Tyres that the teams use in their strategies are going to play an important part over the coming seasons yet the data after the first race tells a different story.
We have all been led to believe that the softer the tyre the quicker the lap as it offers more grip. The downside is the tyre doesn't last as long and the tread wears away that much quicker. From the above data pulled by Pirelli this shows quite the opposite as it tells us the harder tyre that lasts longer was quicker than the soft tyre and the medium tyre was the fastest overall.
The problem with yesterdays race was the fact we saw the safety car deployed more than normal allowing the slower cars to catch up with the leading cars so this kept them in contention. This also allowed teams to change tyres without losing time and places thus nullifying the pit stop as a strategic weapon.
The race was far from normal as the cars that were quicker were dropping out like flies allowing the slower teams to climb the leader board. At one stage Mercedes has a 12 second buffer over their rivals and this allowed them to turn their engines down to coast but that buffer was removed with the constant use of the safety car.
As you can see the road is not flat over the warning hazard areas and the cars should not really be driving over that. Not surprising why so many cars retired with mechanical and electrical issues.
What the race did tell us was that the teams have loads of technical issues to work on this week and that the drivers need to improve. Improve as in staying on the track and not going over the kerbs and run off areas. The FIA was lenient in allowing cars to basically have the entire car off the track as long as part of the remaining wheel was within the white line. At one stage it was so bad that Pierre Gasley was shown the black and white flag and was on his final warning for flouting the track abuse.
Every single driver ran over these sections yesterday yet the teams were begging them to stay off them as the cars were lighting up with their sensors. Surely different driving lines have to be found as the same will happen again next weekend otherwise. These are not 4 x 4 racing cars that are expected to race over such corrugated surfaces.
From what we can see the Red Bull Ring is not exactly user friendly for Formula One cars and the track limits are there for a reason. Over 71 laps the cars cannot last the punishment and it is not about just being fast but which car is the strongest. Every team was warning their drivers as teams fell away with gear box and electronic issues.These cars are sensitive and are not designed to be riding at high speed over corrugated roads.
Next week I expect a different race as it is at the same track again. Teams will know what their limits are this week and more driving on the road and less over the hazards should be the order of the day. Rain is expected so possibly retirements in the form of crashes can be expected rather than car reliability.