Guenther Steiner, Haas, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

Steiner wants F1 to drop “Kinder Surprise” tyres

2019 Canadian Grand Prix

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has joined calls for Formula 1 to switch back to last year’s tyre specification.

F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli introduced thinner tyres for the 2019 season, based on constructions used at three races last year, in a bid to prevent blistering. But some teams including Haas have struggled to understand how to get the best from the rubber.

“You make progress but it’s not a progress you can see and can replicate somewhere else,” said Steiner at the Canadian Grand Prix. “Every time it’s something new. You make progress when you go along on a weekend but what you learn here doesn’t mean you can apply it 100% on the next one.

“That is the difficult one. Every time it’s a new surprise, like the Kinder Surprise: What do you get inside?

“You react quicker because you understand better what the tyre is doing and then you need to react but to predict now what to do in France, no idea.”

Yesterday Steiner’s opposite number at Red Bull, Christian Horner, said Pirelli should revert to the 2018 tyres to close the gap between Mercedes and its rivals. Steiner said he supports the idea “absolutely.”

“Last year the tyre wasn’t perfect,” he said. “I wouldn’t say the tyre last year was fantastic and now we want to go back to that one.

“I would support to look into it to try and do a tyre that we’re not always speaking about tyres. We are speaking about racing and crashing cars and so on.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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  • 25 comments on “Steiner wants F1 to drop “Kinder Surprise” tyres”

    1. Hemingway (@)
      9th June 2019, 13:41

      I don’t see what would be wrong with giving individual teams the choice over whether they run the 2018 or 2019 specs

    2. Other than P having to make 2 different tyre concepts and bring and unknown number to any track or risk teams essentially gambling months ahead.

      1. Hemingway (@)
        9th June 2019, 14:48

        They have data on the old tyres and I’m pretty sure they have to nominate in advance what tyres they want?

    3. I agree. It’s like driving on eggs right now.

    4. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      9th June 2019, 14:13

      More I think about it the more I think him and Horner are right. Changing the tyres isn’t suddenly going to make everyone on equal footing, nor is it going to suddenly invalidate Mercedes current strength – but if it enables the other teams to actually compete rather than driving around nursing the tyres rather than racing then that’s got to be a good thing and a short-term fix to improve not only the racing but competitiveness throughout the field.

    5. “That is the difficult one. Every time it’s a new surprise, like the Kinder Surprise: What do you get inside?

      I like this guy. He seems like a genuine and straight speaking type.
      Personally I enjoy the unpredictability and feel it gives the genuinely good drivers the chance to prove they know how to do their job when things don’t go as planed.
      That said, if I was trying to run a competitive team then my view would be very different indeed.

      1. I think the opposite in that when it is so fleeting as to when a car is actually hooked up such that a driver can show his talents, for the most part the drivers are handcuffed and are just passengers along for the ride, driving according to what the engineers recommend in their vain attempts to get the tires to work. Are we really able to compare drivers when what we are actually seeing is one struggling a little less than another due to ridiculous tires? Did the driver have a good day, or did the team collectively find some semblance of solution as to how to get and/or keep the tires in a narrow window for a time?

    6. During Sky’s FP3 coverage yesterday Christian Horner said that 9 teams are having problems with the current tyres & that’s it’s only really Mercedes that are able to consistently get there cars into the working range of the tyres. He also noted that it was the same when Pirelli used the thinner gauge tyres last year & that it was known that the characteristics of the Mercedes car suited those tyres better than others & that “For the good of the show” they should revert back to the 2018 tyres…….. You know the one’s that were changed because they were blistering almost every weekend.

      Look, Maybe going back to the 2018 tyres would be good for ‘The show’ but you shouldn’t change the tyres to handicap a team that has simply done a better job at building a car that suits the tyres better than anyone else. It’s the same thing I hated back when they were changing the front wing deflection test’s & exhaust blowing regulations in the middle of seasons to try & hinder Red Bull’s dominant package of the time.

      Mercedes have simply done a better job this year at building a car that optimizes using the tyres & they shouldn’t be punished for that. The emphasis should be on the others to do a better job & improve there package to better use the tyres.

