F1 should fix flawed rules before changing tyres


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Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Bahrain 2012Michael Schumacher’s words after Sunday’s race have prompted a discussion over tyres in F1.

“I had to drive at a pace to manage the tyres to finish with tyres left over,” said Schumacher.

“We should question whether that should be the case. It’s unsatisfying and not what a Formula 1 event should be.”

There is a debate to be had over how far F1 should go to improve the quality of racing by using tyres that degrade.

But let’s get one thing straight from the off: When Michael Schumacher says an F1 event should not involve an element of tyre conservation, he is completely wrong.

Conserving tyres: Part of a racer’s skill

Schumacher may have seven world championships and 91 Grand Prix victories, but his grasp of the sport’s history is not his strong suit.

This is best illustrated by his reaction to leading a Ferrari one-two at Magny-Cours in 1998, when he questioned whether the team had ever achieved such a result before. Of course they had. They’re Ferrari. In fact, they’d had 41 of them.

If Schumacher’s knowledge of F1 were better he might remember some of the many examples of tyre conservation giving us great F1 races.

Such as the 1987 British Grand Prix, which Nelson Piquet tried to complete without a pit stop. Team mate Nigel Mansell changed tyres, dropped back and passed him for the lead with two laps to go. A similar situation played out 30 years earlier with Juan Manuel Fangio at the Nurburgring.

We could go back even further. Think of Tazio Nuvolari at the Nurburgring in 1935. Nursing his tyres, he was over a minute behind the leaders at one point. But Mercedes’ Manfred von Brauchitsch gambled on finishing the race only changing his Continentals once. As he began to struggle, Nuvolari was there to snatch an historic win.

Schumacher’s quote jars in comparison to this from Gilles Villeneuve, after he had won the 1979 South African Grand Prix: “I waited until the fuel load lightened before pushing the tyres too hard.

“Then when I felt either the front or back tyres go off I adjusted my driving style to bring them back again. Jody [Scheckter] came close and if I had made a mistake he could have overtaken me easily.”

These are just a few examples of races where the battle for first place was shaped by tyre conservation – there are countless other cases of Grand Prix where drivers grappled with the agonising question of whether to make another pit stop or try to hang on until the end.

The idea of giving drivers a set of tyres that can be pushed as hard as possible all race long is a recent development, one which made racing more uniform and less exciting – until Pirelli came back.

Have they gone too far?

Bahrain, 2012Having dismissed the notion that tyre conservation has no place in F1, we should ask if the sport has gone too far in terms of trying to spice up the racing by using tyres that are more prone to degrading.

Other drivers have made this point. In his column for Sky Martin Brundle noted: “I was talking with two F1 drivers, a world champion and a multiple race winner, and they had very similar concerns to Michael in that they can’t push the cars anywhere near their limits. ‘Physically my granny could drive the race’ quipped one to underline how far away from the limits they are.”

Remember that when Pirelli came into F1 in 2011, they were asked to supply tyres that would be more challenging for drivers and produce better racing.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said in 2010: “When we have been working with GP2 and F1, they have said they would like us to take an aggressive approach.

“It would be better from a tyre maker’s point of view to take a conservative approach, so people then do not talk about the drop off of the tyres. But from a sporting perspective, and for the show, we probably want both these tyre choices to have decay.”

Recall also that teams initially struggled to make the tyres last at the beginning of 2011, but by the end of the season they found it less difficult and the racing had suffered as a result.

Following Schumacher’s complaints Hembery posted on Twitter: “At the end of last year we had huge criticism for conservative choices and races were boring. Make your mind up. We are doing what is asked.”

This time last year we often saw drivers make four pit stops during races. That wasn’t the case by the end of the year, not at present, and it’s likely we’ll see teams make further progress with the tyres in the coming races.

Therefore Pirelli should avoid making knee-jerk changes to the tyre compounds. However the rule makers and teams should consider two changes to the tyre rules which would improve the sport.

Change the rules, not the tyres

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Bahrain, 2012First, the ‘top ten tyre rule’ – which requires all drivers in Q3 to start the race with the tyres they qualified on – should be scrapped.

It was intended to encourage some drivers in the top ten to start the race on the harder tyres. Since its introduction in 2010 it has rarely had that effect.

Worse, it now seems to be encouraging drivers not to set times in Q3. In Bahrain Lotus gambled on not sending Kimi Raikkonen out for another run in Q2, content at missing the top ten and saving more fresh tyres for the race. We saw much the same last year.

Forcing the top ten drivers to start the race on worn tyres reduces the teams’ strategic options. A problem which is compounded by another unnecessary rule which also needs to be scrapped.

This is the ‘mandatory tyre change’ rule, which forces drivers to use both types of tyre compound during the race.

Because of this rule, no-one can gamble on completing a dry race without a tyre change. Everyone knows that everyone else will have to make at least one pit stop and can plan and second-guess them accordingly.

The rule was first brought in when Bridgestone became F1’s sole tyre supplier in 2007, amid concern that the end of the tyre war meant that tyres would cease to be a talking point and Bridgestone would receive little publicity from their involvement in F1.

That is clearly not a concern for Pirelli. Therefore this rule is not needed from a sporting or marketing perspective. Last year 83% of F1 Fanatic readers supported getting rid of it.

No knee-jerk needed

Pirelli’s tyres have produced some terrific racing since they were introduced last year.

Despite a one-sided championship contest, the 2011 season saw our highest rate the race results since 2008. Two of this year’s first three races ranked within the top ten.

Tyre conservation is an important part of an F1 driver’s skill: just like getting the set-up right, nailing a fast qualifying lap, lapping consistently in the races, overtaking and everything else.

Instead of making knee-jerk changes to the tyres, F1 should address areas of the rule book which several years’ experience have taught us are not working as desired.

Getting rid of articles 25.4 (e) and (f) of the sporting regulations would give teams more strategy options, make the racing less artificial, and give the drivers a little more tyre life to play with on race day.

F1 should fix those before tackling the trickier question of whether slightly less aggressive tyres would ultimately give us even better racing.


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Image ?? Mercedes/Hoch Zwei, Pirelli/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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166 comments on “F1 should fix flawed rules before changing tyres”

  1. I feel a storm coming! Haha.. I agree with these points ESPECIALLY a driver having to start on the tyres they qualified on.. The issue for me is the teams have a lack of strategic options on the race day and mixing up what tyres to start on could really make the races more interesting

    1. I agree Schumy is just looking longly at the days gone by when he drove for Ferrari and had special tyres that cost gaziliions and won everything – and racing was boring.

      Allowing a team to drive on 3 sets of softs and no mediums in a race would open up strategy better I agree. And increase overtaking again.

      1. If you take a look at other sports and some of the exterior changes that occured (either by the governing body or technical advances) and the results:

        Football – the Jabulani ball designed to be more erratic in the air to make it harder to save the ball. Result: Players couldn’t control their shots or long passes, many more goals scored due to keeper error and less due to skill. Qualitative loss, quantitative gain.

        Tennis – the courts were slowed down and balls were made marginally bigger to induce more rallies. Result: definite improvement, but it has killed the serve-volleyers. Less variation.

        Swimming – the LZR Racer. A suit so technologically advanced that it made deities of mere mortals. FINA allowed the suits. Results: world records were broken left and right, the common link being the suits (18 out of 19 world records in one year). Some were compounding the benefits of the suit by wearing two of them at the same time! Eventually, FINA came to its senses and banned the suits, saying that the sport should be about what you can achieve rather than what you are wearing.

        American Football – over a number of years, the NFL has been handicapping the defense, no excessive force when tackling a quarterback, no tackles to certain body parts, no helmet to helmet tackles (even if the offensive player ducks) et cetera. Result: More scoring than ever. Four of the five most passing yards in a season have come in the last five years – versus just one from the previous sixty plus years (2011, 2011, 1984, 2008, 2011). The pass attack is, by design, nearly unstoppable. Nowadays, the run game is used to supplement the pass whereas before it was more of a legitimate alternative.

        I think elements of all of the above examples are at play. The Pirelli’s are the Jabulani of F1. These fast wearing tires are making dinosaurs of racers, turning them into formulaic drivers. If perchance, like Mercedes in China, you happen across a good setup, you can go from being in the pack to being virtually untouchable.

        Keith, you rightly claim that tyre management is a part of the heritage of F1, but isn’t defensive driving? When I say this, I don’t mean the dirty air coming off my car is so great you can’t come within 100 feet of me but more the Senna-Mansell, Alonso-Schumacher type duels. They are impossible in this style of F1.

        1. @kodongo

          Keith, you rightly claim that tyre management is a part of the heritage of F1, but isn’t defensive driving?

          Absolutely – but I think DRS has done more to detract from that than the tyres.

          1. Tony Clifton
            1st June 2012, 21:09

            Many moons ago f1 fans voted in favour of removing driver aids. To me KERS and DRS are driver aids and should be banned. The race tyres should also be comprised of a single compound that will last the race without change, while they should have certain degree of degradation from the lights to the flag, the sudden ‘tyre cliff’ should not be the commanding factor like it is presently, this dramatic fall away in performance has already robbed us of potential dog fights this season. Pitstops should stopped and be allowed only to replace punctured tyres, with Slower pitlane speeds and one mechanic per wheel. The FIA also need to tackle the area they continuously keep ignoring and failing to address properly, namely dirty air from the diffusers. Their failure to regulate this resulted in DRS and KERS. Monaco 2012 was a waiting game. Waiting to see who tyres would fade, so that a position could be gained.

