ – Pirelli

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Pirelli estimates lap times will be one-and-a-half seconds faster in F1 this year.

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Tom Blomqvist, Marrakesh, Formula E, 2018
Tom Blomqvist, Marrakesh, Formula E, 2018

Tom Blomqvist in action in Marrakesh, Morocco ahead of round three of the Formula E championship tomorrow. Join us from 3:30pm (UK time) to follow the race live.

Comment of the day

It’s about value as well as cost – wise words from @MazdaChris on the future of the British Grand Prix (read his full comment here):

Perhaps this is the real issue facing the British Grand Prix, along with many of its counterparts worldwide. F1 is expensive, exclusive, and ultimately delivers very little for the money by way of spectacle and on-track action. I don’t mean just in the F1 races, but also the support races and the activities around the track.

Sitting on a rickety piece of scaffolding, coat held tight against the wind as you’re squeezed into a space barely big enough for a child, squinting at the cars you can just about see in the distance (while on the other side of the track an amazing piece of architecture hosts celebrities and millionaires glugging champagne and posing for photos, barely even aware that a race is taking place), you can’t help but get the sense that F1 doesn’t really want you to be there. The experience is being shared with you grudgingly, with the minimum amount of entertainment and comfort being provided for the maximum profit.

When you go to something like Le Mans or Goodwood, the feeling is totally different – it’s a show that’s being put on for your benefit, and the organisers want you to enjoy yourself and come back again. Hopefully Richards, and the folk at Liberty, get this. Hopefully they want F1 fans to go to the circuit and have a good time, going home feeling entertained and excited to go again. It’s easy to think of cost as being the barrier for attendance, but really it’s more about value. For too long F1 has boiled down to a calculation on the minimum amount of value it can deliver and still continue to operate.

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On this day in F1

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  • 31 comments on “F1 lap times ‘up to 1.5s faster in 2018’ – Pirelli”

    1. So maybe another .5sec faster than last year. 1.8sec too optimistic just like 4-5secs faster claim was.

      1. I think it will indeed be 1-1.5 seconds quicker, maybe even more due to the softer tyres, and the 3-4 second claim from the 2015 cars was achieved; had the tyres been softer (like they were in 2015), that would likely have been achieved.

        1. @mashiat Actually, the target was 5 seconds on 2015 and more precisely on the Spanish GP pole time of that season, but they managed to achieve the target improvement on 2015 nevertheless.

      2. I’ll be surprised if it’s 1.5 secs. The Halo will add drag and weight and it’s quite possible PU’s won’t be run at the same levels because of the new 3 PU rule.

        1. @dbradock The weight increase due to the Halo is nothing compared to the weight increase from 2016 to ’17, though, so I don’t expect it to affect lap times. Just based on overall weight lap times last season should’ve been slower than not only the season before, but even more so than 2004-2008 when the minimum overall weight was around 600 kg, so I’m not pessimistic about the increase due to the Halo as it’s nothing compared to many of the previous increases between any given two seasons and yet the lap times were never really affected, so that’s why I don’t expect them to be affected this time either.

      3. It was predicted to be 5-6 seconds faster at Barcelona than in 2015 – and it was. So no false claims there.

    2. Never imagined Marrakech had snowy mountains in the backyard

      1. @alfa145 – the mountains are even more impressive than they look in the photo. They are at closest about 50km from Marrakech – fantastically big and beautiful. I only went there once, food was amazing, people were pretty relaxed. Stray, scrawny cats were everywhere, and it was crushingly hot and dusty after an air-conditioned coach ride.

    3. Very enlightening COTD @mazdachris

    4. Have to say, I think I agree with Graham Rahal. Im not saying he would be my choice but saying that no one is ready is a slap in the face to some good drivers.

      That being said, if I were in charge of Haas, first thing I would do is fire Grosjean and hire Kubica under a 1 year contract.

      1. @sprint9 Yes, but maybe ‘good’ is not good enough. I’m all against hiring men or woman for an attribute they didn’t have a single effect on be it race, gender or country of birth. If I look at the very talented men on the grid in IndyCar or IMSA I don’t see one racing under the American flag that I’d put into an F1 car.

