F1’s endless tyre chatter is “super-boring” – Coulthard

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 has become too dominated by tyre management, according to former racer David Coulthard.

The 13-times grand prix winner, who now appears in Channel 4’s F1 coverage, raced on tyres provided by a range of different suppliers during his 15-year career, which ended in 2008.

“I’ve driven on Goodyears, Bridgestones, Michelins and actually none of them were what I would call ‘bad tyres’,” he told RaceFans in an exclusive interview.

“There was obviously times where either Bridgestone or Michelin had a circuit advantage. But they were great companies to work with, pushing the boundaries, lots of new tyre developments.

“We never spoke about thermal degradation. We never spoke about ‘[you] can’t push the tyres’. They peaked when they were new, they dropped off, maybe you got some graining, maybe you got some blistering, but they were tyres.”

F1’s tyre talk bores Coulthard
Pirelli replaced Bridgestone as Formula 1’s sole tyre supplier in 2011. At the time they were briefed to supply compounds which degraded more quickly, which was expected to create more varied strategies and exciting races.

A decade later, the tyres Pirelli supplies have become less aggressive, yet teams still often instruct drivers to reduce their pace for tactical reasons. Coulthard is unimpressed by the spectacle this creates.

“This whole Pirelli era is just confusing to me and boring to me to have to talk about, and super-boring for me to have to listen to the drivers going ‘I was trying to avoid pushing too hard on the tyres’.”

Formula 1 ended the practice of allowing multiple tyre suppliers to compete with each other 15 years ago – while Coulthard was still racing – to cut costs. But he isn’t convinced the sport is better off for ending its ‘tyre war’.

“We’ve got engine wars, we’ve got chassis wars, we’ve got driver wars and then we’ve got one single tyre manufacturer, where all the drivers complain about the tyres,” he said.

“I would rather go to Avons or Goodyear or something and they just have two generic compounds but good tyres and then we don’t have to listen to the bullshit.”

David Coulthard was speaking exclusively to RaceFans for the latest edition of My F1 Cars, which will be published later today

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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  • 75 comments on “F1’s endless tyre chatter is “super-boring” – Coulthard”

    1. Well yeah, tyres aerodynamics, suspension kinematics, engine temperatures, ers, kers, front wing adjustment…

      I don’t think Culthard understands the fanbase of today.

      Us people who watch F1 love tech. Keeping that tyre at exactly 116 degrees, is paramount to maximum performance, so they do it, and take care of it.

      While not as sexy as V10 on Michellins, it is as fast as they can do it on Pirelli.

      I wonder how tyres from say 2006 would cope today?

      1. Renan Andrade Martinuzzo
        1st June 2021, 12:22

        Although you got a point, it is not 100% valid.

        The whole spectacle of watching an F1 car at race pace has been degrade by Pirelli tires. As the tires are ultra temperature sensitive, drivers have to drive way below the car limits, making the body language of the car feel like it is on rails, with almost no slip at all times.

        This “no slip” requirement has pushed chassis design to prioritise a docile handling directive on more recent F1 cars whereas before raw aero performance was more important. In other words, the effect of driver talent in lap time used to become important at, lets say, 98% of car maximum while now it is around 99.5%.

        F1 should target what Indy has: good tires, less power steering, simple aero package that provides high downforce but with less sensitivity to slip angles and turbulence. And then, you let drivers show their talent through the wheel.

        1. I think we also have to take in account the extent of knowledge teams have at their dispposal nowadays @jureo, Renan.
          Sure, these Pirelli tyres certainly behave differently than what everyone was used to. But part of the “issue” is that both Pirelli, and the teams, have far more data to dig into and try to find solutions, and simulation tools to do so, combined with far less scope to test things out on track.

          In the past, first of all, hardly anyone would really know about the pushing or saving of tyres, even 15 years ago there was nowhere near as much of the team radio available to everyone. Then, before sensors became small, cheap and readily available, like they now are, the amount of information about exactly what a tyre behaves like on track was a huge black blox.
          And before widely available airborne data transfers, teams did not know too much either, even if they were able to gather data, certainly not on the go during the race (they would read out the data after the session, or at best every lap).
          Nowadays even FOM gets some of that data – and siphons it off to the AWS platform, I guess to get the misguided “helpful info” from Amazon – and talk about it during the broadcast to match the info we get from scanning through all the driver radios. But there is only so little they can test. Meaning that both Pirelli AND teams are both, from their own perpective, trying to make things as easily manageable as they can. Something that in the past was not even really possible for lack of timely feedback from the tyres and autonomy from the driver to just do their thing not guided by detailed strategy planned based on intense simulation runs.