        2. Many world records have been broken since the “magical suit” has been banned…

        3. @kodongo “These fast wearing tires are making dinosaurs of racers, turning them into formulaic drivers”

          I think you are totally wrong, we are seeing more skills needed now. i suspect one of your favourite drivers has lost form tahts why you have this oppinion.
          they are still driving very fast, and as shown by mercedes after the terrible preseason and first 2 races tyre troubles, the teams CAN and WILL adjust, as do the great drivers.

          secondly they are all formulaic drivers anyway, they are not gods, they are people like everyone else.

          Its all good and well to drive flat out in the fastest car with the best tyres, like schumacher did for so many years at ferrari, but that doesnt instantly make you the best driver with the best skill.

          if they change these tyres, then they may as well cancel all wet weather races, as the drivers might have to look after their tyres in those races too.

          Everyone looks back at the 1980s turbo era, and there was more tyre management then, and it had great racing. now they and managing tyres again, but the driving is still very fast, the cars are still faster then the turbo or the v10 eras.

      2. We are in 2012 Michael, did you understand the message. You are not in a perfect “for you” circumstances. Whole team isn’t working only for you. The tires are same for every driver. Second driver isn’t driving for you. Did you understand the message!
        Well I never thought that he deserved all of his titles. Yes he was very fast, but if he let go all the dirty moves he puled and just settle for the wins he won with style, he would be a much greater driver in my eyes.

        1. 2003 and 2005 (Alonso) are Kimi’s titles.

        2. @nidzovski

          I’m not sure that’s relevant at all… :/

    2. sid_prasher (@)
      27th April 2012, 20:26

      The merit in starting on used tyres is that people outside the top 10 can reduce the gap by having a fresh set. It also allows the leading guys to recover when they have to start from the back for whatever reasons. However i agree it makes Q3 not so exciting…but that is also a form of tyre strategy.

      What i would like to see change is –
      a) unlimited/very large supply of tyres.
      b) no restriction on mandatory compounds change.
      c) some improvement in the tyre debris/marbles that currently make going off the racing line more difficult.

      1. Dear Sid, your suggestion (a) is incompatible with suggestion c) which I heartily endorse and if you mean (b) no mandatory compound change, then with you there also.

    3. I agree with you, Keith.

  2. Definitely couldn’t agree more.
    Tyres compound is a secondary problem, first one is rules.
    And managing tyre degradation absolutely is a skill manner for drivers.

      1. I have written this comment in the thread itself, and now I will write it here:
        Unbelievable, the hypocracy of some F1 Fans. Back in 2010, people were crying and begging for tyres that wear down quickly; so we can get an exciting race. Now we finally have what we were moaning for two years ago, we complain about the tyres being too fragile? Really?
        Some people tend to have a very short memory. Look at how many processional races we had in 2010. Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Europe, Germany, Abu Dhabi all bored me to tears. Even races such as Japan and Brazil did not provide anything exciting. The Bridgestones were so good that you could do 40 qualifying laps on soft tyres, and still have some decent grip in them.
        If you can enjoy drivers driving on the limit in a snoozefest of a race; then please re-watch all the dry races from 2005-2010.

        1. Fact. Also about F1 fans :)

    1. well a tyre conservation is one skill the driver should have. but the level of degradation is quite outragous where we found that at the end of the race marble begin building up on the outside of the racing line. making the the racing line narower at the end of the race at time where the expect more of the action would came.

    2. Agreed… variables, variables, variables.

      Michael won most of his races and championships in an era where there were few variables in the race. A racer manages the variables to get the maximum result in the race rather than just the one who is the quickest over one lap. In Michael’s era the strategies and variables were mostly determined before the race began which is why we had boring processions and predictable results based on grid positions.

      Throughout F1 history it has been in-race variables that have made for exciting racing, and real opportunities for racers.

      Right now tyres are a significant variable (like they were during the tyre wars) but so are fuel, KERS and DRS. All of this providing exciting racing and opportunities for real racers.

      Personally I’d like to see more variables brought back in rather than the elimination of the variables we’ve got now. The two most significant I’d like to see are:
      – Elimination of the rev limit (or significant increase in the rev limit)
      – Elimination of the blue flag rule

      Rev limit: currently overtaking opportunities are often hindered by cars hitting the rev limit. Without a rev limit it would give drivers the opportunity to “turn up the wick” for overtaking purposes (resulting in more overtaking) but by keeping the engine restrictions it would mean drivers would have to balance higher revs versus engine longevity – hence more variation for drivers to manage and more unpredictability as a result of reliability problems.

      Blue flag: the current rule gives leaders a free pass and allows them to get away without having to exercise their skills in backmarker overtaking. It is also disrespectful to the backmarkers who are also racing and ruins their opportunities.

      1. In regards to the rev limit issue, I think they should keep the 7 as is, add an 8’th gear, a DRS gear, that can only be used when they hit the limit in 7th with DRS activated, then click into the DRS gear, and just blast past the car in front.

      2. Elimination of the rev limit (or significant increase in the rev limit)

        I think, there is alternative solution to pass rev limit: banning the longest gear (7th or 8th) during the qualification. That would make some room for overtaking without losing benefits of standard rev limit.

        Forced tyre change was especially bad in 2010. Most often we see only mandatory pitstops, so only real option were to skip pitstop, but it was banned. Now the rule is meaningless, because its not possible to drive the whole race with one Pirelli set. The compound part of rule is still effective and could be removed…

    3. And engineers. I think that some cars are better suited for Pirelli tyres than others and on that matter, most of the merit lies with car designers, not drivers. Ask Kimi to manage his tyres driving a Mercedes and he will probably talking like Shcumacher.

      1. I think you dreaming, Kimi talking like Schumacher haha :)

  3. People can look at it from the point of view of “it makes the racing more exciting” which in some ways it does. Having tires that degrade fast does make for some interesting looking racing, just look at china. However, in my opinion Michael’s right. I think it’s more exciting to watch schumacher or hamilton push for 20 laps to overtake somebody than it is to watch Kimi run slightly off line and lose 12 places because of it. It’s gone from being “Michael, we need 20 qualifying laps from you” to “Michael, we need you to SLOW DOWN to preserve the tires.” Shouldn’t it be about which driver can push the car to go the fastest? It must be so unbelievably frustrating for the drivers to have to drive at 60-70% when they could go much faster. I remember China in 2011 Trulli in the Caterham had a quicker fastest lap than Alonso in the Ferrari- that’s not right, fastest laps are now 4-5 seconds slower than pole. That’s what I didn’t like about last year. This year we’ve gone to a completely new level of stupidity. Mercedes isn’t the only team that’s been screwed over by the tires. In malaysia Button was FLYING on the intermediates but then he pulled up behind a slower car that he was racing for position. Because he had to go slower his tires dropped out of the microscopic operating window and he started losing 4 seconds a lap. This is ridiculous

    1. Race laps were 4 seconds slower than pole well before Pirelli tyres came along, which indicates thier has always been something being conserved.

    2. bernieslovechild
      27th April 2012, 12:31

      Yeah wasn’t it great – watching team mates being told to pull over because the No.1 was out of position and couldn’t get past for 20 laps.

    3. I agree with you. I dont even see how you can bring driver skill into it either. Look at Rosberg in China. His tyres worked for him there. However they have not at other race this year so far. Its a lottery.

      The tyres should not of been changed from the 2011 spec. I think we would be seeing much better racing this year had they not been changed to become so random.

      1. As each race goes on, it appears that it’s neither car developments nor driver brilliance that’s deciding which team/driver combination comes out on top; it’s whether or not people can get themselves into the right tyre operating window.

        But has it become too much, and is Schumacher actually right? Is 2012 simply turning in to a rubber lottery – with the outcome of an afternoon dependent on track and weather conditions suiting one car over another

    4. Pushing for 20 laps and all happened in re-fuelling era, with full fuel loads FLap times are bound to be slower than quali pole times. Michael has 2 points, the same as Massa who got all his points in 1 single race. Also, both of Schumacher’s 10th place finishes came after Maldonado and Button retired in Malaysia and Bahrain respectively. Even if Michael says that Pirellis are holding him back, running in non-scoring position for almost all the races he scored doesn’t make it seem like its the fault of Pirellis when his teammate has a race victory already. ‘Schumacher retired from 2 races blah blah’ – he had 2 more races where he didn’t do much either. And Button losing performace on inters was due to him pitting well before others and pushing too far, by the time he caught backmarkers his tyres were gone. For every driver moaning about the tyres there is one team mate far ahead of them, coincidence?

      1. I’m sorry, but on the point about Schuey not doing much in the other races. Are you stupid? He was spun round to last in Malaysia, still picked up a point. Started virtually last in Bahrain, still picked up a point. His other two races he retired from were due to a gearbox problem, and a wheel falling. He’s had rotten luck at every race so far, it’s not his fault he’s only got two points.

        1. @goodyear92 Call me whatever you want, when something goes wrong blame luck. Next in line, God.

          1. Visit Vettel, he knows what to do with you. ((((:

          2. I find it amusing that you think Rosberg is somehow miles ahead of Michael. You’re part of the same group that thought Webber rightfully deserved to lead the championship at any point in the season.

          3. Jack Flash (Aust)
            28th April 2012, 4:24

            @pamphlet: What complete tosh. A two win – fifty point forthnight over Barcelona and Monaco GP weekends, in purely untouchable form; and you say Webber at no point deserved to lead the WDC in 2010. Patently silly statement.

