Tyre compound changes hurt title bid – Alonso

2013 Singapore Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Singapore, 2013Fernando Alonso says the changes to Pirelli’s tyre compounds in the middle of the season damaged his chances in the championship.

Alonso won two of the first five races of the year and was 21 points behind Sebastian Vettel after the British Grand Prix.

But following a series of high-speed tyre failures during that race Pirelli introduced more conservative tyres which Alonso believes harmed Ferrari’s competitiveness. After finishing second to Vettel yesterday Alonso is now 60 points adrift.

“I think we started in a good way, we were competitive in Australia, maybe not in qualifying but in the race we were taking care of the tyres very very well, together with Lotus,” he said.

“We won in China, we won in Spain and then we seemed to lose a little bit of performance, especially when the 2012 Pirelli tyres came back so that was probably our point in the championship; when they changed the tyres, we said bye-bye.”

Alonso said his prospects in the championship are now “very difficult”.

“Nothing changed too much over the last two or three grands prix. We need to be very lucky but not only in one weekend, we need to be lucky for the last six races if we want to win the championship.

“We have a points deficit which is a big gap and we have a performance deficit which is a big gap so we need to be very lucky. We saw today, again: Webber stopped on the last lap. If this happened to Sebastian one weekend, we have to be there, in second place. If we cannot win the race, we need to be right behind and try to take any opportunity but being realistic, we know that we need to be very very lucky.”

He believes the change in regulations for next season represent a chance to get back on terms with Red Bull.

“For next year I think we start from zero,” said Alonso. “Really we will put all our effort and hopes into 2014, because starting from zero is our best opportunity to close the gap with all the top teams.”

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46 comments on Tyre compound changes hurt title bid – Alonso

  1. jacked (@ruthlang) said on 23rd September 2013, 12:43

    I understand what Alonso says and agreed.
    2009 – 2013 has been “Redbull Era” so other drivers and teams must make the most of big changing of Regulation..

  2. No matter if Alonso is right or just looking for excuses, it isn’t right to radically change tyre construction in the middle of a season. It is obvious that Pirelli had to do something after the British GP but I think the Kevlar-belted tyres that they supplied at Nurburgring were good enough and the return to 2012 tyres was unnecessary.

    • Kiril Varbanov (@kiril-varbanov) said on 23rd September 2013, 12:59

      Yeah, somewhat correct, but it’s too late now. Damage is done, in whatever fashion. Let’s fast forward to 2014. Not possible, I know.

    • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 23rd September 2013, 14:09

      Kind of agree but I can also understand that Pirelli wanted to be very conservative. If, after Silverstone, there would have been any tyre failures caused by the construction, imagine what the reaction would have been.

      On the other hand, I also think that while the championship may have been a bit closer at the front, Vettel would still be leading. After all, he was leading after Silverstone as well, with the old compounds.

  3. celeste (@celeste) said on 23rd September 2013, 12:59

    Maybe, but it was the same Alonso who didn´t go to Silverstone to test the “new” compound because he felt “unsafe”.

    Everyone agree that the tyre change was made on safety grounds, what happened in Silverstone was horrible to watch and to wonder when anotherdriver tyres will fail.

    • Maybe, but it was the same Alonso who didn´t go to Silverstone to test the “new” compound because he felt “unsafe”.

      I have not heard this before “that he did not participate the silverstone test on safety grounds”.. do you happen to have some links to any article claiming so?

      I agree with you on that after all the tire blowouts in silverstone the change was required as safety should be the first priority..

  4. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 23rd September 2013, 13:25

    Well, Ferrari were already starting to lose performance in British GP, I don’t think tyres affected Ferrari’s performance by much.

  5. Velocityboy (@velocityboy) said on 23rd September 2013, 13:36

    I agree with Alonso that the tire change put an end to the title hopes of Ferrari and Lotus. I just hope that the sudden drop in pace won’t put an end to Lotus, as a season of challenging for wins would have done wonders for what is clearly a cash-strapped organization.

  6. Alonso won two of the first five races of the year and was 21 points behind Sebastian Vettel after the British Grand Prix.

    Yep, but Vettel retired from the lead on this race. Even if he was 2nd behind Hamilton, the result would be +40 points for the German in the standings. The tyres are just the easiest excuse, but Vettel started to build a gap even before the new tyres were introduced.

  7. The “not secret” (anymore) tire testing in 2012 and 2013 hurt Ferrari, too. Luckily, RBR got their own recently so I guess they must be hurting now. F1 is so amusing :D

  8. Regardless of it being true or not, changing the tyres mid-season is definitely something that shouldn’t happen. Pirelli didn’t have a choice after the British GP, but it shows how terribly organized the tyre deal is.

