F1 Daily round-up: Complaints to FIA, tyre debate rumbles on & practice analysis

19-06-2021 01:00
F1 News
F1 Daily round-up: Complaints to FIA, tyre debate rumbles on & practice analysis

The 2021 French Grand Prix weekend is underway. Valtteri Bottas topped the first practice session, but it was Max Verstappen who pipped the two Mercedes drivers in the afternoon. But lots of news stories have developed off the track as well. Here is your Formula 1 daily round-up to cover the biggest news from Friday. 

Red Bull surprised with Mercedes

In Baku, Mercedes opted for a new set of power units whereas Honda waited until the French Grand Prix. Christian Horner admits he was surprised by this decsion. 

"I was surprised that Mercedes changed engines so early," continued the Red Bull Racing team boss. "We haven't seen that in recent years, usually they have lasted the longest. Maybe they have a bit more degradation than they expected. I don't know, we are driving according to our plan. The hardest thing to predict is how many races we will have in the season. There are some bumps at the end of the year." Click here for the full story. 

Kerbs kerbs kerbs

Track limits have ruled the waves for a couple of seasons now, and the circuit in France often brings up that debate. But today's circuit debate revolved around the yellow kerbs placed on the exit of turn two. Bottas and Verstappen both had adventures over the kerbs which caused problems to their car. As a result, both Red Bull and Mercedes contacted Michael Masi. 

The Dutchman seemed to do little wrong in turn 2, but still suffered damage. The question therefore arose as to whether the high kerbs at that corner were necessary. Red Bull asked race director Michael Masi over the radio : "We're pretty sure Max didn't go there on purpose. It seems like such a huge penalty for a small misstep by a driver." After Masi stated that these kerbs were also present in 2019, Red Bull asked to look at the section on the track. "I have heard some team bosses and drivers asking for physical limits, I will have a look at it tonight," Masi responded. Click here for the full story. 

Long-run analysis 

Bottas leads the way and by a fair distance. The Finnish driver was 0.445 seconds ahead of Verstappens' average lap pace during the long run. Perhaps more striking was the fact Hamilton fell over 0.650 seconds behind. Another highlight in that list is Esteban Ocon. Fernando Alonso's average lap time on the hard tyre was 1:38.625 was also pretty impressive. 

As it stands, Alpine lead the midfield battle. An interesting battle to keep an eye on. Aston Martin, Ferrari and McLaren are all in an interesting duel to push into Q3. Lando Norris failed to breach the top eight in either session. Alonso also set the quickest second sector lap time in FP2. Click here for the full analysis. 

Tost on the tyre problems

After the crashes of Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the major question was what the cause was behind the tyres breaking down. Some pointed to Pirelli, while Pirelli blamed the teams' low tyre pressure. There are also some voices in the paddock saying that it is due to the tyre warmers, which regulate the temperature of the tyres.

According to Franz Tost, AlphaTauri team principal, it could very well be that the tyre warmers played a part in Stroll and Verstappen's broken tyres."I indicated three years ago that they should be banned. However, many other teams were against that, because everyone thought they would have an advantage through a special trick," Tost explained to Auto, Motor und Sport. Click here for the full story. 

Practice reports

Valtteri Bottas was fastest in FP1 at the French Grand Prix, edging out Lewis Hamilton in P2 and Max Verstappen in third place. Bottas' time of 1:33.448 was 0.335 seconds quicker than Hamilton in second, and over four-tenths faster than the first Red Bull driver. Click here for the full report from FP1

Max Verstappen has topped the timings of FP2 at the Circuit Paul Ricard, stopping Valtteri Bottas from leading back-to-back sessions at the French Grand Prix. The Dutchman finished ahead of the Finn in second and Lewis Hamilton in third. It was a superb session for Alpine and Ferrari with all four drivers finishing in the top 8. Red Bull and Mercedes were battling it out at the top of the timings but Sergio Perez struggled to find any pace and finished in 12th. Click here for the full report from FP2.

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