          4. @Jack Flash – He’s referring to this thread. I don’t know about saying he didn’t deserve to lead the championship, but I’d agree with him if he was referring to people believing MW deserved to win it at the end.

          5. Jack Flash (Aust)
            28th April 2012, 6:09

            @David-A: Pamphlet may be making ref to that thread and all, but he said “the same group that thought Webber rightfully deserved to lead the championship at any point in the 2010 season”.
            “at any point in the 2010 season” ???
            Webber lost his chance for ultimate WDC glory with a bad mistake of his own making (DNF) in the wet in Korea. That ultimately decided his own fate in not leading again to end of 2010 season. His own fault. That is a different question of discussion entirely, to that stating he was not deserving to lead at any point. — ergo = Patently silly statement.

    5. Could not agree more, Michael was a master at holding an f1 car on the limit lap after lap. Surley that is what f1 is all about, suret yre wear as always been there but we are talking about tyres that self destruct not wear out. This sport is being dumbed down beyond belief just to apeal to the masses, if we are not carefull the americans will start to like it.

  4. Agree, but not entirely!
    What i dont agree is that a driver must be able to push as hard as he can at least for lets say 10 lap! And the to have strategy like: softer tyres faster times with a sec for 10 laps. but just 10 laps and harder tyres slower times but lets say 17-20 laps.
    Now whats happenig is harder or softer tyres indentical times in long runs. Not good

    1. Well, good point…

  5. Dead on, Keith.

    I can’t stand this bandwagon jumping.

    Do you want good racing, or boring racing? I think we can narrow it down to that.

    1. those against Pirelli never said they want Bridgestone (boring era) back! they say what F1 needs is something in middle. neither fast-degrading nor never-degrading.

    2. Do you want good racing, or boring racing? I think we can narrow it down to that.

      Well I for one don’t think we can. I’m not on any bandwagon either.

      Making the Pirreli’s slightly more durable is not a knee-jerk reaction at all. Sure if we went back to Bridgestones then it would be. It also wouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction because we have the whole of last season to look back on and many people. It depends on what kind of ‘show’ you want I guess.

      As I’ve said before, let the aggresive drivers push and stop more, and the smoother drivers stop less and we have the perfect formula. This for me is what Silverstone 1987 was all about. Formula 1 should accomodate different driving styles and at the moment everyone is having to drive conservatively – including drivers such as Schumacher and Kobayashi. The quality (not the quantity) of overtaking has also been poor due to this fact, again this is just my honest opinion and others such as Keith may disagree.

      By the way of course the regs need sorting out too.

      F1 should fixed its flawed rules before changing the tyres

      Why not do it at the same time?

      1. James Allen poll here

        We always say how we should listen to the fans, well the fans (the subset that visit James Allen’s blog anyway) seem to agree with Schumacher.

        I have to say I think Hembury should engage in a little debate, not just dismiss comments from the drivers with a one line response.

        1. Perhaps Hembury is dismissing comments because it has only been 4 races and he thinks the teams will find answers and adapt, and for now all he has done at Pirelli is what BE/F1/FIA has asked of him. ie. why would Hembrey debate when he thinks he is doing exactly as he has been asked? So no wonder he has one line responses. If there is to be any debate amongst the players it should be between the drivers and teams and BE/FIA. And then it will be up to them to direct Hembrey and Pirelli in a different area if that seems appropriate. I think for now BE et al are looking at 4 winners from 4 races which they wanted, and otherwise teams adapting to the tires over time, like they did last year.

  6. dysthanasiac (@)
    27th April 2012, 12:25

    First off, I don’t think Schumacher looked far into the past and used that recollection to justify his thoughts when he said, “It’s unsatisfying and not what a Formula 1 event should be.” He just stated his opinion that he doesn’t find 2012-style racing satisfying. That’s fair enough, and I agree with him, too.

    China was a farce; it was a tire lottery. I find that boring, because you know something is going to happen, you just don’t know what. In this case, Raikkonen made one mistake when he wandered too far into the plethora of marbles that adorned the track off the racing line and lost ten positions in two laps because of it. I just don’t think that’s right for a number of reasons.

    One mistake shouldn’t be that costly, and the tires should be robust enough that they enable trailing drivers to mount a challenge rather than force them to form a Trulli Train because the tires can’t withstand any attempts to pass. They also need to have enough resilience to keep from shedding ridiculous amounts of rubber all over the track, which is likely the biggest obstacle to good, hard racing.

    Tire conservation has always been important and it always will be. But, it shouldn’t be paramount to everything else.

    1. “one mistake shouldn’t be that costly”
      I guess you’re in favor of acres of Tarmac as well then?
      One mistake can put you out of the race (see: Maldonado in AUS)

      1. dysthanasiac (@)
        27th April 2012, 21:01

        I probably could have worded that better.

        I think the margin for error should not be so razor thin that drifting a foot or so off-line into the sea of marbles sets in motion a chain reaction whereby a driver loses ten places in two laps. I think that’s excessive, and I don’t think it’s good racing. It’s attrition via tightrope.

  7. I completely agree with you that the tyre rules should be changed. Also, since 2011, the racing has been very exciting racing, so Pirelli should by no means hurry to change their compounds.

    I do feel, however, that there are certainly grounds to criticise the Pirelli tyres on. To counter the “tyre management has always been part of F1” argument, the question (in my mind), is how far off the maximum a driver should drive to make the tyres last, 80%, 95%? Of course, it’s very hard from the sidelines to compare tyre management requirements from different F1 areas. In fact, one driver who does have extensive experience with different kinds of tyres is Michael Schumacher – and he is complaining.

    In another comment on this site a few days ago, someone argued that the Pirellis are qualifying tyres in all but name, and I agree with him or her. If you push the tyres hard for a couple of laps, or even one lap, their performance deteriorates significantly. This also seems to hold for the harder compounds; you can make those last longer, but you cannot push them harder, or these will also fall apart within 10 laps, if not sooner.

    Also, purely out of curiousity, does anyone remember how similar the Pirellis of 2011 and 2012 are to those of their last foray into Formula 1, ending in 1991? I do sometimes wonder (as did Patrick Head in his appearance on The Flying Lap about a year ago) if this whole degradation characteristic of the Pirellis is only partially intended. They say, “sure, we can make tyres that last the whole race”, but can they, without making the tyres horribly slow?

    1. Michael Schumacher has extensive experience with different types of tyres????

      Oh, you must mean the ones that were made especially for HIM and Ferrari that no one else was allowed to have and that were faster than everything else and were significanlty responsible for most of his WDC’s.

      You are correct then Sir.

      1. @nick101,

        1991, Pirelli; 1992, Goodyear; 1998 (or something) Bridgestone; 2010, Bridgestone again, though now different; 2011 Pirelli. And every season, tyres change and evolve (not to mention grooved tyres versus slick tyres). And before he came to Formula 1, he drove sports cars for Mercedes, where tyre management also plays an important role. The guy has been in some sort of racing for well over three decades. I believe I am correct, Sir, when I say he has extensive experience with different types of tyres.

  8. i feel that tyres have made the races look like a hair & tortoise story. there should be tyre degradation but it should be gradual… drivers should be able to push the car to the limit and not knock the performance out of the tyres. if any driver plans to driver the car to it’s limit he should be able to do it in 3 pit stops & the guy wanting to finish race on 1 stop should be able to do it by conserving the same tyres. Right now the case is that if you push car for couple of laps you finish your tyres…. it’s a sudden death performance which i’m against.

    1. I agree with this. I just want the drivers to have the option to push for a good number of laps. I don’t want them to have destroyed their race by trying to go fast. That’s all.

    2. The Cliff, should be a Mountain. Thats it :)

  9. I, for once, agree with Keith. We have had lots of interesting races so far. My only fear is that these Pirelli tyres might randomly affect the races. I want the best team and the best driver to win. – it’s just that in my books the best driver isn’t the one, who mindlessly drives as fast as he can at all times.

  10. I waited until the fuel load lightened before pushing the tyres too hard.

    With regards to Gilles, he conserved the tyres to use them later. In this day and age, by the time the fuel load has lightened, you are onto your third set of tyres…

  11. too much whining from shumacher, special tyres from bridgestones are history,
    if to change rules i would like to retain top ten tyre rule, but i drop two compound mandatory change, so there will be more strategies, options

    1. alonso won his two WDC on the back of special tyres from michelin …I don’t hear HIM whining ..he is doing the best he can with what he has …as it should be

  12. @keithcollantine In terms of great battles where the tires are what made us sit on the edge of our seats: Dont Forget Senna/Mansell in the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix (even though our Nige had a puncture, senna kept his tires alive enough to fend off the irrepressibly quick FW13).

    Nearly the same thing happened in Jerez 1986, with Nige making a late change and storming back through, only to miss winning (from Senna again – driving the Lotus) by what, hundredths?

    1. At certain circuits where you can’t pass it’s true that tyres can play a great role. The Senna vs Mansell battle of course was great, as would have been the finish last year at Monaco were it not for the red flag. It’s only Monaco and perhaps Singapore & Valencia where you get this however.

  13. @keithcollantine:

    Getting rid of articles 25.4 (e) and (f) of the sporting regulations would give teams more strategy options, make the racing less artificial, and give the drivers a little more tyre life to play with on race day.

    I understand that it will give more strategy options, but why will it give the drivers more tyre life to play with on race day?

