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Pirelli “surprised” by Schumacher attack on short life tyres
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Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Apr 2012   |  7:19 am GMT  |  563 comments

Pirelli have reacted to Michael Schumacher’s attack on their 2012 tyres, saying that other drivers “were getting on with the job and getting their tyres to work.”

Schumacher suffered a frustrating weekend in Bahrain, with technical problems in qualifying relegating him to the back of the field. He took a tactical gearbox change, which moved him back to 22nd place and although he made a great start and had all new sets of tyres for the race, he only managed to finish 10th.

“The main thing I feel unhappy about is everyone has to drive well below a driver’s, and in particular, the car’s limits to maintain the tyres,” he said after the race.

“I just question whether the tyres should play such a big importance, or whether they should last a bit longer, and that you can drive at normal racing car speed and not cruise around like we have a safety car. I’m not happy about the situation, let’s see what happens in future. If it was a one-off car issue, you could say it’s up to us to deal with it.”

There is some debate among fans about this subject, with fans of hard charging drivers like Lewis Hamilton unhappy that their drivers aren’t able to show what they can do while smoother drivers, who can manage the tyres, are profiting.

It’s an interesting one; F1 has always been about managing tyres as the races are 300 kilometres, so there is an endurance aspect to it, rather than a sprint. However in the Bridgestone era the tyres would last a whole race if required with almost no degradation and the racing clearly suffered.

What makes the 2012 situation so interesting is that the tyres have an operating window that is quite hard to hit, which is why we have seen different teams hitting the sweet spot at different times. In Malaysia, for example Sauber were strong, in China Mercedes flew and in Bahrain Lotus had arguably the best set up for the tyres and Red Bull also managed the race to perfection.

The key thing is not the wear; the Pirelli tyres could last a whole race, it’s the degradation. This means the amount of laptime lost with each lap that passes. The tyres get slower and slower until the lap time is uncompetitive and you have to pit for a new set of tyres as continuing on them makes no sense. This opens up different strategies as some car/driver packages can get the tyres to last longer than others and there is also the tactic of saving new sets of tyres by doing less in qualifying, as Raikkonen and Di Resta did to great effect this weekend.

Schumacher’s heyday was the era of flat out sprints on Bridgestone tyres, when Ferrari had a testing budget from the Japanese manufacturer of over $20 million and so did hundreds of thousands of testing miles. Cost cutting measures introduced in 2008 have put paid to that.

“I’m disappointed to hear those comments from someone of Michael’s experience, ” said Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery. “Others were getting on with the job and getting their tyres to work. His comments during winter testing were that he was very happy with the tyres, and now he seems to have changed his tune.”

While fans are divided, F1 insiders are, on the whole, excited by the 2012 style of racing, believing that the racing is entertaining and the key point is that tyres are the same for everyone.

It is hard for the top teams, who aren’t able to test under the current restrictions and so find that less well funded teams are close to them on performance. In the past they would test constantly, develop new parts that would pull them well clear of the midfield and have the ideal set ups for maximising tyre performance at every event. The races became processional and predictable. The field has closed up and it’s making it much harder for the top teams to make a break and get the results.

F1 should be about excellence, the best of the best. But it’s hard for the cream to rise to the top this season. We’ve had four different winners and three different pole sitters in four races. The top teams will inevitably pull away over the season, because of their resources, but the current structure is making for exciting races, with cliffhanger endings. Tyre management has always been as important a skill as having raw pace in F1.

What do you think?

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  1. James Alias says:

    lol. I think you seem to be in favor of the current regulations. Anyways, I just hope that the peak-operative windows was somewhat extended by a little-bit. Perhaps from 1 or 2 laps what is currently, to 5 laps at least, so that at least the drivers can afford to sustain catch-up and wheel-to-wheel racing for more than 3 corners.

    1. TheBrad says:

      I’m not a fan of the current tyre regulations. Why make a tyre that purposely degrades in this fashion forcing a major focus away from pure driver skill to pit wall scientists who can ultimately win the race for the driver and the team.
      It biases the entire premise of motor racing where years ago the only ‘randomness’ drivers had to deal with was the weather and the first corner.
      F1 has become too much of business to be labelled a sport.

      1. Neef Kees says:

        I fully agree with the Brad. Some may it it is more interesting now, in what way? People sitting on the wall with computers and calculators figuring out how to win the race! No Pirelli may think this is great but far from it. Why don’t they do a world wide poll to see for themselves that the the vast majority of racing fans think that this is far from real racing. Give them hell Schumi

      2. Nick James says:

        First of all, I think it’s an absolute JOKE that Schumacher is complaining about tyres! All those years of specialist treatment and tailor made tyres at Ferrari that handed him more than a few WDC’s! Now he has the front to complain about the tyres! HA!

        Having siad that, I don’t think he’s completely wrong. I think last year, Pirelli got it spot on, but this year it seems to have gone a bit far, all be it under instruction from the powers that be!

        Let’s not forget, Pirelli do not decide what the tyres should do, they are told how they must make them. And taking that into consideration, they have done an OUTSTANDING job! Could they make tyres that last, or even outlast the Bridgstones – of course they could, but that isn’t their brief.

        I think the first problem at Bahrain, was the choice of compound. I believe they should have taken the Medium and Hard, not Soft and Medium.

        Secondly, I think the operating window to get the tyres ‘swtiched on’ needs to be widened, a lot!

        Thirdly, I like that they degrade, however I do believe they should be lasting longer than they currently do before we start to see a real drop off in performance. A good 10 to 15 laps of balls out driving before they tyres begin to fade would be great.

        And finally, I like the fact that they will fall off the ‘cliff’ once pushed too far. Granted, as I said earlier, I believe they should last longer before getting to this point, but the ‘cliff’ is brilliant. Let’s not forget that F1 is as much about strategy as hard racing out on the track, and with re-fueling gone, we need the tyres to create this.

        F1 is a team sport, not just about the guy in the cockpit! The tyre strategy allows the whole team to be involved in the win or loss of a GP, just as it should be!

    2. Wayne says:

      James do you want tyo see a driver ‘conserve’ his way to the title or race balls-out for it? Sounds like two completely different sports to me and I know which one i’d rather watch. The WTCC (World Tyre Conservation Championship) hold little interest for me.

      1. James Allen says:

        I think both. F1 is far more sophisticated than one or the other.

      2. Wayne says:

        Nice, neat and rational response, and I nealry agree completely, I just wonder if it hasn’t swung too far one way….

      3. CurlyPutz says:

        Not very sophisticated at the moment James, more random I would say; these tyres are very VERY strange. They have gone too far IMO and Whitmarsh now has the “edgy” tyres he asked for, he pushed more than most for this and it has backfired in his face big-time as even Mr Smooth(Jenson) can’t make this bad boys work in all conditions.

        I can understand why so many do like this current format due the nature of the first 4 races but for me this feels false and I would prefer drives to be able to push more in the race, not driving to delta’s, well within themselves.

      4. James Allen says:

        This was one race. THey are the same tyres as we had in China and Melbourne…

      5. Ivan says:

        Sophistication is good and has always been part of the game. However, nothing should impede the drivers to demonstrate their skills and decide the race on the track, not on the pit wall. The votes clearly show that.

      6. Richard says:

        The sport is sophisticated for numerous reasons, but making tyre management the predominant factor is counter to what F1 should be about.

      7. PW Rocket S says:

        Totally agree with Michael. It has been FOUR races with the same tyres already but still no team can figure them out! Maybe it’s time to agree that Pirelli makes poor F1 tyres.

        I am sick of hearing about tyre strategy for those that do not participate in Q3 (or those who failed to qualify). F1 should stop penalizing the drivers that tried to keep us entertained in Q3 by letting them to start the race with an extra set of new tyres!

      8. thestretch says:

        i hope pirelli make there tyres last a little longer i dont want a return to bridgestone days but i do feel they have gone a little to far with the degredation cant they make a tyre where the drivers can go flat out on for more than 7-10 laps. i hate it when people say arrrrr yes but pirelli have made it better racing i diagree id rather see more gadjets in f1 to aid overtaking like the DRS,KERS or FDUCT than tyres that dont allow the drivers to push every lap of the race no matter what tyre there on even if a pass is try’d that dosnt come off the tyre is then no good to keep attacking which robs us fans a little

    3. frede says:

      Formula 1 is now about Berni’s ideology rather than racing. It’s about BILLIONS of dollars not only for F1 but for those involved and sponsoring. Economies, media and Politics (politicians) are embedded in what Bernie has done to this sport in it’s evolution. To me, Bernie is like an MP trying to push through Climate Change policies to apppease the groups that helped get him into Government.

      Why wont the teams leave when they’re not happy? Why is there never action? Hardly any compromise? Too much money embedded and commitments made to economies. These businesses are tied in so deep the comparison is why wont our politicians listen to us the people, paying your wages…. Because they’re no longer representing the people, they’re representing corporations and the Billions of dollars that go with it.

    4. Matthew Yau says:

      I can agree with this sentiment but it’s quite early in the season. I think we’ll find, when teams understand the tyres more, they’ll be able to keep them in optimal working conditions for longer.

      As for the people agreeing with Schumacher about drivers being limited by the tyres, you have to remember, in F1 drivers are essentially the pawns of the sport. They are nothing without the engineers and the strategists.

      There are plenty of other racing formats out there where you can watch excellent drivers in similar cars displaying the racing capabilities. GP2 can be excellent at time. MotoGP also springs to mind if you can get over the lack of wheels.

      It’s just frustrating to see the unsung heroes of the sport disregarded over and over again.

      1. James Alias says:

        Just a little off-topic comment I want to make. Though F1 is dominated by the technology and strategy, I still think the drivers who get to drive (and remain) in F1 are just extraordinary. Its one thing for an engineer saying I need 20 laps at X speed, and then 100 laps of this program, zero mistakes please, and another thing when the driver actually goes out and does that.

