Tag Archives: Chinese GP

Outboard mirrors to be banned

Outboard wing mirrors, seen here on last year's Ferrari F60

Outboard wing mirrors, seen here on last year's Ferrari F60

It has been announced that outboard mirrors are to be banned from the Chinese Grand Prix onwards, due to safety concerns.

There were several complaints during the Australian Grand Prix weekend about drivers holding each other up. This was mainly because the drivers were unable to look in their mirrors without taking their eyes off the road. For example, the first corner collision between Alonso and Button could have been avoided if the Spaniard had been able to look behind him and see that Button had already taken the inside line.

Many teams were using the outboard mirrors in their cars, such as Ferrari, Red Bull, Force India, Sauber, Williams and HRT. McLaren used them in practice in Australia, but took them off in time for qualifying.

Now, from China onwards, the mirrors will have to be fitted on the cockpit side for safety reasons. Oddly enough, while most drivers didn’t like the design, Felipe Massa claims he has no problem with outboard mirrors:

"I have no problem with my visibility. So, if it is the same I prefer to keep
what I have, but we will see how it is going to be. I hope we don't lose
anything moving the mirrors from one side to the other."

It’s good to see safety be put first, like I was talking about a few days ago. Obviously this rule change couldn’t be put in for this weekend, since it is too close to make the full changes this late.

The thing is, this is the second rule change already this year, because of teams exploiting the rules. The first was closing the loophole on diffuer starter motors, before Australia.

Bridgestone announce tyre compounds for next 4 races

Bridgestone tyres

Bridgestone tyres

Bridgestone have announced the tyre compounds that they will bring to the next 4 races after Australia and Malaysia.

For all of these 4 Grands Prix, there will be one compound step in between the two that are brought. In the cases of China, Spain and Turkey, Bridgestone will be supplying hard and soft compounds. However, for the first time, the cars in Monaco will use the medium tyres, as well as the super-softs.

Clearly by putting in a compound step, Bridgestone are trying to increase the difference in performance between the two tyres, and thereby improve the racing. The problem lies in that the harder of the two tyre compounds can mostly be used for a large portion of the race, without dangerous amounts of wear.

There are two main solutions here. One, suggested by many, is to make the harder tyres less durable, so there would be more of a variety in tyre strategy. This makes sense in theory, but it is a monumental waste of tyres when you consider that Bridgestone are trying to be environmentally friendly.

The other solution, one that I think would be much better, is to bring in the old 2005 rule of using one set of tyres for the entire race. This would significantly improve Formula 1′s environmental record, as well as clear up the problem of changes in car performance across the race because of tyre compounds. Of course, a pit stop would be available for an instance of extreme and dangerous tyre wear.

Here is the table for tyre compounds used already, and for the next few races:

Race 2009 compounds 2010 compounds
Bahrain Medium/Super-soft Medium/Super-soft
Australia Medium/Super-soft Hard/Soft
Malaysia Hard/Soft Hard/Soft
China Medium/Super-soft Hard/Soft
Spain Hard/Soft Hard/Soft
Monaco Medium/Super-soft Medium/Super-soft
Turkey Hard/Soft Hard/Soft
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