    The problem is that for top teams, they have to use all new tyres in quali, and if they don’t, we get a boring quali. This then gives anyone who doesn’t use all their tyres in quali an advantage, which i personally think is wrong. Perhaps a simple rule to give more tyre life on race day would be to replace one set of the option quali tyres with a brand new set of options for race day? The replaced tyres would be those with the most life, so there would be no benefit from saving a set by not running in quali. This would give more exciting quali AND more tyre life in the races.

    I agree with everything else you’ve said about changing the rules. Both of them have proved to be pointless.

    1. @jleigh

      why will it give the drivers more tyre life to play with on race day?

      Because the top ten won’t have to start the race on used tyres.

  14. Like Dev (above) I think there should be gradual tyre degradation – not the current fall off a cliff stuff.
    But the thing that really gets me annoyed are the marbles. We’ve seen so many shots ths year (wet track excluded) where just off the racing line is strewn with lumps of discarded rubber. This must make it impossible for a driver to launch a passing manoevre into a corner because he’ll lose traction on the marbles on the way in and his tyres will be so dirty that his adversay will re-pass him on the way out. “Oh well, I’ll wait until the DRS zone instead”.
    What’s the point of a track that’s ten metres wide if five metres are impossible to race on?
    Someone is going to ask “How do you make a tyre that degrades gradually, but which doesn’t cast off marbles?” I don’t know. I’m not Pirelli. But I do know that marbles are distorting the racing and always have done.

  15. No Keith, agree with everything expect this fact,

    Why is an F1 car in the race now doing identical lap times like with the GP2 car in qualifying? Does this now mean that the HRT simply needs to buy a GP2 chassis, put on two pairs of Pirellis P Zero, and just barge on to the F1 field?

    PS*. F1 Race Lap times Bahrain 2012 / GP2 Series Qualifying Lap times Bahrain 2012.

    1. “Why is an F1 car in the race now doing identical lap times like with the GP2 car in qualifying?”

      I dont get your point

      An F1 car starts a race with 140+kg of fuel..

      1. Jean-Eric Vergne’s laptime on Lap 44 last lap (low fuel) of the race, was slower than a GP2 lap. Sorry I cannot post links, but yes, its true.

        1. Thats making the presumption that he was pushing on his last lap.

          His tyres may have not had much life on them and/or he could have been fuel saving/low engine modes et al.

          GP2 car in Q would have a/ been pushing limits, b/ on fresh tyres, c/ on fumes

        2. That a light-fuelled GP2 car on fresh tyres driven by a decent driver can do a comparable time to a fuel-heavy, F1 car with worn tyres is hardly surprising. But you’re not comparing like with like.

          Sergio Perez topped Q1 in Bahrain with a 1:33.814, making the 107% time 1:40.381. Davide Valsecchi took GP2 pole with a 1:41.200. So HRT would be well-advised to keep their current chassis, at least it gets them within 107%.

          Besides which, why shouldn’t GP2 cars be within touching distance of an F1 lap time? The series exists as a proving ground for aspiring F1 drivers, so should offer lap speeds approaching those of an F1 car. If the fastest GP2 drivers were doing qualifying times that would put them in the middle of the F1 grid with similar tyres and in comparable conditions, then it would be worth worrying about.

        3. there has been examples of this in years past, with the slowest f1 car sometimes having a slower lap time then the fastest gp2 car, that has got nothing to do with the pirellis.
          Also the rules are always being changed to slow down f1 cars, but not so for F3000-GP2 cars

  16. I realy wanted to know how these kind of decisions are taken. I mean, I think they (FIA, FOM, FOTA) have the resources to run some simulations and based on that take some decisions. Or, maybe, Bennie just wake up in a morning and says to himself, what if …

    1. Bernie ‘only’ owns the rights of Formula 1 (FOM), he has no say on the rules.

  17. Keith, i think you blow your own argument out of the water with your very first example. A driver should have the option of either pushing like hell and needing another set of tires, or looking after his and perhaps saving a pitstop. The way it is now, everyone simply has to preserve the tires at all cost. Its not possible to even drive flatout at any stage of the GP. That situation is just plain wrong as drivers are driving to delta laptimes and not to the limits of their skill, tire management included.

    1. I lean this way as well. I do think the rules need to be changed but I also think that the tires need to be looked at. I know it’s not as simple as just requesting they change rubber and it’s that easy but I think the strategy should be to make a tire that can be pushed for 10-15 laps, hard, or run more frugally for 25-35.

      I agree that tire saving is a strategy that has led to brilliant races, but so has the strategy of burning through sets doing flying laps and pitting often.

      The rules changes I would want to see are: 1-bring refuelling back — this might negate any need to fool with tire compounds because it would allow teams to push more on low weight. 2-get rid of or reduce DRS — part of the reason that a driver cannot afford to run fewer stops and expect a podium is because they cannot defend against a driver behind. A driver on older tires is automatically slower (especially with the current rubber) but adding in DRS means that they cannot defend.

      The issues are beyond just rubber, but they include it.

      1. I disagree with bringing refuelling back. It discourages overtaking when you can do it in the pits.

        I do agree with taking out DRS, though. It is overrated.

        1. Without refuelling you can’t push for at least the first third of a race or the tires vaporize. If you make the tires strong enough for the first third on heavy fuel, they will be too strong on low fuel, meaning 1 tire change the whole race. Boring.

          Reintroducing refuelling would allow aggressive tires because you can push on low fuel which will likely create less wear, so you can push more. Then you can either push and refuel/retire a lot or push less and pit less.

          By having no refuelling everything is about the tires, and that is the problem. There is no other strategy once the race has started other than tires.

          1. that is re-tire (new tires), not retire (exit the race).

    2. @dasman BOOM. My thoughts, right on the money.

    3. They can push to the limits of their skills, it’s simply not desirable strategically. You didn’t read the examples very well. Even in the past, drivers have had to do the same thing. Never has F1 been about doing qualifying laps for the entire race. At this level, a degree of endurance is required to be balanced with your speed. If you want an all out sprint, there’s always GP2.

      1. Never has F1 been about doing qualifying laps for the entire race

        It can be, but you might have to pit 6 times. That’s just too many. If you have to pit 4 times and the smoother guys 3, then you have a race on your hands between drivers with differing styles.

    4. I agree too and I really don’t get how the opinion of a 7-times champion is so easily dissed by Keith Collatine or anyone else. Schumacher not knowing Ferrari’s history is not the same as Schumacher not knowing what he’s on about when he says he, as a driver, isn’t pushing enough because the tyres don’t allow it. The same applies to citing two current drivers saying the tyres are making drivers drive far below their maximum – and then apparently ignoring this evidence! I don’t get how this opinion can be disregarded. For me that’s already more than enough evidence that tyre conversation is too dominant.

      Other gripes: the ridiculous rule over tyre allocations, penalizing those who make it into Q3 and encouraging just one or even no runs to compete for pole position. I find it simply incredible that this hasn’t been addressed when it’s been an issue since last year. Qualifying is now a total anti-climax, yet we’re told it’s all about the show. How does that make sense??

      And DRS has severely detracted from the value of over-taking. It would be tolerable if the rest of the race wasn’t about tyre conservation. But as it stands, the tyre conservers, bless them, who are less likely to risk their tyres by hard driving and attempting to overtake now have the bonus of being able to get past without compromising their driving style.

      In sum, it annoys me that the excessive concern now with tyre degradation, DRS-free-overtaking and years of crackdowns on ‘aggressive’ driving have meant that the most exciting (fastest, most skilled) racers now have to plod around with the slower drivers to make the ‘show’ work.

    5. @dasman

      A driver should have the option of either pushing like hell and needing another set of tires, or looking after his and perhaps saving a pitstop.

      You mean like Di Resta did in Bahrain?

      1. @keithcollantine Yes, however the drivers on 3 stops could not ‘push like hell’. they still had to drive well below their ultimate pace. I do agree the rules need changing, however I think the balance between tire management and racing is off and needs fixing too.

      2. He meant like Michael Schumacher in Hungary 1998.

  18. I think you are bang on target with your opinion. I agree the rules are the things that are making the sport not so F1-like. Especially the rule requiring top 10 qualifiers to start on the same tyres they clocked their fastest lap. Hopefully things will change for the better.

    As for Schumi, being a Schumi fan ever since I started watching the sport, it was strange to hear this from him. Perhaps he is just too close to the action to know better.

    1. And it’s just that he does like more the sport Formula One, not the show.

  19. I agree with the rule changes that Keith is suggesting, but I think the problem runs a lot deeper. The tyres are causing the kind of lap-time fluctuation that is needed to provide interesting races, but it shouldn’t be solely the job of the tyres to achieve that. The cars and circuits need to provide a tougher test in order to create that effect – at the moment drivers are able to lap so consistently that you will never see anything other than a procession. The tyres are interfering with that and shaking-up the running order, but it’s not a good fix because it does appear to be a lottery. It doesn’t seem to be a case of predictable degradation which can be managed – it is more like a life-limit that appears from nowhere and doesn’t allow much degree of driver influence. Race positions are being decided by pit-crew mistakes which is also not satisfying. Pit-stops and tyre changes are needed to spice up the racing when the cars and circuits are poorly devised to provide proper racing. If the regulations were right there would be no need for drivers to keep making pit-stops to make the race a spectatcle.

  20. Grammar in Title needs fixing.

  21. Nice article Keith. I liked the nod to history, you’ve gone further back than usual. Also, I happen to agree with you.