        Quite amazing. Apart from the skill needed, think of all the physical regime, PR responsibilities, endless.

      2. Matthew Yau says:

        I can’t disagree. That’s why they’re the best drivers in the world – certainly on tarmac anyway.

        But just as the engineers and strategists have had to adapated to the rule changes, so must the drivers. After all, as H. G. Wells once said, “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.”

        I think Schumacher’s comments reflect the dramatic changes in the sport since he and Ferrari dominated.

  2. shabz says:

    I personally feel very disappointed at Schumacher to be making such a comment. These tires have been around since 2011 and it has been great for the show. He wasn’t criticizing the tires last weekend was he? When Mercedes were dominating the field. Well you just have to accept what the rules are and get on with the racing. Its the same for everyone. Why didnt you speak out in 2011? Because then you had other issues and tires were not the problem. This year Mercedes have not been able to manage the tires at higher temperatures. And he starts complaining.

    1. anil says:

      He’s complaining because the tyres can’t be pushed and the drivers are cruising around. Nico said the same when he won in China (‘I was never really going fast at all’). Both China and Bahrain saw loads of cars just following each other unable to pass in case they wrecked their tyres. As michael points out, he is far from the only driver to be upset by it.

    2. Robert says:

      Maybe you did not read his comments about the tyres since his comeback. He was constantly complaining about the tyres during the testing.

    3. Wayne says:

      I’m surprised that Pirelli are surprised. Schumacher is completely right in my opinion. The tyres are indeed a limiting factor, which is the same for all teams, but, as I have said here numerous times, F1 should not be so completely dominated by comedy destructo tyres. The tyres, depending on who you listen to, have the entrants in the pinnacle of motorsport, trundling around at 60 – 80% capacity. The drivers who are able to push the car to the edge and slightly beyond no longer have the ability to showcase their talents and the viewing public are denied the spectacle of an F1 car ‘on the edge’ a sight which we have not seen in race conditions for two years now. The tyres are allowing drivers who would normally be also-rans to push on while providing a glass ceiling for the outstanding talents.

      I know that tyres have always been a primary factor in F1, but they have never been so limiting as they are right now. I also have no idea what marketing strategy Pirelli are adopting as the number 1 consideration that the public consider when buying tyres for their road cars is ‘how long will they last me?’. I would buy from Bridgestone over Pirelli any day of the week and twice on Tuesdays. Seriously, how can Pirelli build an effective marketing strategy based on fragile tyres? It ought to be suicide.

      Drivers train all their lives to be the best they can be and then arrive in F1 and are allowed to use 80% (substitute your own % here) max of their racing talent. In all honesty, do you want to see a driver ‘think’ and ‘conserve’ their way to the title or race balls-out to it?

      Modern F1 is all about artificiality, between tyres that self destruct and DRS denying us many great defensive drives and wheel to wheel dicing in the breaking zones, and choreographed overtaking rules – I am missing F1 less than I thought I might since it sold out to SKY sports. With things as they are I am happy to catch up on the I player as and when after a 20 year fanatical following of the sport.

      1. Tank says:

        agree with most of your points, Wayne.

      2. Nathan Jones says:

        +1, and I’d +10 you if I could.

        It’s not advanced logic to surmise that slow drivers are not able to push cars to the limit. They’re slow for a reason. They don’t gas it as early, nor brake as late, nor man-handle the cars as much as the truly quick drivers. Hence, in this Pirelli-induced artificiality, the slower drivers seem quick relative to a HAMpered truly quick driver.

        This appearance of close racing is all just an illusion involving really fast drivers being pulled back into the peloton of mediocrity. It’s pretty obvious that I’m a LH fan, but I think that given ‘real’ racing tyres certain drivers wouldn’t get close to Hamilton in a month of sundays. But, as it stands, Hamilton get’s pulled back into the peloton, and badly, whilst others are at the front of the peloton, precisely because they don’t hit the limits that kill the tyres.

      3. Wayne says:

        Yes, you’ll note that Hamilton was able to make significantly more overtakes than most drivers before the introduction of DRS and Comedy Tyres – why? Talent.

        Even this year Hamilton is a shade of his former self. Yes he may ‘think’ his way to the title and he needed to mature but is that what the viewing public REALLY wanted or would we really have loved to see the young superstar actively encouraged and enabled to drive his heart out in each and every race rather than trundle about looking for consistency? Both the rules and the criticism from fickle public have made Hamilton what he is now – still a title contender (as he always has been) but nothing like as exciting as he used to be.

        Well done F1.

        Well done viewing public.

  3. Thebe says:

    James,

    I agree with Schumi’s comments , I am also asking myself the same thing, should the tyres really play such a critical role in influencing race outcomes .

    I think this moves away from what F1 should really be about. F1 shouldn’t be about managing tyres , because effectively the driver with a fressher set of tyres will always gain an advantage and this is not necessarily a true reflection of what the driver is capable of doing with the car.

    Yes one might argue that if MSC were in RED BULL for example he could possibly be singing a different tune, but it is debatable whether this was the right decision or not.

    1. k5enny says:

      Hi James,

      Given the current regs and tyre requirements, how would a team manager go about recruiting new driving talent for thier team??

      They couldnt select the fastest drivers from the feeder formula as they would eat up the latest tyres… but what criteria could they use to identify a future winning driver??

      Do you thing the current regulations are ripe for women drivers to enter F1 and be competitive??

      1. James Allen says:

        I think we are losing the plot a bit. These are proper racing tyres, make no mistake. Good drivers always find a way

      2. You are right about loosing the plot.
        It should be a RACE / sport first, and entertainment as a consequence of that.
        Or we may as well have Olympic marathon with two pits stops, compulsory use of one pair of shoes size too small and one without laces,
        sprinters with spikes on one foot only etc.
        Regards,
        Martin

      3. Kay says:

        Bridgestones were proper racing tyres too, were they not?

        I’ve always said and will stick to my point: go back to that race with G.Villeneuve and someone else wheel banging fighting like mad for position driving flat out. Did they need to nurse the tyres? No. Did they need to think about the tyres of lasting a certain race distance? No. Did they need to think about strategy of the tyres? No.

        Why? Coz they had tyres that they could TRUST that’d help them do the job driving flat out. That requires Bridgestone-type tyres.

        Pirelli is just unwilling to admit that they are incapable of making a tyre that’s as good as Bridgestones.

      4. Wayne says:

        If these are proper racing tyres, what were the Bridgestones? ‘Super racing tyres’? As far as I understand it (which may not be very far) the bridgestones were designed to last and allow the drivers to push the boundaries. Bridgestones allowed us to witness F1 cars on the ‘edge’ – they were more of an enabler than the Pirelli comedy tyres which seem to function as a huge grey pit into which tallent and excellence are sucked and anulled.

        Pirelli have turned F1 into an exercise in conservation beyond anything that has come before. F1 cars should not be desinged to ‘conserve’ they should be able to push the limits of everything – other than safety.

      5. **Paul** says:

        Kay that’s a daft commment at best. Pirelli are meeting the brief they were set, they could easily replicate those boring zero degridation Bridgestone tyres, but by doing so they’d be failing to meet the requirments placed upon them.

        Look at other forms of motorsport
        WTCC; tyre limited,
        Nascar; tyre limited,
        Moto GP; Tyre & Fuel limited

        So whats wrong with F1 drivers having to have a little bit more talent than just the ability to go fast? Fast doesn’t always mean best. That’s a tactic that has served some of the best in motorsport very well, Loeb, Rossi, Prost and more recently Button and Vettel. Not always the out-right fastest, but taking care of their machinery has won them all many races.

        Qualifying is the time when a driver gets to show how fast he is. That aspect of driver talent is covered. Sundays are when F1 really becomes a team sport, tactics, knowing when to push etc. It’s all there. It reminds me a bit of the Turbo era of F1 with the fuel saving, the best drivers still won, just as they do nowadays. It’s no fluke that Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso are all at the sharp end of the championship.

      6. Wu says:

        James, whoever wins this year, will they be remembered for being the fastest, or for their tyre management skill? So far I think it’s 50/50 and that’s just not good enough.

        There must be a way of improving the spectacle whilst being safe and true to its roots. I just think they haven’t thought about it hard enough. Quickfixes like DRS aren’t real fixes and no one should kid themselves.

      7. Nathan Jones says:

        **Paul**, fast doesn’t always mean best?

        In a sport where the first driver to cross the line on the final lap is deemed the winner, I’d say fast certainly should mean best.

      8. Richard says:

        It is the owners and broadcasters of F1 that have lost the plot of what F1 should be. Not only is this not F1 it is grossly unfair.

      9. PW Rocket S says:

        Sorry James but I disgree. These are NOT proper racing tyre. These tyres reminds me of Indy 2005… Pirelli just want us to believe that they intentionally make the tyres less durable, when their development simply falls way behind to the teams in terms of downforce and lateral load requirements.

  4. frede says:

    I agree with Michael 100% – and it’s not Pirellis fault. There’s too much artificial fabrication in today’s race. KERS, DRS & Tyres that are DESIGNED to degrade as per Berni spec.

    We are not seeing qualifying the way it should be, as a shootout but instead those after 6th are deciding to save tyres – Ricciardo went for it and paid the price in the race.

    And the race, well its now about preservation and setting a ‘race pace’ rather than going flat out. There’s too much coasting in F1.

    1. Wayne says:

      “There’s too much coasting in F1.”

      Brilliant, insightful and even slightly poetic analysis! I could not agree more with your entire post mate.

    2. Martin says:

      Ricciardo damaged his front wing on lap 1 is why he went backwards not his tyres, also we have always had tyre managment in F1 just look at Mansell at Adelaide in 86.

