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Its the tyres stupid or Geniuses apply here


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#1 mariner

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 08:00

Poor old Pirelli, they fight to get the F1 exclusive contract.Then they give F1 what it asked for, tyres to " make the racing exciting again" Now they are the bad guys because ""nobody understands the tyres"

Schmacher has been moaning about them from the back of the grid. Pastor Maldonado and President Chavez suddenly love Pirelli and now even Jenson Button is questioning the tyres impact on F1.

See these comments by him in the UK Guardian newspaper

http://www.guardian....naco-grand-prix

He probably has a valid point in that , if every race has a surprise winner it will make F1 a joke in the end but why are all the F1 engineers struggling so?

They have huge models of car dynamics and , because the teams stay in F1 for long periods now, huge experience to draw on.

Pireli say they DO understand the tyres

http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/99856

So why cant the enginers figure it out? - it COULD be the limited testing imposed in F1. You can't spend a few days playing around testing like you used to do so you are much more dependent on the computer models but any model is only as good as its vaidation which is hard if you can't test etc.

Being cynical for a moment I though people like Adrian Newey were towering geniuses of race car design who could find 1 or 2 seconds every time they penned a new car but they don't seem to be doing too well at the moment. Any judgement on F1 designer skills should wait until the end of the sesaon but if they do'nt get on top of this maybe a re think is needed?

Similarly , an still being cynical, I though top GP drivers were supposed to know how to conserve tryes properly

Maybe there IS a simple explanation - that the aero models used in F1 are fantastic but the tyre modelling is still not at the same level ( or even available to the teams) so it still is a "balck art " in some ways?

Sort of " if we can squash the tyres hard enough with downforce why struggle to understsnd the tyres when the technology is held by the tyre maker not us".





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#2 Tony Matthews

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 08:29

Schumacher wouldn't be complaining if he was winning races and leading the championship...

#3 saudoso

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 10:26

Ave a look at this:

-People just seem to forget that the damn EBD, which was the core of all the development in the past few years, was almost effectively banned this time.

-Williams, which seems the odd team to win, switched from Cossies to Renaults.

-Nico won one with the same cars as M$ drives.

M$ should have started to run in Corsi Clienti. And fans should shut up and enjoy. Pirelli did not wrong. Next time I get new rubber it will be Pirelli just to show my appreciation

#4 Wolf

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 16:49

Actually, I should be the last person to defend Schuey, but I remember scoring being changed during his previous career at Ferrari to lessen his dominance and don't recall him saying anything against it- for all his shortcomings he's not a moaner and not someone who would ruffle feathers just to get some press attention... And bearing in mind that Rosberg complained as well (wouldn't think either of them would be saying anything like that without at least a nod of approval from the team), as well as Hamilton voicing his discontent, I'd say they may not be off the mark...

Add to that that (without checking, so am speaking off top of my head) this season race fastest laps are on average four seconds slower than qualifying laps so what they're saying might have a merit. And I've seen times from testing when Rosberg was driving 'properly' and from the first to the last lap on the set of tyres the laptimes were constantly getting slower (I think that after 12 laps the times were over 8 seconds slower than the first lap). Whether it's FIA who asked to have 'doctored' tyres or Pirelli to blame, I couldn't say- but I would say that the blame for this years farce (however I might be glad for Rosberg's maiden win) lies squarely on tyres.

#5 saudoso

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 18:07

Actually, I should be the last person to defend Schuey, but I remember scoring being changed during his previous career at Ferrari to lessen his dominance and don't recall him saying anything against it- for all his shortcomings he's not a moaner and not someone who would ruffle feathers just to get some press attention... And bearing in mind that Rosberg complained as well (wouldn't think either of them would be saying anything like that without at least a nod of approval from the team), as well as Hamilton voicing his discontent, I'd say they may not be off the mark...

Add to that that (without checking, so am speaking off top of my head) this season race fastest laps are on average four seconds slower than qualifying laps so what they're saying might have a merit. And I've seen times from testing when Rosberg was driving 'properly' and from the first to the last lap on the set of tyres the laptimes were constantly getting slower (I think that after 12 laps the times were over 8 seconds slower than the first lap). Whether it's FIA who asked to have 'doctored' tyres or Pirelli to blame, I couldn't say- but I would say that the blame for this years farce (however I might be glad for Rosberg's maiden win) lies squarely on tyres.

