Button expects to avoid 2012 dip with “fairer” tyres

2013 F1 season

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Jenson Button says Pirelli’s new tyres for 2013 are easier to understand and are less likely to make car set-up a lottery.

“This year is more difficult in terms of graining than last year but in terms of understanding the tyre it’s a lot easier,” he told media in Barcelona on Thursday.

“You can get it in its working range and you know by lap three or four it’s going to start graining. So compared to last season it’s more of a fair playing field.

“Because last year there were teams who could get the tyres working, not because they knew why, just their cars worked with those tyres. Whereas other teams really had to fight to get the tyres to work. They were really on a knife’s edge the tyres.

“And it took us sort of six or seven months to get a handle on the tyres. Whereas these tyres are different. They’re much easier to understand, easier to get into their working range. This afternoon, it’s been cold, [but] you could even to get the tyres working on lap one which was something we couldn’t do last winter.”

Button said that gives him confidence he can avoid the lapse in form he suffered early in the 2012 season when he was unable to make the tyres work.

“I hope so,” he said when asked. “Today doesn’t really show that but I think the issues with the tyre at the moment is a pretty normal issue with the tyre: for example it’s too soft or the working range is wrong for this circuit and the winter testing.”

“They can’t go and design tyres for winter testing and design tyres for the races. All the teams would be up in arms, they’re not the correct tyres for racing with. It’s very difficult for Pirelli to get tyres that work for both conditions.

“We will have tyres that degrade more than last year, that was always the plan. But it seems like a normal tyre that works in a normal way. It’s not on a knife’s edge in terms of the temperature range and that was a big issue last year.

“If you got the tyre working it was a massive jump in performance and something that a lot of teams struggled with and I definitely struggled with that, Canada and Monaco time.

“We don’t feel that we have that and I don’t think any of the teams feel they have that issue it’s more just graining. That’s a normal tyre issue.”

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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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  • 45 comments on “Button expects to avoid 2012 dip with “fairer” tyres”

    1. InB4 people complaining about Button Whinging.

      So, whilst the degradation has been more extreme, it seems its at lease consistently extreme. I reckon we’ll see some fairly similar strategies for the first few races.

      1. Tyres,tyres, bloody tyres, how I long for a return to the days when no-one gave tyres a second thought.
        What has 10 people being able to change 4 tyres in 2.5 seconds got to do with driver skill or technical excellence, nothing at all, and it costs a LARGE fortune to transport and accommodate these crews, not to mention the cost of the tyres, used and unused, being built and transported all over the world.
        Can’t we get back to real racing and the sensible allocation of spending on technical advances rather than showbiz gimmicks.

        1. firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@)
          22nd February 2013, 17:15


        2. I totally agree. teams now must use at least to time more sets of tires than they used to do in the past. So much for cost-cutting.
          This new tire trend in F1 favours the ‘smooth’ drivers and the opportunists who only got decent results due to tire strategies but were nowhere in equal conditions at the expense of gritty, aggresive drivers who are still trying to make F1 look like a sport about racing.

          1. Well I can see it now. The guy who pits first will be going 4-6 seconds faster on his first two laps, giving him an obvious and easy undercut. Then when the others pit, they will be going 3-4 seconds quicker than the first people to pit, resulting in stupidly easy passes, even without DRS.

            Sure we will see more passing, but once again it will be as dull as watching a Redbull overtake an HTR.

            That is not the type of racing I enjoy watching. I’d like to see humans making the difference, not the tyres. I’d hate to see Pirreli taking power away from the drivers and mechanics in the teams.

          2. Blame the tyres because we had couple of really boring F1 season… NOT! :) Name a driver or a car which was fast but because of tyres didn’t perform throughout a year?! I think there might be too much talk about tyres, but in the end everything works out nicely.

            Like McLaren and Button showed – you need right setup to use the tyres right. Changing setup on the car costs nothing compared to developing exhaust etc. I really like if diver+team needs to find the right setup to be fast. Building a car, setting it up to be fast and driving it fast is what racing is all about.

            1. @f1lauri, for the top teams the cost of employing a bunch of people and transporting,feeding and accommodating them may not be a big part of their budget but for the bottom order teams it is a major expense and one they cannot cut, development can stop, pay drivers can be bought in but the pit crew cannot be dispensed with or be expected to bring sponsors.

