Vettel expects three- or four-stop races in 2011

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011

Sebastian Vettel expects drivers will have to make at least three stops for tyres in 2011 – and possible as many as four.

Vettel said: “The tyres are very different to last year. But, then again, it’s the same for everybody.

“I think we will see that racing will change, one stop is impossible, also two stops so it will be at least three or four stop races.

“I think it will make it very interesting, the question is if it is a good thing for us or a bad thing. I think it’s hard to say now because obviously we need to get going first and see how the races unfold.”

Last month Pirelli motorsport directory Paul Hembery said he doubted teams would need to make as many as four pit stops in a typical race: ??Not from the data we?ve seen, no. I?d question why they would be doing four.”

Vettel also admitted he is concerned the Drag Reduction System might make racing “artificial”:

“The rear wing is a bit of a different story because you can use it in the race only for attacking, not for defending, I just hope it doesn’t make overtaking too easy, because then it would make the racing artificial.”

He added: “KERS, obviously, is the same for everybody. So you’ve got KERS in your car but obviously the other guy’s got KERS as well so it doesn’t really make a big difference at the end of the day. Obviously you can use it both for attack and defence.”

Despite promising signs from Red Bull in testing Vettel was cautious about his chances of retaining his title in 2011:

“We seem to have a good car but it’s still far too early to tell. We have to wait and see.”

See more of what Vettel had to say in this video:

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88 comments on Vettel expects three- or four-stop races in 2011

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  1. Ben N said on 2nd March 2011, 16:12

    This would be ideal! With massively varying strategies.

    Obviously those on 3/4 stoppers will be going much faster on track than those on 2/3 stops. It will be a supreme battle between those able to keep their tyres fresh longer and those able to get the best out of them quickest.

    So excited for this season!

    • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 3rd March 2011, 6:09

      I think it’s too much to be honest. Two stops on average would be ideal in my opinion, with some teams trying to pull one stop strategy, and some going for 3 stops. Four means that they struggle with the tyres, and the result in this scenario are a bit random.

    • karan01 (@karan01) said on 3rd March 2011, 7:03

      I hope the soft tyres are actually much much faster than the hard tyre. Last season it was not a suprise to see people not dropping pace when they switch to the hard tyre.

      It is going to be fun to watch hehe

  2. the idea was just leaving the pitstops out of the race when they banned refuelling. butnow we’re coming back a bit.

    • matt90 said on 2nd March 2011, 20:49

      No, banning refuelling means that even during tire stops, everybody has (roughly) the same time in the pits, so although there’s a strategy element the racing is closer. It wasn’t meant to remove or even reduce pitstops I believe.

      • John H said on 2nd March 2011, 21:25

        matt is correct. Problem was you knew when everyone was going to stop, especially when they published the weights at the end of qualifying.

        Things are pretty good now I think as the mandatory stop will become irrelevant.

        • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 3rd March 2011, 0:02

          yes, but with everyone being forced to use the same two types of tires, it’s still predictable. The teams can tell how long they can go on them because of practice. Moreover, they’ll find an ideal strategy since everyone has to run the same ones. I still insist more options will result in more variety.

  3. Electrolite said on 2nd March 2011, 16:16

    This season will definitely reveal who the fabled ‘tyre davers’ really are. So hypothetically speaking, the likes of Alonso, Heidfeld or Button may do 3 stoppers, where as Hamilton or Vettel might hammer it with 4 stoppers. If so, this could result in some pretty gripping races. And timing in qualifying is going to be more crucial for sure.

    I’m not saying certain drivers for definite save tyres or that I condone one style or the other, by the way.

    • Electrolite said on 2nd March 2011, 16:23

      tyre savers* my apologies.

    • RaulZ said on 3rd March 2011, 12:32

      I think Alonso is good saving tyres driving in a conservative way, but if he have to be very fast or run just behind another car, the waste of tyres is similiar to other drivers.

  4. Or, to look at it another way, Vettel Says New RB7 Terrible on Tyres…

    • VXR said on 2nd March 2011, 16:35

      But they are all “terrible” on the Pirelli tyres in comparison to what they were used to. LOL

      The Red Bull car probably uses the Pirelli tyre better than any other car, but that doesn’t mean to say that Vettel likes them.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd March 2011, 17:18

        I think this is a bit over the top, the higher temperatures will make for 2-3 stops instead of what we see now with the cold weather.

        • BBT said on 2nd March 2011, 19:09

          Hope so otherwise it could become a joke.