You might as well blame the fast/qual difference on the end of refueling and the tyre quota. When you are free from the fuel burden you have no fresh option tyres left.

Most important, the field is level for everyone. The difference is there for everyone. I can't see how this is a farce.

EDIT:Oh, and by the way, 1991 Brazil GP's pole by Senna was 1:14.31 and FL was 1:20.436 by Mansel. In 1992 pole was 1:15.703 by Mansel and FL was 1:19.490 by Patrese. Those where good times and 4" is not unheard of.

Edited by saudoso, 26 May 2012 - 18:16.


#6 desmo

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 23:15

I don't feel this is the tires' fault. The apparent randomization of results with everyone on the same tires suggests to me that nobody on the teams fundamentally understands the way tires work on their cars. Which might well mean that nobody anywhere really understands the physics of what's going on with racing tires- even the people designing and making them. If the tire people did, the teams could poach them from the tire companies and solve the issues. No doubt working solutions will be found though, you don't need a fundamental understanding to make things work given enough trial and error.

How many significant tire modes are there? Does anyone even definitively know?

#7 Wolf

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 00:25

Desmo- it's the same people from last season- the same people at Red Bull that could dominate the field, and the same people at Mercedes that could allow Rosberg to put in hot qualifying lap and have slower race pace (not to mention people at Ferrari that could have, allegedly, made Bridgestone make tyres tailor made for Schumacher but are now clueless, despite having almost as talented and as articulate driver in Alonso). What seems different is the tyre parameters- whereas last years' Pirellis were more conventional rubber (take a lap or two to heat up and give 'optimal' performance, and then gradually fall off, depending on how hard they have been driven, this years' construction is entirely random- teams can end up with 'dud tyes' which start severely degrading from lap one, to more manageable variation which can give one or two fast laps and degrades more favourably).

My uneducated™ guess is that in oredr to get any meaningful mileage from current tyres the teams have to work hard on temperature management (thus forcing drivers to drive several seconds off the pace), making this year's racing akin to fuel consumption formula of mid to late eighties (winning a race by predicting average speed and driving as closely to it as possible, usually by getting in front in a lap or two and then dictating the pace that suits your car).

Let us not go into usual rant about F1 tyres, but I think it's the this years' randomness of the compounding/construction of the tyre that bewilders the teams and drivers- if they could get any meaningful testing/feedback guys like Button and Rosberg (and even Vettel) would dominate their teammates who are supposed to be more hard on their machinery... but the results speak otherwise: with Hamilton beating Button, despite supposedly being harder on the equipment, Schumacher being almost on par with Rosberg, despite being beyond his peak*, and Webber almost outshining the German prodigy.

As far as models go- I would think that Pacejka model has a serious downfall, being as I would call it exclusevely 'experimental model'**, whereas other models (like that model Greg was kind to put on his site) might not be as 'all inclusive' as Pacejka but being more adaptive.

* I would rate their performances much closer than the points tally indicates

** if one has Pacejka tyre book, one has to look at how many times "tyre pressure"is mentioned in the book (off top of my head, I'd say exactly twice) to see how much it relies on data obtained in tests, vs. some kind of adaptive prediction of tyre behaviour... I understand it's hard to strike a balance between modeling and 'black art' prediction of tyre/road interface, but even Foale's motorcycle handbook will give you a better hint of influence of inflation pressure than Pacejka's reference book on tyres

Saudoso- does those Brazilian GP results, of almost twenty years ago prove more an exception than the rule? Without taking a look at the results, I would venture a guess than the last year, and as well as years before, you'd have no more than a second between race and qualifying best laps (last year being on Pirelli tyres, and Bridgestones before them being notoriously durable and allowing consistent fast laps without severe degradation). As I recall the main Schumacher's complain is that they were forced to drive 'delta times' in the race, never exceeding 70-80% of the car's true potential (I would think that Rosberg was present on the occasion, and offered no refuting whatsoever)...

Let's be honest- whereas last year Newey and his cars seemed on the ball last year, would we assume they have "lost it", with Ferrari dropping almost to midfield and McLaren taking no advantage whatsoever (Mercedes showing slight, if erratic, improvement) at the same time if there was no factor that was causing their collective pitfall?