  22. great article keith!
    top 10 tyre rule – i think it should be removed, but give teams a set of super soft quali rubber (that can only be used in Q3), then let them start the race on whatever tyres they want (prime or option)
    ‘must use both types’ – get rid of it. it’d give the strategy option of “1 or no stops on the harder compound, or cane it with 2 or 3 stops on the soft”

    what paul hembrey says is on the button….”ffs, make your minds up!!”

  23. Nobody has mentioned relative car performance yet. Surely the varying aero set-ups of the cars have a huge affect on the behaviour of the tyres?

    As an example; Ferrari’s car is notoriously slow in warming up it’s tyres, which means they take longer to get to “optimum” operating temperature, but lasted longer. This must have had an effect on Alonso’s pace in the malaysian grand prix, which was run in much lower track temperatures. Degradation on Ferrari’s tyres would be very different from that of say Red Bull’s.

    Isn’t Schumacher’s gripe on not being able to push as much to do with the set-up of his car as the compound on the tyre?

    It’s very difficult to compare relative performance of tyres for different teams unless that all have a uniform aero setup.

  24. great article by @keithcollantine this was exactly what I was trying to explain to @indranildudhane @indranil.dudhane

  25. Absolutely, positively, 100% agreed, Keith!

  26. Simple, bring back tire wars!

    1. That’s not “simple” or a good solution. It would increase cornering speeds leading to further changes to cars, tracks or both on safety grounds, it would increase the performance gap between teams making the racing worse – and potentially recreate the situation we had in the early 2000s where one driver was running around on tailor-made Bridgestones winning every race by 20 seconds.

  27. What surprises to me is that Keith had to stated the obvious and give several examples about tire management! I think he had the same impression has me: Because Schumacher complained a lot of people agreed because he is Schumacher, and you need to prove them wrong wth some evidences, because they simply don’t believe tire management always was and always will be a very important part of all kind of motorsports!

    1. It’s not right or wrong, 0 and 1, black or white, etc….

      All of those examples involved managing tyres and I don’t think many of us ‘on the bandwagon’ so to speak who agree with Schumacher need to be stated the obvious examples – most of us are fanatics. Our point is that we are currently perhaps slightly too dependant on being able to preserve tyres at the moment, that is all.

      Yes tyre management is important… no one is denying it!!

      1. If seen a fair share of comments, that seemed to come only after Shcumacher’s words, saying that the tires are now ridiculous and that F1 drivers should be able to push always and not be tire managers. There were also comments about the teams that should not waste time figuring out how to make the tires work and last.
        These kind of statements are too radical! The problem is not tire management nor a driver will always be able to push from start to finish!
        Pirelli tires have today a very narrow window of usability and sweet spot, so it is harder these year to make them work and difficult to predict how long they last. But the tires are not destroying the races or bringing a random outcome to the results. I also think that with more knowledge on how to make the tires work, the teams and drivers will not suffer from such uncertainty about them. Let’s allow some time for it to work.

  28. I don’t get why preserving one’s tyres is not a pre-requisite skill for motor racing. As a driver if your’e supposed to manage your engine, fuel or braking then I suppose you are supposed to manage your tyres as well. I don’t think anyone can ‘make’ tyres that degrade but not so much as to provide a certain driver hardship in racing. And funny enough, we’ve seen Sauber do it on a regular basis, Force India did it a few times last year and last race this year, 2 stop strategies and the like are possible. That MS has had bad luck in some races has nothing to do with the tyres.

    In fact I think Vettel and Button are quite good on their tyres and they compete. Alonso doesn’t complain about tyre wear and I think he has much to complain about. This is what I propose;

    1) Everyone in the top 10 should use qualifying specification tyres to determine positions.
    2) For the race they should be given the option of starting on a set of their choice. Additionally they should be given 2 sets each of prime and option compounds.
    3) The mandatory pit-stop rule must be scrapped. Thus a team can decide if they would like to run a race completely on a single type of compound. In the event they have to use more, they will automatically have to use the other compound.
    4) In any event that they run out of ALL their allocations they use tyres from FP1.

  29. Keith’s comment is well-reasoned in the factors he cites but he glosses over a key underlying issue raised in Schumacher’s comment—the difference between wear and degradation. The latter, you can think of as the change in the rate of wear. In this case, once a certain, unknown level of wear is reached, the marginal rate of wear sky-rockets—the tires basically self-destruct. No one really knows where the cliff is, and so the drivers are forced to hedge by driving well within the car’s limits. Pirelli purposely designs the tires to create unpredictable degradation. Because of the Show.

    And accordingly I find Keith’s examples from antiquity a bit inapposite and actually tend to support Schumacher. In these tire-decided races, the winner prevailed because he managed “wear.” Because the tires were not designed for the Show. The reason why Villenueve could “bring back” his tires is because there was no cliff. There is no “bringing back” today’s tires by careful driving. Once they are over their limit, they might as welll be square. There is no going hard and then backing off or planning out a pace as a function of wear.

    Indeed, if your car lacks basic balance, there is no driving around that or managing it anymore. Look at Button, not known as a tire destroyer. He had a dynamic imbalance in Bahrain from the start his race was basicallly finished–this tires would simply evaporate way early, forcing an early stop, and a spiral out of contention. Pirellii is not allowing “car control” or anything else to prevail over a poor handling car. It actually punishes this skill. More generally, Pirelli threatens to take complete control of the “racing” and to put it in one dimension—the sphere of guessing-managing the degradation curve.

    If, as Keith says, as in 2011, the teams will crack the code and figure out how to lower and smooth the degradation curve, what will have been the point of Pirelli’s attempt to create fun chaos? It will have just been an experiment in computer modeling for the teams. Will they then revise their construction formula to start the game over again?

    As far as the race ratings going up due to Pirelli, I think people are going to soon realize what is happening is not the racing they know and love. Like doughnuts and other sugary treats, this product will give tummy aches in large doses.

    1. Great comment dave, completely agree.

    2. @dmw

      hmm… very interesting comment, I hadn’t thought of it in so much detail, but that makes perfect sense.

    3. This article is a bit hard on Schumacher and cuts out a chunk of what he originally said. But as a world champion driver (not a pundit or historian) he has a right to voice an opinion on current F1 trends. I agree with the concerns: there just doesn’t seem to be a balance with these tyres – not only do they need the right window of operating temperature, they seem to need nursing to such an degree that drivers are not able to push. I agree with the notion that having to drive well below the driver’s and the car’s limits just to maintain the tyres isn’t in the spirit of F1. We could argue about this all day, but to echo the comments on James Allen’s original post, I don’t want to think of the F1 World Champion as the best tyre conservationist.

    4. Once again DaveW makes excellent sense, I would like to append my own thoughts
      1. I agree totally with Keith that the rules need amending.
      2. Don’t shoot the messenger, Schui has bought this debate out into the open
      3. I am not totally in agreement with Keiths historical examples, the early ones are more about drivers who nearly succeeded by changing a tyre than they are about drivers who raced without pitting as was the norm in those days.
      4. Last years tyres were generally OK this year its too much, agree with MSC. I want to see Kobayashi going Banzai, Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher etc. carving through the field when they find themselves coming from behind. I don’t want to drivers calculating how many positions they will gain by slowing down and not pitting.

  30. “Michael Schumacher says an F1 event should not involve an element of tyre conservation”

    As far as I could read from his statement he didn’t say that and it wouldn’t make sense for him to say so as tyre conservation has always been a fundamental part of racing. What he was saying is it has basically became everything in the race to the point were drivers main concerns are just tip toeing around trying to make them last. You just need to listen to a replay of all the team radios in Bahrain to see how ridiculous it has gotten.

    Most drivers aren’t speaking out about it because they are told the fans love it because it’s making great racing but the tyres have become more a gimmick now than the DRS. Schumacher and Alonso’s great strengths were putting together lap after lap of qualifying stints in a race and unfortunately they or anyone else now can’t do that because one lap alone flat-out ruins the tyres.

    Look at how close qualifying is. We don’t need fall apart tyres to make the races good when the grid is that close. Agree with the rule changes mentioned.

  31. We need qualifying tyres to be introduced, or tyre limits to be completely removed. Let the teams use as many tyres as they want. But there is no need to change the content of the tyre itself.

  32. To believe Keith or Michael? It is easy one. Michael of course. Anyone saying that with this quotes Michael is saying the tyres shouldn’t be conserved is wrong. Michael have been driving 20 years, and he was conserving tyres all his career. He is against tyres that you can’t push at all. He want to race ,but with tyres like this you can’t. If you push 100% in the third lap you are 1,5sec slower. Just check test times(Rosberg- 03.03.2012).
    13:44:27 50 1:22.932 -0.278
    13:45:33 51 1:23.602 +0.670
    13:47:37 52 1:24.588 +0.986
    13:48:31 53 1:25.418 +0.830
    13:50:33 54 1:25.384 -0.034
    13:51:29 55 1:25.750 +0.366
    13:52:37 56 1:25.987 +0.237
    13:54:27 57 1:25.893 -0.094
    13:55:34 58 1:26.273 +0.380
    13:57:35 59 1:26.384 +0.111
    13:58:35 60 1:26.849 +0.465
    14:00:28 61 1:27.094 +0.245
    14:01:28 62 1:27.456 +0.362
    To drive to delta time is not F1. We need hard racing, drivers attacking each other, but we didn’t see that because of this tyres. We don’t need tyre puzzle. We don’t need tyre with very narrow operating window. We don’t need cheese tyres. We need tyres that can be pushed for 15 laps and to lose 1,5-2 sec , not 5 seconds.
    We need tyres for racing. All overtakes now are fake, effortless. I guess some people like the author like that. We saw Kimi cruising behind Vettel, Lewis behind Alonso, MS behind Massa. We don’t want the best drivers to circle around impotently. This is what Pirelli give us , impotent F1. Nobody s going off the track, cars are finishing without technical problems. No wonder when they drive at around 70% of their capabilities. Michael didn’t win 7WDC driving at 70%. Also Rosberg say the same things, other drivers will soon support MS. So, Keith you are not right and I am not sure you are real F1 fan. Go check Michael first win and Nico first win. See how tyres behave. Michael first win was something. Goodyear were some tyres.

