Are the Pirellis too fragile?

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    There’s an interesting discussion on the Sky Sports F1 website discussing Michael Schumacher’s comments about the Pirelli’s and whether or not they should last longer and I was interested in the views of fellow F1 Fanatics. I personally, agree with Michael. I think F1 has become far too much about being cautious. I would rather have races that, from the outside view of a casual observer, may look a little less exciting, but be ab;le to see that the drivers are really pushing to the limits rather than just being careful. To me, in Bahrain in particular, the cars didn’t look like they were being driven by the worlds greatest drivers, but by a bunch of Sunday drivers.

    Also, the worst thing for me is that the tyres appear to be at their most vulnerable to degradation when behind another car. This goes against what Pirelli were asked to do when they came into F1, ie. make the racing better.

    Here’s a link to the Sky article if anyone hasn’t seen it


    Formula 1 is more spectacular since Pirelli have become the tyre suppliers. End of discussion for me. Before people demanded exciting races and they got it. Now you want back to the previous situation. It is impossible to please everybody, but more people like F1 the way it’s today so the short answer is no, drivers have to adapt, Schumacher wouldn’t have been so loud if he was winning.


    But what if we could have something in the middle? For example, tyres that will go off, but with less of a difference in the speed they go off depending on how hard they are being pushed. So for example, a Hamilton could push to the limit, and get 20 laps out of his tyres going .5-1 second a lap faster than a Button, who is saving his tyres and can get 25 laps out of them. At the moment, the drivers don’t have the option to push because the tyres will be gone in about 5 laps.

    Also, surely you must agree that the tyres would be better if they were less susceptible to degradation when following another car?


    What I find most ironic is that people often highlight Hamilton one of the drivers most stifled by the Pirellis. People wanted tyres that degraded so quickly because when we had Bridgestones, most of the dry races were considered boring except for Canada 2010, where tyre wear was extremely high. But who won that race from pole? :)


    On these modern circuits, the cars look slow no matter what tyres they have on. It’s the acres of tarmac runoff that ruins the spectacle, because your eyes can’t judge the speed of the cars, because there’s nothing in the surroundings to compare them to.

    Keep the Pirellis, every race so far this season has been great. I do think that for the next Bahrain GP — if — they should bring the Medium and Hard compounds.


    @David-A That’s a good point. It is a common and tiresome misconception that Hamilton can’t look after his tyres. Just look at Bahrain last weekend in fact, when his tyres lasted longer than Buttons, despite being in Jenson’s dirty air for the majority of his second stint, and Massa’s dirty air for his third.

    You reference Canada 2010 as an example of a great race, and what made that race great was that tyre conservation was important, but so was driving fast and to the limit at points, overtaking and being aggressive. The latter are all lacking at the moment because of the over-inflated importance of the former.


    I agree about the medium and hard tyres – as long as they degrade more slowly than the softer ones if a driver pushes hard on them. Scrapping the rule where the top 10 start the race on their qualifying tyres might help too. Or banning tyre blankets.

    I think 3 pit stops every race is too many. 6 stops for each pit crew must be contributing to the mistakes and near-misses in the pits. And the drivers aren’t allowed to push on and do an extra stop in the race, because they’ve used all their tyres up. After the success of Raikkonen’s strategy in Bahrain, I expect we’ll see more teams saving tyres by doing fewer qualifying runs. 11th on the grid’s becoming like a second pole position!


    I think @Jake is sort of onto something there. In Canada 2010 the tyres were marginal not in that they were shortlived; but in that the disparity between lifespans were somewhat large. Jenson wouldn’t have been able to do an option-option-prime race, but option-prime-prime provided too much tyre life. It created a situation where the best option for being able to complete the grand prix was a fixed strategy, but where everyone had to push flat-out.


    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.


    I have to say, I feel the Perellis are verging on fragile for my liking! I enjoy the races now, however it is a shame to see drivers especially someone like Hamilton have to be soooo cautious on the tyres! However I would not want to get rid of the compounds however instead, give all teams say a ‘joker’ set of tyres for a certain amount of GP’s that are strong and durable, but much slower than the normal Pirellis, I say this because we would see drivers at full tilt, sometimes and it would also solve Pirellis problem with there advertisment of being a good tyre supplier!


    @kingshark I don’t think anyone is suggesting we go back to how it was in 2010. A lot of people like yourself seem to believe it’s one or the other. What I actually think would be better is something in the middle. Tyres that would create 2 or 3 stops per race, but still allow the drivers to have the option of pushing a bit harder. Just like candada 2010, or china 2011, or spain 2011. In fact the drivers could push quite a bit in 2011, but the tyres appear to be more fragile this year. They are also much more difficult to manage, meaning all the drivers have to drive in the same way to make them work. Tyres with a bigger working window would mean different approaches could work, but at the moment, with such a narrow window in which the tyres work and last, every driver has to just make them last.


