Four-stop races “is too much”, says Horner

2013 Spanish Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Circuit de Cataunya, Barcelona, 2013Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the Spanish Grand Prix showed the current generation of tyres are too aggressive.

Asked if having four pit stops per car in a race was excessive Horner said: “I think for the fans it is too much.”

“It’s difficult enough when you’ve got all the information on your computers and all the strategy tools. I think it does get too confusing. And I think three is the absolute limit.”

Horner has been among the critics of the current tyres this year. Pirelli responded to complaints about their compounds by bringing more durable hard tyres to this weekend’s race.

“We mentioned it earlier in the year, I got lambasted, ‘it’s Red Bull complaining’,” said Horner. “But I’d like you to find a driver in the pit lane that’s really happy with the situation.”

“I think everyone wants to see the drivers going wheel to wheel and racing each other and it not being so much a strategic element to this racing,” he added.

Sebastian Vettel finished fourth after qualifying third. “We?re not going the pace of the car, we?re going the pace of the tyres,” he said.

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Keith Collantine
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61 comments on “Four-stop races “is too much”, says Horner”

  1. I think it’s pretty easy to find someone who’s happy with the situation; Kimi Räikkönen.

    1. i remember in melbourne, only kimi and alonso didn’t face the grainning issues while their teammate were nowhere. Same in China.

      According to Pedro Dela Rosa, Alonso and Kimi are very sensitive on tyres, hence they could change their driving style every lap to look after them.

    2. and Fernando Alonso

    3. +1, agreed. I think there is nothing bad in four-stops races – it’s very interesting to observe such races and look to the team strategies. The thoughts that “four stops is too much” from the head of top team sounds at least like a childish. Spanish race shows that the better benefits from such strategies may obtain Ferrari and Lotus. Ferrari conducted a good team work, Lotus is always on on the ridge similar situations thanks to Kimi and its lightning-fast response to changes in the state of the tires. This may help to create the best pit-stop strategies.

  2. I have to agree with Vettel and disagree with Andrew Benson, who criticizes RBR and Vettel for saying this.
    It is true, though, no doubt about it – the tyres have to be A factor, not THE factor.

  3. I’m not so sure it’s the 4 stops that is the problem, more the fact that nobody is ever really pushing 100%, with lots of different drivers pushing to lots of different levels at different times in the race. It means most passes and differences in pace are pretty much irrelevant.

    F1 needs to look at GP2. The feature race yesterday was superb, and even the slightly dull sprint race this morning was a vast improvement over the farcical bus trip that was the Spanish Grand Prix.

  4. We also had 4 stops in Barcelona in 2011, and 3-4 stops in 2012.

    Today it was the circuit more than the tyres IMO.

    1. @kingshark

      Don’t mention that to Horner, he is trying to get the tyres changed to benefit his team. Not sure it’d help his point.

  5. Horner is starting to sound a lot like di Montezemolo at Ferrari; for Red Bull it’s the tyres, for Ferrari it’s testing. At the end of the day the Red Bull isn’t faster than the other cars if it can only do this by destroying the tyres, so I find Vettel and Webber’s constant moaning a little pointless. Both they and Mercedes need to figure out how they can use the inherent speed they have from an aero/engine point of view, without melting the tyres 3-4 laps quicker than Lotus and Ferrari.
    In terms of the championship todays result was brilliant for a lot of fans, because it was looking like RBR were pulling away again.

  6. Nico Rosberg told Sky Germany´s Tanja Bauer that he was having to go so slow with a fast car in his hands that even she could have managed the times he had to clock… he´s really frustrated.

    1. Rosberg needs to realise his car was built wrong, fast for 1 lap, but not for 76. mercedes need to go back to the drawing board and build a good race car, not a qualifying car. they tested at barcelona at the start of the year, so what is their problem?

  7. We were watching the Pitlanes more than 50% of the race . The Pitlanes were more active than the race track today. If these tire situation persists, I think the TV networks should do Split screen broadcast where they show the race track on one half and the pit lane on the other half because the actions is happening at both the places simultaneously and continuously .