#8 Wolf

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 00:56

I don't feel this is the tires' fault. The apparent randomization of results with everyone on the same tires suggests to me that nobody on the teams fundamentally understands the way tires work on their cars. Which might well mean that nobody anywhere really understands the physics of what's going on with racing tires- even the people designing and making them. If the tire people did, the teams could poach them from the tire companies and solve the issues. No doubt working solutions will be found though, you don't need a fundamental understanding to make things work given enough trial and error.

How many significant tire modes are there? Does anyone even definitively know?


Come to think of it, your post exactly diagnoses the problem... Last week I was shopping for some 135/80 R12 M+S tyres for my car. Supposedly we were to fit them on current crop of F1 cars- I would think that Vettel in his Red Bull would be no more dominant than Maldonado* in his Williams, for common and dominating restricting factor would be the ridiculous little tyres whose unsuitableness for the task at hand that reduced both cars to almost same level of performance.

* it would be most unlike myself to not go off topic and remark how ridiculous is that Maldonado is allowed to race at Monaco this weekend, on account of 'elbow grease' provided by Chavez... (I recall seeing Bira falling on a sword elsewhere, while being perfectly blameless in the matter)

Edited by Wolf, 27 May 2012 - 00:58.


#9 Greg Locock

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 04:15

Here's another tire model http://www.cosin.eu/prod_FTire

the developer is a very helpful guy.

Pacejka is a curve fit, nothing more. The tire model I usually use takes the raw Fz/Fy/camber/steer data from the Flattrac and just tidies it up onto a regular grid, rather than trying to force it to fit a Pacejka equation. This is faster, and possibly more accurate. It also results in big files.

You can predict the effect of small changes to tire pressure and dimensions fairly well, by considering what happens to the sidewall, and hence the stiffness at the contact patch.

The manufacturers (or at least Goodyear and Michelin) have very good non linear finite element models of tires. They are enormous. But i do not know if they can be used to predict wear, or ultimate grip.

Incidentally that brush type model has the great advantage that it does some things that seem intuitively right, and the great disadvantage that in some circumstances it is wrong. I don't know the details.

http://tel.archives-...hese_Kiebre.pdf may also be of interest

Edited by Greg Locock, 27 May 2012 - 04:36.


#10 mariner

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 06:01

Greg/Wolf, if all the tyre models are basically " curve fit" models and the F1 teams can't test the Pirelli tyres independently is it feasible that a level of deep tyre knowledge in the teams is lacking?

Maybe if that is true ( and Pirelli aren't forthcoming with data ) the lack of track testing is what is driving this erratic performance.

I suppose it could be poorly controlled manufacturing quality but that seems unlikely with Pirelli's long experience.

BTW this isn't the first time a tyre change has derailed many of the teams. Back in the late 1970's most teams got caught out by very serious tyre vibrations on the rear tyres. The basic safety of the cars was at risk from the intensity of the low frequency shake triggered by the tyres.

It was seen as a " too much grip in the tyre then it suddenly slips and re-grips" problem . Nobody wanted to reduce tyre grip muchbut it was overome during the season.

Edited by mariner, 27 May 2012 - 07:34.


#11 Greg Locock

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 07:33

They aren't all curve fits, the brush and FEA models at least are attempting to work from physics.

Are the teams forbidden to Flattrac the tires? Are they forbidden to measure the suspension forces on the circuit? Could they fit wheel force transducers and use the circuit as a glorified Flattrac?

Assuming that the answer to all the above is yes, they aren't allowed to measure tire performance, they are left with the horrible black box route. After a race they have the exact speed and latacc and suspension deflection and steering wheel angle and so on for the car. They already know exactly what components are in the car. So they fiddle with the tire model until the race can be rerun by their dynamic model, accurately. Out pops a tire model.

This would require a huge amount of computing power, but it is an open loop run, so solve times would be of the order of less than ten times real time. So in a week one core could simulate 5 representative laps several hundred times. Any normal laptop can run 4 simultaneous jobs. So with 5 laptops you could run thousands of tire models in a week. A Pacejka model has, what, 20 numbers to optimise for Fy? A full DOE on 40 factors at 3 levels would need a lot of runs, but I'd guess 2000 would be OK, using one of the cleverer schemes http://www.itl.nist....ion3/pri339.htm Box_Benken and D optimal are the favorites where I work, but it is all statistical borrocks and I'm never surprised when we get a stupid answer. If I had my way I'd use a genetic algorithm to develop the tire model, they are robust and efficient and fun to write. Matlab gives you all the tools.The guy who wrote LapSim could knock this lot over in a weekend.