  9. Alonso’s comment about the tyre changes prompted me to do some simple maths by checking how the average point score of each driver have changed after the British GP.
    So i did these simple tables :
    The first one is until the British GP and the second one is for the following 5 races until Singapore.
    The average point scoring didn’t change dramatically for any driver of the top teams.
    Both ferrari drivers and Raikkonen have almost exactly the same average.
    Vettel and Grossjean gained about 4 points/race as Webber lost 1,5 points/race.
    For mercedes Hamilton raised his average by 1,5 points while rosberg fell by 5points/race.
    These numbers don’t indicate that a certain team has gained an advantage against the others .
    Two drivers (Vettel , Grosjean) contrary to their teammates – and the opposite for Rosberg against Hamilton- gained more is probably because the new tyres suit better their style and not the cars as Alonso suggest.

    • That’s extremely interesting, thanks for the info, very well done.

      Though it’s questionable the way Vettel’s average improved. It’s quite drastic (biggest improvement). Though it’s impossible to know if it was only because of the tyres or RBR’s known skill of improve the car in the middle of the season. Or both ofc.

      Also, even if Alonso average didn’t change, one must weight in the work hours spent on adapting the car to the new tyres intead of pesuing other upgrades. That’s something that affected RBR less.

  10. Karthikeyan (@ridiculous) said on 23rd September 2013, 17:51

    Alonso was trailing Vettel by 17 points after Spain. Extrapolating that the difference should be 37.4 points now instead of the actual 60 points.
    In between Spain to Germany, Vettel scored 43 points(including DNF in Silverstone) to Alonso’s 40. And people really think that the tires changed the championship?

    • Vettel has consistently gotten stronger in the second half of each season during his F1 career. (The partial exception would be 2011, when he was equally strong all year long) Tyres had nothing to do with it in the past and there is no reason to think they had anything to do with it this year.

      I notice that there was no upturn in Webbers results when the tyres were changed.

      • Since Germany:
        Germany – tyre fell off
        Hungary – KERS in qualifying
        Belgium – Slow Start
        Italy – Front wing + gearbox
        Singapore – Engine

        Not exactly his fault is it?

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 24th September 2013, 8:11

          Belgium was his fault, he had an average start, allowed Alonso to outdrag him out of La Source, and made no impression on Rosberg, even with DRS. Vettel passed the stronger Merc without DRS.

          Italy, Alonso had the better of him for the whole of the race- MW wasn’t suddenly going to cruise up and pass in the closing laps.

          Singapore, he was just destroyed (like the rest of the field, in fairness), qualifying and race.

        • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 24th September 2013, 13:47

          Vettel finished 6 seconds ahead of Webber in Hungary despite having KERS issues in the race.
          Vettel finished 33 seconds ahead of Webber in Belgium
          Vettel won in Italy despite having gearbox issues.
          Vettel was more than a quarter track ahead of Webber before his engine blew up in Singapore, who himself had brake problems.

          No excuse.

  11. stefano (@alfa145) said on 23rd September 2013, 21:48

    what a GORGEOUS picture that is

  12. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 23rd September 2013, 22:00

    You only need to look at Bahrain, where the tyres were changed at the last minute to benefit Red Bull (who then won easily) to see how the Pirelli changes have shaken up the order. The likelihood is that Vettel would be ahead whatever the tyres, but by the same margin? Doubtful.

  13. oliveiraz33 (@oliveiraz33) said on 24th September 2013, 0:00

    Doesn’t matter the tire… the combo Vettel-RB9 is in another league this season… This are just some excuses from alonso

  14. karter22 (@karter22) said on 24th September 2013, 4:48

    I have had this thought in my mind for a long time and I feel now is the time to say it…
    At the begining of the season, the tyres seemed to favor some and not so much RBR and they started complaining. For the first races nothing wrong had been seen with the tyres yet RBR kept moaning about the tyres so how does Pirelli give in?? Well simple… you create a sense of urgency to disguise it. All of a sudden, the tyres start blowing up, delaminating themselves, etc… and everybody jumps on the ” change the tyres for safety reasons ” boat. Everybody agrees it has to be done for “safety” reasons and in the end, RBR gets its way.
    I said it since the begining of the season, it was not fair for the teams that got the tyre management right since the begining of the season and all of a sudden they change it… I don´t care if I get flamed on for expressing my opinion because I really feel strong about it. Call me stupid, moron or whatever, in the end, having created that false sense of urgency, it got Pirelli to give into RBR´s wishes. There, I said it…. And I feel I´m not alone in this.

