Tyre management still key in 2014, according to F1 drivers
|By Ben Anderson||Tuesday, February 25th 2014, 16:33 GMT|
Tyre management will be a crucial part of Formula 1 races in 2014, according to some drivers.
The sport has undergone a massive regulation overhaul for this season, replacing normally aspirated V8 engines with smaller capacity, turbocharged V6s, and the rules include a more stringent fuel limit of 100 litres - down from 150l in 2013 - for each race.
Pirelli has also introduced harder compounds of tyres for this year, and much of the focus is expected to shift from drivers carefully managing tyre wear to saving fuel efficiently across a race distance.
But Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, who completed more than 170 laps of running during the recent pre-season test in Bahrain, reckons tyre management will be more important than in recent seasons.
"I think this year is going to be more difficult to manage the tyres, even though they are a little bit harder," said Bottas.
"I think with more torque you need to be more careful with the throttle pedal. It's quite easy to break the traction and that way put temperature through the surface of the tyre.
"That is going to be a bit more tricky, and still the conditions are quite cool, so I think managing tyres will be more critical than last year."
Force India returnee Nico Hulkenberg, who set the fastest time on the opening day of the Bahrain test, agrees the torque of the new engines will make it difficult to protect the rear tyres.
"It's certainly very easy to achieve [wheelspin]," he said.
"You can do it quite easily and I've had instances of that on the straights, or doing double wheelspin and pulling black marks for 100 metres out of slow corners, which is quite fun but not exactly good for performance.
"The tyres are pretty tricky to handle in terms of degradation. It's easy to spin up the rear and degrade them, so I can see that being a bit of a challenge."
Bottas says the combination of needing to protect the tyres and save enough fuel to make it to the end of the race, all while battling for track position, will make F1 a real challenge for drivers this year.
"For keeping within the fuel limit Bahrain is actually one of the more difficult," he added.
"I feel I've improved a lot with the different fuel saving techniques to be as efficient as possible.
"From the driver's point of view, saving fuel without losing too much lap time will be very important this year. It's not only going to be the tyres to manage.
"Of course we have some computers to help us, but it in the end it's up to the driver to save the fuel without losing the lap time."