Of course you could just look at the data and start to pick off the most important numbers - linear range cornering stiffness and max mu would fall out very quickly.

Mind you a chief engineer once pointed out that he'd never seen anyone extract as much from a few tests as me. Knowing him, I doubt it was a compliment.



#12 Magoo

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 13:30

Just because drivers don't like it doesn't make it a problem. If the tire's character is consistent, it will eventually become coherent. It's only a matter of time.

In motor racing, expertise and execution write the script. This season has been less scripted than some others. This is a bad thing?

#13 munks

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 17:22

The manufacturers (or at least Goodyear and Michelin) have very good non linear finite element models of tires. They are enormous. But i do not know if they can be used to predict wear, or ultimate grip.


I believe the F1 teams can measure whatever they want at track tests, but they're not allowed to take tires home because the manufacturer(s) is afraid they'll get cut apart and have their construction and composition analyzed by competitors. So as far as I know, Pirelli shows up to a test or race with X tires and at the end takes X tires back with them to be destroyed.

The F1 teams write their own tire models that include thermodynamics in order to predict the wear and grip. I'm not confident what the underlying method is (other than it's not Pacejka), but they're fast enough to run in realtime on modern PCs for driver-in-the-loop simulations.

The question as to whether those models are good enough ... well I think you can tell from this season that predicting how rubber changes through heat cycles and so forth is still not well understood. Regardless of what Paul Hembrey says, I'm not even sure if the manufacturers know much better.

#14 desmo

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 20:15

Are there any known 'tire gurus' in F1 or does such a thing even exist? I'd think having someone on staff on your team who has worked designing and making racing tires at the top level and presumably understands everything there is that is understood would be nearly as important as having a crack aero guy. When I get my F1 team I'm stealing away the best tire engineer that can be bought/poached, whatever that costs, and having him weigh in on any design or development discussion. And if what he says contradicts the others, probably ignoring the others.

#15 mariner

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 20:24

Are there any known 'tire gurus' in F1 or does such a thing even exist? I'd think having someone on staff on your team who has worked designing and making racing tires at the top level and presumably understands everything there is that is understood would be nearly as important as having a crack aero guy. When I get my F1 team I'm stealing away the best tire engineer that can be bought/poached, whatever that costs, and having him weigh in on any design or development discussion. And if what he says contradicts the others, probably ignoring the others.



I beleive that Nigel Bennet , who was a Lotus engineer in the Lotus 79 ground effects era was from Goodyear or Firestone.

In one interview he describes Colin Chapman helping design a new tread pattern on a bit of scrap paper - simple days!

#16 benrapp

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 07:16

I thought one of the main issues with these Pirellis was their sensitivity to track temperature? Certainly it seems that teams' ability to "switch on" their tyres seems to vary from race to race; this could also relate to track surface as well, I suppose.

#17 Greg Locock

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 07:22

I believe the F1 teams can measure whatever they want at track tests, but they're not allowed to take tires home because the manufacturer(s) is afraid they'll get cut apart and have their construction and composition analyzed by competitors. So as far as I know, Pirelli shows up to a test or race with X tires and at the end takes X tires back with them to be destroyed.


Well OK then, why aren't they measuring what's going on? Or is this just a mountain out of a molehill created by some driver suit insert's random post-race comment?

#18 Canuck

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 20:00

...some driver suit insert's...

Pure awesome that is.

#19 saudoso

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 22:34

I've read an interesting suggestion: That M$ is bashing Pirelli to make Bridgestone look good. For the sake of their very favourable (to him Micheal) past relationship.

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#20 Wolf

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 23:40

Pure awesome that is.


I think we never accepted anything less from Greg.;) I still remember (as if it was ages ago) coming out with college education without a moments doubt of tangible existence of so-called centrifugal force, and Mr. Locock with a single remark, made me rethink all of that... It took me several days to get my head around finer points of 'newly discovered' reality (I still like to occasionally brag about it), but it still reminds me that listening always pays off, esp. to what Greg has to say.