      I’m not the biggest fan of the current tyres, I haven’t been really since 2011 BUT it’s what we have so we just have to deal with it & the same is true of the teams. If they want to discuss & work with Pirelli to turn up with something that’s better for 2020 then fine but I just don’t like changing things in the middle of the season just to hurt/help certain teams. Feels too artificial to me.

      1. Stephan Swain
        9th June 2019, 14:39

        “Look, Maybe going back to the 2018 tyres would be good for ‘The show’ but you shouldn’t change the tyres to handicap a team that has simply done a better job at building a car that suits the tyres better than anyone else. It’s the same thing I hated back when they were changing the front wing deflection test’s & exhaust blowing regulations in the middle of seasons to try & hinder Red Bull’s dominant package of the time.

        Mercedes have simply done a better job this year at building a car that optimizes using the tyres & they shouldn’t be punished for that. The emphasis should be on the others to do a better job & improve there package to better use the tyres.”

        Yet it was ‘ok’ to change the tyres to benefit Mercedes, because you know, they needed even more help to continue winning…last year they did a worse job initially in understanding the tyres compared to other teams, yet Pirelli introduced the thinner tyres mainly to help them in certain races, and now everyone has to run on them. F1 might as well change name to Formula Mercedes nowadays and let’s drop the charade that this is a sport rather than a simple business venture anymore

      2. Seems to me this talk of reverting back to last year’s tires is quite unique and unusual, which tells me that this year’s tires are truly to an extreme in their mystical operating window. I also question the concept that Mercedes just did a better job, because it seems to me getting these tires to work is so illusive that Mercedes has rather fluked their way into it than actually scientifically nailing it. If solving the tires was a more tangible thing to do, others wouldn’t be struggling so much still. Mercedes continues to have the WCC car which makes them appear to handle these problematic tires better, but I’m sure it is also not a guaranteed cakewalk for Mercedes.

      3. At least one fan, who remembers last year’s tyres “were blistering almost every weekend”!

        Thank you!

        Others seem to have a really short memory.

        1. Yet the operating window was less fleeting. Also, the cars now have less downforce so perhaps last year’s tires would be better on this year’s cars than last year’s. Blistering last year still saw cars running quite long stints regardless.

          1. @robbie I’m not so sure the current cars have less downforce than last season’s since outright track records have been beaten on five out of the six venues (with Shanghai International Circuit being the sole exception to the rule) out of the six F1 has been to thus far this season.

      4. @stefmeister, as has been pointed out, don’t forget that Ferrari were competitive in Silverstone with those thinner gauge tyres, with Vettel missing out on pole by only a few hundredths of a second and then going on to win the race.

        It is worth noting that most of those who are complaining not only knew about the current spec tyres, but actively voted in favour of them being introduced because, when they ran the back to back tests in Barcelona last year, it was the case that the thicker gauge tyres were vulnerable to blistering due to the higher thermal mass. You get the feeling that those who are complaining the most now are those who probably had hoped that the change to the thinner gauge tyres would help then and are now trying to lobby for changes when they realise that it’s been other teams that have gained instead.

      5. @stefmeister

        Look, Maybe going back to the 2018 tyres would be good for ‘The show’ but you shouldn’t change the tyres to handicap a team that has simply done a better job at building a car that suits the tyres better than anyone else

        I’m totally against changing tyres/regulations mid season, Pirelli have chosen the easy way to resolve blistering. Make thinner tread tyres that cannot easily blister and are very hard to operate within the right window.
        However by doing so, they have clearly handed Mercedes a big advantage. Since their return in F1, all the cars coming from Brackely have rear tyres overheating which is the result of the load that they were put under.
        RBR and particularly Ferrari are very gentle on the tyres, so with last year’s tyres we could say that they have an advantage over Mercedes.
        In my opinion, Pirelli should produce tyres that are easy to operate and cannot blister at the same time. Something like the 2010 Bridgestone tyres that were able to be pushed to the limit without breaking the construction. I think in 2010 we only saw blistering in Canada and that was due to the fact that the asphalt was so abrasive because it was not used in 2 years.

        1. @tifoso1989, I am not necessarily sure that I would agree with that assessment.