      1. PaulL says:

        Yes, and we might look back on that incident as one that produced an unfair result because Mansell was deprived of the title despite having driven arguably the most outstanding during the year.

  5. Hutch says:

    I think the balance that we have now is pretty good.

    For the fans, races are fairly unpredictable and dramatic, without being random: It’s up to the skill of the team in building, managing and servicing the car, combined with the skill of the driver, which still remains the crucial element.

    Which driver skills we value the most tends to vary from season to season. Perhaps if anything some improvement can be made in how we weight the importance of various skills (Tactical ability vs technical precision vs bravery vs ability to operate complex systems vs ability to deal with limitations, for example).

    In the era where Schumacher dominated, success came from developing the car to a high level and performing clinical and precise laps over a race distance, rather than dealing with things like tyre management or sub-optimal setup.

    1. Doug says:

      I agree.

      There’s a very interesting comment on the BBC site by Garry Anderson regarding Schumi’s situation at Ferrari with the Bridgestone tyres.
      I had never realised that the tyres supplied to Ferrari during the ‘tyre war’ were a more advanced/expensive tyre than those supplied to ‘other’ Bridgestone teams!
      Schumi always likes the deck stacked in his favour…much like Ferrari!
      How times change!

      I think the unpredictable racing this year is keeping both the teams & the fans on the edge of their seats!

      1. Martin says:

        Schumacher with more or less the same equipment as everyone else is just another driver, he always like to have the cards stacked in his favour,if they had played with a straight bat he would probably have just two WDC’s

      2. Martin says:

        But when Michellin developed tyres for Williams Ferrari complained and it cost Williams the 2003 WCC title, I dislike Ferrari immensley and hope their struggles continue, they should be stripped of several of the early 2000 titles imo.

      3. Doug says:

        I couldn’t agree more!

    2. **Paul** says:

      Agreed.

      RE: Doug below – it’s worth remembering that Michelin gave Renault some advantage with it’s tyres also, they flexed giving a large contact patch than the bridgestones.

      1. Doug says:

        True Paul…but Alonso isn’t moaning now the rules/tyres are making his life tough.

  6. Bayden says:

    Hi James,

    I think that whilst it would be easy to put this down to Schumacher letting off steam after a disappointing return on the promise shown in the first three races (qualifying at least), the fact that he rarely makes these kinds of outburts suggests that what he’s saying has some credibility, if he’s decided to speak out uncharacteristically given how positive he has been until this point, he must feel aggrieved within reason, would you agree?

    1. [MISTER] says:

      Bayden, I think Schumi has spoken out because he started on 22nd and could not go flat out to try and get in the best possible position by the end of the race because of the tyres.

      He found himself nursing the tyres rather than give all it takes to overtake and win time.
      I am doing karting once every 2 weeks as a hobby and I think is fantastic, but I would not do it if I could not go as fast as the kart and myself are capable of.

      It is great for the fans and for TV/sponsors what we currently have, but the drivers must be frustrated by knowing that they can go much faster but would be suicide pushing after a certain point.

      I agree 100% with Schumi.

      1. Wayne says:

        It’s not great for all fans mate. I’d rather the artificiality (DRS/Comedy Tyres/Move Once Rule) was removed and a return to the racing of three years ago.

      2. zx6dude says:

        +1

        MSC is spot on!

  7. Richard says:

    Well at last a driver has been brave enough to come out and say the truth about high degradation tyres. – They certainly DO NOT befit F1. The paragraph that says it all for me is that the car has to be driven well below the drivers and cars limit to maintain the tyres which surely is not what F1 is about. Not that I think Pirelli are to blame, but the powers that be that wanted to spice up F1 for television to make it more exciting to watch at the expense of true racing. Pirelli have simply done what they were instructed to do. The problem really is that there is not enough latitude in the tyres to allow true spirited driving or flat out driving, instead drivers have to ponce about like a cat on a hot tin roof tp preserve the tyres. It really is shameful that the spirit of Formula is being abused or nullified at the altar of television. Personally I think the high dependency on areo is to blame, and so perhaps ways to reduce that should be applied rather than limit performance with tyres.

    1. [MISTER] says:

      +1. Completely agree with what you said.

      1. Jez K says:

        +2 I also agree. The problem is that more spirited drivers like Hamilton & Schumi can’t go for an aggressive strategy because the tyres don’t allow that option. I don’t mind one bit if the jensons of the world want to nurse their tyres to get a result but it’s no good unless the Schumis of the world can successfully counter that strategy by blasting round on fresher tyres from extra pitstops. I have a lot of respect for what Schumacher is saying. Remember that this is the man who drove the wheels off a substandard Ferrari in Hungary, producing qualifying lap pace for the whole race to take the win. I don’t think that sort of strategy is possible with this years tyres. That’s the problem.

      2. ism says:

        i second that Jez K. . i think that what schumi found very disappointing. He know what he can do, but he also know he have to pay huge dividend if he push to the limit with the current tyres.(which i think is he’s strong winning character in his first phase of F1- staying out late for 2-3 laps with almost qualy time before pitting)

      3. Luis Rodrigues says:

        As I see it the tyres have produced great racing (read it as close racing) because, like Schumacher said, drivers and cars are being used well below their limit due to having to manage the tyres.

        If a car can go at 200mph and another at 180mph but if both use tyres that are “limited” to 170, then both cars will only go at 170 and will keep close to each other, give or take a slow pitstop or a driver error. This is what Mr. E. wants to make “interesting” racing. In a way I agree with Mr. E, but on the other hand we’re not seeing the full potential of the engineers’ work (designing the car) nor the drivers’ skills (going fast).

        I would be nice to have the same level of racing we have today but with cars and drivers pushed to the limit. So I hope that the F1 we have now is just another iteration on the process of achieving exactly that: close racing with both cars and drivers on the limit (not tyres on the limit) – although the teams are always working on the opposite direction: get themselves as far away ahead so that they can race (and win) without being on the limit.

        This lead us to the other randomness that we’ve been missing in recent years: racing on the limit brings more mechanical failures (including tyre failures) and drivers errors. In the 80′s and 90′s when did we have 80% of the field finishing the race? Not that often. But today 90% or even sometimes 100% is not that unusual.

        So drivers did use to manage their cars to prevent failure in the past – it’s only that now they need to manage more of the tyres than of the car as in the past it was more of a balance of both, wasn’t it?

  8. Andrew Kirk says:

    I think Michael is mainly missing many miles of testing that he was able to do during the season. At Ferrari during the glory years the tyres were designed for ferrari only and he was able to drive 1000 of miles in order to build them around his driving style and the car set up.

    1. anil says:

      I think more than anything he’s missing being able to drive fast as opposed to being told delta times and having to go as slow as he can to match them!

      1. MookF1 says:

        I agree with Andrews comments and so does Gary Anderson it seems http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/17816565 (the bottom of his article)

        Michaels being hypocritical F1 has always been an endurance race and not just a flat out sprint, what about when engine suppliers produced the most speed but engines blew up if you didn’t look after your car. Surely looking after your car is a major part of F1 and always has been. Its a team effort and his team need to design and setup his car so that his style can produce faster lap times than the rest over a designated number of laps.

        The Fans asked for these changes to be made because F1 had become processional as reliability issues were improved and those who were allowed to test the most….Michael-outperformed everyone else.

        I admit in the poll I original agreed with him but after reading comments and thinking about it a little more, what he’s saying is disingenuous. If he feels all drivers should be allowed to drive flat out at all times and therefore tyre management and to some degree setup and looking after your car are irrelevant then why does he not say lets all get in the same car and see who the best driver is on any given day. That isn’t what F1 is about (not saying it would be a bad thing, I for one would welcome something more equal to see who really is the best driver but then i have a feeling that would cut out a lot of money and innovation in certain areas) or how he won his titles its always been about a few elite teams and that would only damage them.

      2. shabz says:

        Cant agree more. Thanks!

      3. Jomy John says:

        I cant believe how people like Gary and Andrew just write bullocks and expect people to gulp it. People had to look after the cars when they were in a position to take it easy. Nobody took care of the car when they were starting last. The situation now is that even is you start last you cannot push hard to make up places which is very unfair.

      4. anil says:

        ‘I want to see something more equal’.

        But isn’t that what we all want to see and can’t because of these tyres?

  9. While I agree that the entertainment index has gone up, I can’t agree with the unpredictability – being engineer,that’s my only concern.

    So, we’re likely to see different people struggling at different tracks on different temperatures, is that right?
    It’s a bit sad that F1 had to resort to entropy (in thermodynamics terms) to save the show, rather than allowing stuff like Ride-height system, F-Duct, Mass Dampers, DDD, EBD. flexi wings, etc. I know these are banned to govern the rising speed and to cut costs, but still …

      1. Nick James says:

        haha

  10. S Taylor says:

    The novelty of these tyres is beginning to wear thin for me, it’s massively favouring the attributes of certain drivers and penalising others rather than providing a level playing field to determine who is the best driver

    This problem of ‘switching the tyres on’ is making things even worse. Seeing faster drivers in faster cars fall behind others because their setup is slightly wrong is incredibly frustrating and destroying the purity of ‘racing’.

    I don’t know what the right answer is for the balance between racing and spectacle, but this isn’t it. It really feels like cheap thrills for the casual fan, to be honest, I’m really missing the bridgestones.

    1. Nick James says:

      I don’t agree.

      All drivers use the same tyres – you can’t get much more of a level playing field than that!

      You say that the attributes of these tyres favour certain drivers and penalise others.

      Well, the exact same can be said about the bridgestones.

      Where’s the payoff for the smooth driver on the Bridgstones?

      I guess your opinion is always going to depend on who you support.

      Having said that, like I said earlier, I think the degredation/narrow operating window of the tyres has gone a bit far this year. Last year was spot on.

