Pirelli opposes move to let teams choose tyres

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In the round-up: Formula One teams could be allowed to choose their preferred tyre compounds for each race but Pirelli is not convinced by the plan.


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Formula 1 teams could be allowed to choose their own tyres (BBC)

"You have to take into account some of the extreme conditions and it might mean someone making a choice we would not feel is correct."

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone backs Lewis Hamilton for Ferrari switch (Daily Star)

"He wouldn't have a problem with it (racing for Ferrari) but I don't think Sebastian Vettel would like it."

Closest we've been to Ferrari since Australia - Valtteri Bottas (ESPN)

"I think we would have both been up there between the Ferraris. There are small bits that we have brought here but it seems like no-one else has done much more and that is good to see, plus we know there is more to come in the next few races."

Nico Rosberg Q&A: Pole a serious advantage at Catalunya (F1)

"I’ve learned from my mistake in Bahrain and really got myself into the rhythm in Q2 - and from then on I wasn’t catchable any more."

Vettel fears Mercedes have widened the gap (Reuters)

"We have the same tyres, it’s correct, but it’s a completely different circuit (to Malaysia) as well. I think potentially the tyres are not working as well as they used to in Malaysia."

Hamilton troubled by 'messy set-up' (Autosport)

"Nico has generally not made a lot of changes all weekend. He's kept a balance and he's not really had to move from there so he's been comfortable from the get go."

Bullish Alonso targets points for McLaren (F1i)

"The race should be quite good for us, in terms of pace we seem to take care of the tyres quite well so hopefully tomorrow arrive the first points of the year for us."

Fernando Alonso and co meet the fans in Barcelona - Spanish Grand Prix (F1 via YouTube)


Comment of the day

is there too much manufactured controversy in F1 coverage?

It’s incredibly tedious to listen to how Sky F1 team constantly create dramas when there is none.

This week it was about the Ferrari drivers carrying different packages. It was obvious from the drivers’ reactions, Raikkonen hated it, Vettel was not entirely happy but didn’t mind it too much.

It’s a no-brainer why Raikkonen went for the older set-up. Yet according to Kravitz/Croft/Brundle it’s either Vettel pretending to like the new set to stamp his authority as the lead driver in the team or Ferrari favouring Vettel over Raikkonen.

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Keith Collantine
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50 comments on “Pirelli opposes move to let teams choose tyres”

  1. is there too much manufactured controversy in F1 coverage?

    Let me think ….

    “He wouldn’t have a problem with it (racing for Ferrari) but I don’t think Sebastian Vettel would like it.”

    …. I’m going to go with “Definitely”.

    1. Another way to save costs on transport, cancel they plane used to carry bernies stirring spoon.

    2. The fish rots from the head down. In relation to F1 and your original post, controversy in F1 starts at the top.

    3. Bernie is on to something though….

  2. Many senior insiders would prefer tyres on which drivers could push harder for longer periods, though most want to retain at least two pit stops per race.

    Then they could simply mandate a minimum two pit stops per race per car.

    1. Please, no. I’m sick of the solution to everything being to add yet more restrictions and rules to F1.

      How about we just let the teams figure out what the quickest way of getting to the end of the race is? If that means pitting once, twice, every lap or not at all I honestly don’t care. I don’t know where this assumption came from that an F1 race can’t be any good unless every driver makes two or three pit stops, but it’s potty.

      1. Well that’s a separate issue, and one I agree with you on. But if we must have two tyre changes per race per car I’d prefer to write that in the rules and then use proper tyres which would allow drivers to race more aggressively, rather than the current system of of trying to achieve the same goal via designed-to-be-rubbish tyres.

      2. @keithcollantine, that “potty assumption” came from the same potty all the silly assumptions have come from, Bernies head.

      3. How about we just let the teams figure out what the quickest way of getting to the end of the race is? If that means pitting once, twice, every lap or not at all I honestly don’t care.

        I think this would neccessitate a second tyre manufacterer. If it´s only one, they´ll either produce the cheapest possible tyre (Bridgestone wooden tyres) or (if mandated) made-for-show-Pirellis that aim at two-to-three-pitstop races. The search for the fastest way only comes with competition.

        1. I think this would neccessitate a second tyre manufacterer.

          @crammond, problem is that one tyre manufacturer will be better than the other one, so a handful of teams will be uncompetitive because they’re not on the right tyres. This is why I like the single tyre formula.
          Pirelli are only delivering what Bernie and the FIA is asking from them, if they said to Pirelli to make a tyre that is the quickest with a life span of 20 laps, but don’t manufacture them to fall of a cliff at the end, then life would be simpler

          1. @dragoll, furthermore, there is the potential issue that, when there are multiple tyre manufacturers, some tyre manufacturers have a tendency to favour certain teams, thereby handicapping their competitors.