      2. I’m sorry but “Keeping that tyre at exactly 116 degrees” isn’t really what I’m watching F1 for. I want to see people pushing themselves and their cars lap after lap, forcing manoeuvres and seeing race raft between the top drivers and how that pans out. Not nurse incredibly temperamental tyres to the finish line. There must be something better for the show than that. It’s not like it’s something you as an uber fan can really see or partake in either, unless you’re sitting watching the same tyre temp telemetry the teams have access to. It’s one of those weird imperceptible elements of F1 that you only find out about after the fact if someone tells you.

        1. Renan Andrade Martinuzzo
          1st June 2021, 20:46

          I agree.

          And the argument that F1 cars are fast and whatever tires we put there will be the same is just wrong.

          Pirelli tires are engineered to do what they do by FOM’s requirement.

          In doubt? Just ask Michelin to join F1.

    2. I can’t see ‘tyre-wars’ coming back, we live in a world where justifying that expense and selling your product would be a very hard sell.

      1. What should we watch if we want to stand in awe before companies pushing new technologies? Watch SpaceX rockets taking off?

        1. @paeschli Rockets on ‘mediums’ and a ramp, me and you sipping a cup of tea, reminiscing about how this is how F1 used to be.

    3. You know, I wonder whether DC watched that pretty thrilling Indy500 over the weekend.

      For all the talk about F1 being so much about fuel, tyres saving, guess what featured most in the coverage: fuel (level) and laps since last stop for it, and then the question whether at the end, if you were still in the lead group enough and had saved enough for a stop less, whether you’d still had the tyres to come to the very front.*

      I get that when DC was in F1 and definitely in his glory-days at Williams/McLaren it was mostly during the refuelling days, when tyres were tested to death and at the races chewed through by the bucketload so it didn’t feature much as a thing. But for much of motorsport history I think keeping all your equipment and especially the fickle stuff that connects the car to the road in good condition has been relevant.

      * The answer this time around: I guess Pagenaud did, sort of, get a solid balance of saving fuel and having the tyres, then moving forward at the end but mostly, no, it was between those who’d been the top three for at least half the race; overtakes before that were, unlike in F1, on this oval mostly about showing/keeping your own pace, but balanced by having to use more fuel, which might be why Castroneves mostly hung in 2nd – yeah, I don’t buy the ‘look how much overtakes/how much easier it is here’ I saw it as a 100ish long single fight though, which was interesting, the overtakes themselves were mostly, apart from the last one, almost meaningless. Still good watching (I do think though that while sometimes it feels F1 tries to give us a bit much irrelevant data, I missed a lot of timing info, which, with a 30 car field which drops a lap upon a stop, I’d have been able to discard Dixon, and know that Veekay just didn’t have fuel to make it.

      1. John Bllantyne
        1st June 2021, 8:09

        I thin Coulthard meant just one tyre (plus wets of course) and let the boys go at it without any planned degradation. I agree wit him.

        Reply moderated
      2. @bosyber DC’s entire F1 racing career occurred within the refuelling era, but I agree with your point and Indy 500 comparison.

        1. Hah, thanks for the small correction @jerejj, I wasn’t quite sure and admit I didn’t look it up.

      3. Renan Andrade Martinuzzo
        1st June 2021, 12:45

        The lack of data on the indy coverage may be because of lack of infrastructure to check everything or just the promoters’ choice to create some spark…

        But I agree, it made understanding the race so much harder to follow.

        Nevertheless, Indy 500 is not comparable to other Indy road races, let alone F1.

        1. Look at it this way – if you don’t know everything that’s going on and going to happen, doesn’t it compel you to watch until the end?

      4. Definitely Indycar is compelling because the drivers are always pushing. The body language of the car tells you they are going as fast as possible.

        And very often Indycar races actually look much faster than F1 at the moment.

    4. So can you please explain to me, we’re facing 1 or 2?
      1. Pirelli is making very poor product, because they crested cheese tires
      2. Pirelli was requested by FIA to manufacture cheese tires in order to spice to show up?