    Ultimately, the teams would get use to those tyres, as a result causing more processional racing. Look at the latter half of 2011, and how many snooze-fests we had. Every race from Korea onwards was dull, even Interlagos was unable to deliver.

    I like it this way. We have had 4 different races, and 4 different winners from different teams. Isn’t that what we want? We have exciting racing, competive field, and an exciting championship. How on earth some fans around here still aren’t satisfied is beyond me. Clearly, many people will always complain no matter what. Just sit back and enjoy; and if you still complain after the season we’ve had so far – than you’re clearly not a fan.


    I know I’m in the minority here – but I actually prefer the 2010 action. I’m not a fan of driving at 80% through corners. Overtaking to me is a bonus – but not a must have. I’d much rather see 1 driver disappear into the distance in all honesty. I know I’m in a very small minority, but hey, that’s me. I prefer seeing driving and engineering excellence – and how 1 guy or 1 team can so comprehensively outclass 11 other teams (or 23 other guys).

    I’m actually willing to bet that if next year we had the 2010 tyres back and removed DRS – we’d see more action and more varied strategies than in 2010.


    Yes. It has gone beyond the threshold of unpredictability into randomness. The signs are unnatural for motorsport. In Q3, there is now a “black hole” for places 8-10. Any surprise Q3 entrants prefer to save tyres rather than chance their arm at a higher grid position (which they would almost certainly lose anyway given the ease of passing in this iteration of F1). Also, there is the new “midfield pole” of 11th which gives a strategy advantage and fresh tyre advantage to those ahead. This undoubtedly helped propel Kimi from eleventh to second.

    The most worrying is that drivers are losing their identity. This shows itself in many ways. The tyres are just the latest in a series of attempts to neutralise the disparity between driver talent (e.g. DRS). Aggressive driving is redundant because any time gained will be lost several times over due to excessive degradation/more boxes. Superior tyre management is null because the tyres are specced to die after 100km. Sustained pressure on an opponent is near impossible because they do not hold up well in traffic. Outrageous overtakes are more difficult because of the life you take out of the tyres as well as the fact that the tyres are churning out marbles the size of Chuck Norris’s testicles. The second overlooked aspect is how is a young driver supposed to distinguish himself? The number of one-and-done F1 drivers is rising (half-and-done if you drive for Toro Rosso). How are they supposed to make their name if they are mostly just a faceless drone overtaking/being overtaken generically? Kobayashi made his reputation in two races for Toyota by being super aggressive. If he débuted in today’s F1, he would blend in with the crowd. How many dormant Kobayashi’s are there on the grid today? We don’t know and the tyres obfuscate the truth from us.

    I can’t believe this hasn’t been mentioned – the drivers are no longer physically pushed to the limit. I remember when the drivers used to rest their heads on the side of the cockpit because the race was so taxing. Nowadays, a driver completes a 100 minute race and hops out of the car looking untried and not fatigued in the slightest. Will we ever see again something near Ayrton Senna struggling to stand up after completing an exhausting Brazilian Grand Prix?

    The biggest fault of the Pirelli tyres, in my opinion, is the fact that they kill sustained battles between two drivers. In 2010, I loved watching Button and Hamilton joust and jostle and try to outwit one another. Now it seems like I’m watching [Button vs. Pirelli] and [Hamilton vs. Pirelli] on the same piece of tarmac.

    I have no problem with tyres being a limiting factor, but they are so limiting that is becoming impossible to distinguish drivers from one another. Who has the most overtakes this year? I don’t know. Who has been the most attacking driver so far? I don’t know. Most conservative with the tyres? Don’t know. Who are the latent talents most likely to break into the big teams in the future? Perhaps Checo, otherwise I don’t know.

    A final observation. I don’t understand the logic of “falling off the cliff”. It’s arbritrary and so pointless. If a driver over uses a tire, he should be punished commensurately (0.5-1 sec) instead of having a race ruined by doing a lap or two too many.


    “Look at how many processional races we had in 2010. Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Europe, Germany, Abu Dhabi all bored me to tears.”

    For the most part those races are the worst anyway- Bahrain used the crap circuit that year of course. Spain is always dull. Monaco is always a spectacle, but it’s also almost always processional. Europe is shocking. Abu Dhabi is the same- there was passing last year but the flaws of the track mean it’s never that good. Germany of course was the scene of a team breaking the rules, which also ruined the race- not Bridgestone’s fault!

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