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Pirelli and F1 Release Tire Selections for Mexico

Formula One and Pirelli have released the tire choices made by teams for the Grand Prix of Mexico.

At the start of the season, Pirelli announced they would have three compounds available for each event this season, an increase from just two in 2015. The change also requires each team to use two of the three compounds during the event, with a total allotment of 13 sets over the weekend.

Furthermore, Pirelli announced that choices must be submitted 14 weeks in advance for long-haul events, and eight weeks in advance of European races. The deadline for decisions was implemented to reduce transport costs. If a team does not give their choices to the FIA before the deadline, the FIA will choose which tires the team can use.

Unike the majority of the season, most of the teams (12 out of 22) elected to have three sets versus just one set of the hardest compound available, including current points runner-up Lewis Hamilton. Points leader Nico Rosberg took a slightly different strategy, electing for only four sets.

When it comes to the softest compounds, the majority, 10 of the 22 teams, elected to have six sets of the softest compound available, while manufacture leading Mercedes teammates Rosberg and Hamilton elected for only five sets.

A complete breakdown of the choices can be viewed below.

f1mexicotires

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United States Grand Prix 2016 Preview

Momentum? The season thus far certainly favors Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg to take the Driver’s Championship. But, if any driver could be said to “own” a track, Lewis Hamilton has dominated COTA’s 4 F1 races, winning all but 1. So, Hamilton seems to have history on his side.

Needs A Good Run? Just about everyone, but we have to consider that Honda is banking on better runs because so many millions have been spent on their McLaren team.

Sentimental Favorite?  We are told Lewis Hamilton is the most popular of the F1 drivers who visit Austin each year.

Challenges? Texas hospitality is warm and generous. The food in Austin is delicious. These present a significant problem to the drivers and those of the crews who must watch what they eat to fit their clothing. Look for major eating after Sunday’s race and for some of the circus members to stay behind and eat up.

Quotes:

“First up, we’re back in the States – which is like a second home race for me these days. I love the country, the culture, the people and the track, so I can’t wait to get started. I’ve got some great memories from Austin, with three wins from four races and, of course, the title win last year. That was one of the highlights of my career, no doubt. It’s almost like the American fans have adopted me as their own, so I’ll try to channel all of that positive energy into this weekend.” Lewis Hamilton on his strategy to maximize his points for the remainder of the season.

“Looking ahead to Austin, we’ll be hoping for some drier weather than last year – which won’t be difficult, given the torrential rain which simply didn’t stop until Sunday last time around! The weather conditions in 2015 have also had a knock-on effect in that we actually have very little up-to-date data from which to establish the performance of the car and the tyres at this circuit. Teams will therefore have to work on the basis of records from 2014, which is an unusual challenge heading into a race weekend. We have the medium, soft and supersoft tyre compounds available this weekend, which will likely produce some quicker lap times than those previously seen at this circuit.” Paddy Lowe, Technical Director, Mercedes.

“COTA is one of the few anti-clockwise circuits on the calendar, and has a bit of everything: fast corners, slow corners and heavy braking zones, so you need a car with good balance, which tends to be one of the strengths of our car. There’s lots of fast, sweeping corners in the first sector, the long straight in the second sector, and then the infield section in the final sector which is tight and twisty with long apexes and high g-forces. You really need to prepare the car for everything! For a driver it’s great fun and I hope we enjoy a better result there than in Suzuka.” McLaren driver Jensen Button.

“The track in Austin is sick, I love it. It has a lot of unique features like the wide apex at turn one, you could fit about four cars side by side through there. There are loads of opportunities to overtake and have fun throughout the whole track. It has fast flowing sections and hairpins, pretty much everything I like in a track. Austin city is also awesome, I really like its character. It’s raw and authentic which makes it cool without trying to be. The old school bars and music venues which are super cool just makes it work. Pete’s Piano bar and Rainey Street has a lot of local music which is a really nice vibe and I want to check out Hotel Vegas this year.” Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing.

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Formula One Open Wheel

Japanese Grand Prix May Have Defined F1 Champion

A week is a long time in Formula One and has had many twists and turns for the standings of the World Championship.

After a ninth win of the season in Japan, Nico Rosberg has extended his gap to 33 points ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes have won the Constructors’ Championship for the third consecutive year.

Daniel Ricciardo lies 101 points behind the top two in the table with four races and a maximum of 100 points remaining, meaning a Mercedes driver is guaranteed to become champion.

The apparent drama between Mercedes drivers couldn’t have been further separated during this weekend.

A lot can be read into what the public have seen on and off track.

HAMILTON’S WEEKEND

On Thursday, Lewis Hamilton started to come under fire for using Snapchat on his phone during the traditional Drivers’ Press Conference with the press.

The British driver was one of the six drivers nominated to be questioned, and he did answer questions in between being on his device despite expressing that he was bored of the current routine.

Some of his shots showed the media sitting in front of him, which did give the fans an image they don’t usually see and a background to the event.

However, his shots with Carlos Sainz and himself with rabbit filters stole the attention, with the caption, “this sh*t is killing me”. Other uses of Snapchat and some quotes from press conferences also hit the headlines.

Many would have to ask what these five words and pictures give to his fans. Humor is subjective; his fans may have loved it, but it is strange to comprehend for an outsider.

It is always great to see a driver connect with their fans, in particular with an increased use of social media. However, this doesn’t give anything new. Maybe it would have been interesting if he had commented on what the drivers say to each other behind the scenes and joke about certain things.

From the outside Hamilton has always had an unique, eccentric behavior, and it is not known for certain whether it helps or hinders him. It seems like something that is just in the background while he goes about the normal highs and lows of sport.

ROSBERG’S WEEKEND

As this went on, Nico Rosberg won the Japanese Grand Prix with another solid performance, which may be the thing the 2016 world championship is remembered by.

The 31-year-old didn’t just lead from pole and run away from other drivers; he led every session of the weekend. Some lap time gaps were small, some were huge, but he remained ahead of Hamilton.

He may have the same number of pole positions than his teammate (eight), and one less podium (12 compared to Hamilton’s 13) but he has controlled the championship in 2016.

A chink in his armor could have been the results in Monaco and Canada (seventh and fifth place finishes), however, in hindsight, these performances, although being steady in the rain around the Monaco track, brought points on the board. A total of 16 points is much better than none, and this now looks like an intelligent move.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE REMAINING RACES

There are just four races left on the calendar, but the hard thing for Hamilton is that his teammate has won at three of the four circuits left on the calendar. He has only failed to win at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, TX so far in his career.

Hamilton has won at COTA three times, although Rosberg is the most recent winner of the races in Mexico, Brazil, and Abu Dhabi, the three races which may have been the set-up for his current run.

Rosberg just needs to continue his consistency. Even if he finishes second behind Hamilton in the last four rounds, he will be the champion for the first time.

It has been over 7300 days and almost 20 years since the last son of a champion became a champion himself.

Is Rosberg now destined to follow in the footsteps of his father Keke (1982 champion) and emulate the achievement of Damon Hill on October 13, 1996 (son of two-time champ Graham)?

EMAIL CAMERON AT cpatersonf1@gmail.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.