Greg, I don't think it's as simple as drivers shooting their mouths off- my uneducated™ guess is that it partially lies between inconsistent tyre performance (just from Mercedes team- first race: too much wear, second race: not enough temperature in the tyres; third race. win; fourth, fifth and sixth: same pattern; if there was consistency in tyre performance they would've clung to it and remained in 'sweet spot' they found*) and some sort of problem with striking a balance between constant tyre degradation when driven 'at speed' and laptimes. I clearly remember Raikonen/Lotus example from few races back- he overdid his braking in closing stages of a race (I wouldn't have called it a serious lockup that would cause a flat-spot), whereupon his tyres degraded completely cusing him to lose several seconds a lap and ultimately dropping from fourth to something like twelfth position. This causes both teams and drivers to err on the side of caution- but I would think that to my untarined™ eye tyres seem to have too narrow operating window and severe problems when heated/pushed too much. It's not like the teams don't know what to do to get the tyres to heat or run cooler, but that they can't know how close they can get to it and whether the tyres they're running on are close to the spec of tyres they were running in last stint.

* same, if not worse goes for McLaren who seem to regularly oscillate between podiums and lower midfield (say, 15-18th position); pretty much the same goes for Red Bull (as Mercedes- wins to barely making it into top 10), and Ferrari seem to oscillate less than them but seem lacking the outright pace other teams occasionally show...

What is most curious, is people acting as if it was teams/engineers fault- few years back, in days of Michelin/Bridgestone tyre wars everybody seemed to know how to extract maximum from their tyres and utilize their tyre's advantage over competitors running on other brand's; in Bridgestone solo years we've never seen such oscillations in team's/driver's performance and such slow FL vs. qual performance... but all of the sudden, people are assuming teams/engineers have lost it, and that the top teams' engineers have unlearned all they have been demonstrating in previous years and none can get a consistent performance from their car/tyre combo. I wouldn't call it impossible, but it does seem highly improbable.

#21 munks

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 01:06

Well OK then, why aren't they measuring what's going on?


I'm pretty sure they do for basic force/moment response at different pressures and temperatures, against which they validate their internal models. But my opinion is that wear and degradation is another animal and I don't personally know how they deal with the changing results during a test day.

Or is this just a mountain out of a molehill created by some driver suit insert's random post-race comment?


Heh. That and the six different winners in six races.

Personally, I think it may be down to weather prediction. The tire compound is particularly sensitive to temperature, and with parc ferme rules I don't think you can change much of your setup (except I guess tire pressures) between qualifying and race, so you have to guess how hot the track will be in 24 hours. If you get it wrong, you're screwed.

EDIT: One more point, in the 'wild speculation' department:

Hembrey says the temperature-sensitivity is the same as last year, but that the temperatures are a bit higher. Recall that the blown diffusers are banned, which may cause a couple effects ... obviously the rear has less DF but some of the blown diffusers were apparently helping heat the rear tires last year. Now they don't have that ability, and perhaps some temperature-tuning power was lost?


Edited by munks, 29 May 2012 - 01:13.


#22 GreenMachine

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:59

Well OK then, why aren't they measuring what's going on?


Interesting comment in the last GP - apparently Red Bull are monitoring slip angle during the race. How would they do that?

#23 Greg Locock

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 06:34

From memory ( I don't get to see the raw data just the results) rear slip angle= vehicle yaw, which you get from some combination of a differential GPS sensor (no I don't know how it works) a gyro and accelerometers. Or a camera (Correvit or whatever). front slip angle = rear slip angle+SWA/steering ratio.



#24 Magoo

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 07:00

Interesting comment in the last GP - apparently Red Bull are monitoring slip angle during the race. How would they do that?


Old hat. Trade gear:

http://www.corrsys-d...cal_sensors.htm

#25 Magoo

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 07:04

It's the driver's job to complain about the tars. It's written into his contract along with moral turpitude, number of personal appearances, etc.

#26 Paolo

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 12:26

I think Schumi might be right.

Let's try a reasoning by limit. Let's imagine we have ultra ultra ultra soft tyres, single lap stuff as in early 80's.

Suppose we have them for the race. If driven properly, these tyres will give real performance for 1 lap and maybe last another 5 before dechappage.

To conserve them for 300 Km they should be driven so slow that any highway motorist could take the bends at the same speed as Alonso.

The limit would be so low that it would actually become impossible to tell a driver from another: anyone would have the skills and confidence to take every bend at the same (touring) speed.

So, there is a threshold where tyre degradation negates driver talent.

Could be that Pirellis are now too near to that threshold.