  11. ronik says:

    I don’t think it was an attack on Pirelli in the sense that they are doing a bad job or are responsible for the high-deg tyres. In general, I think it’s common knowledge that they have done a good job of what was asked of them. I think the “attack” was aimed at the tyres (made by Pirelli) and tyre-situation in general given that there is an over-emphasis on tyres this year and each race has some randomness to it because of this.

    F1 is platform where the world’s best teams and drivers compete. This means, folks should have the incentive to develop the best car and hire the best drivers. If you throw an unknown like this years tyres in the equation there is a good chance that a mediocre team might beat someone who has worked harder for no apparent reason. That might mean a few entertaining races now but is that good for the sport over the long-run?

    Over the last few years F1 has moved further and further away from pure racing. That is definitely sad and something that deserves a closer look. Perhaps MSC can actually tell the difference between the sport now and what it was 20 years ago. I think we’d all be sad if he’d step down because he doesn’t consider F1 worth competing in and not just because of his age. If you’ve followed the sport for a few decades you’d totally see where he is coming from.

  12. nuzzaci says:

    I completely agree with michael. Tiers can be factor, but now it’s a to big of a factor. Drivers need to be able to push the limits of their and the cars abilities, not the tires. It goes hand in hand. But currently the ratio is wrong.

    And this isn’t about unlimited testing and budgets. It’s about tires making the cut for F1.

  13. ramprasath says:

    hamilton is a much quicker driver than jenson. but if jenson outscores him race after race then something is fundamentally wrong with F1.

    1. James Allen says:

      Senna was faster than Prost but Prost outscored him in 1989

      1. Nick Hipkin says:

        Would you say that Formula One is no longer about being fastest now then, more the cleverest?

        I enjoy the close racing, but I do wonder if the fastest drivers of this era are unable to have a chance to show it.

      2. Kevin Green says:

        And that’s where its defo going wrong i feel. It should be clearly more so about the drivers talent on race day other than what the other team figures are up to on race day.

      3. K says:

        F1 was never about just being the fastest, it was being the best in everything while having the best car too.

        Hamilton is ‘just’ fast, nothing else. He had the fastest ar in the 1st 2 races, from pole, ended up 3rd.

        And then you can go blame the team this and that but his teammate was faster before those.

      4. Nathan Jones says:

        James, let’s not gloss over the fact that he did so by crashing into Senna at Suzuka.

      5. hero_was_senna says:

        Don’t forget either, that Senna restarted, changed his nose and won the race.

        Prost and Balestre worked together and got Senna disqualified for cutting the chicane. Hate to say the French political machinations, but books and the Senna film show this to be true.

        Something that Ron Dennis showed in a press conference afterwards, these drive throughs had been committed before, and no punishment was forthcoming for those drivers.

        If Senna had won the appeal, winning in Australia would have secured him the championship. Prost and Balestre couldn’t afford to let the Japanses result stand.

      6. Alex W says:

        Let’s not forget Prost outscored Senna as teammates in 1988 aswell! Every time they were teammates, Senna was faster but Prost was better.

      7. Alex says:

        Ah please,how many DNF’s Senna had that year?

      8. jawsf1 says:

        True James but senna did have several mecanical faliures and the droped score points system to contend with which does make it slightly differenty

      9. James Allen says:

        Yes but in general it stands

      10. Jomy John says:

        This is the problem with the tyres, you are now comparing Button to Prost. Please!!!!

      11. Nathan Jones says:

        Heehee. Very funny. These tyres have elevated a certain driver so much that he is now spoken of in the same breath as the all-time greats. I think that is the entire argument summed up in one juicy nutshell!

        One sweet little nutshell.

      12. Richard says:

        The final outcome of a championship is decided by innumerable factors, but the deciding factor should not be that tyres have given an unfair advantage having taken away the others natural ability. All the drivers have had to adapt, but if it favours the natural style of one type of driver and cramps the other where is the fairness in that. The statement that it’s the same for everybody is so simplistic and ridiculous.

      13. James Allen says:

        Any single tyre formula is going to suit one driver above another, but being a great F1 driver is about adapting yourself and your car to whatever is thrown at you

      14. Nathan Jones says:

        James, not to be facetious but purely for illustrative purposes, so if, in Bernie’s quest to bring in more headlines, the WDC developed into a ‘competition’ where after crossing the line drivers had to then pull 10 doughnuts and the car which made the most smoke would win that bit, and equal points were awarded for pace and smoke, is that the type of adaptabilty that should determine who the world champion is? Or is it about who is the fastest driver in the world?

        Seems to me that any type of ‘adaptabilty’ that does not pertain to speed is a gimmick for the casuals, and has got nothing to do with being a great driver. The great driver is the guy who is 30 seconds up the road.

      15. Richard says:

        Actually James that’s incorrect. A durable tyre has sufficient latitude to allow all drivers to use what skills they have to the full. High degradation tyres operate within a narrower band width and therefore curtail those that can push hard. It’s unfair and it’s not what F1 should be about. You know as well I do that it’s been done for television audiences, and nothing to do with driving.

      16. Nick James says:

        Tyres giving an unfair advantage?

        Not how chamionships should be decided?

        Right, so you’ll agree then that most of Schumachers titles should be revoked?

      17. Richard says:

        As far as I’m concerned the fact that Schumacher has said these things is purely incidental. What I’m commenting on is the current situation with high degradation tyres that cramps the style of hard driving exponents like Lewis Hamilton, and nothing at all to do with what Schumacher did in the past.

      18. PaulL says:

        James, I think that proves a point, because Senna – you’d have to agree – qualified and raced the better of the two McLaren drivers in 89 but was deprived of the title.

    2. **Paul** says:

      Much quicker? no. A tenth ? Yeah on one lap in qualfying.

      The competition over who is quickest is held on Saturday, it’s called qualifying and those who do well are given an advtange for Sundays race.

      The competition of who is quickest over 300km is held on Sunday, and to win those you need pace, skill, intelligence and tactics. If you’re lacking in one of those areas the longer races will show it up. That’s why it’s generally the ‘Best’ rather than ‘Fastest’ who win F1 championships. Thats the way it should be, looking for the best, rather than the sole fastest, or sole most intelligent or any other sole attribute.

      It’s like suggesting that the best footballer in the world is picked purely on the number of goals they score (the view your comments insinuate) vs picking someone who scores many goals, gives many assists and knows when they need to defend and plays tactically.

      1. Nathan Jones says:

        If I was picking a striker, I’d want the guy who scored the most goals. He’s not paid to hold in the mid field or get back to help defend. He puts balls in nets. There are other people who do the other stuff, not the striker.

      2. **Paul** says:

        Point missed Nathan… you’re still confusing best with fastest/highest goal scorer. The two are not always mutally inclusive. Thus the fastest driver maybe the worst on the grid for making decisions in wet weather, or tyre preservation, whilst the second fastest guy maybe the best at those other two attributes making him the best overall driver. For me a drive should be more than just quick. *thinks back to late 90s Honda NSX/Senna/ComputerChip/Brain advert*

      3. Richard says:

        Far too simplistic a view. many things affect pace in the race with setup a very important contributor. There is no doubt that Hamilton is significantly faster than Button on durable tyres because both drivers can use their natural driving style. With high deg. tyres Hamilton natural style is curtailed whilst Button can continue to use his smooth style unaffected. Given the current state of affairs Hamilton has to go slightly slower to manage the tyres or he would soon find himself going backwards as Kimi Raikkenon did in China. Perhaps Kimi has demonstrated how Hamilton could also benefit from that strategy although the McLaren has poor race pace.

  14. Andrew Jarman says:

    Am surprised that, at least for the moment, the poll seems to agree with Schumacher. Technically he may be right, the cars cannot be driven to their absolute limit all the time, but I’ve been watching formula 1 for nearly 40 years and give me the current unpredictability over the prosessional races of the Bridgestone period any day. I can’t remember a time when almost any of the top ten places are still up for grabs with only a couple of laps to go.

    1. LNu says:

      Im surprised too… It seems, most of the voters are masochistic or autistic. Or probably they would like to use F1 races as narcotic on Sunday afternoon.

    2. [MISTER] says:

      But you are not a driver Andrew. He is speaking as a racing driver. You are speaking as a fan.

      What we have this year is fantastic in terms of show and unpredictibility. I love it. But put yourself in the cockpit and you will be massively dissapointed knowing that if you push, your tyres will overheat and in 2 laps you will have no grip.

      What’s the point of driving at the top of the motorsport…calling yourself one of the fastest drivers in the world if you cannot do exactly that – drive as fast as you and your car is capable of.

      1. Dean says:

        Totally agree

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        I have no doubt that in Austria 2002, as a racing driver ( irony of word racing!! ) he loved driving at the top of motorsport, driving as fast as his dominant position allowed.
        Yet I bet Barrichello was massively disappointed knowing that however hard he pushed, the team would tell him to move over. I know “fans” around the world felt cheated by his and the teams actions that day.

        The above also applies to any other of Schumacher’s assisted wins in F1,

        These are the best drivers in the world and they have to make the best of whatever circumstance they have as a rule set, whatever era.
        He’s critical because he’s not capable any longer. He deflects his poor performance elsewhere.

      3. [MISTER] says:

        poor performance? Are you kidding me?
        I can only imagine how fit you need to be in order to be competitive in F1 and at his age he’s still out there.

        If Michael wanted to complain because he know he’s not competitive (as you say or claim) he would’ve done it by now. He had plenty of chances. This year the car look good, but how many races out of 4 was he not taken out -by others or by mistakes from his pit crew?
        He could’ve blasted in China when he had to retire from 2nd place but he shown he’s a 7 time champion and was very gracious in his interviews. That to me shows that he’s not here for only for wins and world titles (he’s got that).
        Maybe you want to take that into consideration before you talk like that about a 7 time world champion.
        It seems people who don’t like Michael only remember the Ferrari/Barrichelo years when he was gifted victories. Michael and his performances made Ferrari hire him. Michael was the one who made Ferrari “his” team. If he was a “slowpoke” he would’ve been someone else’s number 2.