    And some might say ALO is just making excuses up… heck, in the first part of the season, pre silverstone, Ferrari looked to be on it…. after that, well, we all know the story by now. I for one, am done with this season, it sickens me and can´t wait for 2014.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th September 2013, 7:48

      @karter22 Except the urgency wasn’t “false”. Alonso himself didn’t like having Perez’s steel-belted tyre carcass flying at his head while he blasting down the Hangar straight. Something needed to be done.

      • karter22 (@karter22) said on 24th September 2013, 12:18

        I agree, He must no have but, I just find it all too convenient. The tyres were ok before that, and all of a sudden in Silverstone we starts seeing massive amounts of tyre failures. Before that I believe it only happened in practices and I guess it wasn´t something to take account until it happened in a race. I really don´t want to get into it though, it was just an opinion. Pirelli has tailored itself to RBR´s needs this season and I for one, dislike the fact that they actually changed the tyres mid-season, why you might ask, well because no matter if SV is driving very well this season (we still haven´t seen him fight from the back like ALO, KIMI, ETC. have though) it will all be tarnished because of the tyre change and there will always be that question mark hovering…. “what if they hadn´t changed the tyres?”. It ruined this whole season!

        • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 24th September 2013, 13:53

          If you have to come up with such half-assed theories, with absolutely zero evidence, the “tarnish” over Vettel’s championship is just an excuse you tell yourself so you can go and bash him for another year. This is such an obvious case of fitting reality to your ‘theory’, it’s a little desperate.

          You must also believe Senna and Ratzenberger were killed in order to slow down the field so Ferrari could regain it’s competitiveness. I mean, a driver hadn’t been killed in 12 years and all of a sudden, two drivers in one weekend!

          • karter22 (@karter22) said on 25th September 2013, 11:16

            oh man…. I always get the most educated responses from this gentleman…
            It is my opinion, and if you don´t like it… deal with it. I won´t bow down to RBR and their “bull” lobbying and moaning. The fact is that they ruined a perfectly good season by changing the tyres mid season. Simple as that!

          • It is my opinion, and if you don´t like it… deal with it..

            Just writing “it’s my opinion” doesn’t make everything you’ve said less irrational.

            If you just want to post whatever you want, regardless of how unreasonable it is and not be challenged by people who have put more thought into this matters, use a diary instead of blog.

    • Albert said on 24th September 2013, 8:20

      In your attempt to create a conspiracy, you’ve failed to make the most simple reasonings:

      First, you need to think about why is Pirelli in the sport to begin with, besides the money of course: publicity. Do you think exploding tyres make for a good company image? Pirelli was the subject of ridicule for weeks after the incident. Do seriously think they would put themselves in such a situation to benefit Red Bull? It’s a very illogical thing to say.

      Secondly, F1 teams are not filled by hobby mechanics, but by some of the very best engineers in the world. Do you honestly thing they didn’t investigate the tyres after the explosions? Do you honestly thing they wouldn’t have found out if something was amiss?

      And third: You do realize that exploding tyres could have had very serious (even fatal) consequences, right? So you’re accusing Pirelli of intentionally putting lives in danger. Think carefully about the implications that that has.

      So, according to you, Pirelli intentionally put lives in danger, made themselves the laughing stock of the people they try to market themselves to, no team even noticed, just for Red Bull to win a championship they were alreading leading.

      I think you need to think this a bit more carefully.

    • Agree. The real problem has been tyre swapping and wrong inflation pressures by the top teams (including Ferrari) that were trying to get an advantage and when they find out it wasn’t the case in a terrible way, they blame the tyre supplier, that’s why suddenly tyres began to explode. If you check, the only two teams working properly with the old Pirellis were Lotus and Force India (not to mention below-average teams) and they’ve never had a problem as Raikkonen reminded in an interview after Silverstone. Tyres were just an excuse, at the end of the day it was a political issue and Red Bull won it, as simple as that…

    • Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 25th September 2013, 8:12

      If we accept that what you suggest is true, do you think Barcelona GP was interesting race? Would you like to see that again?

      • karter22 (@karter22) said on 25th September 2013, 11:11

        What was not to like about Barcelona? I saw a guy drive flat out and use as many tyres as it needed to actually win the race! That is how every race should be! Have drivers drive flat out and forget about the tyres!! I hate watching races were you hae to take care of the tyres in order to make it to the end!

      • Mr win or lose said on 26th September 2013, 22:08

        Yes, Barcelona was a great race!

  15. harry harris said on 24th September 2013, 9:18

    FIA is a joke……….

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