F1: 'FRIC' Ban May End Merc Dominance, Pirelli Proposes Low-profile Tyre: Video

TMR Team | Jul 10, 2014

If the latest developments are any indication, Mercedes' F1 dominance this year might not last for too long.

Last year, we reported that a secret under the skin of the silver car is 'Fric' -- standing for 'front and rear interconnected'.

Emulating active suspension, the system is now widespread up and down the pitlane, but the FIA's Charlie Whiting has sent a letter to teams warning that Fric's legality "could be called into question".

An immediate ban is reportedly on the cards. And that is not all.

The Spanish sports newspaper Marca reports that the FIA is also considering clamping down on the rate and flow of hybrid power from the new 2014 'power units'.

A source was quoted as saying that while the actual combustion engines produced by Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault this year are remarkably close in performance, the big advantage enjoyed by Mercedes is in the 'hybrid' areas.

The source said Mercedes' advantage could be as much as "between 110 to 130 horse power on the straights".

Finally, Mercedes could be set to lose a first-lap advantage over its rivals, after Williams' Felipe Massa complained about the behaviour of the silver cars on the formation lap at Silverstone.

"I had to stop twice, pulling in the clutch," the Brazilian is quoted by Spain's sports daily AS.

"They're doing it (driving slowly) for some reason. We always complain, and Charlie said he was going to fix it, but no one has been penalised yet," Massa added.

(GMM)

Pirelli Proposes New 18-inch Low-Profile Tyre

F1 got a glimpse into the future on Tuesday, when Pirelli released images of its low-profile, 18-inch concept tyre.

For years, the sport has stuck with what Williams' Pat Symonds recently described as "rather old-fashioned" 13-inch tyres, while rival categories like Le Mans and even Formula E race into the future with more modern profiles.

But on Wednesday at the Silverstone test, Lotus test driver Charles Pic will be in charge of a prototype Pirelli 18-inch tyre.

On Tuesday, F1's official tyre supplier revealed a computer-generated glimpse and photos of what it looks like.

Earlier in 2014, Symonds said 18-inch tyres could be a way for F1 to push ahead with a ban on expensive tyre warmers.

"If we had a lower profile tyre with a stiffer sidewall and a lower-volume air cavity," he said, "it would certainly be much easier to manage."

But Pirelli's Paul Hembery said this week's 18-inch prototype test is more about simply showing fans what a modern tyre looks like on a formula one car.

"It's not in the regulations," he warned. "It's not going to happen for two or three years, so it's part of enabling people to understand what it would do for the look of the car.

"We will have to make some minor changes to the car to enable us to do it, but we thought it would be a worthwhile exercise, because everybody has talked about it but it's not something anyone has seen," Hembery added.

No home win target for Vettel in 2014

Sebastian Vettel is targeting a podium finish at his home race next weekend.

The German has had a difficult first half to 2014 in the wake of his four consecutive drivers' titles, and last weekend was beaten yet again by Red Bull newcomer Daniel Ricciardo.

Asked how he dealt with the latest setback at Silverstone, world champion Vettel joked: "I had a refreshing shave this morning."

The 27-year-old was talking at an event for his sponsor, the shaving brand Braun.

"On Monday you're a little down, on Tuesday you're a bit better," Vettel smiled.

He played down the likelihood of a victory at Hockenheim next weekend.

"Mercedes is in a very, very strong position," said Vettel, "but the podium is the target."

Asked if he is struggling to deal with the situation in the context of his earlier successes, he insisted: "There is no reason not to be motivated.

"You cannot always be the best. But you can do your best. Others have just done a better job than we have."

Vettel said Red Bull is working hard to return to the top.

"It will be a lot of little steps, not just a big one," he explained. "It's obviously hard work, but then it feels even better when you succeed."

(GMM)

Rosberg hits back at Hamilton's 'not German' attack

Nico Rosberg has hit back at his teammate Lewis Hamilton, after the Briton said next weekend's German grand prix is "not really his home race".

F1 now heads from Hamilton's home turf at Silverstone to Hockenheim, where German-born Rosberg might expect similar levels of local support.

Not so, Hamilton told reporters, because Germany is "not really his home race" as Rosberg has a Finnish father and he grew up and still lives in Monaco.

"What a stupid and unnecessary attack by Hamilton," said the major German daily Bild.

Also in reaction, Sport Bild published a huge colour photograph of Rosberg's face decorated with painted German flags.

On Facebook, meanwhile, big football fan Rosberg celebrated Germany's 7-1 win over Brazil in the world cup semi-final by posting a photo of himself in a room littered with Germany-themed flags and memorabilia.

And when asked about Hamilton's comments after testing at Silverstone on Tuesday, Rosberg said: "Anyone can judge however they want.

"What do you want me to say?"

He admitted he might not be as German as Hamilton is British "because I didn't grow up in Germany, but I consider myself 100 per cent German."

(GMM)

Whiting slams Lauda for race delay criticism

F1 race director Charlie Whiting has hit back at Niki Lauda, after the Mercedes team chairman slammed as "ridiculous" the delayed British grand prix.

"The chances of it happening again are zero," F1 legend Lauda said as Silverstone track workers were ordered to replace armco fencing damaged by Kimi Raikkonen's crash.

The repairs took an hour.

"They (the FIA) take care of every little detail and a lot of people will switch the television off," triple world champion Lauda added.

The great Austrian said that because the chance of an identical incident was "zero", a better solution would have been to quickly drag a tyre barrier in front of the damaged armco.

Asked if Lauda has a point, the FIA's Whiting insisted: "Absolutely not.

"Niki's comment was not very helpful, because he has shown that he knows nothing about safety," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"It is ridiculous to say that an accident at the same spot will not occur.

"If we had said after Felipe Massa's accident in 2009 that a spring will never again hit a driver's head, then there would not have been the campaign for stronger visors.

"It should also be mentioned that Kimi emerged basically unhurt from this massive accident, which is proof of how much has been done for the safety of the cars in recent years," added Whiting.

Where Whiting does agree with Lauda, however, is in criticising the Finn for crashing in the first place.

"It would have been better," said the Briton, "if Kimi was a little more cautious in cutting back onto the track."

He denied that Silverstone is to blame for the uneven area of grass that unsettled the Ferrari.

"This is a problem at every circuit," said Whiting. "It is impossible to make these grass surfaces perfectly even with the track or the curbs.

"The drivers should be advised that, in future, they should return to the track at a reasonable speed."

(GMM)

MORE: F1 News and Reports

Filed under: f1, Racing, lewis hamilton, Nico Rosberg, mercedes f1, PIRELLI, News, motorsport, enthusiast

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  • markwa says,
    20 days ago
    "Earlier in 2014, Symonds said 18-inch tyres could be a way for F1 to push ahead with a ban on expensive tyre warmers."

    F1 sure has had many dumb-ass rule changes over the years but a ban on expensive tyre warmers? lol are they for real? I think if a team can't afford tyre warmers they should not be in F1 for a start and all teams already have invested in the tech so what a stupid backwards rule change if they go ahead with it. Also a huge safety issue and I am sure one crash due to cold tyres would eat up any saving made by banning tyre warmers.
  • Oti says,
    20 days ago
    This is a bit rough, why should the teams be innovative and push the boundaries when they're just likely to be squashed by rule changes?
  • hammer
    Hammer says,
    19 days ago
    Bring them in! Bigger wheels could mean bigger brakes. Now they'll probably stop on a dime.

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