  33. Shane (@shane-pinnell)
    27th April 2012, 16:16

    Nice article and I must say I agree, 100%! Scrap the top 10 qualifying tire nonsense and the mandatory tire compound change. I would go one further and have more tires available for practice/qualifying, freeing up an unused set (or two) for the race. I do not want to see Kimi Raikkonen sitting in the garage conserving tires instead of going 100% in an F1 car during qualifying, that is bad for the show. I do think that if this were implemented they would need only be the set tire, I know Pirelli has a difficult time with bringing tires to the race only to scrap 30% of the ones that go unused since they are glued to the rim and can only be cut off.

    I would also like to see a greater difference in the performance of the two compounds on offer for the race. A greater difference in performance and longevity. I would like to see a general target of the soft tire on a 3 stop (4 sets of tires) roughly equalling the total race time of a 1 stop (2 sets) on hard tires all other things being equal. Of course different chassis, drivers and tracks would lend themselves to one or the other (or mixed) strategies, but that would make the racing better. Hamilton on a 3 stop soft with Button on a 1 stop hard for instance. This could be adjusted per race, maybe a track with characteristically low tire wear rates could even have a no-stopper vs a 1-2 stop, that would be awesome!

    All that being said, I definitely applaud the effort from Pirelli and I hope they know that it is appreciated. I am sure they fear some negative press regarding their tires in F1, but I certainly don’t feel that way. I think they are doing a fantastic job providing what has been asked of them.

    1. Here, Here.

  34. I agree that “the start on the tyres you qualified with” rule should be changed, i.e. removed.

    But I wonder, cause i have not checked and don’t have any figures, if the degredation is much worse when following than when in clear air. So far the car in front has usually won without too many tyre issues but even the team-mate has looked like getting nowhere fast and complaining about no grip, cannot accelerate out of corners etc.

    In the last race Kimi looked like he was going places fast, in clear air until he caught his team mate, a few laps later he had to come in for a tyre change.

  35. I think a solution is let the teams have free reign on which tyres they bring and run at each gp. Still give them a limit of 11 dry sets a weekend but let them bring 11 sets of supersoft if they want. Get rid of rules governing which tyres to run and where, let them have a different compound on every corner of the car (did Berger not run different Pirelli compounds on different sides of the car at the 1986 Mexico GP due to one side of the car being put under much higher loads). This would encourage more creative strategies, give the engineers a headache and allow each team to optimise their car. Failing this… qualifying tyres?

    1. Pirelli suggested qualifying tyres last year didn’t they (amongst other things)? But the teams couldn’t agree on anything. Useless lot.

      I like the idea of a free choice of compounds, that would come across well now that they’re labelled different colours. But while it wouldn’t be as scary as the ATS team’s cross-ply fronts & radial rears in 1982 (yikes), no doubt there’s a good health & safety reason for not mixing them.

      1. Yes and Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

        1. Totaly wrong, Pirelli has them, and in a big way

  36. William Wilgus
    27th April 2012, 17:06

    ” . . . for the show, we probably want both these tyre choices to have decay.” [emphasis added]
    That’s just it: do you want a show (NASCAR) or racing? The two are not the same. By the way, if you want drivers to have to manage their tires, why not bring back the one set of tires per race? Not only would it provide a show, it would reduce costs and be more green!

  37. Barcelona could be ridiculous. Last year most leading drivers did 4 stops. Button and the Saubers managed to do “only” three. And they’ve made the tyres softer this year!

    At least they are trying something different by using compounds 2 steps apart, including the lesser-spotted hard tyre. Maybe that degrades slower – certainly it gave us a good chase at the end of last year’s race, Vettel v Hamilton. But won’t everyone be avoiding it? And stockpiling their soft tyres for the race? We could see a record low number of participants in final qualifying, and several drivers queuing up to start 11th…

  38. When did Michael say :”“Michael Schumacher says an F1 event should not involve an element of tyre conservation” Lol. That simply isn’t what he said or implied.

    And the tires were already changed (from 2011 to 2012) without the rules being changed. Of course the stupid Q3 and mandatory tire change rules should be scrapped.

    This year, the unpredictability and the degradation from the Pirelli’s completely ruined racing. It’s just a lottery because Pirelli went too far for 2012.

    1. Michael never implied that. You are correct and if anything this blog is rather harsh on Schumacher. There are many within F1 who currently feel the same as him. They just have not said it in front of the media for there words to be twisted.

      1. Many within F1, indeed. Even drivers, if Brundle’s comments are anything to go by. Of course, people prefer to conveniently skip over those sort of things.

  39. Chris Goldsmith
    27th April 2012, 17:18

    It’s a tough call really, and I can see both sides of the argument. I think the problem with the 2012 spec tyres is that the operating window is far too narrow in terms of temperature. It would be great if the tyres had a much wider operating window, where the harder you pushed the more the tyre would reward the driver with better grip, but increasing the rate of wear exponentially. Whereas another driver could choose to drive slower, and yet still get reasonable grip. Whereas as soon as the tyres fall out of the operating window, they degrade in a way which actually punishes a driver who tries to manage his pace. This creates a situation where the operating window of the tyre is so narrow that the pace of the car must be very carefully maintained. Of course, this is a factor of modern F1 – teams have become too clever, to the point where the optimum strategy can be calculated, and the driver’s job is merely to try and deliver that strategy as accurately as possible. Yes, we have seen certain varibles which have meant that some cars have managed to do better in certain situations, but this hasn’t really been down to the driver and his ability to get the most out of the tyre, rather a situation where a certain team’s car is able to stick closest to the optimum operating window of the tyre without compromising its degredation in the process. Since those variables can’t (currently!) be anticipated, it does add an element of guesswork, which isn’t really something that teams are able to react to.

    The upshot is good racing – every race this year has been great – but I do think that things are a little too tyre-dependent at the moment. As I say, a wider operating window, but one which requires drivers to be extremely careful not to overstep the limit, would be great. It might also be nice if we ditched the tyre warmers and saw drivers having to bring the temperatures up carefully and not damaging the tyres before they hit the performance window.

    Who knows whether this would work or if it would even be possible.

    1. If Pirelli can make a tire that falls apart after 1 lap of abuse (which they appear to have done), surely they can make a tire that would last for maybe 5 laps, so that a driver who reels in the car in front of him gets more that one chance to make the pass. After Bahrain, Raikkonen said he could only make one move on Vettel before his tires went off– his best chance to pass was really to jump him in the pits, which wasn’t the intended effect. But this is a small tweak that Pirelli could make and still stay within the assignment they’ve been given.

  40. This is what i would do:

    1.-Get rid of start race on q3 tyres.
    2.-Get rid of compulsory ussage of two compounds.
    3.-Increase pitlante speed limit / try to shorten pitlanes so teams going for more stops dont get too penalized.

  41. wow, couldnt agree more

  42. To a certain extent, I disagree with the idea that Pirelli shouldnt change the tires. Not because I want them to last longer, but because I’d like to see the tires degrade more consistently throughout their life span.

    As they are, the tires seem to be very temperamental, and require a delicate hand, which suits the driving style of some drivers and punishes others. Although I dont have any hard evidence to back this up, it is my observation that these tires somewhat flatter the driving styles and set-up preferences of drivers like Button and Vettel, who prefer a very stable rear end on the car. Meanwhile Schumacher and Hamilton tend toward pointy cars where they can toss the back end around a bit more, and while this does them no harm in qualifying, both appear to have a harder time coping with the resulting degradation in race conditions. An interesting contrast to the ‘Bridgestone era’, where the ultra-durable tires seemed to provide an advantage to drivers who could really throw the car around and get more heat in the tires, rather than driving very precisely.

    Either way I’d like to see the tires drop off a bit more predictably, without actually lasting longer, which would still allow for exciting racing but maybe alleviate some of the apprehension about pushing them hard (and subsequently ‘falling off the cliff’) that the drivers apparently have.

    The other thing that I’d really like to see is a change in the tire compound so that there are fewer marbles formed off of the racing line. These Pirellis seem to just tear apart in chunks, whereas the Bridgestone tires were much more visco-elastic (think that’s the right word) and rubbered-in the racing line without turning the rest of the track into a skating rink. If they could accomplish that, I think overtaking off-line would generally be easier to attempt for drivers.

    For the record, I do think that the criticism of Pirelli is ridiculous. They have done exactly what they have been asked to do, the sport has benefitted greatly in my estimation, and for that I applaud them. Nonetheless, I think Pirelli could do even more to improve the tires, and eliminate the perception that tire management is too important. Anyways, I’ll just end this here before I start complaining too much about the absurd aero and engine regulations that make these kind of tires necessary to begin with.

  43. To throw a spanner in the works, I say bring back refuelling.
    The strategy with that and tyre stops made for some fascinating unpredictable race days.
    It’s almost as unpredictable with the tyre handling/deg at the moment, but imagine the two combined.

