Nov.19 (GMM) Formula 1 and Pirelli went “too far” with trying to specifically design tyres to spice up the racing.
Mercedes has had a particularly up-and-down season with its 2023 car, but boss Toto Wolff pointed the finger at the tyres’ characteristics on the new Las Vegas layout after Lewis Hamilton failed even to make Q3 late on Friday.
George Russell in the sister car, meanwhile, qualified P4 – just behind Red Bull’s dominant Max Verstappen.
“The conclusion is that you see such big differences here between two identical cars,” Wolff told Sky Deutschland. “We have to look at what we’re doing.
“The tyre goes up and down by a few degrees and that makes the difference between grip and no grip.”
So when told that F1 had specifically asked Pirelli to design tyres to promote more interesting racing, Wolff responded: “Maybe we went a step too far with that.
“At the moment it’s more about who whispers best, who puts their tyres in the window the best, racing than who can drive the fastest.”
And he said that, for F1’s best drivers like Hamilton and some of the best engineers at Mercedes, what will happen next at Las Vegas “remains a mystery”.
“You also see this at McLaren,” Wolff continued. “They’re normally at the front now, but suddenly they’re out in Q1. On the other hand you have Ferrari who are half a second faster suddenly.”
Similarly, Williams’ Logan Sargeant is no longer essentially bringing up the rear but P7 in qualifying at Las Vegas.
“We know that Williams can get the temperature into the tyres easily. This track is cold and fast and so they’re there.”
Wolff, however, acknowledged that Mercedes also needs to take some of the blame for not being able to capitalise in its critical fight with Ferrari for second overall in the constructors’ championship.
“Both Ferrari and us are too stupid to maximise when the other team is bad,” said the Austrian.
“(Carlos) Sainz goes ten places back and yet we don’t have two cars in front. Even if we are fighting for the first loser place.”
Despite IndyCar being its own motor race category, exploding Formula 1 popularity is pouring over into IndyCar events. If you want to attend the 2024 Indianapolis 500, reserve your seats today as the race will sell out (like last year) in very short order.
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