Pirelli, FIA issue guidelines on tire settings for German GP

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Following the GPDA’s threat to boycott the German Grand Prix if the new tires were not deemed to be safe, Pirelli and the FIA have acted swiftly to issue guidelines that should aid the conditions that the tires are in, looking to prevent a repeat of the blowouts at Silverstone last weekend.

The FIA statement reads:

“For safety reasons, we have been asked by Pirelli to ensure that the tires on all cars are run under the conditions listed below. It will be the responsibility of each team to satisfy the FIA technical delegate that their cars comply with the following requirements at all tiems:

1) Minimum starting pressure front and rear: 16 psi
2) Minimum stabilized running pressure front: 20 psi
3) Minimum stabilized running pressure rear: 19 psi
4) Maximum negative EOS camber front: 4.0 degrees
5) Maximum negative EOS camber rear: 2.5 degrees
6) Front and rear tires must be used on the side of the car for which they were originally designated (no swapping from side-to-side).
7) The blanket strategies must be observed.”

Perhaps the stand-out procedure here is point six, forbidding the swapping of tire location. Previously, teams would run the left-front tire on the right-front of the car in order to improve the durability of the tire, but Pirelli had cited this as being a possible reason for the fiasco that ensued at the British Grand Prix last weekend.

Furthermore, the imposition of such guidelines will only increase concerns that the tires may not be 100% safe, although a lot will be learnt during the first free practice session on Friday morning.

F1 2017 driver review: Sebastian Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 5
Races: 20
Wins: 5
Podiums (excluding wins): 8
Pole Positions: 4
Fastest Laps: 5
Points: 317
Laps Led: 286
Championship Position: 2nd

2017 was supposed to be the year Sebastian Vettel finally fulfilled his ambition of emulating Michael Schumacher by returning Ferrari to its championship-winning heyday.

Instead, it ended in disappointment and frustration – once again.

Ferrari arguably made a greater step across the change in technical regulations for 2017 than any other team, living up to its pre-season tag as favorite by winning the opening round in Australia in fashion.

Vettel and Ferrari led their respective championships following the Monaco Grand Prix as the German ended a 16-year win drought for the Prancing Horse in the principality, and even heading into the summer break, a shot at both championships was looking good.

However, cracks had started to appear. Vettel’s remarkable antics behind the safety car in Baku sparked controversy after driving into Hamilton, suggesting the tension of the title fight was beginning to take its toll on the German.

The final run of flyaways was where things really fell apart for Vettel, though. Singapore looked to be a slam-dunk win, only for a start-line crash also involving teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen to put 25 free points in Hamilton’s pocket.

Reliability woes then struck in Malaysia and Japan – two more races Vettel could realistically have won – to make it game over in the title race, with Hamilton wrapping things up in Mexico.

Vettel only finished the year 46 points back from Hamilton, proving the impact the three bad races in Asia had. Realistically, this was a title race that should have gone down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Instead, Vettel remains a four-time champion, level with Hamilton, who had just one to his name back in 2013 when his rival secured his fourth.

Ferrari’s internal issues will come under the microscope over the off-season, and Vettel himself knows there is plenty to work on. Staying cool under pressure and not letting things boil over as in Baku is the most obvious area for improvement.

But there is reason for hope. If Ferrari can keep up with Mercedes and repeat its impressive step into 2017 through the upcoming off-season, we may well be treated to another Vettel/Hamilton scrap at the front of the field, perhaps settling once and for all who is the greatest driver of the post-Schumacher era.

Season High: A crucial win in Hungary despite battling with a broken steering column.

Season Low: Letting tensions flare in Baku and hitting Hamilton behind the safety car.