Tires to create more unpredictability in 2013

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Formula One looks set for a repeat of last year’s start to the season as teams struggle to get to grips with the latest generation of F1 tires.

Pirelli, the official F1 tire supplier, has produced a softer range of compounds this year in a bid to increase the teams’ strategic options during the races.

After 12 days of testing, much of which was conducted in conditions that are far cooler than is typically seen in races, teams are still scratching their heads over the tires.

“All the teams, ourselves included, will still have a lot to learn about the tires in Melbourne,” said Ferrari technical director Pay Fry. “The performance and the degradation of the tires will be the determining factor in establishing how competitive everyone is.”

Toro Rosso’s head of vehicle performance Laurent Mekies added: “Getting a full understanding of how the new rubber works is something that will take longer than we had expected.”

Last year seven different drivers won the first seven races as teams found tire performance hard to predict. While drivers doubt a repeat of that situation is on the cards, the tires are expected to add some unpredictability to what looks like a very closely-matched field.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said they expect to hit their target for increasing the number of pit stops at each race:

“As this was the final test session, it was useful for the teams to have the opportunity to run through every tire in the range as they complete their preparations.

“Now we’re looking forward to getting to Australia, where our tires will be able to function properly within their working range, and we hope to see an exciting race with between two and three pit stops per car.”

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic. Follow F1 Fanatic on Twitter.

Have a decent tax refund coming? Buy Ayrton Senna’s 1993 Monaco-winning car

Photos courtesy Bonhams
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Are you expecting a better than normal tax refund? Did you get a very nice bonus from your company due to the new tax cut?

Well, if you have a good chunk of change hanging around and potentially can be in Monaco on May 11, you can have a chance to bid on the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A that the late Ayrton Senna drove in — and won — that year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

We’re not just talking about any race winner. It’s also the same car Senna won his sixth Monaco Grand Prix, and the chassis bears the number six.

It’s also the same car Senna piloted to that season’s F1 championship (his third and final title before sadly being killed the next year) and is the first McLaren driven by Senna that’s ever been sold or put up for auction.

The famed Bonhams auction house is overseeing the sale of the car.

“Any Grand Prix-winning car is important, but to have the golden combination of both Senna and Monaco is a seriously rare privilege indeed,” Bonhams global head of motorsport, Mark Osborne, told The Robb Report.

“Senna and Monaco are historically intertwined, and this car represents the culmination of his achievements at the Monegasque track. This is one of the most significant Grand Prix cars ever to appear at auction, and is certainly the most significant Grand Prix car to be offered since the Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196R, which sold for a world record at auction.”

How much might you need? You might want to get a couple of friends to throw in a few bucks as well.

“We expect the car to achieve a considerable seven-figure sum,” Osborne said.

The London newspaper “The Telegraph” predicts the car will sell in the $6.1 million range.”

“This car will set the world record for a Senna car at auction,” Osborne said. “We are as certain as you can be in the auction world.”

While you won’t be able to take the car for a test drive before the auction, it’ll be ready to roar once you pay the price.

“In theory, the buyer could be racing immediately upon receipt of the cleared funds after the auction,” Osborne said. “All systems are primed and ready.”