            Both Bridgestone and Michelin were accused of heavy bias towards certain teams during the tyre wars, mainly because they were the clients they saw as much commercially valuable (Ferrari for Bridgestone and Renault for Michelin).

            It’s hardly a new trend either – one ex-Tyrrell engineer talked about how, back in the 1980’s, Tyrrell were paying the same rate as the top teams for their tyres from Goodyear but were being denied information by Goodyear. When the engineer asked Goodyear’s representative why that was, he was told “You’re not worth enough” – interestingly, the only tyre manufacturer at the time who was actually willing to give all its customers the same level of support was Pirelli, hence why Tyrrell switched to them in the early 1990’s.

    2. I can’t help thinking that simply mandating 2 stops minimum per race wouldn’t change a thing. The teams want to run as far as they can on tyre until it’s worn out. No matter how they constructed the tyres they are always going to lose performance over time through persistent pushing from the driver. If tyres can take being pushed hard without the loss of significant performance, but you mandate 2 stops, everyone will stop on the same lap as there is no advantage to be gained from an undercut, it would completely remove most of the strategy and with the faster drivers and cars usually starting at the front, a slightly lesser package has no chance of using a smart strategy to gain position. It would be ok in a spec series, but I can’t see it improving the spectacle in F1. Unfortunately I don’t really have an answer to the issue to offer up. You will never please everyone. The only way I can see to ‘create’ interesting racing, would be to use a reverse grid so the quick guys have to come through the pack, but that’s not fair on them really, it would just make races lotteries, which would quickly lose its novelty to the fans and drivers would be up in arms.
      The way things are is not a bad compromise already, I just think Pirelli need to be a little more aggressive with their tyre compound choices, or tweek the compounds. Everything else in F1 is prototype and subject to continuous development, why can’t Pirelli tweek compounds between races and make tyres track specific, still bringing the 2 compounds, but just slightly adjusted to suit the demands of the individual circuit. They could engineer a bigger delta between the compounds and have one degrading far quicker than the other, the adjustments are infinite. But allowing the teams to choose their own tyres will only lead to problems, they couldn’t be trusted to operate the tyres within the manufacturers recommended parameters, causing the to explode. So only bad things come from allowing teams any free reign over anything that is even remotely related to safety. Pirelli are impartial, so they are best places to fiddle with tyre strategy, let’s face it, a Pirelli shod car wins every grand prix!

      1. If tyres can take being pushed hard without the loss of significant performance, but you mandate 2 stops, everyone will stop on the same lap as there is no advantage to be gained from an undercut

        They didn’t do that in the Bridgestone era, when the tyres were a lot more durable.

        As an alternative to mandating two stops (and remember that they already mandate one stop via the requirement to use two different compounds) they could require the use of three different compounds per race. That still requires the two pit stops, which some people think adds to the race.

        Pit stops do add something to the race, in the form of strategic decision making. The irritating thing about the current tyre situation is that they’re too fragile to allow drivers to race each other, or even to follow each other closely. I’m open to any solution which involves more robust round rubber things on the wheels!

        1. To the Max !
          10th May 2015, 7:28

          I agree with going back to tyres which last, when drivers are forced to drive at the limit much more, you will get more crashes like in the old days, which makes the races more fun to watch.

          Simply go to 2 mandatory pit stops with pit windows…someone who`s faster and behind a slower one would not go in at the same time.

        2. They had refuelling in those days, that is where the strategy lay.

      2. At no stage should a third party supplier, in this case pirelli, have the power to choose what range of tyres are to be used in any race at anytime. it has already been said that the possibility of inducement is always present when such an arrangement is in place.i am not suggesting for one minute that this is the case but by taking pirelli out of the loop would render this an impossibility. tyres are the single most important element of any racecar and it should be up to the teams to make the choice of what compounds that they run from the range made by the supplier.

        pirelli do not want to give up their implied authority to decide what amounts to championship deciding factors. fernley’s suggestion certainly has merit.

    3. I stand fully with Pirelli on this one. No point adding another useless and unwarranted measure into an already over-regulated sport.

      I honestly believe that fans are considerably responsible for the numerous rules and gimmicks currently in F1 since the FiA try to make the ‘show’ more entertaining and to stop fans from whinging and complaining about everything.

      Sadly, the more the FiA try to appease everyone, the more disastrous it gets. Here we are talking about allowing teams to choose their own tyres. This can only lead to one thing – even more complaints in the future.

      The racing is good for the second year in a row. The championship is still early, alive and well. If Nico recovers, as it seems, we may have a fight to the finish. Seb still has a shot.

