Pirelli have announced that are trying to construct a compound of tyres which reduces the amount of marbles on track in 2014.
The move comes after current F1 drivers voiced their concerns about the amount of debris on circuits. The marbles, which are discarded pieces of rubber from the tyres, make it nigh-on impossible for drivers to commit to an overtaking manoeuvre off-line.
“The drivers certainly have commented on it and we can understand it,” said Pirelli’s motorsport boss Paul Hembery. “So it’s something that we are trying to do.”
The Pirelli boss has acknowledged that the marbles are created through wear so the softer compound of tyre are the main culprits for creating marbles.
“We know that it’s clearly wear-related, it’s basically tearing of the tyres in some cases, certainly the super-soft and to an extent the softer tyre have not had the strength that we needed.
“You can see some races where we had almost no marbles when you are using the hard and medium, certain surfaces where it’s low abrasion. So we are working to try and improve that. The general comment from the drivers is ‘reduce marbles’.”
Paul Hembery has admitted that there is a great challenge to try and stop the Pirelli tyres discarding excess rubber.
“At the moment we’re doing a lot of work on scaling and understanding where we are with the different compounds, we wanted to try and improve things like the tear resistance of the compounds, which has a direct impact on marbles which is something we are trying to reduce for next year,” he said.
“With the increased wheelspin, that has a chance of creating more marbles compared to where we are today, so we have to increase the mechanical strength of the compounds.”
Whether the changes to the tyre will create a different feel for the drivers, who will have a whole raft of new change and developments on their 2014 cars, is not yet known.
There has also been some concern related to the safety of marbles. On more than one occasion over the past few seasons have drivers had large chunks of rubber, either coming off the drivers car in front or from the discarded rubber on the side of the track, hitting the drivers helmet. A few drivers have said that if their visor were to be open for cooling purposes and a piece of rubber were to strike them, the result could be similar to the damage caused to Felipe Massa at Hungary in 2009, if not worse. The Brazilian’s helmet was hit by a rogue spring from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn GP car. Massa subsequently lost consciousness and crashed badly.
The Bahrain Grand Prix was a record breaker. No fewer than four cars stopped on the in-lap as soon as they had passed the chequered flag.
Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa all pulled up after they finished the race, instead of making it back round to the pits. The standard procedure directly after crossing the finish line is to travel around slowly trying to conserve fuel (more fuel means added ballast) and add debris-such as discarded rubber to the tyres (more discarded rubber means added ballast), then make it to the pit lane and Parc Ferme, where the driver can get out and celebrate (if he deems it necessary) and then get weighed. The cars will then be scrutinised to make sure they have not been breaking the rules throughout the race.
Of late however, many teams have asked their drivers to pull up and stop on the side of the track immediately. The possible reason for this is for reliability purposes, but the most likely explanation is due to the fact a team is running low on fuel, and thus, will not have enough fuel/weight in the car to pass the scrutineering, if it completes the ‘slow down lap’.
There is no rule in the FIA’s Sporting or Technical Regualtions for this whole procedure, but perhaps it is time there was. It has now become clear that teams will start the race lower on fuel, to gain an advantage throughout the race and then recoup their loses by pulling over as soon as the race is done.
A similar incident happened in Qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix in 2010. Lewis Hamilton took Pole Position and then stopped his car half way back round to the pits, to save fuel, which they needed for regulation checks. The FIA promptly decided that stopping on a Qualifying in-lap was illegal and it has now been outlawed.
Is it correct for one driver or one team to run the race lighter in the knowledge they can just pull off straight after the chequered flag, whilst everyone else abides by the sporting ethics of the regulations? Should the FIA go one step further and punish those for not making it one extra lap at the end of the race, whilst everyone else seems to manage?
F1 2012 is incredibly close and highly competitive. All the teams should be on a level playing field. It would not be correct to have a rule for one whilst the rest abide by the code.
Links of Interest
FIA Sporting and Technical Regulations: http://www.fia.com/sport/Regulations/f1regs.html
He was born in 1990 in the city of Guadalajara in Mexico, a city twinned with Seville, Frankfurt and Milan. Milan is where the Italian Grand Prix is staged at the Monza circuit – the second home of Ferrari. He is also called ‘Checo’ by his friends and those closest to him.
He lives in Switzerland, close to the Sauber F1 team factory. His hobbies include: Karting, Football, Yoga, Gym and Golf. His favourite circuits are: Monaco, Monza and Spa. His favourite food is: Tortas ahogadas (which is a popular dish in Guadalajara and consists of a sandwich ‘drowned’ in Chili) basically a Kebab.
The 22 year old started his racing career in German Formula BMW’s in 2005 and 2006. After a couple of medicore years, he moved to do British Formula Three in 2007 where he pretty much dominated, almost always on Pole Position and almost never off the podium. He wrapped up the championship with ease.
In 2008, the next step was to continue in Formula Three but to also race in the GP2 Asia Series. He started the season well in F3, but began to fade as the season wore on, he finished 4th with four wins. In GP2, he was team mate with current Caterham driver, Vitaly Petrov. Sergio won races in Bahrain and Qatar and ended up 7th overall in the championship.
In 2009 he enters the full season of GP2 and finishes 12th in the standings. In 2010 he does another full year of GP2, wins 5 races, including Monaco, and finishes second in the championship, just behind Pastor Maldonado. At the end of the year he is announced as a Sauber F1 driver for 2011, followed by the announcement a couple of days later that he was joined up to the new Ferrari Driver Academy.
In 2011, Checo impresses many onlookers with some solid results and is re-announced as a Sauber driver for 2012. He is also provided with an opportunity to test a Ferrari as part of the Ferrari Driver Academy Scheme.
In 2012 as we all know, he took on Fernando Alonso for victory in the rain-soaked Malaysian Grand Prix and just narrowly missed out.
‘Checo’ has already proven that he is capable of driving at the highest level, and perhaps a better level than current Ferrari driver Felipe Massa. With him also being part of Ferrari’s Academy set-up, it is very likely that he will be the next Ferrari driver. The question now is when?