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Sunday, 16 June 2013


Or tyred for UK readers...

We live in an age of heath and safety and sustainablility targets as key performance indicators.

As Mercedes head to court this week to explain why they participated in a Pirelli tyre test, maybe it's time to wonder if pitstops are really that interesting.

Stops have been reduced to less than three seconds to change all four tyres.  All the fuss has originated from Pirelli being asked to design tyres that wear out more quickly to make racing 'more interesting'.  The new compounds were perceived by some to have gone too far and Mercedes in particular were considered a suitable team to evaluate if and why.  Many teams now feel tyres wear too quickly with Mercedes having a particular problem with their rear boots.

Next year we will have smaller, more fuel efficient engines in an attempt to make cars more closely aligned to the road car fuel efficiency drive.   Why then have tyres that are anything but sustainable, becoming next to useless after 50 miles or so.  Surely technology should be directed to designing tyres that will last for more than 1000 miles or all season?

Whether an F1 car will ever be sustainable is open to considerable doubt.  The sport is certainly a technology testbed but how long will it remain at the pinnacle of performance?

Should Bradley Wiggins be given a heavier bike with knobbly tyres so he goes more slowly and is more aligned to the struggling commuter on his hybrid?

I dont find watching the queue at the tyre store that interesting as I wait my turn for a new set of radials.  Even if it happened more quickly it would never be exciting.  Uninterrupted racing by cars on the limit of what the engineers can provide will always be however.

As for making cost savings by reducing testing.  Simulators are not cheap and real safety results from testing the final hardware of any product in controlled conditions for as long as necessary not just a 3D image of the same.

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