      What F1 really needs to look at is cost, cost, cost. Their is absolutely no reason why a team should spend a billion dollars to put two cars on a grid.

      Those that want to spend that kind of money should have their own chmapionship. To expect Force India, Marussia, Sauber, Lotus and any other new team to compete well with billion dollar teams is madness.

      That is what should be looked at, not such rubbish as telling people to choose their own tyres. Pirelli is doing a good job as an unbiased umpire.

    4. More pit-stops, yey! Because we all love cars swapping positions in the pits; passing cars on track is boooooooooooooooring!

    5. I’d rather see zero compulsory pitstops. If the drivers need to make a pitstop, it should be because they need one, not because the rules say so.

      Think of last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix. The early rain meant the both-compounds-per-race rule was chucked out the window. I don’t think the race would’ve been quite as enjoyable if Alonso had to abandon that mammoth stint on the soft tyres, simply because the rules required him to use the medium tyres.

  3. heh, that casts my mind back to Brazil 2002, where Pele didn’t wave the flag at the end of the race. So technically, did Jochen really win the race? The official was still waiting for Jack!

    1. Proof positive that racing drivers should retire before they reach their mid 30’s.

      1. Black Jack was a hell of a driver.

      2. @hohum I hope you’re joking. Black Jack had won a race that season at age 43 and finished joined 5th with Jackie Stewart in the championship. Fangio won a WDC at an older age, etc, etc. If you’re good enough, you’re old/young enough.

        1. @montreal95,your hopes are fulfilled, I think any driver that can lead a race right up to the last corner is good enough, BlackJack was exceptional.

  4. Easy way to make it possible for the teams to choose their own tyres,
    1. reduce to 3 choices.
    2. make the hards good for a whole race length without any dropoff.
    3. make the mediums good for 60% of race and softs good for 40% without the “Cliff”
    Alternately make the softs qually only or drop them altogether and let teams start on their choice of tyre, in all cases pitstops should be optional.

    1. For your idea to work all of the tracks would have to be basically homogenized… Tilke-like, as it were…
      Ho-Hum- is your real name Bernie?

      1. (just joking- no offense!)

        1. Whilst I appreciate you are joking, the point you make is quite right – unless the tracks were extremely similar in terms of characteristics, I simply cannot see how HoHum’s objectives can be achieved with such a limited range of tyres that are supposed to work for all tracks.

          Take, for example, the medium tyre lasting 60% of the race distance – that same tyre was used at all of the first four tracks, and all of them place very different loading characteristics on the tyres, have wide differences in the abrasiveness of the tarmac and considerable variations in track temperatures (differences in the order of >20ºC).

          And what sort of car would you use as your benchmark for lifespan? We have seen that certain teams are considerably harder on their tyres than others – so a tyre that might last 60% of the race for one team won’t last that long for another.

          If Pirelli keep the tyre compound the same for each race, I do not see how they can achieve that target for every circuit – it is simply impossible, because a compound that produces that sort of performance for one circuit won’t necessarily work for another.

          Equally, looking at your combinations, whilst you say that you have three options, your strategic choices have effectively made the soft tyre option – which requires at least two stops more than the next one – the least likely to work, realistically narrowing things down to two options at best.

          1. Well anon, that is where the skill of the teams comes in, knowing that the medium is likely not going to last long enough for a 1stop medium-medium, but medium-hard would, as maybe would hard-soft, but for 2 stops S-M-S would be safer than S-S-S but the latter might work for some, it has an element of chance but the teams get to exercise their skill to maximize their result according to the strengths of their car.

  5. Let the teams pick their own compounds !

  6. Finally Lotus have come up with car and tyres for Maldonado’s driving style….


    1. OmarR-Pepper - Vettel 40 victories!!! (@)
      10th May 2015, 1:24

      @runforitscooby that helmet in one of the pics is awesome!!! So bad there is a helmet change ban (but a livery change is okay? Mmmm, how much money must have been lobbied for that?)

  7. Picking the hard compound at Monaco would be interesting, wonder if you could do a full race on 1 set of tires. Of course getting heat into the tires is another matter entirely, I imagine the softer compounds are better able to generate heat.

    While I like the idea of teams picking their own sets of tires, I think all safety issues should be taken into consideration. So if it is unsafe to run super softs at spa, for example, they should not be allowed to select that set.

    1. More to the point, they shouldn’t make tyres that are unsafe for any track.

      1. Yeah, I definitely agree with that.

  8. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    10th May 2015, 1:18

    Agree completely with the COTD. The Sky team really do try and inject more drama than there actually is. Any time a car is going slowly in qualifying, Croft is always claiming that they may have a problem with the car… Or, what if right, he’s just backed off to start a hotlap? How crazy a thought is that?

