This weekend the drivers will once again have to cope with the ‘super soft’ tyre.
It made for interesting racing in Australia – but should F1 be resorting to gimmicks like forcing drivers to use un-competitive tyres?
Should F1 drivers have to use both types of tyre during a race?
- Don't care (5%)
- No (46%)
- Yes - But the tyres should be closer in performance (23%)
- Yes - I like it as it is (26%)
Total Voters: 1,711
Drivers have been required to use two different compounds of tyre per race since 2007. But this year the gap in performance between the tyres has been widened.
So in Australia the super-soft tyres were falling apart after a couple of laps, and at Sepang the drivers struggled to get the hard tyres up to working temperature.
The rule was introduced partly to add interest to the racing, and partly out of a desire to maintain interest in how the teams were using their tyres following the end of the tyre war after 2006. It was previously used in the now-defunct Champ Car series, and the Indy Car championship has resurrected the idea this year.
Fernando Alonso has been scathingly critical of the rule in the run-up to this weekend’s race:
We expressed our concerns after Australia, after the accident of Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel – it was due to the difference of the speed. He tried to overtake, Vettel was not in control of the car with that tyre, you cannot brake, you cannot turn-in, you cannot do anything. And then Robert had a big crash after that because he damaged the car. And then we expressed our concerns and now in the third race we have the same tyre at a worse circuit. This is something that we need to change immediately.
I think the super-soft on this type of circuit with long, high-speed corners. Super-soft in Turn 1 will be destroyed and in Turn 10 there will be no more left tyre.
One [tyre] will be too hard and one will be too soft. The right tyre is at home! This soft tyre is at home and this happened in Australia as well. And the understanding that this is for a better show, for overtaking. As I said, for better show, maybe we can pick up our number and then whoever picks up number 15 can put on wet tyres, or whatever, and it is a better show and its funny. Like this is not funny.
Although I enjoyed the extra dimension the tyre tactics brought to the first races, I wonder if the artificiality of having races so heavily influenced by tyres might start to become repetitive after a while.
And as Alonso says, it does F1’s reputation no good to expose it to ridicule by having such wide variations in tyre performance purely because of a quirk in the rules.
Has F1 opted for gimmickry over real racing? Is this the first step down a slippery slope that leads to other forms of regulated race-fixing like success ballast and reverse grids?
Cast your vote above – and have your say in the comments.