The Tire War

26 May

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As those who follow F1 know, tires are the same for everyone. Everyone is handed out the same compounds and must run all of them during the race. Ok, sounds easy enough, fair enough, right? Ehhhh….wrong. During Friday, NBC’s Will Buxton took over NBCSports Twitter and was fielding questions. I asked about tires for the weekend…and the reply was “they are round, black and the same for everyone, lets race”. Well as it turns out, such is not the case.

See, F1 cars are very adjustable, very intricate machines. These are not spec cars. Nor are the staff each team employs. This is racing at its highest level: with the perennial levels of technology, and money all being mixed together in a world class stew. Will Buxton is now reporting that after Spain, in which Mercedes complained about their tires, was given a private test with Pirelli. 1000kms of private testing so Mercedes could “better understand how their chassis was relating to the tire”. It’s also being reported that Ferrari had a similar test after Bahrain. Certainly helps explain the awesome performances since those private tests were conducted. Of course such private tests are not allowed under the rules from a team level. But they are allowed under Pirelli’s contract as tire supplier for the series. Now, whether they plan to hold tests for each individual team remains to be seen, but its nevertheless going to be a hot topic.

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