Tyres, drivers and the fickle F1 fan

We are a special breed aren’t we?  Always looking for more and rarely ever happy.

There is some truth to the saying, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time…”

There have been eras in Formula One where we’ve complained about drivers or teams dominating, and other times where we’ve complained about the lack of overtaking or safety or driver aids or cornering speeds or the sport’s carbon footprint.  Many changes have been made and steps taken to address these complaints and concerns.

Rules and regulations are ever evolving ensuring no team dominates for an extended period of time now.  DRS and KERS have been introduced to promote and encourage overtaking. Driver aids have been such as traction control and launch control have been eliminating putting the onus on the drivers to perform. Safety is perhaps at its best in the sport’s history.  Engines have come down in size, re-fuelling has been eliminated and there are plans to take further steps to make the sport “greener”.

So what the bloody heck are we griping about now?  Tyres?  The FIA took it upon itself to take control of the tyre war that had development costs spiralling when Bridgestone and Michelin competed for supremacy. There was some fall out between Michelin and the FIA, after the incident at Indianapolis after the 2005 USGP.  A situation that need not be repeated or discussed.  The FIA moved to have one a single tyre supplier, to which, Michelin exited the sport.  Bridgestone carried on until they were replaced by Pirelli in 2011.  With a mandate from the FIA, Pirelli produced tyres with a certain level of degradation and performance.  The result has been some of the best racing and tightest championship in a while.

We’re hearing complaints from the likes of Schumacher who believes the tyres are limiting drivers to be able to push their cars to their limits.  It’s true drivers are now forced to learn how to manage their tyres and teams are forced to make certain calls on race strategy.  We’ve seen in many races, specifically Spain how important tyre strategy is now.  Imagine if Kimi and Lotus had used the hard compound in their last two stints in Spain.  We may have been watching Kimi celebrating a victory instead of Maldonado.

There are stories making their way around that Pirelli is ready to supply qualifying tyres next season (or even as early as tomorrow), so that Q3 qualifying is not compromised as teams try to save tyres for the race. I have personally not had any confirmation of this, nor have I read any official statement from Pirelli.  I am however, awaiting word from Paul Hembery or Mario Isola via Twitter on whether or not there is any truth to this idea or even if there is a possibility that we might see qualifying tyres next season.

Whichever side of the fence you may sit  with regards to the Pirelli tyres, the truth is that Pirelli has provided exactly what they have been asked to provide.  I for one, have been enjoying this F1 season and believe that tyre management is part of racing.  Just ask Alain Prost.


Author: Ernie Black

Twitter: @Goggs_on_F1

Blog: F1 Goggles

Author: News Editor


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