  8. Wins: hails the team

    Fails: complains about tyres.

    1. He’s not far off the mark though, lets be honest ;)

      1. @vettel1 ofc not, but they are never this vocal when they win by miles.

        I mean, Lotus make the tyres last. So they are doing a better job. It’d be unfair to tweak the tyres just because some teams are having such a hard time. After all, both Ferrari and Lotus get the same tyres but finish some 30 seconds ahead.

        So clearly there’s room for improvement.

        1. @fer-no65 true, but as a fan I hate these tyres because nobody is racing! Even if it were Red Bull dominating currently, I’d still hate these tyres. 4 stops is too much…

          1. @vettel1 same here, mate. It’s getting ridiculous.

            I hate people that comment. “i’ve stopped watching races the day something happaned”.

            Well, I turned off the telly after lap 20 in China, and yesterday’s race seemed to take a lot longer than the 1 hour and 40 minutes it took. Not happy at all…

  9. If vettel says they drive to the limit of the tyres not the car why is their a gap between cars? Everyone would finish nose to tail driving to the same delta. some teams limits are better than others so tough luck. ebd led to a worse season than this so far and rb protested so hard when they wanted to change mid year so they should have to wait until next year. the tyres do need to be more durable but knowhere near Bridgestone durable. you cannot change during the season its unfair on ferrari and lotus who are better than rb. i take tyres tyres tyres over exhausts exhausts exhausts.

  10. When will F1 return to the Good ol days when Brawn to come over radio to michael and Say “Michael I need another 7 seconds in the next 5 laps ….Push push push…. ”

    Nowadays it is all slow slow slow ……

    1. Michael push push push your team mate is 20 seconds back in 2nd we can lap the Mclaren in 3rd by half distance.

      Ah the good ol days

    2. ofcourse that sought of call by Brawn to Schumacher was an easily obtainable goal because of the package they had.
      Oh , yeh, the good old days when ferrari had unlimited testing and tyres made specially for them by bridgestone, at the expense of every other competing teams performance, yeh those were great days…

      1. It was obtainable if you were Schumacher. Made me laugh when people would call Brawn a strategy genius. An aggressive strategy only works if you have a driver with the talent to reel off half a dozen consecutive qualifying laps.

        By the way, all the teams had unlimited testing, Ferrari didn’t even have the biggest budget, plus Bridgestone were at a huge disadvantage since they only had one top team testing for them while Michelin had three top teams (McLaren, Williams, Renault).

        That’s how amazing Schumacher was.

    3. Vettel could have won many races in 2011 by over a minute had he chosen.

  11. Couldn’t agree more: I think tyres should definitely play a role as they have made the racing more exciting in general, but when it’s like this it backfires and actually makes the racing worse than it was with indestructible compounds I think. There definitely needs to be a balance struck.

  12. I agree 100% with Mr. Horner. It is the cars and drivers that should be pushed to the limit, but the current tires are preventing that from happening and it is resulting in very boring racing.
    But I also feel strong dislike for these tires for a few other reasons.
    1) As much as I respect the skill level of the mechanics in F1, I still feel that we are seeing them far too much recently. I want the drivers to decided who wins, not the mechanics. It is a team sport, I get that, and if it were up to me I would a graphic at the start of every race showing which mechanic is assigned which part of the car so that they could get more recognition, but at the same time I don’t want them to decided the race. Although sometimes that is unavoidable, they are human after all.
    2) One day these tires are going to pick a very unfortunate time to blow up and cause a major accident. What if Grosjean’s tire had fallen apart going into the first corner of the race? F1 says that they are concerned about driver safety and they have taken many steps since Senna’s death, but as far as I am concerned these tires are a huge step backwards. For the safety of the drivers the tires NEED to be reliable.
    So, that is my rant.

  13. These tyres need to go, we must go back to the 80s when drivers could push the entire race distance. Oh wait… fuel saving. Maybe to the 90s or early 2000s then? Oh wait… processional races, everyone on the same strategy. Guess it’s never perfect.

