F1: German Grand Prix Preview
Back to back Grand Prix and what a time to have them! If Silverstone on Sunday is anything to go by, the German Grand Prix is going to be an absolute cracker! For a recap of Sunday, all the news from Pirelli on those tyres and a look forward to Germany, read on.
Silverstone F1 Recap
Where to begin with the British Grand Prix? Emotions were all over the place from the feeling of smug comfort with Hamilton leading Vettel, to utter despair when Lewis’ left rear tyre exploded after a puncture. It wasn’t long after this that everyone realised that something was amiss, a string of left rear punctures/explosions had everyone worried and a timely safety car brought about a bit of calm. When running again, Vettel was cruising to yet another victory before a gearbox failure left him stranded on the side of the track and a safety car which sparked the race even further into life. With several top drivers on fresh tyres, we were treated to a multitude of overtaking manoeuvres from Webber, Alonso, Hamilton and Massa which suddenly put Rosberg’s imminent victory in doubt. One or two more laps and Webber would have most certainly bowed out of F1 at Silverstone in style but in the wake of his disastrous start, second place was a great effort. Hamilton and Massa should also be praised, being the first two drivers to sustain punctures which put them dead last; they recovered to 4th and 6th despite having car damage.
The British Grand Prix was terrific, the tyres were to blame but no-one was hurt. With no lack of media coverage, Bernie must be rubbing his hands together.
Pirelli tyre developments
Since Silverstone everyone calling for changes, and there has been significant movement. Pirelli have concluded that a combination of factors caused the punctures:
- Teams mounting rear tyres wrong way round (left tyre on right side, right on left side)
- Low tyre pressures
- Extreme cambers
- High kerbs
Despite giving these reasons and saying that if used correctly, the tyres are fine, Pirelli will be taking new tyres to Germany. These new tyres have a Kevlar belt (as in 2012) rather than a metal belt and were tested during FP1 in Canada and most likely by Mercedes in the “secret” tyre test. There will also be new tyres for Hungary and the rest of the season, combining the 2013 compounds with the 2012 construction. These new tyres will be made available at the young driver test at Silverstone after Germany for testing.
Not only have Pirelli made changes but the FIA have as well. At the young driver test, current race drivers will be allowed to take part for tyre development work only with the possibility of an extra day. This test still excludes Mercedes after their ban so this could now really hurt them. Provisions have also been made for Pirelli to have two tyre tests at some point this season with current F1 cars, though no details on that yet!
German Grand Prix Preview
Ok, so here we are at last! The German Grand Prix Predictions! All eyes will be on tyres at the Nürburgring this weekend and Mercedes with effectively their second home Grand Prix in a row will have some serious support. Germany should represent a brilliant chance for Mercedes to claim their third victory of the season and perhaps the first for Lewis Hamilton. The Silver Arrows have been the team to beat in qualifying and just recently taken some of that pace into race day.
With the tyre changes mentioned above for this weekend, the Kevlar belt should see a reduction in tyre temperature of around 10 degrees and that should help Mercedes with their rear tyre wear and make them even more competitive come Sunday. Realistically, Mercedes need a win to keep the pressure on Red Bull and Vettel ahead of them because come Hungary, all the other teams will have run the new tyres with current race drivers and could make significant steps.
Two teams which will not be happy with the tyre changes (and who blocked the Kevlar belt tyres being used as Silverstone) are Lotus and Ferrari. Both teams have been off the pace when compared to Red Bull and Mercedes recently, and this could see their advantage of being low wearing on the tyres being wiped out on Sunday. With Force India also putting together some great performances, Lotus and Ferrari may have to start looking back as well as forwards.
- Sebastian Vettel
- Lewis Hamilton
- Nico Rosberg
- Mark Webber
- Fernando Alonso
Picking Hamilton to win doesn’t seem to be working too well for him at the moment so I wonder if this will jinx Vettel. Lewis won the last race at the Nürburgring in 2011 and does look to have the edge on Rosberg in the last two races. After announcing his retirement, the pressure may well be off Webber so a good string of results is highly possible and would be a great way to see out his career.
I desperately wanted to put a Force India driver in my top five but you just can’t leave out Alonso. Red Bull and Mercedes are a cut above at the moment and are definitely the cars to be fighting over the podium.
The British Grand Prix is live on Sky with highlights on the BBC, here are the times:
Qualifying – Green light – 13:00
Sky F1 – 12:00 – 14:35
BBC 1 – 17:55 – 19:10 (highlights)
Race – Lights out – 13:00
Sky F1 – 11:30 – 16:15
BBC 1 – 18:00 – 19:30 (highlights)
Agree, don’t agree? Let me know below!