          PS different strats mean people not racing each other on the track

          • SennaNmbr1 (@sennanmbr1) said on 2nd March 2011, 21:50

            Unless a “Hamilton” exits the pits behind a “Button” and has to pass him to make his tyre strategy pay off. And with fresh tyres and a drag-free rear wing I imagine that would be quite easy.

  5. VXR said on 2nd March 2011, 16:32

    I think that tyre usage will depend more on what the car is capable of rather than the driver, for the most part. And then the driver can try to make them last a bit longer if he can, but he won’t be able to make a huge difference.

    Whatever the strategies are, it won’t be until very late on in the races that we know exactly who will finish where.

    • DaveW said on 2nd March 2011, 17:32

      Agree. The relative ability of drivers to be “easy” on tires is highly overhyped. These guys are all at the top and they know what to do to draw a certain performance curve with the tires over a certain distance. The real and more important difference among drivers appears to be the opposite—some cannot heat the tires fast enough or equally enough for qualifying or in wet/damp conditions. This failing has been an achilles heel for otherwise excellent drivers like Button, Schumacher, and Massa.

      I’m not so sure I’m happy about a frenzy of pit stops. It may create lots of cliffhangers, but it may be impossible to know what is actually happening in the race until 80% through. It’s also going to create crazy safety-car scenarios.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 2nd March 2011, 17:53

        it may be impossible to know what is actually happening in the race until 80% through

        GOOD!

        • BBT said on 2nd March 2011, 19:12

          why don’t we put all the cars in a giant lotto machine and pick the winner that way if its good?

          • IceMan said on 3rd March 2011, 7:30

            This is one cool idea. unpredictable winner. This will be a exciting gambling.

      • Nick F said on 2nd March 2011, 19:51

        I agree that the car makes the difference and not always the driver. Think back to Korea last year and Button’s performance in the race. He was having some kind of disastrous setup problem and he just couldn’t do anything with the car. He ruined his tyres and did nothing in the race. People say though that he is supposed to be some kind of tyre master. I accept that he is kinder on his tyres, but the Korea race proves that the driver can only do so much.

        • VXR said on 3rd March 2011, 2:19

          If you can’t get heat into the tyres (as was the case with Button) they will wear faster than normal because instead of gripping, they slide.

  6. Slim said on 2nd March 2011, 16:34

    I think this is rather paradoxical, considering the FIA wants to have a complete “Green” design overhaul of the cars for the 2013 season. What’s the point of saving fuel with a KERS, when the same amount of petrol will going in to the manufacturing of tires?

    • VXR said on 2nd March 2011, 16:36

      Do you know how much it costs to run a wind tunnel?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd March 2011, 16:38

      What’s the point of saving fuel with a KERS, when the same amount of petrol will going in to the manufacturing of tires?

      They aren’t going to be bringing any more tyres to the races than they were last year – and they’re probably not going to be using many more new sets than they were last year either.

      • Ral (@ral) said on 2nd March 2011, 17:14

        In which case presumably fuel use will go up as the tyres degrades. That’s a bonus imho though, as it will reduce the short-fueling that happened last year. Hopefully.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd March 2011, 17:20

        I think some of the drivers may find it hard to get them a set of unworn softs/supersofts to do Q3, let alone the race. If the difference is about a second from softer to harder compound they will probably need them to get through Q2 and some will as early as Q1.

        That might give interesting variables for tyre strategy as well.

      • Nick F said on 2nd March 2011, 19:57

        I worry about them not doing much running in the practice sessions. I actually get up to see those. It’s not going to be much fun if they can only do 10 laps with the allocated set and then all give up. It would be crazy for them to run with any of their remaining tyres if they are going to need them all for qualifying and the race.

        • AD (@ad) said on 2nd March 2011, 23:29

          Well, I think some tyres on Friday and Saturday are the ‘use it or lose it’ variety. I agree that if it turns out drivers want to limit running on Friday or Saturday to save tyres then the timing of the allocation for might need to be changed.

  7. William Wilgus said on 2nd March 2011, 16:48

    Short-lived tires are the exact opposite of F-1′s stated intent of going ‘green’. With Kers’ and movable rear wings’ limited use . . . and now the idea of ‘artificial rain’ . . . F-1 is decidedly moving away from true racing to become a true joke.

    • LTP said on 2nd March 2011, 17:21

      WW,

      You are the first that has picked up on this. This F1 going green BS, whilst at the same time, lets destroy lots of tyres, all made out of oil!

      With the exception of handicapped horse racing, is there any other sport, so obsessed with trying to make it such a ‘level playing field’?

