July 4th, 2013 (F1plus/G. Polychornis).- In this week’s Pressure Gauge: the departure of Mark Webber arouses more pressure for Ricciardo, while Gutierrez’ performances threaten his position. Raikkonen shows little pressure due to his leverage over his team, whereas Pirelli work hard to regain the confidence of the F1 paddock.
The Pressure Gauge is a segment conducted before every race weekend of 2013. It is designed to predominately assess the big names in Formula One and how their pressure mounts or diffuses, depending on their situation.
Daniel Ricciardo – Extreme
Making yet another appearance in The Pressure Gauge, is soon to be Australia’s only current Formula One driver, Daniel Ricciardo.
The fight for Mark Webber’s seat at Red Bull Racing in 2014 is currently a hot topic of discussion amongst the Formula One cohort and as a result, Ricciardo is receiving copious amounts of attention. Much of this attention however, is just that of the general F1 rabble, which he would not think much of.
The real attention and ultimately, the pressure, come from Helmut Marko and Dietrich Mateschitz as they seek for Webber’s successor. The Australian-Italian hybrid was obviously always under the eyes of these Red Bull giants, as he races for RBR’s sister team; however, now that Webber’s departure is set in the proverbial stone, his performances are now much more important than before. Because of this, Ricciardo’s pressure reading on the Pressure Gauge remains at Extreme. This reading however, appears to be the contrary of Ricciardo’s reaction to Webber’s departure, as during the race weekend at Silverstone, he drove like a man focused on one thing and one thing only: getting the job done. He also believes that he is ‘103% ready’ to drive for RBR in 2014.
Daniel Ricciardo – a man under extreme pressure, but you would not even know it.
Esteban Gutierrez – High
High pressure is always placed on Formula One debutants and only few can manage it appropriately. Esteban Gutierrez is not one of these few. The Mexican driver is still yet to score a championship point, whereas his teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, has finished in the top ten on three different occasions. Gutierrez’ qualifying results – not that qualifying matters in 2013 – are also extremely lack lustre, as his highest qualifying position is fourteenth.
It was an extremely questionable decision to replace Kamui Kobayashi with Esteban Guiterrez; nevertheless, he must turn his performances around for the rest of the season, otherwise he will slip into the midst of other under accomplished Formula One drivers.
Kimi Raikkonen – Low
Kimi Raikkonen is in a unique situation at Lotus, as it is the team who is trying to impress the driver, rather than the other way around. Boullier has indirectly confirmed this idea, as he stated after the British Grand Prix that the team is ‘doing everything [they] can to show [Raikkonen] that this is they place to be for next season and beyond.’
Following a string of disappointing performances by Lotus, Raikkonen voiced his concern, saying that the team need to ‘get rid of some of the mistakes.’ Although Eric Boullier claims that the Finnish driver ‘seems to be liking’ his position at Lotus, he still must feel that a position at Red Bull Racing is a viable option if things at Lotus go pear shaped.
As a result of the Ice Man’s unique situation, it is easy to categorize him in the Low category of the Pressure Gauge.
Pirelli – Extreme
Although Pirelli have managed to deflect the blame onto the teams for the tyre enigma that arose at Silverstone, they will still be under the judgemental eyes of the FIA during the German Grand Prix.
At the start of Pirelli’s reign in 2011, they constructed a set of tyres that supposedly made the sport more ‘exciting.’ This may be the case for some, but Pirelli’s tyres are nothing more than a ploy – encouraged by Bernie Ecclestone – to unreasonably force action upon the racing.
The Italian tyre manufacturer has completely destroyed any existing importance of qualifying sessions and has made each race result highly dependant on the tyres. As a result of this, Pirelli have been a strong topic of debate week in and week out since 2011,which is why I can safely say that Pirelli are usually carrying High pressure through each race weekend. It is also easy to increase their pressure reading on the Pressure Gauge to Extreme ahead of the German Grand Prix.
Pirelli have announced that they will introduce new tyres that are ‘easier to manage’ for the German Grand Prix. Paul Hembery is adamant that the ‘2013 range of tyres, used in the correct way, are completely safe.’ The German Grand Prix will be an opportunity for Hembery and Pirelli to reinforce this belief.