    1. Re. COTD, I felt Ted Kravitz was honestly trying to reiterate that it was a driver choice, with Raikkonen opting for the old package. I felt it were the commentator’s booth pair of Croft & Brundle who were repeatedly pestering Kravitz with questions/comments insinuating the whole preferred driver nonsense.

      1. The first part (the lead driver) directly came from Ted at the start of FP3. His interpretation of the event was so creative that I was almost impressed. And to think I was worrying but expecting a discussion about how Ferrari again failed to nail their upgrade could be too harsh, when I heard the news that Kimi partially reverted back to old specs first…
        Ted and David are known for their habit of stirring the pot, so it was frustrating as usual but not disappointing. I sure expect more from Brundle, even if some of his comments have been quite tabloidish since the move.

        Anyway that CotD was totally out of the blue! Thanks!

    2. I just wish that Croft guy would stop talking once in awhile. He’s like my grandma. There evidently can’t be any silence during the coverage so we can see what is going on ourselves for once. The stupid inside jokes are getting old too.

  9. It would not be in Pirellli’s best interest to allow more controversy into the selection of tires.

  10. I just love the way the old cars move around and slide.

    For some reasons I vividly remember a piece of slow mo footage of Hamilton in 2007 with the rear end moving around and this makes me loath the new tyres. We want to see
    the drivers able to let the cars sit on the edge of adhesion and not play kindergarten cars.

  11. The only reason Bottas is fourth is because Kimi cannot find a balance. Williams are not as close as Ferrari to Merc. His mind is playing serious tricks on him.

  12. Pirelli really believes teams cannot do what they do in determining which tires are right for which circuit?????!! Hembery sounds like an idiot.

    I am in favor of this rule change and believe it’ll make racing and strategy and skill more alive. And teams could then design the cars more for the tires. Plz allow it FIA/teams

  13. Lewis’ personality isn’t right for Ferrari. As Wolff said “Lewis is a rockstar driver”…That has never been the type of driver Ferrari go after. Plus Lewis cannot handle being second string.

    1. Personality has nothing to do with it.

      Lewis Hamilton is the hottest property in the sport, Ferrari would snatch him off Mercedes if they could.

  14. Remember when Red Bull were knowingly running a dangerous amount of camber? FIA had to legislate. I can easily see teams choosing unsuitable tyres as Pirelli say.

    They need to stop fooling around with the things that don’t need fixing.

    1. @lockup The teams used to be able to pick there own compounds for each circuit & there were no problems back then so I don’t see how there would be problems now.

      If Pirelli believe tyres will be unsuitable then they simply need to make a better range of tyres which will work on every circuit just like Bridgestone, Goodyear & Michelin used to. If Pirelli feel thay cannot do that then they should leave & let somebody who can come in.

      I’m getting tired of teams been handicapped with pit strategy by been forced to run what Pirelli tell them to rum even if there car doesn’t work on those tyres or one of there drivers doesn’t like a certain compound.
      Teams/Drivers should have the choice to pick tyres that work best on there car & with there driving style in order to get the best performance possible for them at every race.

      1. mark webber nailed it in one when asked his opinion of driving the new porsche 919 LMP1 car. ‘michelin make tyres for racing, pirelli make tyres for show’. says it all really.

  15. What bothers me more than manufactured controversy is the way the media just seems to pick a narrative and stick with it. Like the old “Rosberg is super-consistent, Hamilton is erratic” thing. Given that since the start of last year, the only times (bar retirements) Hamilton has finished anything other than first or second is when he had major failures in qualifying, I would call him pretty consistent. (Yes, he’s made mistakes, especially in 2011, but they’re still using the same lines now.)

    Likewise the “Rosberg is an intelligent thinker, Hamilton is instinctual” – there was an interesting article recently from DC talking about how lost and confused Rosberg seemed in his radio messages and how he really seemed to be missing the team’s driving instructions, but most of the time you still hear that line trotted out.

    Or “Vettel is fast but can’t race in the pack” – I admit I used to think that too, but then he put in some performances like Abu Dhabi 2012 which showed me he can overtake. But it just seems often they want to stick with a lazy script for each driver instead of really analysing the current situation.

  16. I would love to see it back to three compounds. A,B, and C, and you can use any combination to get to the end. I remember sometimes they would mix compounds as well by putting a harder tire on the left front. Senna used to do this a lot. I think any strategy that comes out of it will be more interesting than the contrived strategy we have today. Two mandatory pit stops? I don’t want to see any unless they are really necessary.

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