      1. Yep S us right. The problem is No. 2

      2. It started with 2 but now it’s just 1 holding us back

      3. I think it was more Bernie than the FIA who was pushing for the ‘cheese tyres’ initially & I also believe that mandate ended in 2017 & that Pirelli have been free to make tyres that are the best they can make since then.
        https://www.racefans.net/2016/07/15/f1-to-scrap-high-degradation-tyres-in-2017-pirelli/

        1. The problem is the cheese tires are cheese via thermal degradation instead of tread wear degradation. As far as I can tell if they made any change in 2017 at all it might have been a slightly wider temp operating window, but still way too narrow, and they didn’t change to tread wear tires like they needed to. I agree with DC entirely on his comment. It is confusing and frustrating and needs to change for the new cars or else the tires will undo some of the work they have done to invite closer racing. That said I have some confidence that the new 18” tires will simply not be able to be the terrible thermal deg tires they and we have suffered for too long. Surely Brawn will have hammered into Pirelli that next year onwards tires can no longer be the limiting factor they are currently.

      4. Yeah I don’t get this at all. The answer is absolutely 2 and DC knows it. Why does he essentially say “well maybe it would be better if we had multiple manufacturers because Pirelli isn’t cutting it”?? He absolutely knows that Pirelli is instructed to make garbage.

        Reply moderated
    5. While he’s right to a certain degree, there is some rose tints in play here.

      What he forgets is the surrendering of a weekend on a Friday after practice of “well, this is a Bridgestone circuit, so…”. Same difference.

      1. That is a good point @ecwdanselby. While I wasn’t an F1 fan back then, I have rewatched many races from that period and the talk of whether it is a Bridgestone or Michelin track does get quite repetitive and dull. And then there was Indianapolis 2005…

        1. Which was largely a failure in F1 management as much as tyre preparation.

    6. I agree completely. Tyre talk and management is enormously boring. It’s been a whole decade now, unacceptable.

      1. Also agreed. Unlike some here I am really not interested in how well the drivers can conserve their tyres. They should be able to go as fast as they can, within reason. I think a tyre war, instead of tyre conservation and preparation might be a good thing. The tyre management thing has just become too big an issue in races, in my opinion.

        1. @phil-f1-21 Exactly. I see nothing wrong with tires that are soft and provide lots of mechanical grip and degrade via tread wear and do not require the art of driving a current F1 car to totally depend on the art of getting and keeping tires in a certain narrow temp window.

          It has been said that statistically the races we rate the highest turn out to be two stop races on average, and there is no reason they can’t make tires that degrade of course, but simply by being pushed and not by going in and out of a ridiculously narrow temp window.

          Imho they simply cannot have the current type of behaviour continue with the next gen tires on the next gen cars or they will be undoing the close racing they are trying to invite with the ground effects cars that also make less wake and have more basic wings. My hope is the 18” tires will force their hand on this and that they simply will not be able to continue with these terrible thermal deg tires. My hope and expectation is also that Brawn has already instilled this on Pirelli too. We haven’t heard much from the testing that has gone on so far, but I do believe the few comments drivers have made have been fairly positive.

          1. Thing is @robbie

            Pirelli cannot make the tyres we all want within the cost base they have bid against the ITT for. The ITT was set up that way in order for the tender to be zero cost and utilise the production system Pirelli had invested in. Others refused. No wonder.

            Essentially they are making batches of tyres in a mass production line on two separate sites and the thermal deg arrived by chemical formula and that is the only cost effective method of production they have developed.

            Sure they can make the tyres we want.

            Just not for free and under the terms of the ridiculous invitation to tender the FIA put out.

            After all free tyres is free tyres…

            If someone pays for them then things can change.

            1. @drgraham I’m not sure I agree with nor understand your point with respect to bidding and ITT. Wouldn’t mind a link to an article that verifies what you are saying. I have been googling for such information and not finding much. It would seem to me the teams do in fact pay for their tires, some say per set, some say a flat fee, but most importantly that Pirelli pays a lot of money to be a major sponsor in F1 too.

