2013 Abu Dhabi GP tyre strategies and pit stops

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2013Did Ferrari not put Felipe Massa on the faster soft tyres at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix because it was the correct strategic decision – or because they wanted to move his team mate ahead of him?

Following the race Massa expressed his dissatisfaction that only Fernando Alonso has used the faster soft tyre for the final stint of the race.

Ferrari technical Pat Fry said the deciding factor had been the timing of Massa’s last pit stop, after they had switched both their drivers to two-stop strategies.

“Initially we had thought of running just a one stop race,” said Fry, “but when we realised that that the wear rate of the mediums in the second stint would not have allowed us to go all the way to the end, while doing competitive times, backed up by our simulation systems, we told Fernando and Felipe to go flat out, as they would need to make a second stop.”

“With Fernando, we managed to get to lap 44 which meant he was able to run the softs to the end of the race. Unfortunately, we couldn?t do the same with Felipe and with him we chose not to risk it, keeping him on the mediums. It was a real shame.”

Two things are curious about this explanation. First, Massa’s final pit stop does not seem to have been prompted by rising lap times due to tyre wear: the last seven laps of his second stint were all within seven-tenths of a second of each other. That suggests Ferrari could have left him out longer to shorten his eventual stint on the soft tyres.

Furthermore, Ferrari’s assumption that Massa would be unable to do a 17-lap stint on soft tyres is surprising given that he had already done an 18-lap stint on used softs with a full fuel load at the beginning of the race.

If Massa had enjoyed the benefit of soft tyres for his final stint – which he reckoned were “maybe more than a second quicker per lap” – it’s unlikely he would have fallen behind Alonso. They certainly would have helped him pass Jean-Eric Vergne, who cost him the time that allowed Alonso to make his pit stop and come out ahead.

After Massa confirmed he will not be driving for Ferrari next year he said he would not help Alonso in the races and later made good on that claim by ignoring a direct order to let his team mate pass in Japan.

Did Ferrari weigh how many more points Alonso could gain in the closing stages versus how many Massa could? Or was this just a very conservative strategy? Either way Massa is right to points out his strategy probably cost him a better result.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3
Sebastian Vettel Soft (14) Medium (23) Medium (18)
Mark Webber Soft (8) Medium (25) Medium (22)
Nico Rosberg Soft (10) Medium (23) Medium (22)
Romain Grosjean Soft (8) Medium (29) Medium (18)
Fernando Alonso Soft (16) Medium (28) Soft (11)
Paul di Resta Soft (20) Medium (35)
Lewis Hamilton Soft (7) Medium (22) Medium (26)
Felipe Massa Soft (18) Medium (20) Medium (17)
Sergio Perez Soft (6) Medium (21) Medium (28)
Adrian Sutil Medium (28) Soft (27)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (5) Medium (20) Medium (30)
Jenson Button Medium (2) Soft (9) Medium (44)
Esteban Gutierrez Medium (18) Soft (12) Medium (25)
Nico Hulkenberg Soft (9) Medium (18) Medium (27)
Valtteri Bottas Medium (24) Medium (21) Soft (9)
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (7) Medium (21) Medium (26)
Jean-Eric Vergne Soft (17) Medium (34) Medium (3)
Giedo van der Garde Soft (7) Medium (26) Medium (21)
Charles Pic Soft (8) Medium (24) Medium (22)
Jules Bianchi Soft (5) Medium (26) Medium (22)
Max Chilton Soft (6) Medium (26) Medium (21)
Kimi Raikkonen Medium

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Mark Webber Red Bull 21.175 8
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 21.298 0.123 37
3 Sergio Perez McLaren 21.370 0.195 27
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21.372 0.197 7
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 21.453 0.278 44
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 21.485 0.310 18
7 Sergio Perez McLaren 21.503 0.328 6
8 Jenson Button McLaren 21.516 0.341 11
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 21.530 0.355 16
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21.609 0.434 29
11 Romain Grosjean Lotus 21.627 0.452 8
12 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 21.633 0.458 33
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 21.653 0.478 10
14 Mark Webber Red Bull 21.911 0.736 33
15 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 21.930 0.755 17
16 Adrian Sutil Force India 22.048 0.873 28
17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 22.070 0.895 30
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 22.194 1.019 7
19 Paul di Resta Force India 22.270 1.095 20
20 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 22.275 1.100 14
21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 22.286 1.111 33
22 Romain Grosjean Lotus 22.286 1.111 37
23 Felipe Massa Ferrari 22.315 1.140 38
24 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 22.363 1.188 9
25 Charles Pic Caterham 22.498 1.323 8
26 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 22.685 1.510 18
27 Max Chilton Marussia 22.802 1.627 32
28 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 22.834 1.659 7
29 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 22.863 1.688 27
30 Pastor Maldonado Williams 22.886 1.711 5
31 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 22.946 1.771 28
32 Valtteri Bottas Williams 23.361 2.186 24
33 Pastor Maldonado Williams 23.410 2.235 25
34 Max Chilton Marussia 23.490 2.315 6
35 Jules Bianchi Marussia 23.576 2.401 31
36 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 23.608 2.433 51
37 Charles Pic Caterham 24.005 2.830 32
38 Jules Bianchi Marussia 24.064 2.889 5
39 Valtteri Bottas Williams 26.680 5.505 45
40 Jenson Button McLaren 27.176 6.001 2

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Image ?? Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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36 comments on 2013 Abu Dhabi GP tyre strategies and pit stops

  1. Scuderia kabayo said on 4th November 2013, 15:03

    No conspiracies. Just ferrari being ferrari.

  2. astonished (@astonished) said on 4th November 2013, 18:35

    My two (literally) pennies

    1.- funny to see that all pit strategies at Abu Dhabi gp go down to Massa being cheated on by Ferrari….. Nothing else happened?. Either the article or the title is biased.
    2.- I suggest Keith to run a co-variance analysis among posters (and perhaps himself, admittedly this being a statistical fraud) of who supported conspiracy today and who did of weber’s stops vs. Vettel in India

    Thanks God mr Fry is British (as mr Horner) an we avoid nationalistic arguments. Sorry this is a third penny.

    • Architrion (@architrion) said on 4th November 2013, 23:00

      I must say you stole my words, absolutely. I agree 100%.

      It’s been so much time since my last comments here, and sadly I came back because of that huge difference between Red Bull – Webber – India vs Ferrari – Massa – Abu Dhabi. Come on. I’ve been reading Keith posts since 2006, and I expect so much more from the guy, frankly. This used to be an smart and intelligent place to be.

  3. astonished (@astonished) said on 4th November 2013, 18:36

    Blacklisted?

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