Edited by Paolo, 29 May 2012 - 12:26.


#27 GreenMachine

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 12:34

Thanks Greg, Magoo.

#28 Tony Matthews

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 15:14

moral turpitude

They don't make moral turpitude like they used to...

#29 hogits2

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 15:51

They don't make moral turpitude like they used to...


Is it amoral now?

#30 Greg Locock

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 22:30

Incidentally here's some more instrumentation

wheel force transducer (these are for a truck)

http://www.pcb.com/a..._Transducer.asp

I haven't been allowed to play with them for vehicle dynamics work, but they are great. You can't race with them as they are heavy, soft, and fragile. And they used to be a million bucks a set.

If you just wanted to monitor your tires they are overkill, you just ned to strain gauge the suspension arms for Fx and Fy which weighs nothing.

Edited by Greg Locock, 30 May 2012 - 03:45.


#31 mariner

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 08:53

I've been trying to think a bit more about this without any knowledge or data(!).

The drivers are bound to moan, its how they keep their confidence up when losing. That doesn't mean its not a real problem though. It may well be like the tyre shake of the 1970's , a serious problem which will get fully fixed by mid season . We shall see.

The F! problem is tyres which seem very changable but the F1 good news is that the tracks don't cahnge all the time ( rain excluded).. There are other forms of motorsport ( yes, there really are other forms) where the tyres stay constant but the track definitely changes and the teams live with that despite having no real instrumentation, only experience to help adjust.

The forms are drag racing and dirt oval/sprint cars.

In drag racing the crew chiefs obsess about track temperature and condition as this changes as does the weather. So they have to assess the track for each run and decide how much to pre set the clutch lock up by setting the "cannon" timing. Getting that right is totally critical to a good hook up and fast run. IIRC they can't actually data acquire the track in NHRA but I beleive that in European FIA drag racing one team sends a data collection trolley down the track to get he best info pre run.

In both Drag racing and Sprintcars the tyres hardly ever change as it is a strictly commercial business but the dirt tracks themselves definitely do change. The track is a mix of " clay" and additives and is prepared for each days racing by watering and rolling. Each operator is likely to be slighlty different and the weather has an effect too. In addition the track gets cut up a lot during the evening.

Adjusting the car to the changing track conditions during the night is an essential part of the skills of both sprintcar drivers and crew chiefs and they do it every race without any data acquisition gear. Obviously they learning proces has been going on for many years and relies on accumulated know-how more than science but constant changes in the tyre/ track interface are a key driver of sprint car speeds.

So , if the "dumb ole boys" of sprint cars and the data collection limited guys of drag racing can cope with very variable tyre/ track interface grip I am sure F1 will as well given time.

If not maybe theres a new carer for Steve Kinser as an F1 consultant!!

#32 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 05:23

I've been trying to think a bit more about this without any knowledge or data(!).

The drivers are bound to moan, its how they keep their confidence up when losing. That doesn't mean its not a real problem though. It may well be like the tyre shake of the 1970's , a serious problem which will get fully fixed by mid season . We shall see.

The F! problem is tyres which seem very changable but the F1 good news is that the tracks don't cahnge all the time ( rain excluded).. There are other forms of motorsport ( yes, there really are other forms) where the tyres stay constant but the track definitely changes and the teams live with that despite having no real instrumentation, only experience to help adjust.

The forms are drag racing and dirt oval/sprint cars.

In drag racing the crew chiefs obsess about track temperature and condition as this changes as does the weather. So they have to assess the track for each run and decide how much to pre set the clutch lock up by setting the "cannon" timing. Getting that right is totally critical to a good hook up and fast run. IIRC they can't actually data acquire the track in NHRA but I beleive that in European FIA drag racing one team sends a data collection trolley down the track to get he best info pre run.

In both Drag racing and Sprintcars the tyres hardly ever change as it is a strictly commercial business but the dirt tracks themselves definitely do change. The track is a mix of " clay" and additives and is prepared for each days racing by watering and rolling. Each operator is likely to be slighlty different and the weather has an effect too. In addition the track gets cut up a lot during the evening.

Adjusting the car to the changing track conditions during the night is an essential part of the skills of both sprintcar drivers and crew chiefs and they do it every race without any data acquisition gear. Obviously they learning proces has been going on for many years and relies on accumulated know-how more than science but constant changes in the tyre/ track interface are a key driver of sprint car speeds.