              Here’s what I suspect is going on. Back when Michelin was last in F1 they held the opinion that they wanted a competing tire maker in F1, for that is how tires would get talked about. They weren’t even ‘going there’ with the idea of making lousy tires, and getting the ‘notoriety’ that way. They felt that if they made proper race tires worthy of F1 that drivers could push with, and that weren’t a decider in races, for drivers were all on the same steady and predictable tires, then nobody, namely the commentators and the teams, would be talking about tires, and they wouldn’t therefore get marketing impact for being in F1. But a tire competitor in F1 would see everyone talking about who is on whose tires, even if they were proper tires.

              I think what is going on here is that with Pirelli being the sole supplier, and being asked to make degrady tires, but also likely insisting on making degrady tires at the same time, this is what we have. I think there is an unwritten agreement between F1 and Pirelli in that Pirelli pays a ton of money to be a major sponsor of F1, not just a tire supplier. They need marketing impact for those huge dollars. As the sole supplier, if they made rock solid tires, even ones that degrade but do so predictably, even needing two stops per race, but were not a headache for the teams otherwise, then we wouldn’t be talking about tires and they wouldn’t have the marketing impact. So I think it is a game that’s going on. Pirelli has chosen to go with thermal degrading tires, even after saying they were going to change them in 2017, and there isn’t much F1 can do about it, because Pirelli needs to get the marketing impact of us talking about tires. Add another maker and even rock solid tires that the drivers like would be talked about based on which team/driver is on which tires.

              I don’t think it is at all about Pirelli not being paid for tires and therefore needing to stick to a free-tire minimal budget or what have you. I think they could make proper tires in a heartbeat. I just think if they did they would not see any marketing impact for all the money they spend to be in F1. I think the drivers would love to slam these tires in the media, and of course we hear hints of it all the time, but really the harshest things we hear are like ‘can’t get the tires to work’ or ‘my tires are going off’ or what have you. The drivers know they have to tow a party line here, because Pirelli pays a ton of money to be a major sponsor in F1, and it is not the drivers’ place to shoot down a major F1 sponsor. We all have heard comments from the likes of DC and others who are former drivers no longer in F1 that the drivers hate these tires. The drivers just can’t say it so out loud as others on the outside but who have full knowledge of F1 and talked to the drivers and former crew mates all the time.

              What I’m curious about for next year is that if the tires are still poor and thermal degrady, will that not undo the work Brawn et al have been doing to promote closer racing, if the drivers still can’t push the tires without taking them out of their operating window. Perhaps it will happen that the tires will still be terrible by Pirelli’s insistence, so we still talk about tires, but that the cars will nonetheless be so much better at racing closely that the tires will be less the deciding factor anyway.

            2. Hi Robbie

              You need to read the lengthy articles by Mark Hughes in Motor sport magazine from recent years. You will need to subscribe and I can’t link as a result. He and others have written extensively on the methodology behind the production particularly where around possible differences in the tyres fr9m the Turkey plant. The magazine is well worth a subscription. Also Joe Seward in GP+ again a sub required where topics such as the FIA ECU and it’s measurements and parameters make for fascinating reading.

            3. And the top teams have always had their tyres free by the way as far as I can recall.

          2. @robbie. Yes I have nothing against the idea of them having different tyre options that might offer different characteristics and even the rule that they have to use more than one compound but they should be able to push if they need to and not be subject to problems because the tyres either won’t warm up or overheat. It cannot be beyond the wit of those involved.

      2. Double-agree .. “It’s all about the tires/tyres.”

      3. There’s a couple of sides to the tyre story, though. Tyres are an easy part to blame because it doesn’t offend anyone involved with the team. After all, no team chose these tyres and there is no relation between them and Pirelli.

        On the other hand, that also means that the tyres shouldn’t be such a big deal. They’re not part of the competition and shouldn’t influence it to the extent they are now. Michelin has proven in LMP that it is possible to make tyres that handle even heavier cars, with more torque, in longer races on rougher tracks and still end up with a product that can be pushed for a long time.

        Pirelli has often been excused because F1 supposedly ‘wants’ degrading tyres, but it’s their failure that they’ve been unable to make a tyre with a wide operating window and relatively low performance drop-off when outside the theoretical optimum.

    7. What would change with a second tyre supplier? F1 teams have realised the cars can go one less stop if you manage tyres, and this won’t change until we have a tyre that can withstand literally anything for over 50% of a race distance. Once we get there, all races will be one-stop races anyway and there will be no tactics involved at all because everyone will pit once and that’s it.