      I have a lot of respect for the Aussie V8 motorsport which is all about racing. If this format was used in F1, it would be an amazing sport. What we have instead, is something that is becoming like a circus – anything for money. Sad, very sad.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd March 2011, 17:29

        With the exception of handicapped horse racing, is there any other sport, so obsessed with trying to make it such a ‘level playing field’?

        I don’t see how you’re linking having tyres that degrade more quickly with levelling the playing field?

        • LTP said on 2nd March 2011, 17:48

          Sorry Keith, I wasn’t, but that is how it read. The tyres were linked to the F1 BS attitude towards supporting the environment. Pirelli deliberately making tyres that fall apart, to make more pit stops, to make the sport more interesting. Surely people want to see racing, not some cicus.

          The comments about the level playing field were just that – do you have any examples of other sports trying to do what F1 is doing?

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd March 2011, 18:00

            You seem to have about three different ideas going on there at once and I can’t separate them out to see what your point is!

            So here’s what I think:

            F1 having tyres that wear out quickly – good, should improve the racing.

            Will F1 get through more tyres because of it? – not necessarily, the tyre allocation is the same as it was last year.

            F1 levelling the playing field – I don’t think this is happening, car performance will still be a big differentiator.

          • BBT said on 2nd March 2011, 19:15

            they didn’t use the tyre allocation last year, they are certain to this year

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd March 2011, 18:43

        Don’t a lot of touring car series also use ballast for the winner to even the field out?

        And don’t restrictions on high tech materials, direct radio communication (and doping use) in cycling have the same target as in F1?

        Swimming recently took a step back from the ultimate speeds reached with full body swimsuits (expensive material research) back to using only shorts to make the swimmer and his training methods more important.

        Seems to be about the same to me.

      • Feynman said on 2nd March 2011, 19:59

        LTP,

        What?

        The teams always used ALL their tyre allocation, they always have, do you think they left stickered-up new tyres on the truck and raced old worn practice sets? Within reason, whatever the allocation, they will always try to use them all.

        This year the allocation is reduced further. 11 sets down from 14, with 3 handed back at various stages. They are therefore using less Pirellis per weekend than Bridgestones. Destroyed or not.

        Tyres don’t get reused, even last years indestructable Bridgestones, so it didn’t matter how many laps they saw, they were all scrapped after the race.

        Handicapping is applying differential performance to competitors, how does Pirelli “High-Degradation Tyres” in any way shape or form come to be regrarded as a handicapping mechanism, the exact same tyres are supplied to all teams.

        None of your complaints even begin to stack-up, seriously, none of us reading this can even begin to figure out how you ended-up where you did from where we all started.

        I am all for slamming idiotic FIA greenwashing and wrong-headed enviro-tardism, but when it is done in such a slapdash and clearly incorrect manner as this, all it does is just make everyone look bad.
        Makes it harder to properly slam them when they do do something genuinely dopey.

      • VXR said on 3rd March 2011, 2:21

        No more tyres will be used in 2011 than were used in 2010.

    • VXR said on 2nd March 2011, 18:52

      What is “true racing” ?

      • mani said on 2nd March 2011, 21:16

        on track racing… if two cars almost equal in performance pit on the same lap and one comes out in front of the traffic while other into the traffic – the car in the traffic is at a disadvantage. Pit stops do influence racing in an unpredictable manner.

        With too many pit stops, we’ll have too many shuffling on the field – this season there is going to be lots of slowing down, lots of over-takings that are not for positions and lots of “if only he wasn’t slowed down on the nth stint…” post-race comments… we just have to live with it.

        In my opinion, 2 should be the ideal number for maximum pit-stops on a race and 0 should be for minimum. I just want – not all the time but at least most of the time – the cars on track to represent the racing order, that way a driver can race the one that is leading him or the one trailing him :)

        That is just my opinion! :)

        • Robert said on 3rd March 2011, 1:19

          Well believe me, you are NOT alone in that opinion. I think that races dominated by tyre and pitstop strategies are unbelievably dull. Recently I tried to watch Montreal 2010 again to see why so many people rate it as a great race, something to aspire to.. well I’m still trying to finish it. Within a few laps of the race starting the commentary was nothing but endless supposition and hypothesism on tyres and I just can’t stay interested.

          So far as I remember the race order then got so mixed up with stops that it became damned hard to figure out who was in contention for the win.

          Some, such as Icthyes above, may love the idea of being completely clueless for most of the race as to who is racing well or love the idea of needing a mathematics degree to read a race but I’m with you.. have the leaders out front fighting it out on track.