        I wasn’t even talking about Schumi, I said what I said in general refering to all drivers.

      4. Getz says:

        So in other words, you don’t like him so he’s wrong?

        Personally, as a F1 fan of some 30 years the whole thing feels a bit like American wrestling at the moment – I appreciate the spectacle but it just doesn’t feel real

      5. Craig says:

        Very well said, I believe I should state +1 to your comment to agree.

      6. Jeff says:

        He never was any more capable than other top drivers of his day. He just had dominant tyres.

      7. hero_was_senna says:

        Ahhh, sorry MISTER, so I don’t agree with your point of view.
        Just to counter your claim, I do like MSC, and I will be eternally grateful that between Senna and Alonso we had the best available driver at Ferrari.
        I love the statistics of his success, just never agreed with his methods.

        If you have ever read any of my comments elsewhere, you will have read that I couldn’t stand Barrichello and currently Massa. They just never seemed Ferrari drivers to my mind.
        Much the same with Kimi, I respect his ability and again, I am grateful that he added to the Ferrari legend also.
        My attitude to all Barrichello’s moaning was, if he qualified ahead and had to let Schumi through every race, then he would have been supported by the team. It was very rare that happened.

        Regarding the “7 times champion”, I have as much right as anyone to my opinion. But just because he’s statistically better than anybody in history, it doesn’t make him the best in history.

        getz, I agree, it’s being dumbed down for the casual viewer, maybe in fact the general American audience that struggle to understand the subtleties of F1

      8. Tim B says:

        I can’t think of too many racing series at the moment where car management of some kind (whether it be tyres, fuel, brakes, etc) is not an important part of the winning formula, certainly at the pro level. I’ve been following F1 for over 30 years, and the Bridgestone era is the only one that I can recall where consistent flat out driving was possible. Not coincidentally I found it the least interesting as well.

        I compete in (very) amateur motorsport, and even there, where we use far hardier tyres, few drive their cars at the limit for an entire event, purely because we can’t afford a new engine every few events, and can’t afford to rebuild the car if we put it in the wall.

        Motor racing has (almost) always been about balancing speed with risk – risk of injury, death, car breakage, etc. In the early GP (pre F1) era, teams often employed a “rabbit” driver whose job was to drive as fast as possible at the front of the field, tempting the opposition into pushing too hard. The “rabbit” would generally break their own car, but that was ok as the other team cars would keep a slightly less reckless pace and be there to pick up the victory.

      9. Andrew Jarman says:

        As a matter of interest – how do average lap times and total race times compare with previous years? Is there a noticeable difference?
        For Schumacher to say that it’s almost like running around behind the pace car is a obviously a big exaggeration but if there is a huge difference in overall race times maybe he’s got some kind of point.

      10. MISTER says:

        You don’t have to compare the times with previous years. Schumi feels that he could go much faster but that would destroy his tyres.

        A good example I think it would be me playing an online video game, Lineage II. I used to have an old PC on which the game would work OK only when I had low details on. When I was trying to put high details on so I will see my enemy coming before they were next to me, the image was moving in frames.
        My point is that I knew I could do better, but my equipment wasn’t allowing me.

  15. RK says:

    Totally agree with you James. F1 has never been this close. It must be because of the lack of testing, tyres (and banning the red bull style rear diffuser). Great article! I’m glad the F1 insiders like these tyres, it may mean that we get close racing for years to come.

  16. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    I think this makes the engineering task harder and therefore more rewarding for those that get it right – ie find the tyre window and make the right strategy calls. Thats the engineer’s answer.

    However, if you don’t like the other “innovations” such as DRS, then I can
    see why you would similarly hate the tyres.

    From a fan’s perspective, it does produce more varied results which makes the title race closer. Thats Bernie’s ultimate goal. Otherwise you get results like previous years where one team dominates a season.

    Personally, I think wheel nuts aside, the best teams and drivers have been able to adapt to the conditions. Arguably smaller more agile teams, such as Sauber, have been able to use the conditions to outperform the bigger teams. Surely this is the right outcome for F1.

    1. **Paul** says:

      Very valid comments, I agree entirely about the smaller teams and agility to adapt. That’s what made Williams great for a few seasons! Long may it continue!

  17. Igor says:

    I think that he’s half-right. Maybe even a bit more then half.

    It’s been a thrill watching F1 racing with new Pirellis. But at the same time, I feel that it’s really supid and artificial to see situations like Raikkonen’s in the last race where he lost 6-7 places in a couple of laps because his tires “fell of the cliff”. With DRS, they’ve eliminated the “we cannot pass if we don’t have a car 1s per lap faster” argument from the equation. KERS helps quite a bit. So in terms of racing elements – driving fast, overtaking and strategy – they’ve done enough.

    I would also argue that – as MS said here – most of the teams had the problem, and it’s absolutely true that it’s slowing down racing quite a bit. If this is FIA’s undercover way to get more safety into F1 (by artificially slowing the cars down)… I don’t know. I think that they’ve gone a bit too far.

    F1 is racing and some people seem to have forgotten that – it’s about being and driving as fast as possible, not constantly being in the “are these tires gonna last another lap” fear, not in this way. Drivers always had to look after their tires, true, but not nursing them like they’re fragile little things that need cuddling. Also, as many of the drivers say – it’s probably the only sport which doesn’t allow regular practice during season. One Mugello test isn’t gonna change that. They shouldn’t be allowed to test on track all day all night long, but they should have at least one test a month.

    1. John says:

      I, too, felt sorry for Raikkonen, however not so long ago we were saying exactly the same sort of thing when cars fell apart. At least Kimi was able to finish the race – years ago he and many others would have broken their cars and only half the field would have finished.

      I feel it is unfair to blame the tyres because the cars are so much more reliable.

  18. Mark says:

    I think it should be a balance of the two. Tyres could play an important role but not to an extent that cars are driving at cruise speed. Yes pirelli tyres can last but it’s sometimes sad to see with just after 8 laps they need to pit already. I think tyres should be in between the type of the bridgestone era and the current pirelli tyres, wouldn’t it be more exciting seeing f1 cars could push harder a little bit longer but still need to change them?

  19. Doohan says:

    I’m in two minds with the current tyre situation.
    The excitement that Pirrelli have brought to this sport is phenomenal with interweaving strategy, tyres dropping off the cliff and the importance of saving tyres.
    However I do want to see the drivers being able to push harder for longer. If it were only for 3-5 laps extra.

  20. Doctub says:

    I think Michael has some validity in his comments. There must be a solution that allows different strategies for both a conversative driver looking after tyres and allowing drivers to go ‘hell for leather’ between each pitstop. It is the degredation at the moment that is ruining the race for the latter style; the tyre will last a race but the laptime gets slower and slower. Surely Pirelli can produce a tyre that can he hard and durable to do a one/two stop strategy and one that is soft and sticky and faster but won’t last more than 20 laps and when the times are added together both strategies are near identical in total race time? The only factors that then will affect the tyre choice are weather and the trace-are drivers able to overtake and make the multi stop strategy work.

    1. Robin says:

      Totally agree
      R

  21. cookie says:

    Totally agree with Schumacher. Want to see the drivers pushing for most of the race, rather than just managing the types. Perhaps we should have another tyre manufacturer?

    1. John says:

      The reason so many drivers have to drive conservatively is much more about the car than the tyres. The teams are constantly turning the engines down and saving fuel so they can run lighter or save the engines and gearboxes for the next race.

    2. Jeff says:

      I for one definitely do not want a second tyre manufacturer. That was the situation which produced the artificial dominance of Ferrari in the 2000′s, with Ferrari having tyres which were so much better than everyone else’s that the result was a foregone conclusion.

      I do agree that the current tyres have gone a little too far. When drivers have to corner at just 70% of maximum to conserve the rubber, you have to wonder whether, from a drivers perspective, F1 is still the pinnacle of motorsport. The skill differentiator for drivers is being taken away. Tyres should be part of the equation, but when the race is just a lottery, what’s the point?

    3. Matthew Atkin says:

      Another tyre manufacturer would solve nothing. Pirelli made their tyres this way because that is what the fans said they wanted. They could easily make them just as durable as the old Bridgestones, but they don’t because of that. Introducing a new tyre manufacturer would force Pirelli to take the route of durability over degradation, against what the fans said they wanted.

  22. D17MO.D says:

    I have to agree with MSC comments.

    Although I have thoroughly enjoyed the races thus far, I have always thought that the truly quickest drivers are being slightly hindered (both in 2011 and 2012).

    Personally, I don’t want to think of the WDC as the best tyre conservationalist; I want to think of the WDC as the guy who was always on the ragged edge (not driving within himself @ 90% to save tyres), always wringing the neck of the car (which you cannot do with the current tyre spec), pulling off the overtakes as only he could (not just because ones tyres are 5 laps older than someone else’s), consistsly banging out quickest laps, etc etc.

    To put it another way, this current form of F1, I think, rewards the individuals who can perform better at 90% of their maximum potential rather than the ultimate racers who (when tyres aren’t a factor) can drive to 100% of their maximum potential, and their 100% maximum potential is somewhat better than another drivers 100% maximum potential. Some drivers find it eaiser to drive within themselves whereas others only know how to perform to their unltimate best (something these tyres simply don’t allow).

    I know this is eaiser said than done but somehow, I think F1 needs to keep the technically magnificent cars we have now but decrease the aero dependancy and increase the mechanical dependancy and being a less durable tyre back. It might be more boring but it would show up the best drivers a lot more and ultimately that’s what the F1 WDC is about. The best drivers, in the best cars on the best tyres in the world.

