No cause for concern over 2013 tires, say Pirelli

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Pirelli do not believe the high levels of tire degradation seen in testing will be repeated in the races.

F1’s official tire supplier has produced a softer range of compounds for the 2013 season. During testing some drivers have reported only being able to turn one quick lap before the rubber starts to degrade.

But Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said this was a common problem in testing due to track temperatures being lower than they are during race weekends:

“The last test at Barcelona was affected by bad weather, which meant that we experienced more degradation than usual due to the tires not being able to operate within their intended working range.

“Hopefully this time we will find conditions that are slightly more representative, which will allow the teams to collect more relevant data.”

The final four-day test begins at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, tomorrow. Teams will have access to Pirelli’s full range of tires including the four dry weather compounds: hard, medium, soft and super-soft.

The medium, soft and super-soft tires retain the same colorings as last year: white, yellow and red respectively. The new hard tire has orange markings.

As well as producing softer tires  Pirelli are choosing softer tires from their range for some of the races. For the season-opener at Melbourne drivers will have the medium and super-soft tires  That’s a stage softer than Pirelli supplied for the same race on its return to F1 two years ago, when the hard and soft tires were used.

Pirelli expect most races will feature two or three pit stops per driver in 2013.

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

Carb Day: Tony Kanaan is fastest in final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500

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Tony Kanaan wants to put legendary driver and team owner A.J. Foyt back into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan took a big step toward achieving that goal in Friday’s final practice for Sunday’s 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

Kanaan was fastest of the 33-driver field, with a best lap around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval at 227.791 mph, more than 2 mph faster than the second-fastest driver, Kanaan’s former teammate, Scott Dixon (225.684 mph).

Foyt won a record-tying four Indy 500’s as a driver. It’s been nearly 20 years since he also won as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack behind the wheel.

Marco Andretti was third-fastest (225.200 mph), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (224.815), Charlie Kimball (224.712), 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (224.083), Will Power (223.942), Danica Patrick (223.653), Spencer Pigot (223.584) and Ed Jones (223.556).

Other notable driver speeds included:

* Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th fastest (223.219 mph).

* Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden was 15th (223.186 mph).

* Helio Castroneves, hoping to earn a record-tying fourth 500 win, was 17th (222.913 mph).

* Graham Rahal was 21st (222.526).

* Former 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was 26th (221.916 mph), followed by rookie Robert Wickens (221.821 mph), carrying the mantle for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with James Hinchcliffe having failed to qualify for the race.

* The biggest surprise was 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who was 32nd fastest (221.374 mph).

We’ll have the full speed grid, as well as full driver quotes, shortly. Please check back soon.

Follow @JerryBonkowski