Sebastian Vettel - GP Belgien 2015 20 Photos Zoom

Charlie Whiting Q&A: Mileage limit for Monza-tyres?

Asked by auto motor und sport FIA race director Charlie Whiting and press officer Matteo Bonciani give some answers on the tyre blowouts at Spa-Francorchamps, a possible mileage limit for tyres at Monza, the latest engine penalty strategy by McLaren and the discussion on closed cockpits after the accident of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson.

There was no real explanation for Vettels puncture. Pirelli was guessing, the wear was too high. Is that uncertainty about the cause of the puncture a concern for the FIA?

Bonciani: You are right that the cause is not yet known with complete certainty. That is a concern of course. We are talking with Ferrari and Pirelli continually with the intention of finding the cause and agreeing on a course of action.

The drivers ran over the kerbs at the exit of Eau Rouge more than ever before. Could it be possible, this contributed to the tyre issues and are there any solutions for next year in order to force the drivers to stay on track?

Whiting: We don't think the drivers used the kerb any more than before and it is very benign anyway. From what we saw in qualifying it wasn’t quicker to use the kerb anyway so it was desirable to stay on the track. It should also be noted that the kerb on the exit of Blanchimont is much more aggressive (similar to many other tracks on high speed corners). We doubt this was a contributing factor.

Would the FIA be prepared to introduce a maximum number of laps for each tyre compound, just like you do with camber, start pressures and blanket temperatures? If necessary already at Monza?

Bonciani: Yes, if our combined analysis will arrive to determine that would assist.

McLaren used the new penalty rule for engine changes to exercise two changes at once for just one penalty. Are you afraid, some teams might follow that strategy and change even more often during one weekend to get enough healthy engines into their system?

Whiting: Yes, the FIA has concerns which were explained to the Strategy Group when the decision to change the rules was made. However they felt that the adverse comments from nearly all concerned about in race stop-and-go penalties were worse. Of course, the rule was written with a spirit to try and remove incentive to do exactly what Honda did in Belgium.

Have you been happy with the new start procedure? Do you have to adjust anything for the remaining races in 2015?

Whiting: We were entirely happy with the new start restrictions and plan only one - real - minor change to the dashboard display.

Sadly we had a fatal accident at the IndyCar race in Pocono. Apparently Justin Wilson was hit by a nose cone from Sage Karams car. Are the noses in F1 better fixed than in IndyCar thanks to the special push-off test for noses?

Whting: I don't know if they’re better fixed. But certainly our push-off test is very severe. A four tonne load is applied to the side of the nose which is quite dramatic when you witness such a test. It is hard to say how an F1 nose would have behaved in a similar accident. We will be talking to our Indy car counterparts to see if we can learn anything from this terrible accident.

Will that accident revive the discussions about closed cockpits, and would a close cockpit have saved the driver at all? The part, that hit Wilson, seemed to be much heavier than the spring, that hit Massa 2009 in Budapest.

Whiting: I think the accident already has revived discussions about closed cockpits, but I don’t think it will change our minds. We believe the downsides of having a closed cockpit outweigh the advantages. As you know we continue our not inconsiderable efforts to find a solution to deflect debris. It is far from easy but we do have a new series of tests planned for next month. The results will be shown to the teams at the beginning of October.





27 August 2015
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