    1. The strategy with that and tyre stops made for some fascinating unpredictable race days.

      No it didn’t – it made it less predictable because you always knew roughly when the drivers were coming in for their next pit stops.

      Worse, it gave strategists the luxury of being able to pit their drivers at moments which would bring them out into clear air so they could lap quickly, and avoid the inconvenience of having to race for position.

      I could go on but I already have.

  44. Did the 2011 tyres were as fickle as this year tyres in responding to temperature change? I don’t really mind last year tyres, but this year tyres seemed very sensitive to temperature. For example at Bahrain race. I don’t think teams brought any significant update that can add +1s to race pace, yet the Lotuses and Vettel can lap +1s faster at race day compared to their nearest competitor. At the start of the race, Hamilton and the rest was slower than Vettel even though he should have the rubber to push. At the end of the race where Button was saving tyres and then make a push, he was still much slower than the leading cars. Qualifying times wasn’t that far off and I don’t think the McLarens setup their car for qualifying nor do I think that their DRS were much better than the RBR and Lotus. So where the difference came from? All I can think about is the change in the temperature between qualifying and race day, thus someone that can accurately predict the temperature for race day will have an advantage. If that the case then definitely Pirelli should change the tyres because there will be to much luck involving predicting the temperature accurately thus the one that win is the one that got lucky with their setup.

    I also agree to the tyre rules. It is stupid, especially the mandatory tyre change.

  45. Avery simple solution would be to insert windows for tyres to be changed.
    Allthough it seems like great racing, if they arent able to drive on the limit of the car, f1 is not worthy of being the highest class anymore.

    1. insert windows for tyres to be changed.

      And reduce teams’ strategy options even further? I sincerely hope not.

      1. I do agree that it should be left to the teams to come up with the best suitable strategy.
        The fact is that driving to keep the tires from falling apart has nothing to do with racing, all the more with endurance.
        That is not what F1 was ment to be.

        1. Totally agree. Self-destructing tyres with little warning are meant for a circus.

  46. @Keith
    It is easy to rationalize any explanation. You talk of strategy which i agree with, but tires should allow you atleast some amount of ability to push. These tires are just a joke, thermal degradation?? Seriously and 4 sets of tires in a race? The first stint lasted 7 laps at Bahrain??? Cmon that has got be a joke.

    1. 4 sets of tires in a race?

      Three-stop strategies are hardly out of the ordinary in F1.

      The first stint lasted 7 laps at Bahrain?

      As I said in the article, get rid of the ‘top ten tyre rule’ and you’ll see longer first stints. Though obviously not as long as those at the end of the race as the fuel loads are much higher then.

    2. Agree with you mate. Funny thing is, Pirelli think that these kind of publicity would help its sales, as if anyone would buy their tyres. I wont! I wouldnt want to go back to the garage every year and driving down the shops and having to know that I need to preserve my tyres otherwise I would need to do a pit stop, “my tyres have gone off the cliff, box box ” My gosh!

      1. @alphaa, and of course you cannot really use them all year long because they don’t work in the rain!
        Are you a guy that expect a normal road car or component to behave on par with maker’s performance on motorsport (with specific products made with completely different requirements and purposes)? You gotta be kidding right?

      2. Yeah I’m never buying Pirellis again, I commute 100 miles a day, 50 miles each way. I simply cannot risk having my tyres go off the cliff on my drive home, and I’m not going to nurse them constantly. I like to be home before 6 so I drive quite briskly and have to drive on some pretty hairy twisty roads. If my tyres fall off the cliff I probably will do to!

        Also sincere thanks to everyone who drives through the black mountains for not using pirellis and leaving the road covered in marbles :-)

  47. Without refuelling, F1 was always going to be more about conserving tyres, as, in general, tyres became the limiting factor instead of fuel. I mean that, these days, you only pit if your tyres are wearing, but with refuelling, you would pit more, as longer stints were costly with the increased fuel load onboard.

    So there’s no real solution to Schumacher’s concerns, in my opinion. Regardless of whether we have conservative Bridgestones or aggressive Pirellis, when the balance is tipped towards making fewer pitstops, there’s always going to be an advantage made from making the tyres last.

  48. Rolley Bidoney
    27th April 2012, 21:15

    my opinion is: refueling should be back that’s create huge strategic options

    1. I couldn’t agree more. But you know what, it aren’t going to happen. The refuelling module is what costing teams a lot of money.

    2. and have most the passing done in the pits again?

      the refueling era sucked for racing as it made fuel strategy (worked out by strategy computers & engineers in the pit lane) the key part of a race.
      as soon as refueling came in on-track overtaking dropped as most the passes got moved into the pit lane.

      watching races like france 2004 where fuel strategy saw the 2 cars fighting for the lead 15 seconds apart with the eventual pass done in the pits was not exciting to watch.

      i hated the refueling era to the point where if it ever came back i’d stop watching f1.

  49. who's better who's best
    27th April 2012, 21:34


    I think 1 thing you are not taking into consideration is that whilst the pack is fighting each other they are seriously reducing their tyre life making a challenge for the lead impossible

    We have seen in every race this year, button lead from 1st lap (due to lewis’s clutch issue), rosberg from pole, vettel from pole, and although I can’t remember how alonso won…lewis would have won from pole in malaysia had it not been for the pitstop jack problem

    I agree the other rules should be scrapped, as you point out, their is just no need for them anymore

    However IMO if we can’t provide short lasting tyres that drivers can race with without damaging, meaning they have ZERO chance of winning then we should not have short life tyres

    I think DRS would work fine on its own. Infact I would go as far as saying DRS would spice up the show more with tyres from 2010

  50. I like 2 tyre rule, ideally compounds would be closer but with same deg characteristics. Extra set of tyres in Quali would encourage more laps on Saturday afternoon…in theory

  51. Keith, you are a genius. That is all.

  52. @keithcollantine I think people forget Michael’s first race win, he saw Brundle’s tyres wearing out in front him and he reacted and stopped for a new set of boots and won the race.
    The problem with the tyres today is degradation vs wear. You have quoted James Allens’ blog post which also talks about this issue as well.
    I’m not sure what Michael meant to say, in any case, it wasn’t very well put. However, If drivers (because James Allen writes it isn’t just Michael Complaining) that their granny’s can drive the cars while they’re conserving them, then something is wrong.
    If cars are only being pushed for 15-20 laps a race, then I do not agree with this. Perhaps swing the tyres back to higher wear rates and reduce the degradation rate.

    1. I think people forget Michael’s first race win, he saw Brundle’s tyres wearing out in front him and he reacted and stopped for a new set of boots and won the race.

      dont forget that it was a wet/dry race.
      schumacher noticed the tread pattern on brundle’s wet tyres starting to dissapear due to the overheating/wear so decidde it was the right time to switch to slicks.

  53. HAHAHA hilarious, please tell me its true that Schumi thought they had achieved the first Ferrari 1-2 in history. What an ignoramus

  54. At times I do find articles from Keith somewhat subjective. I respect that, as this is your website, and I do find some good points about the rule changes. However, having said that I don’t agree that Michael Schumacher was entirely wrong, and I have heard other experienced driver mentioned the same issue. We are never in their shoes, and we do not have the information to disagree, only 24 drivers on grid have the experience of these tyres, it not right to judge them whether they are right or wrong. All I can say is that, I do feel that drivers weren’t allowed to push their car to the limit, once they do usually result with worn tyres, and because of that, the leaders of the first lap usually have a big advantage because it doesn’t need to follow any car, and he can set his own pace generally.
    We would always like the drivers to push as hard as they can, making the overtaking as exciting as it can be. Now, not to mention about the DRS making each overtaking less exciting, the tyres are not helping. I remember seeing Di Resta letting people pass in the race, simply because he knew he has 1 less stop, and he needs to conserve his tyres and defending others will only cut short of his tyres life even more.
    So why do we want such tyres? Initially, these Pirelli does increase the number of stops, having seen that its predecessor popularity in Canada race 2010 where teams were forced to stop 4 times. But it isnt a set formula, more stop does not equal to excitement. We would like to see at least half of the cars on the track is pushing to their limit in terms of speed and performance, I want to see that if a driver got overtaken was because he was SLOWER, not because he was conserving his tyres. I don’t want another reason into why he was overtaken. If you got overtaken, you are slower. Very simple, and thats racing. Like Boxing, when you got knockout, it is because you aren’t a better boxer, not because you’re preserving your energy for another fight.
    I personally like the Pirelli tyres, but I dont think it should be that fragile.

    1. actually you don’t like the Pirelli tyres then, because fragile and unpredictable they are.

  55. F1 should address areas of the rule book which several years’ experience have taught us are not working as desired.

    Ever wondered why we check the weather forecast for every race weekend, hoping it will be raining? Degrading tyres are a poor fix for F1’s fundamental problems. They are necessary to create action with the current rules and regs, but with a better formula there would be no need for gimmicks like DRS and disintegrating tyres.

    It’s actually perfect timing to shake everything up. F1 could make a huge contribution by advancing the efficiency of new technologies. It could be relevant again instead of being an expensive playground for people with time and money to waste.

    It’s too easy to believe we are seeing good racing lately, just because we had years of boredom. It was celebrated that, in Bahrain, two drivers led a grand prix for the first time in their careers. But, realistically, Vettel led from start to finish, didn’t he? Cars on fresh tyres, catching and breezing past rivals who have compromised their performance to inherit track position – is that RACING?