        1. @flatsix well better than Mag and Gro. I’d say there are, starting with Rossi, maybe Newgarden and Hunter Reay, hey maybe nascar drivers, as Grosjean and Mag love to crash.

          1. @peartree
            Rossi is definitely ready for F1, seeing as he’s already been in F1 and did a decent job. Doubt he’s better than their current drivers, but Haas has an image problem and I think hiring him would help them. Having said that, there must be some reason they didn’t look at him in the first place, so maybe there’s some bad blood there.

            1. @george, I don’t think that there is any bad blood, and there is a simpler reason why they’ve probably not looked at Alexander Rossi – he just doesn’t seem interested in trying to get a seat in F1 right now.

              Rossi signed a multi-year deal with Andretti Autosport back in 2016 and he’s enjoying working with the people there. He’s also mentioned that, given he’s seen as a rising star of the US racing scene, he’s been getting a lot of support from the team and from the fans, whereas in F1 he wouldn’t get that level of support as he’d be just another driver. All in all, the indication he’s given is that, whilst he hasn’t completely ruled out trying for an F1 seat in the future, he sees his future as being in Indycars rather than F1 for now.

    5. I wonder if the Sirotkin money arrives on time, or at all…

    6. joe pineapples
      13th January 2018, 10:22

      [slow clap]

    7. How can expectations of a driver be too high? We’re talking F1, pinnacle of motorsport, right?

      1. That was my first reaction too.

      2. @mayrton
        Have you even bothered to read the text??

        “How can expectations of a driver be too high? We’re talking F1, pinnacle of motorsport, right?
        – What kind of nonsense question is that? And what has one to do with the other?

        We can only talk about expectations relative to the opportunity one was given to fulfil them.
        If you put Lewis Hamilton in Vettel’s Ferrari during a random qualifying session and require him to fight for the pole position, guess how well he’d do? He wouldn’t be close. That expectation would’ve been too high. It would’ve been too high relative to the circumstances that were necessary to be able to fulfil it. And that’s what argued in case of Kubica.

        Then, you completely don’t understand what being a pinnacle of any sport implies. The harder and more sophisticated the task, the more preparation it requires.
        Usain Bolt was the fastest human being competing at the pinnacle of sprint running. He was the ultimate champion, but he would NOT have been able to do it under any other than near perfect circumstances as to training time, quality of training, diet and physical and mental predisposition.
        If you required Bolt to get off the couch after a lay off and win the Olympic gold the next day, he would fail. That expactation would’ve been too high relative to the opportunity given to fulfil it.

        1. Also – to make the point clear: If you gave Bolt 7 months to prepare for the Olympics and win gold when what he required to succeed was in fact 7 months and 2 weeks, he would fail as well. Because this is what being at the pinnacle of sport – or anything else – implies. The more advanced the task, the less compromise it allows for.

        2. @damon, I wouldn’t say that Kubica was that unprepared in relation to any of the other drivers who took part in that test – he had the private test sessions for Renault, where he got to experience the current tyres, then there was the mid season test for Renault, then at least two preparatory tests for Williams with older cars, along with being given access to Williams’s simulator for further training, before he took part in that test session in Abu Dhabi.

          Kubica’s not been stepping into the car blind here – that interview with Pirelli does miss out the earlier preparation in the year that he has had (they seem to completely forget his tests for Renault, for example, when talking about his experience with their tyres), and underestimates how much seat time he has had and the fact that he was already working with Williams’s engineers before that test took place.

          Equally, couldn’t a number of those same comments also be applied to Sirotkin as well? Sirotkin had not worked with Williams before he drove for them in Abu Dhabi either, so he would have also lacked any familiarity with the car or the team. I don’t see why he would have had any more of an advantage over Kubica in that respect.

    8. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      13th January 2018, 11:14

      I hate to say this but I’m not very excited for the new season at all. I’m seriously worried it’s gonna be a total anti-climax. Max is the only reason to get excited but the 3 engine rule is going to mean penalties galore and advantage Mercedes further. I try not to be too negative but I just cannot put a positive spin on this season. Mercedes will no doubt have sorted the ‘diva’ issues with their car and it will be more like an extension of the second half of 2017 rather than the first half. I really think we are in for a stinker.