    We don’t buy tyres in the knowing that they will degrade!! We buy the tyres that will provide the best performance and last the longest period of time. I.e. Bridgestones! Lol.

    1. Crom says:

      “I don’t want to think of the WDC as the best tyre conservationist”

      My thoughts exactly

      1. carly says:

        absolutely

      2. Craig in SG says:

        Nice edit

  23. Paul Kirk says:

    I definately agree with Shoe maker on this issue, I’ve always felt that way, also there’s the issue of drivers having to slow down to conserve fuel! I understand the teams usually put less fuel in the cars than they would use to complete the race if the car was driven at RACING speeds for the whole RACE in anticipation of “safty cars” and being stuck behind other cars and being able to turn down the wick, just to save 5 to 10 kgs of weight!
    Maybe there should be a rule that they all start with the same weight of fuel in the cars.
    I guess I’m “old school” because when I started racing myself and following other classes of racing in the early 60s through to the 90s, (and still following), a “race” was actually a RACE! (As oposed to an economy run and a competition to see who could get the furthest before wearing out the tyres.
    I do admit, though, that there is much more action on track during a “race” (for want of a better word), nowdays and that probably appeals to the casual fans/followers but to us REAL enthusiasts it is a bit sort of “not real”, Still I spose we’ve gotta adapt.
    PK.

    1. John says:

      It’s not just the tyres. The need for engines and now gearboxes to last several races has all been increased dramatically since ms first retired.

      The RRS/budget cap has done at least as much, if not more, to make the drivers manage their driving.

  24. bosyber says:

    As I mentioned when linking to your article on facebook:

    I can understand a concern that the balance goes too much to preserving tyres, leading again to drivers waiting for pits or opponents tyres going off before acting on track. That would gives us trains of cars driving until someone lost it or the end of the race, effectively.

    Perhaps parts of the China race gave us something like that, and that’s something to be wary of. But in the end, China was a great race, because there was an unpredictability and diversity in strategy and ability to preserve the tyres, so that the train effectively gave us very close racing for a few laps. Australia has something similar in the last lap too, and it was great to see.

    So it seems hard to argue with the racing we so far had this year. At the end of last year teams got on top of tyres and races became more processional again, keeping the tyres the same would only make that worse.

    Pirelli had a mandate from FIA and the teams to continually combat that so races would be less predictable, and they did it. We shouldn’t fault them for it then.

  25. madmax says:

    Over all Pirelli have done a good job but when before a race every driver is only talking about driving in a style to keep the tyres together it becomes a problem.

  26. anonymous says:

    He’s right, but I guess Hembrey misunderstood him. You start explaining it quite right: It’s the degradation, not the wear. I think Schumacher would have no problem with a lot of wear, but he criticizes the high degradation that forces the drivers to nurse the tires. Pirelli might have missed the sweet spot here.
    If the Pirellis would allow the driver to go harder and last the same time as they do now, it would be okay.

  27. Paul Kirk says:

    Incedently, I don’t thing Michael was “attacking” Pirelli or their tyres as he knows full well they are just doing what the FIA requested of their tyres, I’m guessing he was just voicing his opinion, (which is good), but the journalists chose to create a more dramatic situation by using the word “attack”!PK.

    1. [MISTER] says:

      And without any hard feelings for James (which I think produces fantastic articles) he did the same thing.

      The title of this article does not do justice to what Michael was trying to say here James.

  28. Arlito says:

    Schumacher is absolutely correct. Please consider this:

    The drivers in F1 are the best in the world. But even within that elite, there is another level: the last little bit. Drivers like Gilles Villeneuve, Senna, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Alonso. They can produce an extra bit which the others cannot unlock, lap after lap, for an hour and a half. It is very different from one qualifying lap like Trulli (the jury’s still out on Rosberg.)

    What are the great races we remember in F1? Interlagos 1994, Schumacher v Senna; Suzuka 2000, Schumacher v Hakkinen; Imola 2006, Schumacher v Alonso (and lots of other titanic battles that year): bang, bang, bang. Lap after lap on the limit. The best of the best at the pinnacle of their sport. In each of these battles, the team-mates couldn’t keep up; the consistent pace was too much.

    It is that extra bit that distinguishes the greatest ever from the mere great and these Pirelli tyres do not allow the drivers to access it. Paul Hembery said Schumacher was slower in quail simulations than Rosberg because he was destroying his tyres before the lap was up. So these ‘race’ tyres can’t even hold up for one qualifying lap, when the driver should be able to push to the limit and not consider anything else. They are worse than the special qualifying tyres we used to have.

    What is the point of hiring Schumacher, Hamilton, Alonso or Raikkonen, if all you need is a decent GP2 driver who can save his tyres?

    What you want are tyres that give teams and drivers the choice; drive flat out for say 15 laps, or conservatively for 22, saving a pit stop. This is what Pirelli delivered last season and it worked.

    The spectacle of the world’s greatest drivers not even able to drive one lap on the limit over the full length of a Grand Prix is a nonsense.

    This is not Formula One.

    1. Brett says:

      Well said. Schumacher could do qualifying lap after qualifying lap to get a gap before a pit stop. He was brilliant at it. Ross Brawn would get on the radio saying “Michael, we need 5 seconds” and Michael would deliver.

      You can see why he is a bit frustrated.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Brett, the fact that you used past tense for your comment says a huge amount. He used to be able to.
        I suppose we could always go back to the refueling era, where drivers generally waited till the pit-stops to overtake their rivals.

        Hungary 1998 was a brilliant strategic race by Brawn and Schumi.
        “Michael, we need 19 seconds in 19 laps”

        But it also got boring, like 2003 and 2004 for eg, when Montoya would qualify ahead, or Button in 2004, and they would race till the first stop, MSC cruising behind the other driver until the stops and put in a fast in lap with a superior car and after the stop emerge ahead. Never any risk on track.

        These drivers are driving flat out, but they have to choose whether to do a Hamilton race where you destroy the tyres in the initial phase, or drive smoother like Button and gain time later.

        Get some videos of races in 1985 till 1988, drivers then had to manage fuel consumption, and yet we never think back to the Senna, Mansell and Prost era as boring.

      2. Trent says:

        Well said. For me, a lot of the refuelling ‘sprint race’ era was all about passing in the pits, not on the track.

        Qualifying is where you should see the drivers giving 100%, right on the limit. Race driving should encompass a broader range of skills.

        This is what we have in the current era – and I love it.

      3. Brett says:

        Well, back then there wasn’t really any other team that could compete with Ferrari, and there was no driver that could compete with Schumacher. I seriously doubt that is the case now. We have some of the best drivers ever, and I sure would like to see what they could do.

        They don’t even do it in qualifying. I mean, Kimi basically sat out and accepted P11 so that he would have fresh tires.

    2. Crom says:

      “Suzuka 2000, Schumacher v Hakkinen; Imola 2006, Schumacher v Alonso…”

      Those were truly dizzying heights of combat: two drivers fighting on a completely different level to anyone else on the track. Not sure we’ll ever see that searing, relentless kind of pace again with the tyre situation we have now.

      1. John says:

        Back then they only needed the engine to get them to the end of the race. Nowadays they know they will need it again for several practice sessions and maybe even another 2 whole races.

        Button was the first driver to win 3 races on the same engine. I assume Vettel did this last year as well – which would mean only 2 drivers have ever done this. Engines and gearboxes have at least as much to blame for conservative racing. It has to be far better to ease off and accept some points and the chance to have a good race next time out than to gamble on not having an accident in the chase for a few more points only to have an engine blow up and have a 10 place penalty next time – which invariably means no chance of points.

      2. Crom says:

        True, but all we seem to be talking about these days is tyres, tyres, tired

    3. Kevin says:

      I would comment, but this post covers the topic pretty completely for me

    4. Val says:

      +1000
      I couldn’t say it better

    5. hero_was_senna says:

      I’d agree except the part you class Hakkinen as a great.
      He began in 1991 and was picked up by Mclaren in 1993.
      Won his first race in Jerez 1997 because Williams and Mclaren worked together to deny Ferrari the championship, and the Williams drivers let the Mclaren boys through, telling DC to move over.
      In Australia 1998, he made a mistake whilst leading and DC was ordered to move over for him.
      With a completely dominant car, it took until the last race to win the championship, because of Schumacher’s ability
      in 1999, he just about beat Irvine to the title, still driving the best car in the field.

      One race summed Hakkinen up better than any, Nurburgring 1999, pit stops for wet tyres had dropped him down the field and he was completely invisible. It was only about 2 laps from the end that he picked up speed when he saw the possibility of a point for 5th place by passing a Minardi. What an absolute disgrace.

      1. Joe B says:

        I know it’s off-topic, but your summation of Nurburgring ’99 for Hakkinen sounds just like Silverstone ’10 for Vettel.

        I’m not going to say anything about the two championships/dominant car thing.

      2. Jay says:

        The key difference being how Vettel was almost a lap down and in 24th after having to limp back to the pits with a puncture, caused by the front wing of Hamilton.

      3. Jay says:

        The key differences being:

        1) How Vettel was almost a lap down and in 24th after having to limp back to the pits with a puncture, caused by the front wing of Hamilton.

        2) How Silverstone 2010 wasn’t a race of attrition like Europe 1999.

    6. Alan says:

      I agree with most of what you say apart from saying F1 drivers are not the ‘best in the world’. They are not. The F1 grid includes some of the best, but no by any means is the 24 drivers who line up on the the creme de la creme of driving talent.

      Just had to get that out.

      Vut regarding tyres/DRS/KERS etc… F1 is just meh… not a motorsport more like a motorshow.