    Just my opinion – No need for Tyresome(!) responses of the type: “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it” – those comments really are degrading(!!).

  56. The blog is generally a good one. I’m not an englishman but I used to like it very much! One thing is for sure after this article and it is that a driver should be extra careful what he says. And the other thing is that the authors of the content published on https://www.racefans.net do not like Michael Schumacher.

  57. Fascinating stuff from Alexander Rossi, commentating on the GP2 race that’s just finished. They’re using similar Pirellis to F1 (complete with “cliff” when they wear out), and he said that compared to Bridgestone or Mchelin tyres, they feel like driving at 85-90%. You can’t slide the car at all, and he compared it to driving in the wet. He thought it was the tyre construction – softer sidewalls.

    So it sounds like you’d need to switch tyre supplier to change the way the tyres handle and degrade.

    Exciting finish to the race too, with the winner (on worn-out tyres) just holding off the second-placed guy. It’s good to see that happen twice in a longer Grand Prix, maybe three times – but four or five sets of tyres just looks silly.

    1. @bullfrog Watching Dillmann hold on with those knackered tyres was great One of the best drives I’ve seen so far this year (admittedly it is still early days yet!)

  58. It matters not one bit what ‘WE’ think about the situation on tyres. The point I like is to remind people that if Schumacher was winning races and titles, he would not be complaining. Anybody that says F1 is ‘more boring’ now than it was ten years ago is in my eyes openly in denial. The 2002 season was, without doubt, one of the most predictable and boring in recent F1 history.
    However, despite this, Schumacher never complained then when he was champion with half a season yet to run.
    It is always the same with all racing drivers. As soon as they start losing its the fault of the car, the tyres, the engine, the mechanics. As Martin Brundle said of Hamilton last year, ‘it is always someone else’s fault’ when things go wrong. You could pin that to the majority of all racing drivers, not just F1 drivers.
    F1 is there to satisfy its fans, not Schumacher and Schumacher alone. As great as he is and as impressive as his c.v. is the sport continued without him just like it has without past ‘legendary’ drivers. The fact remains that Schumacher thought he would come back and start were he left off, competing at the front for championships and this has not been the case. He should have done what Mika Hakkinen did and retired towards the pinnacle of his career instead of being in denial like he is now. He is past it!

  59. Sorry to be a pedant @keithcollantine, but shouldn’t that be *fix (not fixed) in the title?

  60. I agree with scrapping the top 10 tyre rule, but disagree with removing mandatory change. It is both more challenging for a driver to manage two types of tyres at a race and also forces the car setup to be more balanced, thus reducing the difference between the cars at some point – when one car is stronger on harder or softer compound.

  61. What your article is suggesting is that the cars should not be driven at any time during the race at ‘balls out pace’ and that a smoth and considered pace throughout the race is what F1 is all about. F1 was supposed to be a spectacle showcasing great individual performances. Not a contrived pantomime of musical cars . I have been watching F1 since 1964, last year was bad and this year I am afraid even the highlights on BBC. are to much for me.

    1. this may be just me, but I wouldn’t describe Bahrain in the terms you just described. Vettel in the first lap alone went “balls out” compared to those behind. Kimi sliced through the field and that wasn’t contrived. That Vettel had to pull over immediately after finishing because he had no fuel shows that he was pushing pretty damn hard, not just smooth and considered.

      Perhaps Pirelli should have brought the medium and hard tires to Bahrain, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Iirc, last year as the season wore on, Pirelli began bringing harder compound tires (some saying because it favored the struggling Ferrari ;) and the tires became a less defining factor in the races.

  62. A very good article, Keith.
    You’ve highlighted the most important aspects of the situation and demonstrated the implications of alternatives, whilst making good reference to history and what racing is about.

    Of course, Schumacher knows these things too; but we should bear in mind that he has always gone the extra mile to maximise his various advantages – regardless of the implications of his actions and exacting requirements, upon the sport and the spectacle it provides; and it would seem inconsistent not to complain in an effort to minimise what is obviously something he is finding difficulty coming to grips with…

    Schumacher does not say things by accident. Everything he does and says is factored in as part of a calculation. For him, I would suggest this very discussion is not only desirable but was predicted, since it increases the chance of a reaction – even if only slightly – which may offset what he currently perceives as a personal disadvantage.

    History has shown us that if he cannot win under prevailing conditions, he does his utmost to change those conditions…

  63. The mandatory pit-stop rule really ought to be scrapped, like you said Keith, it served a purpose for Bridgestone. It would be fascinating to watch a race without it and see how the various teams deal with any given race. Certain teams would be better suited to certain tyres which when you pit longevity versus speed it would only exaggerate how great the racing is at the moment.

    Fundamentally though, this is a bit of a non-issue for me. I expect F1 drivers to complain when they experience undesirable degradation but I also expect the same drivers will take some pleasure when they race as a result of a chasing driver no longer being able to compete with rubber. Swings and roundabouts basically!

  64. james allen ran an article about schumacher’s comments a week ago & a majority of fans over there agreed with schumacher.
    i’ve seen similar discussed on several other forums with identical results, most fans seemingly dislike the current tyres.

    1. @Dizzy
      A few links might be useful. Every forum I’ve seen has presented some pretty could cases against Schumacher’s comments, even when they might sympathise with part of his reasoning.


      Please don’t be seduced by a title which might suggest it is one-sided. I can see 247 comments so far, and the majority view is not in Schumacher’s favour. Far from it in fact.

  65. You can build the best car, fastest one with reliable engines, optimum aero and Kers. But still the one and only limiting BASIC factor is the TYRE this beautiful machine stands on. And it’s only a little footprint the rubber has on the tarmac. You can develop basically everything right with the car, only to be let down by scrappy tyres with no life in them, with the build in ‘fall of the cliff’ experience. All the millions pumped into the car are virtually lost because these tyres aren’t racing tyres, they are circus tyres. And yes, in the ‘old’ days people came in for tyres and could push the car again up the ladder. And also ‘then’ tyres degraded, but you could get them ‘back to life’, nurturing them for some laps. Not anymore. Now a racer doesn’t have a clue when or why his only contact with the road is self-destructing in a lap or three of pushing. Pirelli has done a bad job – period. Bridgestones were maybe a bit too long-lasting, but now we have the reverse. If you want to see real racing, the very important element of decent tyres (I didn’t say indestructable) should be in the ‘package’. Otherwise you can build a car that is the top of the season only to see it being mediocre (or worse) on racing day. With Pirelli we will not see epic battles again à la Mansell-Senna-Prost ever again.

  66. I agree with dropping the starting on the tyre you qualified on rule. I guess it does help a little with people out side the top 10 like Kimi in Bahrain. I didnt see anyone complaining about that yet it was partly down to his newer tyres. I dont think removing it will help with people not running in Q3 because they will still want to save tyres.

    As for dropping the rule that forces teams to use both compounds, i dont agree. There isnt a hope in hell of anyone doing it any time soon. Forcing them to use both the prime and option mixes it up. Is it really that fun watching someone who is going backwards quicker than a HRT, e.g Kimi in China this year? Not really…..

    Thankfully these rules arent that important in the Pirelli times however in the BS times they were very important otherwise every driver would have 0 stopped almost every race because the tyres arent that good.

  67. I can only partially agree with the writter. First of all, Schumi may be wrong in saying that tyre management is not an important part of F1 racing – it has indeed always been. But he has a good point in saying that nursing tyres should never be a key goal for F1 racers, after all tyres are there to provide drivers with the necessary conditions in order to run faster than anyone else, not to hinder their abilities to a lower level than what they can extract from their cars.

    Secondly, to praise the end of the so called “tyre war” is wrong. Just because 2002 produced a run of wins to Ferrari and Schumi, it does not mean that Michelin was smiling about that, so much so that already in 2003 they were fighting Bridgestone’s with much more “punch”, and that trend continued till they practically forced Bridgestone out, becoming a better rubber than their competitors. I still remember that at some point prior to 2005 Schumi himself said publicly that if Bridgestone did not improve to be at the same level of Michelins, than it would be better to switch tyre makers sooner than later.

    In-race refuelling is also criticized in the article (which is something that I agree with banning) but I feel that the reasoning for the criticism is completely off the mark. It is just plain wrong to claim that it followed other series like Indy for instance, and if you compare the level of jeopardy that having to refuel caused to racers in those years with the jeopardy that Pirelli’s tyres are causing now, you can clearly see that it was far better to force refuelling than to have all the teams suffering just because they cannot figure out how the current tyres will behave during the race. This same thinking is valid for the replacement of grooved tyres for the new slicks, I really would prefer to see grooves still in place than watch Alonso helpless with only 6 laps to go in Canada because of a stupid strategy call.

    Nevertheless, I reckon that racing is far more exciting now than it was ten years ago. The only disagreement that I have with the article is the fact that not only he attempted to misguide the readers with garbage reasoning, but also he seemed to elect a far simpler way of artificially affecting race results (through the Pirelli rubber) compared to the unpredictability that we use to get with refuelling, grooved tyres, multi-brand rubber, and especially the fact that drivers were able to go “up to the limits” with the prior set of regulations.

    All of his other points are agreeable to me.

  68. Juan Pablo Lewin
    2nd April 2013, 13:13

    My opinion:

    – Mandatory use of qualyfying tyres for top ten: OUT
    – Mandatory use of two compunds: OUT
    – DRS: OUT (fake overtaking)
    – Re-fuelling IN: More strategic options, and who doesn’t miss those backmarkers on pole just for the TV show :-)


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