    1. @kaiie in the 80’s if I’m not mistaken we had drivers trying to only do one stop or not do any. I think if the objective was to do one stop or revert to a two at every race nowadays it’d be near enough the perfect situation (if we got rid of DRS at tracks/places where it really isn’t necessary)!

  14. 4 stops is fine. But having 4 stops and still having to really manage tyres at any point is a bit ridiculous.

    1. Ferrari chose 4 stops this race so they could push and not worry about tyre wear. it worked for them.

      1. Did it work for them? Just about…. I think you’ll find Alonso actually had a puncture going into the final sector coming into his last stint, and had he continued the following lap without pitting, would have suffered a tyre failure like we’ve been seeing on various cars this year. It would have put him out of contention for the race win, and, likly out of the race, since these tyres have a habit of actualy exploding rather than slowly deflating.

        1. Yes it worked for them, 1st and 3rd split only by awesome Kimi.

          Alonso, or any other driver can pick up a puncture on any strategy, it’s a result of driving over a sharp object, not a result of what the tyre strategy happens to be at the time.

          1. Bit niave.

            Bit coincodental that the ‘puncture’ came while he was pushing on the tyres just before his last stop. and when these tyres are pushed, they can explode, we’ve seen this in numerous races with numerous cars this year, its not right, and its not safe.

      2. In relative terms, Alonso could push compared to Raikkonen. But compared to qualifying pace, they were both far away from pushing!

  15. I am more fed up with people complaining about the tyres than the tyres themselves. However i do agree that the rate of degradation is too much. no one wants to see f1 cars doing pedestrian laps times.

    1. which we are not seeing, the times are still incredibly fast

      1. They are incredibly fast IF the drivers dont actually race each other, and therein lies the problem, and, why most people are complaining. If they defend or attack, its over, strategy ruined. We saw this with Hamilton in Bahrain, he was able to sit behind the Rosberg train and not over use his tyres, he came home in 5th, while Rosberg fell way back from pole.

  16. As far as I’m concerned, a car looking after its tires is just as much down to the team and driver as downforce, horsepower, etc. Ferrari was pushing all race, and red bull dominated the last race. I don’t see the complaints

    1. Guess you not interested in real racing, you just want your driver to win.

      1. I don’t like Alonso. But I enjoy watching teams figuring out how to maximize their cars potential. All the teams knew that the tires were going to be a challenge just as they have the past two seasons. Since all the teams are dealing with the same tires, it’s quite obvious that Ferrari and Lotus have done a great job understanding the cars with the tires compared to Mercedes and Red Bull. 4 stops was too much. But 2-3 is definitely fun to watch.

    2. True. EVEN LOTUS!

      Lotus have a good aero car AND are able to be good on the tires, matter fact the best of the rest of the field. This is why we have winter test, wind tunnels, etc. They have done their homework. All red Bull and their fans can do is protest and blame the Tires and not their Newey because he has failed to create a good car that can look after its tires.

  17. Ben (@scuderia29)
    12th May 2013, 20:18

    i dont think the number of stops is bad for the fans, 1 or no stops at all is bad for the fans in my opinion, i enjoy watching stategies pan out.

    1. agree,

      Last year people were already complaining by Monaco about the 1 stoppers on the Super Soft/ Soft. This is why is called “Formula” so that the highly paid tech directors and multi million dollar facilities can find a good way to cope with the Tires. Red Bull have fail to do so, they need to blame Newey, not Pirelli.

  18. Ben (@scuderia29)
    12th May 2013, 20:20

    its the same rules for everyone, the team and driver that adapts the best will win the championship, this is not new in formula 1.

    1. The best at conserving tyres…
      That’s not what we paid for… :D
      These tyres are also a danger just waiting to happen, but I suppose you don’t care about that.

      1. wrong…



        Skillful drivers are not only able to be fast, but also be able to cope with what you are given under the rules. It is up to the car designers, etc. to find a solution to be good on tires. Lotus and Ferrari have nailed it.