    7. LD01 says:

      “What is the point of hiring Schumacher, Hamilton, Alonso or Raikkonen, if all you need is a decent GP2 driver who can save his tyres?”

      Could not agree more.

      I actually cringe a bit when the commentators try and fein excitement when a car passes another on a long straight using DRS and on a fresh set of tyres. It’s a formality. Yet, we’re constantly remind how many passes we’re just witnessed, like they’re all in pedal to the metal combat.

      I’d rather the ‘procession’, where once and a while you would see some real magic or a moment you’d never forget.

  29. AuraF1 says:

    Formula One is not a drag race. I like the idea of strategy and complex tactics. I enjoy a good overtake as much as any fan but the tyres have made far more of these than two or three teams simply blitzing the field by a titanic margin.

    Rather a season of mixed results and exciting unpredictable races than simple indestructible tyres. And anyway Schumacher returned with bridgestones and got nowhere. He was full of praise that the pirellis would suit his style. Let’s face it – Schumachers style is honed by massive testing regimes. That’s his downfall – not tyres falling off. If his teammate hadnt won in china he could blame the car but he knows it’s not that simple.

  30. Gary Corby says:

    Artificial passes using DRS. Low quality tyres that were deliberately made weak. I guess it’s nice for a TV show, but it has nothing to do with motor sport.

    The pinnacle is no longer F1. I’m looking to Le Mans series and perhaps Formula Renault 3.5 to fill the gap. There may be other alternatives and if so I’d be interested to hear suggestions.

  31. Roelf says:

    How dare Pirelli question the great Michael Schumacher?

  32. jamesharraod says:

    Essentially the current car / tyres allow the less ‘naturally’ gifted drivers to excel and tend to punish those with ‘raw’ aggressive natural ability. Those with a more ‘go kart’ style are getting hammered.

    If we turn back the clock; Senna (the guy everyone loves and want to be) would have suffered with the current types, where as Prost (a dull driver) would have found benefit. Senna would probably have quit F1 if he raced today (if he were at his peak) with the current regs & tyres that shackle the fast drivers and constrain them to drive ‘slowly’ or in a less aggressive fashion.

    It is giving the drivers that are perhaps less exciting a great deal, those that no young racer wants to be, and is hurting the pilots that everyone young wants to be.

    It may make the races less predictable, however does not make them more exciting in terms of raw speed / aggression or Senna/Prost Schumacher/Hill battles.

    Schumacher is correct and i’m sure Hamilton would agree.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      I think you’re mistaken.
      In 1985 and 1986 Lotus was powered Renault which left him frustrated that he could not compete against the Honda powered cars on power or consumption, which is why he demanded Lotus get Honda for 1987.
      He ran out of fuel sometimes a couple of laps from the end of the race and lost race wins.

      In 1988, he joined Prost at Mclaren with Honda and beat him to the championship.
      Honda at the time was the most powerful and fuel efficient engine in F!.

  33. Chris_NZ says:

    Im not really a fan of the degradation aspect of the pirelli tyres, but racing is better compared to the 2000-2004 years. Look what happened when Schumacher got the tyres he desired for all those years…he dominated mostly.

    I wasn’t a fan of this single tyre manufacturer buts is throwing up some unpredictable races which is great.

    4 different manufacturers in 4 races. First time since 1983 is it? 2012 is going to be a great year for f1.

    1. Nick Hipkin says:

      but how about 2005-2008, these were great years with drivers like Kimi, Schumy, Alonso and Hamilton at the very limit.

      F1 is no longer about being the fastest and thats a sad state of affairs

  34. Dr Kakkilaya says:

    I completely agree with schumacher. There was a time in F1 when in race they used to beat the qualifying time. Today its few seconds off the pace.That shows drivers are not driving flatout. Competition is not just about we spectators getting entertained because there are overtakings when tyres fall off or the DRS , its more about watching drivers at their absolute limit. Wheres racing gone these days . It was sad to see kimi loose places when he did not deserve to at shanghai. Im sure Di resta felt if he had more tyres he could ve held off rosberg.
    Probably it may not be so entertaining to have tyres like bridgestone few years back but neither the overtakings that happens when one has worn tyres and the other has new tyres. but a solution should be found somewhere in between.

    Schumacher is the last person on the grid to crib about anything. this coming from him should be considered seriously and looked in finding a solution.

  35. chris says:

    MS has a point, it does appear that the drivers are tiptoeing around the track . I understand what Pirelli are trying to achieve, but maybe it’s just a bit too far.

  36. F1Fan4Life says:

    James, while I would tend to agree with you saying that technically with these tires guys like Hamilton that drive fast outright seem to suffer more than guys that look after their tires, this isn’t necessarily the case this year. I’ve heard Button complain a whole lot about his tires this season on the radio. We’ve not seen Button run away with it at all, so actually think that while the tires have provided a more mixed grid, it isn’t truly what I want from Formula One.

    I’ve been a fan for decades and for me it is about watching drivers go flat out. I hated when qualifying on race fuel was introduced because I want to see these cars and drivers on the absolute limit for pole. Certainly as time has gone on, more driver aids, improvements, have narrowed the field and so racing became more boring. Its great to have the odd range of results this year (and the tires are the only reason Ferrari aren’t miles behind the pack) but I can’t help but agree with Schumacher. This isn’t necessarily the Formula One I have known through the years. I’m a Sergio Perez fan also, but would I ever pick him in the top 6 drivers on the grid? Not a chance currently. The unpredictability is great, but if it becomes too unpredictable I can understand great drivers starting to tire of this. No pun intended. I think Pirelli need to reel in the unpredictability by about 30%, so that there is still variation, but so that great drivers with great technical teams aren’t left dumbfounded after 4 races. If they can’t figure it out, who can? There has to be a method to the madness…

  37. Nathan Jones says:

    Very funny. I tweeted Paul Hembery on Friday about this exact topic. Saying shouldn’t the engineering of the car be the key determinant of race performance ie. how outright quick the aero etc is, not whether the car happens to be lucky enough to fit with the Pirelli tyre’s many idiosyncracies. Suffice to say, Paul shot me down and said I was ‘confused’, wrong, self-contradicting, etc. (I don’t think I was being impolite, just a question).

    Now Michael Schumacher is saying that he can’t drive to the limit of the car’s capabilities because of the tyres … does that not mean the car’s total engineering package is not the key determinant of car pace, but rather the tyres are; that the engineering cannot and is not being exploited fully. That, at the limit, the Sauber can travel around corner X at Y kph, but the Merc could do it at 1.05Y kph, but due to the Pirellis they are both bound to doing it at a maximum of 0.8Y kph. That the Pirellis are a binding constraint on the skills of the car, and of the drivers.

    That cannot be right for outright racing. The WDC must be about the fastest driver/car package on the grid, it CANNOT be about the best tyre-managing driver and the most pirelli-compatible car. It just cannot.

    And as for the idea that more resilient tyres would lead to processional races, how fundamentally wrong would it actually be if the hardest charging driver in the fastest car led that procession? It is what the spirit of F1 is all about. It certainly doesn’t go against the spirit of F1. And when was the last time you saw a driver chasing down the race leader like a demon, hand over fist, without one being on old rubber and the other being on new? The chasing driver not being worried that if he pushes too hard he’ll fall off the cliff? The only way that happens these days is if there is a tyre wear differential.

    It is only the quest for drama for the masses that allows Pirelli to provide such finicky, volatile tyres and force the fastest drivers to drive as shadows of themselves whilst allowing other [dare I say it, slower] drivers to swagger around the paddock. I just think it is conceptually wrong.

    1. JPS says:

      Absolutely spot on! Especially the bit about pleasing the masses. Playstation nation got what they asked for.

    2. GWD says:

      +1

      I also feel that a an experiment of change in tyre allocations needs to occur, depending on the location, to allow for more agressive racing. For example, why can’t they just have a single compound allocation for a few races? 7-8 supersofts @ high grip requiring tracks (Monaco?), or 5-6 Hards for abrasive tracks (like Bahrain), or 4-5 sets of mediums for lower degrad tracks (is Spa or Hockenheim in this realm?), for instance. I felt that the tyre sets used for Bahrain drastically ‘tyred down’ the racing, and some flexibility needed to be implemented. I wouldn’t like to see single allocations each race, but specific races at the extreme of conditions could benefit from single allocations to bring racing closer and give more in race options.

      Also, we talk about the spectre of processional racing, but in Bahrain, with Kimi managing tyres pretty effectively with a good overall setup package for those tyres having played the long game in qualifying, he said he only had one shot at Vettel – that can’t be right for good racing, can it?

  38. chris says:

    Schumacher is right. The whole thing is way too artificial.
    Drivers should be able to drive up to their own and the cars limits. That way the best drivers will shine. It should not be a tyre conservation challenge.
    It was not particularly exciting to see Paul Di Resta on his 2 stop strategy trundle around without having to make too many moves. Yes it brought him some good points, but it’s hardly “racing”.
    Imagine if an athlete had shoes that sometimes worked and sometimes did not. Whatever your job is you want the best equipment.
    I don’t really get the idea that it’s exciting when a driver hits the so called “cliff ” only to loose several places that he has worked hard for throughout qualifying and the race e.g. Kimi in China.

  39. Iwan says:

    Would be nice to know the guys are going flat out for 100% of the race distance, but not at the expense of “racing”.

    Lesser teams can score points if they look after their tires. This is a good thing.

    Also with limits on engines, gearboxes and fuel there will be limits to what a driver can do in any case.

    So, keep the tires as is and tell Schu to toughen up. He’s always been classed as a intelligent driver, surely he can pace himself.