      I think this is more a result of the technology being pushed so far that we identify tyre health by machines, not by driver feel. The machines will do the maths for you and tell you down to the tenth or hundreth of a second how fast to go and for how long. The sport has evolved, that’s why we manage tyres.

      1. Well put @chrischrill, that might well be the case.

      2. @chrischrill Spot on. Not only if another supplier joined, but the same would probably still also apply if the sole supplier changed.

      3. Yes, that seems quite accurate @chrischrill.

      4. There are more ways to benefit from having better tyres than the number of pitstop, though. If you have a tyre that can be pushed for even 5% longer than Pirelli’s current tyres without a significant increase in durability, you’d still be talking a worthwhile number of seconds over the whole 305 kilometer race.

        Michelin has proven in LMP that they could make such a tyre, but there is no reason for them to be involved in F1 as the FIA has put all sorts of dubious requirements on the tyre supplier.

    8. While it’s true that tyres are a problem for F1 – it’s also true that F1 is a problem for tyres.
      The cars are demanding so much of the tyre that, of course, making a tyre that withstands all that necessarily comes with compromises.
      From F1’s side though – it really doesn’t matter which tyres they put on, because they will still manage and control them in such a way as to be the least interesting to the viewer and racing product anyway. That’s what F1 does now with all their data and simulations – minimise risk everywhere they can.

    9. There is currently more tire, fuel, engine and gearbox management/saving in F1 than there is in WEC, and other endurance races.

      And F1 is supposed to be a sprint series…

      It’s mental.

      Reply moderated
    10. I see an easy(ish) solution.

      Have a second tyre manufacturer.
      Require teams to use tyres from both suppliers in the race.
      Require that the tyre changes be completed before 2/3rds race distance.

      Mixes up practice, introduces different strategies, and encourages manufacturers to make tyres that can be pushed for the entire race whilst still trying to outperform each other.

      To reduce costs and simplify logistics, have one manufacturer make the inters, and the other make the wets.

      Reply moderated
    11. With team engineers having access to better data, optimum tyre performance is even more important now, no matter what tyre you use.
      It’s almost as if some are out of touch with the technological dominance today.

    12. If pit lane speed limits were increased, thus making pit stops less of a penalty, would drivers push harder for more of the race?
      I understand that raising the speed limit would be unacceptable from a safety perspective. But a similar effect might be achievable at many tracks by reconfiguring pit lanes so they’re effectively short cuts.

      1. Could do – but it simply isn’t practical or even possible in most places.

        Refuelling would massively increase the temptation and viability for teams to pit multiple times, as they can potentially make up that time (or more) with a lighter car.
        Other options include increasing the minimum number of pitstops, or mandating multiple pit-lane drive-throughs for everyone (giving them the choice of whether to stop for tyres or continue right through and rejoin the track. A bit like joker laps in other series).

      2. @thesud I think so yes.
        I ‘ve said before that pit stop losses need to be shorter, but without jeopardising safety, the only way to achieve this is with track design that allows the pit exit / entry to effectively skip a corner, but even that isn’t possible at some existing tracks. If pit time loss was only 10s, instead of 25s, I’m sure we’d see more people making more stops, and therefor pushing harder between stints, as there would be a stronger chance of making back that 10s than there is currently for making back approx 25s.

    13. The loads on the tyres are massively different now. The cars are 150 odd Kg heavier, generate massively more downforce and have to carry around the entire race worths of fuel around in them. Not to mention the increased power/torque that is generated by the engines. I suspect the softest Pirelli tyres would be fine if we would revert to 600kg cars and refuelling.

      1. @asanator Same could be true of any era though. The cars of 2004 for instance were the fastest in the sports history with more downforce & putting more loads on the tyres than any of the cars before them & the cars were faster still in 2005 & with tyres that had to last a full race distance. Yet the tyres still worked because they had been developed & continued to be developed through the season along with the cars.

        I think the larger issue with tyres today is simply the lack of testing, development & compounds available.

        Pirelli have to make 5 compounds which have to work on every circuit they may be used at & they aren’t able to develop them through the season or develop circuit/temperature specific compounds anymore. They go into a season with tyres designed around data from the previous season & they are then not able to do any significant development on the tyres until they start designing the tyres for the next season.

