Skip to content

Tire management remains the difference between winning, losing

Mar 17, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

The aerodynamically superior Red Bull Racing RB8’s lined up in P1 and P2 for the race start after dominating the early part of the weekend, but couldn’t match Lotus on its tire management at the Australian Grand Prix.

The main story of the weekend, and indeed 2013 so far, is all about the Pirellis and their absolute requirement to operate in a very specific temperature window.

Melbourne was cold on Sunday, in stark contrast to the hot temperatures we saw earlier in the week and it’s impossible to overstate the impact that has on the way the cars and their tires behave.

Kimi Raikkonen drove a great race to win and the E21 continued where its predecessor from 2012 left off in being ‘light’ on its rubber. Running longer than others on each of his three stints meant he could make one less stop than his main competitors and still have life left at the end. The degradation was so minimal, in fact, that he was able to set the fastest lap time of the race just a lap before the checker flag.

Last year’s Lotus was also considerably better in hot conditions, struggling to get heat into the tires when it was colder. We head to Malaysia in just a few days time, where, if that holds true once more, we could see another very competitive display from the team.

Ferrari look to have a good car. The F138 is more manageable and easier to find the sweet spot in terms of setup. Last year’s struggles forced the team to dig pretty deep to find technical solutions to a host of issues and it looks promising so far.

It’s a desperate time at my old team, McLaren. After going pretty radical with their concept design for this season, they’re really struggling to make it work. At the pre-season test in Spain in February, the car looked quick on the first day, but then has struggled since. Martin Whitmarsh confirmed yesterday that a front suspension part had been incorrectly fitted on that first day, running the car too low. It worked for them there and on that day, but they can’t now replicate the effect with settings that are feasible elsewhere.
The car’s difficult in all areas right now and the team won’t rule out a switch back to last year’s MP4-27 should the disaster continue.

Must just say things are looking up for Force India. A great showing for them with a car that was competitive amongst the front-runners. It’s a car that’s been developed from a technical partnership with McLaren and uses the same gearbox and Mercedes engine. After race one, it could be McLaren needing the technical assistance, not the other way round.

It’s important to remember this is only part one of a nineteen race calendar and I’m pretty sure that the Red Bulls will be strong in Malaysia. Tires will be key again, but conversely to Melbourne, the issue won’t be getting them up to temperature, but stopping them from overheating in the tropical heat.

Australia’s given the teams a lot of data to work through, but with race two only a few day away, it’ll be setup and operational tweaks, rather than technical upgrades that make any differences this time next Sunday.

Marc Priestley can be found on Twitter @f1elvis.

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR AMERICA: Matt Kenseth confident as Loudon looms (VIDEO)

    Sep 17, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Speeding To Read Kickoff Getty Images

    The 2003 Sprint Cup champion talks with NASCAR AMERICA’s Marty Snider about how he’s now looking forward to racing at New Hampshire more than ever before.

  2. Crew chief changes on the way at Joe Gibbs Racing

    Sep 17, 2014, 7:18 PM EDT

    Bojangles' Southern 500 Getty Images

    Joe Gibbs tells the press that the details have already been decided, and that an announcement could come within the next few weeks.

  3. NASCAR AMERICA Minute: Critical Sunday coming for Hamlin, Kurt Busch (VIDEO)

    Sep 17, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

    Camping World RV Sales 301 Getty Images

    Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch are currently in position to make the Contender Round, but need big results this weekend at New Hampshire. NASCAR AMERICA’s Frank Stoddard explains why.

  4. Michael Waltrip avoids early “Dancing with the Stars” elimination

    Sep 17, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    TV Dancing with the Stars AP

    Waltrip and partner Emma Slater are moving on to Week 2 despite a shaky opening performance.

  5. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA with Matt Kenseth and Steve Letarte at 5 p.m. ET

    Sep 17, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Federated Auto Parts 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Also on tap: Chicagoland edition of “Scan All 43″; learning the best lines around New Hampshire.

  6. NASCAR: Crew chief earns 1-week suspension after Truck Series rule violation

    Sep 17, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

    NCWTSLogo

    The No. 20 Truck failed to meet post-race body height requirements following Saturday night’s Truck Series event at Chicagoland Speedway.

  7. Staying balanced in Chase critical for Kevin Harvick, No. 4 team

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT

    Kevin Harvick AP

    Needing two more good races to make the Contender Round, knowing when and when not to take a chance on the track will be important for the 4 camp.

  8. Singapore GP, Red Bull GRC highlight weekend’s NBC motorsports coverage

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Marina Bay circuit illuminated at dusk Reuters

    Singapore GP and two Red Bull GRC races to watch this weekend, among other items, on NBC TV times.

  9. NASCAR: Richard Petty Motorsports committed to two-car program in 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    Sprint Showdown Getty Images

    RPM also announces that it will stay with Ford, and also continue chassis/engine supply deals with Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Engines respectively.

  10. CFH confirms Chevrolet power for 2015 IndyCar season

    Sep 17, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Ed Carpenter AP

    Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, under new CFH Racing banner, will run Chevrolets in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series.

  11. Ferrari shifting focus, will test 2015 components on current car

    Sep 17, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

    Italy F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Team engineering director Pat Fry says some new components for 2015 will be tested on the current F14 T car during the final stretch of races this year.

  12. NASCAR: STANLEY, DEWALT join JGR in 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Photo via @JoeGibbsRacing Photo via @JoeGibbsRacing

    DEWALT and STANLEY join Joe Gibbs Racing, for Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, in 2015.

  13. GP2 announces DRS for 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT

    Mideast Emirates F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    GP2 adds DRS for 2015.

  14. NASCAR Whelen Euro Series adds another oval race for 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

    whelen euro

    NASCAR Whelen Euro Series announces 2015 schedule, which includes another oval.

  15. NASCAR: Corey Lajoie to make Cup debut; ARCA’s Boston to drive 2 N’Wide races for Gibbs

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Corey LaJoie AP

    Lajoie will run his first Cup race at New Hampshire, while Justin Boston will drive for Joe Gibbs Racing at Kentucky and Dover in the Nationwide Series.

  16. NASCAR AMERICA: One Sprint Cup title not enough for Keselowski (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Brad Keselowski AP

    Will experience or hunger help him capture his 2nd Sprint Cup title? The NASCAR AMERICA gang debates the topic.

  17. NASCAR AMERICA: The possible outcomes for Tony Stewart (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Tony Stewart AP

    NBC Sports legal analyst Jack Furlong breaks down what could happen now that a grand jury will decide whether Stewart will face charges for his involvement in the accident that killed sprint car racer Kevin Ward Jr.

  18. Red Bull GRC: Layout, entry list set for L.A. doubleheader

    Sep 16, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    RedBullGRCLA

    The nine-turn Port of Los Angeles circuit will feature the longest joker of the 2014 GRC season.

  19. FIA clarifies new Formula One team radio restrictions

    Sep 16, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Christian Horner AP

    Teams now know what radio messages can and cannot be made heading into this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

  20. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA has the latest on Tony Stewart saga at 5 p.m. ET

    Sep 16, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Federated Auto Parts 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Also coming up today: What’s more important in winning a Sprint Cup title: Experience or Drive?; rookie phenom Kyle Larson on dealing with the hype; NASCAR pioneer Wendell Scott to be honored next month.

Video from NASCAR America

Looking ahead to New Hampshire
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Busch (1670)
  2. J. Gordon (1348)
  3. B. Keselowski (1319)
  4. K. Harvick (1309)
  5. J. Johnson (1221)