More Safety Concerns Raised in F1
Another victory for Lewis Hamilton puts him a step closer to winning his second World title but the safety worries in F1 have again made the headlines this week.
Thankfully the headlines at the Russian Grand Prix were made by a safe race. Congratulations to Mercedes on winning the Constructor’s Championship but let’s hope we never have to hear Nico Rosberg sing again. Any hopes he ever had of replacing Freddie Mercury in Queen have definitely gone out of the window after his atrocious rendition of ‘We Are the Champions.’
Back to the issue of safety and a major concern this week seems to be the issue of wet-weather tyres. Both Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton (hopefully the 2013 and 2014 World Champions) have expressed worries this week.
When Jules Bianchi crashed in the Japanese Grand Prix his car was on worn intermediates and Lewis Hamilton revealed this week he’s no great fan of them saying: “They’re not great tyres. That’s no secret.”
The new tyre was introduced as a way of improving water-dispersing ability but as far as drivers are concerned, nothing has changed and the dangers still exist. Hamilton believes it’s an area where “we need to work hard” and one “that’s not always focused on so much.” That means when a Grand Prix does take place in wet conditions drivers find themselves without a tyre that adequately clears the water and having to go onto the inters at speeds that it’s probably not safe enough to do so.
This isn’t something that’s just occurred since the Japanese Grand Prix. Before that race drivers were expressing their concerns about the wet tyres being used this season. Sebastian Vettel said this week: “If you have a lot of water, you obviously need to have a tyre that gets rid of a lot of water very well so you don’t suffer aquaplaning.” His concern is the design of the tyre complaining it has “an extremely narrow window” and agreeing with Hamilton that drivers find themselves switching to inters simply because it’s a quicker tyre.
But despite the opposition from leading drivers Pirelli who introduced the new design of ‘extreme’ tyre this season aren’t about to make any changes. Their motorsport director, Paul Hembrey, says: “So far Pirelli does not see any realistic technical need to change the wet tyre.” He says this isn’t an urgent problem but surely anything regarding safety and has such high profile drivers as Hamilton and Vettel concerned is exactly that.
Hembrey added that the new wet tyres were dispersing water quicker than the tyres used last year. If however the FAI were to question the tyres ability Hembrey said “Pirelli would do it immediately.”
This looks like another topic for discussion in the coming weeks, let’s just hope the delay in finding a solution isn’t a costly one.