So , if the "dumb ole boys" of sprint cars and the data collection limited guys of drag racing can cope with very variable tyre/ track interface grip I am sure F1 will as well given time.

If not maybe theres a new carer for Steve Kinser as an F1 consultant!!

I have seen Steve checking the track before a feature race. Him and his competitors stand on the track just before their race [especially if the grader is out ] and dig their heels into the track. But they only have to work out what compound tyres and shock and bar settings. And make ONE tyre work for the race instead of some stupid tyre that is generally good for a few laps.
The drag racers get it wrong too often. And they generally only have one tyre compound to worry about. Just have to make that work within the heat and air parameters.

I personally think this current tyre situation is dumb,and very poor return for Pirelli as a manufacturer.
Make 2 0r 3 compounds and let the teams work out which they want to use, and wether they want to do multiple stops or none.Play tortoise and hare. The smartest team and manager may well win then instead of this contrived crap we have currently.

Edited by Lee Nicolle, 03 June 2012 - 08:02.


#33 Kalmake

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 18:44

I personally think this current tyre situation is dumb,and very poor return for Pirelli as a manufacturer.
Make 2 0r 3 compounds and let the teams work out which they want to use, and wether they want to do multiple stops or none.Play tortoise and hare. The smartest team and manager may well win then instead of this contrived crap we have currently.


I think Pirelli has suggested to the teams free compound choice and extra sets for qualifying, but they don't want it.

Pirelli boss has to be vocal in the media all the time to try and make explain the strange situation. I don't think it helps much though. Most people will just see it as Pirelli failing to make tires last.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the next contract. Maybe the teams will have to "tolerate" more durable tires or they will have none.


All the fuss with tires is overshadowing the fact that F1 this year is more like a spec series than ever before. No more diffuser tricks which set some teams apart for couple of years. Car performance is so close now that it comes down to getting the setup right for each race, rather than having a superior car design. Closer the field, more mixed the results.

#34 Paolo

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 13:06

Pirelli boss has to be vocal in the media all the time to try and make explain the strange situation. I don't think it helps much though. Most people will just see it as Pirelli failing to make tires last.



That sent me wondering. I am an engineer, perfectly aware of FIA requests, Rally history and all, yet when I think "Pirelli" my subconscious screams "CRAP!". Definitely not a good investment for them.

#35 Greg Locock

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 01:01

That sent me wondering. I am an engineer, perfectly aware of FIA requests, Rally history and all, yet when I think "Pirelli" my subconscious screams "CRAP!". Definitely not a good investment for them.

Yes, it is a double edged sword. FWIW my favourite tires were some Yokohamas, some Pirellis, some Contis. My favorite manufacturer from a design perspective is Michelin, and the most fun to deal with in terms of reps were Michelin a long time ago and Goodyear these days.

#36 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:33

I think Pirelli has suggested to the teams free compound choice and extra sets for qualifying, but they don't want it.

Pirelli boss has to be vocal in the media all the time to try and make explain the strange situation. I don't think it helps much though. Most people will just see it as Pirelli failing to make tires last.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the next contract. Maybe the teams will have to "tolerate" more durable tires or they will have none.


All the fuss with tires is overshadowing the fact that F1 this year is more like a spec series than ever before. No more diffuser tricks which set some teams apart for couple of years. Car performance is so close now that it comes down to getting the setup right for each race, rather than having a superior car design. Closer the field, more mixed the results.

Qualifying tyres really should be out. A soft tyre that works for 25 laps though should be in. As well as a tyre that will do the whole race.
Even then some teams will get more performance out of one tyre or the other and it will be different on different tracks and weather conditions.
If they a a soft, medium and hard the hard will be great on abrasive tracks and hot days. Conversely the soft should be durable enougfh for a one stopper on a low grip circuit and or cold weather.
Not rocket science, Pirrelli would save millions on manufacturing costs and the teams know the tyre parameters from the start of the season.
A good midfield car with a smart driver and crew should get regular podiums with the above tyres.
Mclaren currently will be where they are now!!

#37 TC3000

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 19:56

Well OK then, why aren't they measuring what's going on?


I think some/most(?) do/try to do it as good as they can.
But they can't do it at all tracks, do to limitations in track testing / track time at events

Something like a "Kistler Wheel" on an F1 car

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