          3. Alternatively, because the Tyres are consistent, the strategists can plan for drivers who will be aggressive and blitz through the tyres, but who will be faster overall.

          4. teams now must use at least to time more sets of tires than they used to do in the past. So much for cost-cutting.

            The cost involved with tyres isn’t a question of how many they use in a race, it’s how many they bring to a race weekend. The tyres that are brought to a race weekend can’t be re-used once they’ve been mounted on their rims.

            Therefore there is no difference between the situation now and what we had with Bridgestone in terms of the costs of the tyres. Indeed, you could argue that the current situation is better, as in all likelihood fewer unused tyres are being discarded as more are seeing action during races.

            1. @keithcollantine, I bet they used a lot less in the 60’s when everybody only used 1 set of Dunlop racing tyres per race.
              I see no reason why we can’t go back to a standard tyre that lasts a complete race distance, drivers and teams would still face the challenge of adapting the car and their driving to the differing track surfaces but it would only be necessary to transport one set of tyres for practice/qualifying and one set for the race + a few spares for punctures accidents etc. not only reducing the cost of tyres but the cost to the team of employing a huge pit crew for every race.

            2. @keithcollantine – I wouldn’t even argue that point, instead I would say that since much less funding is going into tyre development these days that costs are going down, especially compared with the “tyre war”.

            3. Therefore there is no difference between the situation now and what we had with Bridgestone in terms of the costs of the tyres. Indeed, you could argue that the current situation is better, as in all likelihood fewer unused tyres are being discarded as more are seeing action during races.

              @keithcollantine You have a remarkable interpretation of “waste”. Is having a fridge full of food you don’t eat and then throw away more of a waste that using it all for cooking but never actually eating it?

              If they are physically using more tyres now instead of simply not using them, then there is more waste. Stupid waste at that. If you want to reduce waste then the solution is to simply supply less. Personally I think teams could cope with 3 sets of soft, 2 hard, 3 inters, 2 full wet for a race. If a team needs more than 5 sets of tyres to reach the end of a race then to be blunt about it, they weren’t going to win anyway, so tough, do a better job on set-up next time/don’t abuse tarmac runoff and risk a puncture etc.

              (Bear in mind this comment concerns tyre supply waste only, not a critique of Pirreli’s compounds making things more “racey”. Personally I like the Pirelli ear).

        3. There was never a time when tyres were not given a second thought. Tyres are part of the sport. In fact, if you study anything related to racing cars you will learn that tyres are, at the end, the most important aspect, because they are what keeps the car with traction on the ground, it’s what finally produces the forces that move you. They may seem uninteresting to you, but there is a lot of engineering around it (both from teams and manufacturer), and that is what motorsport is all about. It’s not just about Hamilton doing a hot lap, it’s about a team trying to work out how they can go faster that the other ones given the challenges, which also means trying to take the greatest possible advantage from the tyres or have a better tyre strategy. Don’t forget it’s a team sport, it’s not about Alonso or Vettel or Button, you like it or not. So yes, tyres are an important topic and should be kept as a challenge.

          1. Perhaps we should also go back to engines that don’t last a race distance, horsepower is what racing has always been about.

            1. Or we could try and go the other way. Have tyres and engines that are supposed to last the season. That would really be back to the beginning of motorsport.

          2. Beto is 100% correct. tyre performance has been the number one concern in motor racing since motor racing began almost.

    2. Button can be a potential championship contender if the McLaren solves the reliability problems and if it keeps the great momentum it had at the end of the last year.
      Why not? Let’s consider this:
      – Hamilton, some people say (not only me I mean) is quite ruled out.
      – Alonso can be again in his big consistency vs bad luck typical scenario.
      – Vettel can suffer to be into the fight again (such as 2010 and 2012)
      – Kimi can explot that Lotus, but he won just one race one year and I can’t imagine (yet) Lotus being the new Brawn.
      – That could leave Button with big chances.

      1. Now let’s see:
        – Hamilton is ruled out – don’t forget Button ruled out Alonso at the beginning of last season but Fernando fought for the title until the last race.
        – If Alonso’s Ferrari manage to qualify on the front row more often this season, all the money would be on him, he wouldn’t even need bad luck from others.
        – Until now Vettel’s wins came only when he started on the front row (just one exception when he started 3rd) so one could consider Seb being in the fight if only RedBull’s car has some edge other their rivals.
        – Kimi won but one race in the 4th fastest car but history showed what he can do in a fast car that doesn’t break too often and it doesn’t necessarily needs to be a ‘sort of Brawn’.
        – So that could leave Button searching for new excuses of his struggles.
        Remember that teams are in the middle of their testing programme. As Alonso said they didn’t even put all the parts on the car, and most likely the big teams will pull their aces off their sleeves only in Australia. And since the 4 top teams seem to be somehow evenly matched till now, those ‘surprise’ parts could play a big role in reshuffling the order once racing begins.

