The 411: Tyres, Trouble and Testing

Pirelli kick-start their season:

Image credit: Pirelli

For the second year running Pirelli are the sole tyre supplier for the Formula One grid, and officially kicking off their season they have revealed the compound allocation for the first three races. Australia and China (first and third race respectively) will feature the same tyres, the P Zero Yellow (soft) and P Zero White (medium), whereas Malaysia will have the pleasure of the P Zero White (medium) and P Zero Silver (hard). The teams will have a shipment of six harder compounds (medium in Australia and China, hard in Malaysia) and five sets of the softer tyres (soft in Australia and China, medium in Malaysia). In addition to this, for inclement weather, Pirelli will be bringing reserves in the shape of four sets of the Cinturato Green (intermediate) and three sets of the Cinturato Blue (full wet). The Cinturato name that is now being used for the wet weather compounds was first used by Pirelli in the 1950s.

Unfortunate deja vu:

Image credit: Getty

It is unfortunate that a year on from the incessant flip-flopping over the Bahrain GP, it seems that Formula One will be put in the spotlight again regards a situation it has no place being involved with. Before the 2012 calendar was released there was a collective thought that Bahrain would not feature, however it has been scheduled for April 22nd but even now UK politicians have voiced concerns. In an open letter to The Times, several members of the House of Lords wrote at length, including “Given the current dire situation, with daily street protests and the deaths of more civilians, we do not believe that the time is right for Formula One to return to Bahrain.”

Bernie Ecclestone however remains firm on his stance saying, “Last year was a more clear-cut decision not to go but things have changed a lot since then.” Whether last year was truly as ‘clear-cut’ as Ecclestone makes out is up for discussion, but some teams are happy to offer their opinion on the matter. Sauber, Red Bull, Lotus and Ferrari have made it know that they are willing to leave the decision up to the FIA and the ‘commercial rights holder’. Their statements do neatly slot into the ‘FIA approved’ category, but perhaps more worryingly (although it is an attempt to remain as apolitical as possible, which sport is supposedly meant to be) they only reference themselves rather than the people of Bahrain.

Whether the situation has calmed or not, bringing the world’s media to an area of civil discontent is somewhat naive considering the impact their imminent arrival had last time. Sport may strive to stay out of politics, but through it’s nature to travel and pit country against country, it is going to inadvertently come into contact with situations that are political. Of course this is going to continue to unfold until a firm decision is made. Changed, and changed back again.

Future rookie alert:

Kevin Magnussen is on a sharp rise this year as his involvement with McLaren’s Young Driver Programme is set to expand. Son of former Formula One driver Jan Magnussen, who drove for McLaren and Stewart during a three season career, the younger Magnussen finished his most recent season in British Formula Three in second place (with seven wins) behind fellow Carlin driver Felipe Nasr. Magnussen will be spending time in the simulator alongside Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey, before getting behind the wheelof the MP4-27 during the Young Driver Test later in the season. Expressing his delight the Danish driver said, “I’m really pleased by this new agreement with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,” he said. “The team has shown great faith in me so far and I feel that this is an important step in my career.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal, has been encouraged by what he has seen of Magnussen so far and is looking forward to what he can produce in the future. “By enabling talented drivers to fulfil their potential, our Driver Development Programme is a strategic investment in the future of that business and the sport as a whole. We’ve been delighted by Kevin’s progress, aptitude and work ethic thus far. The time was right for him to take the next step and we look forward to helping him gain the experience he requires.”

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