I haven’t been captivated by Formula 1 this season. It seems we’ve stumbled into an era dominated by tyre conservation and, for that matter, tyre-based conversations.
It must be great for Pirelli’s brand awareness, even if it doesn’t look particularly great for the image when the world’s fastest drivers are floundering around on worn rubber.
Having said that, an invitation from Renault UK to stand in the back of the Red Bull Racing pit garage as today’s British Grand Prix qualifying session reached a climax wasn’t one I was likely to turn down in a hurry. Especially when there was the opportunity to clamp an industrial-sized pair of headphones over my ears and eavesdrop on the radio traffic between the pit wall and the racing cars of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
As the ten-minute showdown gets underway, I’m standing on Webber’s side of the garage. The first thing that strikes me is the calm, methodical nature of the conversations over the radio waves. Webber is fed as much information as he needs, but nothing more. During the warm-up and cool-down laps either side of the qualifying effort, he is given the gaps to the cars immediately in front and behind him on the circuit so he can maintain track position.