Courtesy of Sharon Cox
Formula 1 Round 4 at Silverstone produced plenty to mull over given Pirelli tyre degradation reached fever pitch point in final laps of the 1 hour.28.01 second race.
Mercedes Valterri Bottas took unfortunate puncture within last couple of laps, followed by Team’s Lewis Hamilton who somehow managed to maintain his lead with same tyre fall-out on Lap 52.
Not only did the shock of sudden tyre deflation send ripples through Hamilton’s nervous system, but also highlights the variables at play during any given race performance.
Lewis Hamilton: ‘”I have never experienced anything like that before. That last lap was one of the most challenging laps I have ever had. Up until that point, everything was going relatively smoothly, the tyres felt great and I was doing some management’.
When I heard Valtteri’s tyre had gone, I looked at mine and everything seemed fine, but I started to back off. Then, it just suddenly deflated down the straight. It was a heart-in-your-mouth feeling and then I was just trying to keep the speed up without damaging the car. That last lap was definitely one to remember, I feel so grateful that I got it back and could secure the win’”. Courtesy F1.
For certain, technological innovation, engineering acumen and technical ability has facilitated enhanced performances of Formula 1 open-wheel racing car relative to Teams resources. Yet, the uncertain variables of ‘racing’, ‘pit-stops-tyre change’, weather, temperature and tyre resilience within all constructs of above keeps the challenges real from one decade to the next.
And no more so than for Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isloa. Stating facts that ‘”each tyre has a maximum number of laps, but this depends on the car, it depends on set-up, level of energy, which is why we cannot say that the limit is the same for everybody”‘.
So, what happened to the rubber at the high-speed circuit of Silverstone- with less than 7 days to come to some sort of conclusion before Round 5- the 70th Grand Prix Anniversary at the same venue?
Contributing factors are: *early Safety Car in Lap 13 forced pit-stop which lent to much longer second stint on track. *following 38 laps meant ‘high wear because for sure tyres with 38 laps or more on this circuit are quite worn’. * risk management by Team’s as stated by Mercedes Motorsport boss Toto Wolff:
‘”Italian manufacturer’s rubber was always going to come under scrutiny at a high-speed circuit such as Silverstone given the increased levels of downforce on this year’s cars”‘.
With no one shoe size fits all to solve challenges of Formula 1 racing- this is exactly what makes Motorsport stand head and shoulders above fore-gone conclusions that penetrate sports commentary. And, there’s more to come. Change to 18 inch wheels in couple of seasons will throw plenty more curve balls for drivers and Team’s to rise to never ending F1 race challenges for decades to come.
F1 Round 5 at Silverstone next weekend.