        In the past teams would do thousands of miles of tyre testing with tyres that were continually be developed & improved during the season & where the suppliers would have tyres designed specifically around the individual needs of each circuit/region they went to. That is a luxury Pirelli don’t have.

        1. @stefmeister It highlights the problem with many of the cost cutting measures that have been introduced over the past 20-ish years…. They have all had unintended consequences which have for the most part been negative.

          The ban on testing & restrictive nature of current tire regulations have led us to a point where the tires simply aren’t upto F1 standards. They are a joke and have been for the past decade & while I do think a chunk of it is on Pirelli I do also think a chunk of it is on the regulations.

          Then you have the long life engine & gearboxes which has taken away much of the unreliability which used to stem from those things been more on the limit & developed more and that has taken away a lot of the unpredictability of things breaking which is what in the past used to create the drama & surprises.

          You had the ban on team orders which had the unintended consequence and teams using code & other things to hide the fact they were still using them which became a bigger joke than team orders just been an open/accepted part of the sport.
          The team radio restrictions a few years back which had the unintended consequence of drivers having to drive around playing with every button on the wheel trying to figure out how to fix things & drivers having brake issues teams couldn’t tell them how to fix.

          The over-prescriptive nature of regulations that left less room for simple racing incidents that had the unintended consequences of absurd penalties such as Vettel’s in 2019 at Canada among others.

          DRS which had the unintended consequence of turning overtaking into push of a button highway passes & removed the skill of racecraft.

          I could go on. F1 has turned into a bit of a joke with all this nonsense the past 20 years because nobody bothers to look far enough ahead to figure out that some of this stuff has significantly more negative unintended consequences which have played into how uninteresting & predictable its all got. F1 is dead, It’s GP1 now.

          1. +1, @roger-ayles.

            The only thing left for F1 to prescribe is better legal counsel to appeal all their losses to the Law of Unintended Consequences.

      2. @asanator No even the softest tires would not be fine on much lighter cars. They’d never get them up to the optimum temp window and they’d always be too cold and like driving on ice.

        1. @robbie Again, In Coulthard’s day the teams were free to set their own tyre pressures, no mandated minimums so the teams could tune the tyres to the chassis and get them into the operating window required. Another example of the FIA over reacting to one bad race and making rash regulatory decisions. One of the worst of recent years in my opinion.

          1. @asanator I think the teams currently have more freedom to tune the tires to their cars than you are implying, and I just highly doubt that a much lighter car that also never has nearly the weight of fuel on board due to refuelling, would be able to make the current softest tires work merely through more freedom in pressures. I think you are way oversimplifying it. In DC’s day the operating window was simply much much wider and the tires degraded by tread wear not thermally. Well, there has always been a thermal component to tires too, but it has only been with Pirelli in this past chapter that has had that be the overwhelming factor. As I say, even today’s softest tires would never be able to be brought into their required operating temp window let alone stay there, with cars not designed for them, being so much lighter and with never full fuel on board. Two completely different cars requiring completely different tires.

            1. @robbie

              I think the teams currently have more freedom to tune the tires to their cars than you are implying

              On the contrary, they have no freedom to do that at all!! They all run at the mandatory minimum (usually anywhere between 21 and 24 psi depending on what Pirelli determine at each event) where they were previously running at sub 16psi (often as low as 10psi) which has a massive effect on tyre temperatures and getting them into the operating window.

              In fact the FIA has introduced various checks on cars before they leave the garage to ensure that teams aren’t trying to run below these temperatures, which they all want to do.

            2. @asanator Nothing you have said has anything to do with these tires working on much much lighter cars, and I suggest it is far more complicated than what pressures they are allowed to use compared to the past. You simply would not be able to put even the softest of these tires on a 600kg car that never has the amount of fuel on board that current cars do, and expect today’s tires to perform well. You are comparing apples to oranges. If anything, highlighting how specific Pirelli has to be now in order for the teams to get these tires to work, proves my point. There is, I suggest, no linear path to simply lightening up the cars drastically, and simply dropping the pressures on these tires, and expecting all would be good.

      3. It’s true that the increase in weight and new type of engines has changed the game in F1 compared to Coulthard’s time in the early 2000s. However, we’ve seen in recent LMP season with even heavier cars and their own set of highly advanced hybrid engines that Michelin has been able to field tyres that received praise from many former F1 drivers, from Webber to Alonso.