        1. Sure Button has a chance this year, but to say he has an especially *good* chance is a stretch. If the Mclaren is equally fast as the Red Bull and Ferrari (which is looking much more respectable than usual), he will find it tough to beat Vet or Alo on pace or merit. Factor in Mclaren mediocrity at key decision moments and it still looks a tough sell. The Lotus is a black sheep at this point as is the Merc, although Merc are far less convincing.

          Bottom line is that in a grid this tough, Button and Mclaren will need to make some serious magic happen. They are up against some seriously sharp opponents.

          1. @newdecade don’t forget Button is so opportunistic when disaster struck others. Win in Australia, Spa (after nutcase) and Brazil (after Lewis and Hulk hit). You can see it all the other way back: That if there weren’t crashes on the other top drivers, he would have scored nothing. But grabbing what others have scattered is, really, an asset to bear in mind about Button.
            PS: Why do all people say he is a crybaby? Somebody started the rumor and now it’s a snowball getting avalanche in F1Fanatic

            1. Opportunistic? In Australia he had a better start. At Spa his rivals were eliminated for him. In Brazil he was gifted track positions… Your examples do not show opportunism.

            2. @satchelcharge my bad, I meant to say “opportune”, please forgive my confusing two words which sound so similar in Spanish, my mother tongue.

            3. @omarr-pepper – …a snowball set I’m motion by his radio complaints I believe, which is a slight overreaction but justified!

      2. Hamilton yes will likely not be in title contention, as he himself has said the car lacks downforce compared to his McLaren. You say Alonso “can be again in his big consistency vs bad luck typical scenario”: what do you mean by this @omarr-pepper ? I don’t consider Alonso at all unlucky apart from in the sense that he hasn’t been provided with a car which was as good as the Red Bull these past few years.

        Vettel I think will be right in the fight, as obviously he is off the back of winning three titles in a row and the RB9 again looks to be a consistently fast and reliable car. I don’t think if he is in contention he’ll have it as hard as last year! Kimi looks to have a strong car and he distinctly improved throughout last year, so he may be a contender (although I doubt he would win).

        Then there’s Button. If the car is good I see no reason why he couldn’t be a contender, but I don’t think he is currently on the level of Alonso & Vettel in particular. He’ll surely win races, but I don’t think he will consistently beat the aforementioned drivers and so I don’t think he will be champion at the end of the year. It’s too early to judge that though!

        1. @vettel1 Alonso fans have said many times how bad luck it was to be out in Japan and in Spa. It definitely is bad luck. But what some poeple don’t mention is that every other title contender has had his fair share of bad luck as well.

          1. @omarr-pepper – absolutely; I think if anything Alonso was one of the luckier ones though if we compare him to who were thought to be the other two best drivers, Vettel and Hamilton. Which is why I choose to try not to mention luck when talking about title challenges! I do remember calculating points lost due to elements out with the respective driver’s control and Alonso ranked third in that list.

    3. They’re much easier to understand, easier to get into their working range.

      Well, that’s not bad, is it? They might pit 10 times per race, but if it’s easy to understand, after a couple of laps it’ll be just fine.

    4. So is he saying that while last season they had to pit many times because they didn’t understand the tyres, this year it will be because the tyres are useless, and there is nothing they can do about it?

    5. Not really a fan of how tires have become the talking point in F1 now.
      In the past tires were black/round & everyone had them, Now all you ever hear all weekend is tires, tires, tires!

      I don’t mind tires wearing & degrading as that just a normal thing, However nowadays its all got way too extreme & often starts detracting from the racing for me.