          That might have been true of Ferrari and Mercedes five or six years ago, but the characteristics of the cars have shifted over time and there were occasions last year where it was Ferrari that ran into problems with blistering and rear tyre temperatures, not Mercedes.

          Remember how both Ferrari’s suffered from major blistering in the Italian GP, and in Barcelona Ferrari still had problems with rear blistering even with the reduced gauge tyres (let alone the problems they had when they tried testing the thicker gauge tyres in the subsequent test session) – I wouldn’t say that you could make a blanket statement that “RBR and particularly Ferrari are very gentle on the tyres”, as there were also races where Ferrari did have problems with their rear tyres overheating when Mercedes did not.

          That change is coincidental with James Allison having moved from Ferrari to Mercedes in 2017, and Allison’s cars have generally been known for being relatively kind on tyres – which suggests there is likely to be an element of a change in philosophy from Mercedes and Ferrari in that period.

    7. Jonathan Teague
      9th June 2019, 14:28

      Last week I watched the 1999 San Marino GP. Schumacher won with a brilliant strategy where they duped McLaren into thinking they were one stopping but stopped twice but the first stop was late making it look like a one stop. Then he drove super fast laps, sliding the car beautifully around the circuit and took the win. Whats missing these days? Refuelling and durable tyres. Without those you cant push or have much difference in the strategies.

      1. The issue with refuelling and different tire strategies is that all the overtaking happens during pitstops.

      2. Outside of a few exceptions (Which are the only races people remember) most of the time everyone did pretty much the same thing in terms of strategy with refueling. And TBH it’s the same currently with the mandatory stop to run both compounds.
        The only time there was actually a real variance & unpredictability with pit strategy was before refueling was introduced. When there was no mandatory stop, When teams could run whatever compound they wanted & could even mix compounds at times (Softer compound on the front, Hard on the rear for instance).

        The problem with refueling from a strategy perspective is that teams planned it on Saturday & were then locked into whatever strategy they picked with no real room to adapt on the fly. If you had 20 laps of fuel in the car then your stint was 20 laps regardless of what anyone around you did, You couldn’t really react to it because pitting early would ruin your strategy & you couldn’t go longer.
        Tyre led strategy is far more reactive with far more room to adopt to your race situation & with far more driver input. You can plan to go 20 laps but maybe wear is worse, Maybe your driver runs harder & causes higher than expected wear or maybe the opposite is true & wear is less or your driver is able to extend tyre life. Your also less punished for pitting early to react to someone & have the option to go longer for the same reason.

        Not every race with refueling saw drivers pushing flat out all race, In fact they were the exception rather than the rule which is why those few races where that did happen are remembered above all the others.
        And in fact that scenario was not exclusive to the refueling era, There were examples without refueling of drivers pushing hard through a race be it because they were recovering from an early issue like Senna at Suzuka in 1988 or because they were in a race long battle like Senna/Prost at Suzuka in 1989.

        The issue of drivers not pushing/fighting hard for long periods of a race isn’t due to the lack of refueling, It’s just the way the tyres have been since 2011 with the high-deg concept. Give them tyres better able to withstand been pushed & they would push harder for longer.

        I don’t think we need pit stops, they should go back to the focus been on the track. if drivers want to pit for fresh tyres then give them the option but i don’t think there should ever be mandatory stops forcing them to. this has been the biggest issue since 2010.

        1. Yes please, the mandatory pit stop must go ! Then all we need are tyres that are both fast (regardless of track temperature) and durable (race distance capable with only minimal performance loss). Let the games begin.

    8. It’s mainly Ferrari and it’s B teams that have had the performance drop off from last year, which makes me think it’s not the tyres but one of the shared components.

      1. I don’t think you can exclude the tires in the equation if the shared components, namely the whole back end, which affects the front end and balance too, affects the ability to make tires work.

      2. Lol @emu55 ….take a look at the back of the grid!

    9. Williams? They are cancelled out by Mercedes having the most successful start to a season by any team, but as I said, all Ferrari teams seem to be struggling this year.

    10. Waah waah, my car sucks, waah waah it’s not us it’s the tyres.

      This is up there with Toto saying Ferrari are the best team repeatedly. Everyone has tested and used the same rubber, if you can’t cope, you can’t cope Gunther

    Comments are closed.