    14. isthatglock21
      1st June 2021, 13:29

      Isn’t this what many current drivers & often Hamilton often always say about the tyres? And how their feedback isn’t always listneded to as they want to be able to push more on tyres instead of saving. Shame the new CEO in the end silenced drivers form speaking out publicly on issues such as this like some dictator. Pirrelli needs to be pushed further on such matter instead of having the whole sport tread around it carefully. There was a lot of constructive debate from drivers about it last year….suddenly there is none. Pirrelli needs to be pushed else it will always opt for the conservative & safe model.

      1. Like I said above

        It’s all about money…

        Essentially Pirelli can only meet the specifications and most importantly the costs they are willing to endure by chemically introduced thermal deg given the small batch production. As such we are in a situation where the tyre companies costs drive the entire system (I mean whoever heard of the entire series competitive ability being driven by a tyre companies requirements for pressure and camber? – it’s a tyre championship that gets Pirelli what they want – max publicity at minimum cost)

        At the end of the day the FIA wish for cheap or free tyres has given us this as it cannot be done another way unless there are cost factors applied…

        Blame the FIA and the championship owners – Pirelli are just meeting a ridiculous tender specification the best and most cost effective way they know how given their investment in small batch production.

        1. @drgraham See my response to you above, and also, perhaps you could support your argument with a link to your suggestion making the tires as they do currently is chemically cheaper than making them another way, such as tread wear degrading.

          For sure I agree with you that Pirelli has to maximize their publicity for the huge dollars they spend to be a major sponsor of F1. Again, see my comments to you above. I just don’t buy your argument that “Pirelli are just meeting a ridiculous tender specification…” nor does this “small batch production” argument make sense to me. All tire makers that have ever made tires for F1 knows generally how many tires are going to be used, and of course compared to domestic tire needs it is a drop in the bucket. Even if teams still did more on-track testing as in the past, we’re still talking about a relative ‘small batch.’ That just comes with the territory.

    15. Well he’s not wrong. I don’t think the tyre discussion really means much to the average fan, especially when they get into the nitty gritty. When the operating window is so unfathomable, even to the drivers themselves sometimes, to the extent you have maybe one sector of the lap where the tyres are turned on and the rest suffering, then what are we really doing?

      I want to see the best drivers in the best cars. Tyre management in a traditional sense is part of that sure, but these tyres seem so inexplicable and when the entire show comes down to them more often than not it’s disappointing.

    16. Totally agree with DC. As long as we have the 2 compound rule we will get these cheese tyres, without that rule there would be an incentive to make a tyre that lasts the whole race and is within a couple of tenths per lap of the soft tyre, then all you “tactics are everything” fans can ruminate on whether 1 stop or no stop suits circuit x best, but the drivers wont be able to drive slowly to save tyres.

    17. DC is 100% right, The tires are a joke and have been for most of the past decade.

      It’s absurd that the pinnacle of the sport has had to use the worse tires in all of motor sport.

    18. What?

      He just noticed….

    19. Bring back the tyre war although I can’t imagine what Michelin/Bridgestone’s “three colors” would look like. Maybe reused from Pirelli’s 2018/2019 colors?

    20. Disagree. Tyres is about the only variable in the race. The rest is practically given before they show up.

      What does he want to talk about? Oh there goes Mercedes almost lapping the field on their Michelins in another predictable one-stop race. Shame Pirelli that all the other frontrunners are using don’t have an answer!

    21. The thing I don’t like about F1 these days is “managedment”: tyre, fuel, brake temperature, engine and pretty much everything else. Drivers no longer push to the limits, they are babyitting their cars all racelong. The go fast as slow as they can, but could go much faster.

    22. The FIA didn’t want a tyre war to be the dominant theme in F1 so introduced the single tyre supplier idea. Now all they talk about is the tyres!

      1. As DC says a tire war is no more a war than there is between drivers, engines, teams, chassis etc etc. The only reason we talk about tires now is because they are such an overwhelming decider in races, because they’re ridiculous. If as a single supplier they made rock steady tires that degraded normally and predictably and weren’t a headache for the teams and drivers, we wouldn’t talk about them nearly as much and nor would Pirelli get nearly the marketing impact they do.

    23. Bring back race refuelling, encourages more stops and cars can change tyres more often.

    24. I think f1 teams have realised how much performance there is on getting the tyre 100% right

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