      More excited about the Indy Car for the first time ever, especially with the new regs and Carlin to get behind.

      1. At the moment the biggest excitement for me is the supposed new TV presentation/graphics element (geek alert).

        I think it would be easy to feel a bit flat about the upcoming season. Foe 2018 I think there’s the potential for good stories everywhere, the question is will they actually be realised, and will that translate to memorable racing.

        Red Bull could be be much better straight out of the box and really threaten Mercedes for pure pace, albeit tail off a bit as engine penalties become a problem. I’ve genuinely no idea where Ferrari are going to fit in, they could potentially be making the early season front-running as per 2017 if they really get things right, or easily be 3rd on pace. I’m looking forward to a Mclaren revival (surely) – if Red Bull are running near the front then Mclaren are going to be seriously under pressure to be somewhere thereabouts too. Coupled with Renault and Force India I think the midfield battle is going to be more intense than ever and interested to see how that all shakes out, it could make predicting the bottom end of the top 10 in Q3 difficult.

        Looking forward to seeing Leclerc in F1 albeit he’ll probably not have the equipment to do much, but who knows how they will stack up against Toro Rosso with the Honda (surely can’t be as awful an engine as last season, but we’ve said that for a while now), Haas (have been pretty solid so far but can they keep it going) and Williams (a team I’d be most worried about in terms of relative to recent years).

        There’s the softer tyres, which I’m not convinced will necessarily make the racing all that much better but more pitstops in a race generally makes it harder to see how it all pans out until later in the race, so it may artificially generate a bit more uncertainty in race results compared to a 1-stop where things tend to settle down more quickly. 2 stops may give a bit more range in the strategy options too.

        And I still think there’s going to be a random sporting rule change thrown in relatively late at the last minute that will throw not quite a double-6, but maybe a double-3…

        And what about F2, can it continue to still be awesome with the new car?

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          13th January 2018, 18:56

          Yes agreed. Hopefully a few of those points will provide good entertainment. There are certainly a lot of interesting questions, just maybe not so much at the front of the grid. I think Ferrari may have one of their collapsing sack everyone type years after the disappointment of last year. That’s a wild guess though. I think our biggest hope is what Renault can produce.

      2. @rdotquestionmark

        More excited about the Indy Car for the first time ever, especially with the new regs and Carlin to get behind.

        As a longtime fan of Indycar i’m actually less excited about it this year because i’m really disappointed that it’s going back to been a completely spec car category with various ‘performance equalization’ done to engine’s & stuff so nobody has an advantage.

        I remember what this category used to be when there was full & open competition not just with engine’s but also chassis, Tyres, Fuels etc… & in that regard CART was far more interesting, far more exciting, far more thrilling with far greater performance than anything that the various iterations of Indycar have managed to cobble together since.

        When the Champcar/IRL merger came about a decade ago I was hoping that by now there would be signs the series would be getting back to where it was pre-split yet it’s pretty much exactly where it was a decade ago in many ways & that to me is frustrating & massively disappointing.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          13th January 2018, 19:00

          That’s a fair comment @stefmeister
          I’ve only casually watched Indycar over the years, until last year where I was hooked. I enjoyed the CART days but as someone without that history of the sport and someone who’s a little underwhelmed by current F1 I’m actually really excited to watch the level playing field. It just sounds like pure entertainment to me and that’s a breath of fresh air.

          1. really excited to watch the level playing field. It just sounds like pure entertainment to me and that’s a breath of fresh air.

            @rdotquestionmark then maybe you should stick to just watching junior series.

            i’m with @stefmeister on this, a top level category such as indycar should not be a spec category, indycar is basically just another lower category now than offers nothing that something like formula 2 does….. there even similar levels of performance now.

            indycar used to be a real alternative to formula 1. now its way below it & that is why i will bow out of following indycar this year, it’s just no longer the great category that it once was and what fans were promised it would be again when the 2 series came together in 2008. it has become just another dull, boring & uninteresting spec category & that is why it will never grow.

            such a shame :(

            1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
              13th January 2018, 22:02

              It’s always been a spec series to a point.

    9. +1 COTD the higher ups need this drilled into their brains.

      1. Also, my birthday is on 13 JUNE, not 13 Jan…hahaha

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