Remember the GPDA? The Grand Prix Driver’s Association? Yeah, it’s still a thing and Romain Grosjean is the director and they are all going to meet in Brazil to discuss issues they have regarding tires and racing in general.
The tires were a real impact on the Mexican Grand Prix and the field was lapped up to 4th place. These issues have prompted frustration with some drivers and they are set to convene in Brazil to discuss it.
“I don’t think anyone ever seems to be satisfied,” said Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
“They wanted a tire we can race harder for longer, and I feel we’re nearly getting that.
“But I don’t know how to have a tire we can push hard on but is going to degrade, so we can still do a two or three-stop.”
Tires are one thing but Grosjean thinks there more to the serious issues Formula 1 is facing from a competitive standpoint.
“It’s not only tires,” said Grosjean.
“I don’t want to speak for everyone else, but I feel like we need to give our feedback and maybe try to do a bit more because the races aren’t fun.
“P6 in Mexico is two laps down? How do you hope to see a midfield car on the podium if they are one or two laps down?
“The delta between the big teams and the small teams is too big.
“Plus the tires being so complicated to understand, to drive, if you don’t have the downforce you destroy them and you open the gap again.”
It’s an interesting point about not enough downforce versus too much and this narrow window having a big impact on the tires. The situation has left me cold since introducing the concept of HD tires several years ago.
The idea, for me, is that F1 should be flat out as a sprint race and today’s racing is all about conservation, lift and coast and tire preservation. Perhaps some fans like that kind of strategic challenge but the adverse impact is not helping.
So what will the GPDA do with their discussions?
“If we get to somewhere where everyone is happy with what we have discussed, then we should move them forward to you guys, to Liberty or whoever,” said Grosjean.
“[It’s important] we don’t sit back and don’t do anything for the sport we love.”
These are usually political positioning statements and I’ve not heard or read of many immediate reactions to a GPDA memorandum on the state of F1. Perhaps new owners, Liberty Media, will listen?
Hat Tip: Autosport
I want to see drivers race . . . period. The whole lift and coast to save tires is appalling to me. And, I don’t blame Pirelli for this situation. They are providing the type of tires they are being asked to provide. I want to see drivers being able to push as hard as they can for as long as they can. And, the three engine rule, fuel flow restrictions, etc. . . . just stop it. There have been many times this season that I’ve wanted to just turn the race off. Rant over.
This is how I would fix the problem, BRING BACK REFUELING!!!. reduce the size of the fuel tank to do 15-20 laps, so no more lift and coast, race hard because you will get a new set of tires at the stop and the cars will be faster because of being lighter that at the current race start.
How about we have high grip low deg tires and eliminate the requirement of using multiple compounds? Keep the rule to pit or even make it a two stop requirement (since its clear the rule makers love artificial flavoring in their racing). At practice the teams will be able to balance the car for a single tire instead of across two, leading to more optimized flat out performance.
I want to bitch about it too but the truth is it’s pretty hard to figure out, right? I mean whatever system you come up with, part of this level of racing is an engineering contest. And when you’re using a fragile mechanical thing with limited resources (weight vs durability etc) engineers are going to find a solution which is boring to watch, because efficiency is boring. I mean at its most basic, engineering contests are fascinating for engineers. Spec racing is fascinating for fans. That’s why the worst F2 race each year is a better race than the best… Read more »
The power in a union comes from a common cause, were solidarity exists among all members. That is why the GPDA as a union was so strong in its cause for improving safety in F1. I’m not sure like among fans, teams and the powers that be, you will ever find the solidarity in the drivers opinions over the future direction of the sport for them to have a properly effective voice within the confines of a drivers union.
The GPDA has for the first time in a long while got 100% membership I believe to play a part in the political battles to come in 2020, which I guess its starting to show now but I just fear that it will become divisive taking that path and I don’t think that’d be good in the longer term for the drivers union.