      Also no fun watching a car on new tires blow past one on old tires with stupid ease, That isn’t exciting for me im afraid, its just as boring to see occur as a drs pass.

      i always watched f1 to see some hard racing & we sadly don’t see a great deal of that now as there saving tires, using drs to drive clean past someone easily in the middle of a straght or tire differences see 2 drivers unable to race one another as the car on new tires has such a massive advantage he gets by without drama.

      i’ve been an f1 fan for nearly 40 years, i’ve attended a majority of the races held at montreal & even a few when the race was held at Mosport, Due to DRS/tires i won’t be attending this years gp & won’t be watching all the races as im fed up off all these silly gimmicks & all this artificial spicing up of the show.

      indycar was way better in terms of racing last year so i’ll just be sticking with that & attending there race at Toronto instead, May even take the hop across the border to there race at Belle-Isle.

      1. In the past tires were black/round & everyone had them, Now all you ever hear all weekend is tires, tires, tires!

        You’ve been a F1 fan for 40 years and you think that it’s only now that tires are the focus. Ummm, have you ever heard of the ‘Tire Wars’?

        Honestly, people moan non stop about the tires and DRS and I’ve just about had it. The new tires and DRS are two of the VERY BEST things to ever happen to F1.

        I am a MASSIVE F1 fan. I live, eat and breath F1 but only because of the way it is now. The other week I happen to get my hands on the entire 2007 season and went to my mates house to have a pure F1 session. It wasn’t long before I was nodding off, my mate too!

        People bitch and moan about the racing these days and how it’s artificial etc. but let me tell you, the F1 today is a FAR BETTER beast than it used to be. The racing in 2007 was down right dull. I cant remember which race we were watching, but as I fell off to sleep with boredom, Kimi in a vastly superior Ferrari was coming up behind a slower car, can’t remember which one. He was way faster and cruised right up on the back of the other car. After 5+ laps of following between 0.5 and 1 second behind the other car, I drifted off.

        I woke up and saw that another 15 laps had passed, and low and behold, what do you think I saw? you guessed it, Kimi still following the slower car. BORING!!!

        How the hell ANYONE can pine for the ‘old’ days and want this boring tripe is beyond me!

        F1 has just been getting better and better since 2009 and we have the change in regulations, the new tires and in no small part, DRS to thank.

        So next time you feel like having a moan about the ‘artificial’ racing these days, I suggest you go back and watch some of the bore fests pre 2009/10 – you’ll soon stop moaning!

        1. 2007 was yesterday, I know you have never seen a race without pit stops so it’s hard for you to understand where those of us who followed F1 for over 20 years BEFORE PIT STOPS were a regular feature are coming from. Do the constant safety-car interruptions in American racing annoy you, if so perhaps you can understand that pit stops, like safety cars, artificially change the race and deprive us of watching a battle between 2 drivers on the track.

          1. Roger2012 I agree wholeheartedly about DRS: that is blatantly giving an unnatural, unfair advantage to one driver. The tyres though are the same for everyone – no unfair advantages are given to any driver. For that reason I would defend Pirelli but absolutely sign a petition against DRS.

          2. if you were referring to fuel stops, those days were the ones that killed F1 and forced the changes. During Schumachers dominant years, I don’t think he nor any serious front runner did any on track over taking, it was all done through pitstop strategy and after the final round of pitstops you could watch 20 laps of procession with no one wanting to take a risk to attack.

        2. So next time you feel like having a moan about the ‘artificial’ racing these days, I suggest you go back and watch some of the bore fests pre 2009/10 – you’ll soon stop moaning!

          I regularly go back & watch older races & I think there far better than the gimmicky, Artificial crap we see today.

          Whats so great about watching a driver push a button & easily drive clean past another car half way down a straght? To me thats boring & I get no excitement or interest out of it!

          The racing Pre-2011 was so much more interesting & the overtaking was so much more exciting to watch. You got to see cars/drivers pushing to the limit, battling with one another without having to worry about stupid drs zones or tires falling off a cliff.

          As for 2007. I loved that season, There was some great racing through that year & there was some brilliantly exciting overtaking as well.
          I remember at Monza where Hamilton pulled off a simply brilliant pass on Kimi using pure skill. Today he’d have just pushed his DRS button & been past Kimi really easily half way down the straght.

          I’ve seen very little with Pirelli/DRS the past 2 years that i’ve enjoyed anywhere near as much as what I watched in the years prior.

        3. And yes we have heard of the tyre wars, another failed gimmick introduced to spice things up that actually had the opposite effect because “exclusive use” was allowed rather than allowing all teams access to the best tyres and development.