  8. W-K (@w-k) said on 2nd March 2011, 16:49

    I think Seb is absolutely right. If they start on the soft tyres they had to use for qualifying then the first pit stop could be lap 10 or earlier. And three sets of new hards are only going to make it to the end if they are not mistreated.
    So if they are not all new or mistreated then 4 stops could be a regular occurrence.
    With only 7 sets of tyres for qualifying and the race, and some drivers might have to use more than three sets in qualifying. So having all new sets a each pit stop in the race might be impossible, and some of them might be options.

  9. jake said on 2nd March 2011, 17:04

    doesn’t sound like we’ll be seeing much action in practice then

    • luigismen said on 2nd March 2011, 17:24

      that’s exactly what I was thinking, less running to save the tyres

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 2nd March 2011, 17:58

      I think it will be the same as last year, you get one set which you have to give back, there will be no advantage to not running

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd March 2011, 18:47

        It will be even more important now, with the tyres wearing more.

        But didn’t Pirelli state, that they would be OK to talk about keeping these sets for the rest of the weekend if it proved to be a problem.
        On the other hand, practice might prove even more important, as the tyres really force you to get it right first time, so drivers will need to work on setup.

  10. Bleu said on 2nd March 2011, 17:12

    Well I think last year there was many tyres which were almost unused after each race. While every team having three hards and three softs for qualifying and race, top teams probably used set of hards in Q1 and Q2 and had no trouble getting into Q3. Then two sets of softs in Q3, using one of them in the beginning of the race and then new set of hards for the remainder of the race. Basically that leaves two very little used hard sets and one completely unused soft set.

    While this year tyres will be mostly used to the end if driver finishes the race. With early retirements the tyres will be used much less. Regarding practice runs, I don’t think it makes difference unless the tyres are really shot and it’s not sensible to drive anymore. The teams have to give tyres back after practice session so it would be crazy if they used more tyres than those they give back.

  11. HounslowBusGarage said on 2nd March 2011, 17:18

    “Vettel expects three- or four-stop races in 2011″
    To be honest, this sounds pretty awful.
    Only the hardcore fan will be able to spot who is genuinely faster or leading until the last couple of laps. For less dedicated, knowledgable or attentive viewers, races could become entirely and chaotically confusing.

    • LTP said on 2nd March 2011, 17:27

      HBG,

      This is my point. It is a show. It is not about racing. Whats next, Community Chest cards when they come into pit! “Move up four places”…”Its your Birthday, overtake the leader”! Laughable? Only as laughable as an adjustable rear wing that can only be used at certain stages of the race and this growing interest in using artificial rain. What a sad joke!

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 2nd March 2011, 17:59

      So let’s get rid of it and go back to pretty much knowing the result 1/4 of the way into the race.

      I thought not.

      • BBT said on 2nd March 2011, 19:17

        Yes please.

      • Robert said on 3rd March 2011, 1:29

        Actually it’s about knowing the drivers’ true pace and seeing them fight wheel to wheel instead of having the best strategists. By saying “know the result 1/4 in” you’re saying there is no expectation of any driver to pass on-track.

  12. Rob Wilson said on 2nd March 2011, 18:02

    4 stops in a normal dry race! Can’t help thinking maybe theres a sweet middle ground between tyres that last a full race distance and ones that you have to replace 4 times before the finish! This degradation is sounding like a bit too much! 2 or maybe 3 stops is enough XD But ah well lets just see how it goes.

  13. nickthegeek said on 2nd March 2011, 18:04

    Whats the fuss, the tactical race (lets face it thats the real race in modern F1) will be fantastic with 3-4 stops. It doesn’t make it a circus at all, everyone is playing by the same rules. Its just an added dimension so we can avoid watching 24 cars follow the leader for 60 laps.

    My vote goes for 3 stops min. The sport needs it. As said they will have the same amount of tyers so no more are produced so this green argument is null and void.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 3rd March 2011, 6:20

      On the flipside…. the refuelling ban was implemented to avoid drivers waiting for other drivers to make pit stops, and then jump them. Last year we actually saw a decent amount of overtaking, and besides my initial skepticism, I actually believed that the refuelling ban resulted in better racing.

      This year however, we could see race strategists informing drivers about the tyre degradation of the car they are chasing, and again, we can be left with drivers jumping up positions during pitstops. Setting up a minimum pit stop rule will make it even more predictable.

  14. Icarus said on 2nd March 2011, 18:10

    I don’t believe the race will be 4 stoppers, I think it will be 2/3 stops, maybe 1 for the more adventurous. GP2 asia race has proven that Pirelli tires are somewhat more durable than thought at the testing.

  15. Sunseeker said on 2nd March 2011, 19:00

    I really bope we’ll se some brave risky strategies. I really hope these Pirellis won’t dissapoint and really will be for only 10-15 laps

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