Vettel's victory down to mid-season tire rules change
ERJ staff report (TP)
London, UK – Red Bull say the design change of Formula 1's tires mid-season was key to Sebastian Vettel's title success.
After eight races this season, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was 21 points behind the German.But after failures at the British Grand Prix in June the tires were changed, and Vettel won seven out of eight races up to and including the Indian Grand Prix in October.
"Going back to 2012 tires for sure helped us," Red Bull designer Adrian Newey said.
"Our car generally gets quite a bit of its benefit in the high-speed corners and the '13 tires were much more load-sensitive. It was much easier to damage them if you put too much load into them, so we couldn't really use that high-speed benefit on the '13 tires."
Pirelli altered the tire design for 2013 but a series of failures in early-season races led to unrest among teams and drivers. With seven tire failures during the British Grand Prix at the end of June, a change was forced upon them.
For the subsequent German Grand Prix a change in materials was initiated, while the entire construction of the tire was changed for the next race in Hungary, with a return to the 2012 design.
Hamilton triumphed in Hungary, but both he and Newey believe that was only because Vettel got stuck behind slower cars. Since that race, Vettel won six consecutive races and then secured his fourth championship in a row with victory in India on 27 October.
Newey said that Red Bull's domination in the season’s second half was also down to them improving their car. They were then able to exploit this extra performance due to the greater durability of the tires.