    6. I keep reading and Jenson keep telling us about his 2012 misery, blaming everything on the tyres. But that might be the case from Bahrain onwards. Remember, up to China there were no complains from McLaren. In fact a team that locked out the grid at Aussie do not just lose it so suddenly unless there is a higher-power-intervention, which according Auto-Motor-und-Sport was the FIA that told McLaren to change their floor in China as it was deemed illegal. McLaren did not protest as they knew they pushed the envelope there. We know the FIA does some reprimands behind closed doors. So the mainstream media did not pick that up, rather they said JB was having problems with set up. “The most intelligent driver on the grid” (sic Whitmarsh) has problems with set up? I don’t buy that! I tend more to believing what AMS wrote.

      1. The way Button is talking about some teams not being able to get to grips with the tires, you might be fooled into believing that McLaren was one of those teams & that he suffered for it… but I don’t recall Lewis Hamilton struggling to make his tires work in the same car, so while other teams & drivers may be able to give that reason as a legitimate excuse, Jenson Button cannot. Typical of him though: blame anything else for his inabilty to perform, instead of admitting he just plain sucked. After copying Lewis’ setup, his McLaren had no such problems making his tires work. Sometimes I wonder if the guy ever really listens to the silly excuses he gives.

        1. That’s funny because last year the person who previously broke the record for most poles in a season failed to get into the top ten on some occassions and on one barely made it while his teammate put it on pole. And if I recall correctly the reason Lewis Hamilton was so slow in the Australia, Bahrain, Japan etc. was exactly because of tyres and not because he suddenly lost his skills or because McLaren was suddenly so aerodynamically poor. Everyone was struggling at some point.

          So before you make such statements again just for the sake of criticizing one man you should really think how some people were suddenly so competetive, also got on the podium or won races because of tyres working on their car. I’m not saying they’re not good drivers but let’s just face the facts and see it for how it is for once.

          Last year, until the second half, it was a tyre lottery and there’s no reason to even argue that point because everyone knows it. Now did I enjoy the season? Of course I did. It was a very competetive season with a lot of ups and down for different teams and certainly a breath of fresh air in F1.
          I’d take that season any day over two tyre manufacturers spporting/building their tyres for two teams and having those two fight it off for years straight.

          I guess F1 fans are not deserving of a driver who actually is willing to talk about F1 and actually go to details and give us a true insight about how an F1 car is behaving throughout the race track in this day and age.

          Now what I’d like to ask you to do is to compare Jenson Button’s radios with Kimi Raikkonen’s. But for some reason the latter seems to come accross as cool rather than a whiner. And if you really wanted to know who the real whiners are in this case I’d gladly give you an answer. It’s people whining about Jenson Button’s “whining” every damn article instead of actually trying to understand what the man has said and then discuss it.

          Oh, and not because it helps my argument or what I’ve said in any way but, just for the hell of it, I am a Ferrari fan.

          1. Well said

        2. I really don’t get this Hamilton/Button thing at all. Button has said pretty much the same as every other driver about the tyre situation this year, and yet you want to interpret this as “silly excuses” . I am not particularly a Button fan but I do like to cheer the home team and I am getting increasingly despondent about the ill informed sheep like pseudo fans that vie with each other for the snidest comments. Button is a decent guy and he is doing something that 99.99% of people could never achieve – he is amongst an elite band of athletes. Please give all these guys a break and enjoy the racing, or leave it alone and go back on the terraces.

    7. Button just said that these tires are more predictable than last year and even they will change more tires per race at least there won’t be surpruises, meaning you don’t have to be psychic anymore or don’t have a clue why you are good/bad to the tires. And yes he is a cry baby :)))

    8. Button expects??? So did Nelson ( and I don’t mean piquet ) and it didn’t turn out too well for him.

      1. Or the Frogs.

    9. i definitely feel button could be a strong championship contender this season, i dont rate button that highly but his experience + a quick car with what could be a slightly less competitive team mate this year, he’s definitely a threat

    10. just for the record people, Button’s win in Brazil was all his own making. Only those who didn’t watch the race could think that he didn’t pull out a huge advantage (along with Hulk) due to his ability to drive in damp conditions on slicks when all others including Hamilton couldn’t guage the conditions. As for Spa, all the contenders were BEHIND Button who was untouchable that day and I doubt anyone would have come close.

      People are incapable of giving credit where it’s due. I just hope none of those people ‘grow’ up to become teachers.

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