  19. don’t really understand the constant moaning about the tyres … aren’t the guys who are winning bringing about the best in them .. F1 today now truly seems to be a team sport with everyone right from the driver to the mechanics to the guys on the pit-wall contributing .. why do you think the likes of alonso and kimi are winning .. pretty strightforward – they know when and how to push and when to nurse the car :)

    The fans are getting the show they’ve been complaining about for the past 4-5 years and isn’t it exiting enough not viewing a procession and not knowing who’s gonna finally take the chequered flag .. I for one don’t rue this even a bit .. racing can be about going flat out but i like the handicap today’s drivers are being presented with :)

    1. I agree with you, I don’t get the moaning either, Red Bull are crying to much when they have the resources and TECHNICAL and DESIGNER director ADRIAN NEWEY, it’s his fault for not being able to create a car as aero good and as good on its Tires. Lotus and Ferrari have nailed it good, for now.

  20. This season is a joke. The pace is truly pedestrian. These are supposed to be the fastest circuit cars in the world and not a sunday drive. We should be pushing the envelope of outright speed and not limiting the cars speed with marshmallow tyres. Pathetic… ive been watching formula 1 for a long time and I’m considering switching off.

    1. no is not, it is the designers fault for not being able to have a car that can cope with weak tires. Lotus and Ferrari, both pushed and were 40+ seconds ahead of RB, which happens to be aero dynamically good. Newey has to find a way to make their car work with the tires, Ferrari and Lotus have, and they don’t need Newey. Again, it is up to the team to do their homework, hence why is called “Formula” not Indy.

    2. Really? Pedestrian? You can honestly perceive the difference in pace watching on TV?

      Alonso’s total race time yesterday was a little over 7 seconds slower than Maldanado’s winning race time from 2012. Of course Alonso made an extra stop costing around 18s on track, so the average pace of racing laps at this point in the season is actually faster than at the same point last year.

      OK, you could say the Ferrari was a dog at this point last year, so take Kimi, strong starts to the season in both the E20 and E21. His total race time yesterday was 5 seconds slower than 2012, hardly cause for concern.

      1. Yes I can see the difference! Easily. The fact that they are slower than last year, even if it was 1 second, is cause for concern considering the amount of money and research that has gone into the cars in the last 12 months. The tyres are too fragile and it looks like the drivers are never ob the ragged edge. It actually looks like they are driving as though it’s wet when its dry! I like to see a driver really getting on the throttle with confidence and leaning on the tyres hard. Its good to watch. It maybe a formula but now its formula wrong.

  21. You know what the worst thing in modern f1 is? Hearing from Christian Horner 4 times in one programme.

    1. +1

      You think that’s bad? NBC sports always have a full blown RedBull pre race dog and pony show, in almost every race, gets quiet old since most of the time is the same thing.

  22. You know, only Red Bull is the one actually pushing Pirelli.

    During the final stint of the lap an analyst clearly said and I will do my best to quote “Ferrari said at the beginning of the GP, that they will be on the attack due to their 2 DNF/Low point deficit. However, they are doing close to Qualifying laps right now, especially Massa, and yet they are able to manage the tires in the corners that are crucial but they are still pushing. This whole “tires” moan from Red Bull is just something affecting them, they have Adrian Newey, a “genious” who apparently cannot fix this issue. Look at Lotus and Ferrari, both pushing, almost 40+ ahead of RB. This teams got the winter, practice sessions and of course million dollar factories and technical directors. Mercedes is just a fundamental issue for years. Again this Tire cry from RB team is a joke”

    No i’m not making this up, this was said Live during the race, and I agree, Newey has lost his “genious” title if he cannot have his car work with the Tires at all, Lotus and Ferrari have done their homework, I mean come on. Might be a little too extreme (delaminations) but in no way shape or form do they need to alter the rubber except to fix that delamination issue. Red Bull just sound too used to winning, this is good for the sport, let’s see what Newey can do, after all, he did finally found a solution for their loss of rear grip by Singapore last year…

  23. you’re doing it wrong Horner!

    The Red Bull lobby needs to stop moaning about the tires really. Red Bull might have the most aerodynamic car but it’s not the fastest in Qualifying nor is it in the race. If Pirelli actually go ahead and make the tires more durable, they would be benefiting some teams over the others and that is not acceptable.

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