    1. Doctub says:

      Your missing the point Michael made and the majority of posters have made. Its not a case of having to ‘toughen up’ and ‘pace’ oneself its that the tyres as they are don’t allow a driver/team to pick a conservative strategy or a flat out multi stop strategy to win the race and it is meant to be a race. If the different compounds available allows this then we would have the best of both worlds. For example Jenson could choose a one stop strategy on a hard compound that simulations showed he would complete the race in 1hr 35 minutes whereas Lewis could do a three stop strategy on the softer, sticky tyre that lasted just 20 laps of hard racing but the simulation showed he would complete the race in 1he 35 minutes. The deciding factor would be the weather, driver and track layout; are there opportunities to overtake and can the driver on the latter strategy get the job done. simples?

  40. I think its great, what Pirelli have brought to the sport. The fact that it is difficult to get the tyres working exactly when you want is doing wonders for the competition. It is turning out to be a little like Champcar and Indy car racing where you have almost as many winners in a year as you do races. But the drawback being that someone could actually win the championship without winning a single race. Bar Bahrain Lewis finished on the podium in every other race and even with one poor showing he is second in the drivers championship. But I think its worth the chance, given that we have seen years where one driver has driven away and wrapped up the championship with about 4 or 5 races to go.

    1. Doctub says:

      Last year Indy car had 16 races with 8 different winners hardly as you described. You want the best cars and drivers to consistently be at the top not a lottery of who is lucky enough have hit the operating window for the tyre in each race and drove conservatively to manage tyres.

      1. I apologize for my numbers being off, but my point is that it is no more a Red Bull or Ferrari or Mclaren fest anymore. With the testing ban you dont have too much opportunity to improve on your car and these tires give you the opportunity to see a fight for each race and you definitely cant predict who is going to win even after qualifying. I idolize schumacher, but honestly 2002 was boring and last year was not the most fun either.

        There is so much more strategy going on and you also have drivers going flat out to catch the guy ahead, even if it is because the guy behind has a fresher set of tires. You had Perez reeling in Alonso, Raikkonen hounding Vettel, and we are going to see Button / Kobayashi making things difficult for some of the drivers as well. Maybe not Kobayashi so much as Button, but the best part is that it could be anybody with a half decent car and a fresh set of tires could do it.

        That would also mean more money for smaller teams to invest and therefore even closer racing next year.

        Just give it a chance. We are only 3 race into the championship.

      2. numbers again – 4 races in

    2. Ryan Eckford says:

      And the poor showing in Bahrain wasn’t really Hamilton’s fault.

  41. Quercus says:

    In many ways I like the effect the tyres are having on this year’s championship but if it means the best policy is to not get through to Q3 and save all new tyres for the race, then MSC has a point.

    I know people will say the fact Vettel won disproves this theory — but if Kimi had had the confidence to make his move on Vettel stick, then things could have been very different.

    So it’s a difficult one to call without loads of insider information.

  42. Rod Martin says:

    I wonder if Nico and Ross would have agreed with him after the Chinese GP?

    1. Doctub says:

      If Mclaren hadn’t messed up Jenson’s pitstop and Nico would have be forced to drive harder on his tyres I daresay whatever the final result he may well have said that Michael had a point.

    2. anil says:

      Remember, Nico admitted after the chinese race he didn’t push the car at all.

      1. Rod Martin says:

        At the end of the day Schumi has got accept he should have not come back from retirement. The days of unlimited budget and testing are over and he hasn’t got a rear gunner locked into a support him contract.

      2. Doctub says:

        Different argument.

  43. Peter Johnson says:

    Michael has expressed my feelings perfectly. We have exotic cars with state of the art aerodynamics, engines, gearboxes and some of the best drivers in the world, but the whole weekend revolves around tyre issues. As you write, I want to see hard-charging drivers like Lewis just going for it. I’m not interested in “who is kind to his tyres”. It’s false for someone who cannot make it into Q3 to be in contention in the race simply because he has saved some new tyres, which if he is “kind” to them might just do one lap before the performance starts dropping off. And having to use two grades of tyre, just so that tyres get mentioned in the coverage is also bad – aren’t they mentioned too much already?
    Even before Michael’s comments I was considering giving up on F1. Having my thoughts expressed so eloquently by someone who knows what he is talking about has convinced me that I am right.

  44. Liam says:

    I can see why Schumacher is frustrated. As a racing driver he wants to win and he feels he’s being held back by the tyres.

    From a Fan’s perspective though, these tyres are aweseome. I love motorsport and can’t think of anything worse that tuning in on a Sunday pretty much being able to guess the podium with 80% accuracy every time.

    The tyres are brilliant. The fans, drivers and teams all asked for this. Bahrain used to be a complete and utter bore-fest but now?? Was yesterday’s race boring?

    I think Schumacher was just frustrated and although I wouldn’t expect him to retract such comments in public, I’m sure that behind the scenes he’ll feel a little bit silly for spitting his dummy out.

  45. Lawrence Lavery says:

    I can’t remember the last time I heard or read about MS complaining so strongly so if he’s complaining maybe there’s something in it. Maybe the tyre situation was bad in just Bahrain. If a driver can’t mount a challenge because the tyres lose grip too quickly then surely that will harm the racing. I think the drivers that are complaining should wait a few more races and then if the problem persists start complaining. Am I right in saying that KR wasn’t able to mount a decent challenge on SV because his tyres were losing their grip?

    1. Doctub says:

      Kimi said he had one chance to overtake SV when he caught him before the final pitstop and his tyres went off and he went the wrong side of SV

    2. j says:

      Exactly right. Kimi waited after his last stop for a few laps while the tires came up to temp then battled the gap down from 3.4 down to around 1.8 seconds but pushing that hard cooked the tires and that was it. Nothing left to do but maintain the gap and settle for 2nd.

  46. AdrianMorse says:

    I agree with completely with Schumacher; at the same time, I’m not sure we should go back to non-degrading tyres.

    From a purists point of view, degradable tyres and all those silly tyre rules like starting on the set you qualified on, having to race both the prime and the option are just that – silly. Also, from a driver’s point of view, it must be more enjoyable to be able push at least a little bit harder.

    From a spectator point of view, however, the races have a lot more going on in them than they did in the Bridgestone era. And as long as certain people come up with ideas like sprinklers, then the entertainment-value factor will always win out.

  47. Andreas Myrberg says:

    This is a though one.
    The racing season so far, is the best since I can remember.
    So all in all, this is of course good.

    But lets divide it.
    Qualifying
    - This sucks.Just like the days when one started with the fuel they qualified with. So qualifying turned into strategy instead of raw speed.
    - This is the same today. Take TQ or save tires. Yes it brings a different dimension to the complete weekend, but I don’t like it. Let all teams have the same amount of tyres sets for qualiy which are not included into the sets of racing day tires.

    Race day
    - It is more exciting yes it is, now, until the teams get it sorted, then I think it will be same as ever. The reason why all is so close this season is also the aerodynamic rule changes and the fact that its not enough testing with the new tyres before the first races so it is some lottery to get the tyres to work before you know how they actually do work.
    - Another point is, can’t they make a tire which has more grip, but still goes of “early” like it is now?

    This also takes me back to on column which you wrote once James. When there was discussions on what should be done to get more exciting races and cars passing each other. Many pointed out aerodynamics, that is was impossible to drive close enough, where one aerodynamic engineer pointed out with some statistics that it was actually the sticky tires who made the passing more difficult.

    Last point.
    Will young drivers who drives go kart, Formula Renault, F3, F2 etc now start driving slower and more consistent and save tires to get the F1 teams to get there interest up for them? Because pure speed, is not wanted anymore and I thinks thats sad. True, the driver who adapts the best today will win.

    F1 should not be an endurance event and tyre management skills. It should be fast……what would Senna say about this situation…..

  48. GhostWriter says:

    Schumacher makes a good point, but the 1998-2008 was a procession, let’s not go backwards.

  49. Dave says:

    I voted ‘Yes’, but I think there needs to be some kind of middle ground.

    While it makes the racing more of a spectacle – you have drivers on different age tyres catching each other up at differing rates – the flipside is that it’s a shame to see something like Raikonnen in China, where his tyres were maybe 3 or 4 laps older than those around him and the tyres ‘went’, dropping him a number of places with no way to defend himself.

    And, with the pack as tight as it has been recently, a 25s pit stop often isn’t an option.

    So yeah, Schumi is right that they don’t allow drivers to charge and the race becomes about managing the rubberr. The Pirellis have done what they were asked to do – create racing and encourage overtaking – but I agree that it has the cost of preventing drivers from pushing the entire race. Lack of refuelling also has this effect, of course, as at some point in each race the drivers have to turn the engine down.

  50. JC says:

    James, I agree with the tyre management concept and was a key element on very entertaining races especially late 80′s. Shows ability beyond raw speed as a driver and a challenge to the teams too as tyre is such a critical resource on lap time during the whole GP. Makes it also more of a team sport as we have seen lately, prime example Mc Laren not being able to fully realize in more wins the early speed advantage shown in qualy. Or RBR vs Lotus in this GP as pit stop strategy and execution limited Kimi’s chance to win.
    What a Great F1 year !!!

  51. Kristian says:

    I like the style of racing this year. In the past, you could switch off after the last stops but races are now frequently building up to a climax at the end, and even my non-F1 friends were wowed by the spectacle in China. And if a circuit like Bahrain can provide an exciting race than surely something is right.

    OK we are losing out on seeing cars flat out, and now driver errors are vastly reduced due to operating within their envelope, but I do not miss at all the seasons where you had to hope for rain in races to know you were in for an entertaining afternoon.

  52. John says:

    Michael has done 40 GP’s since his return and is now running out of excuses. By contrast, Kimi gets a second place in only his 4th GP after 2 seasons of rallying.
    Tyres are the same for everyone, so Michael, I think it really is time to call it a day. After all, at least 2 of your championship wins were due to Kimi d.n.f’s due to Mclaren mechanical failure!

    1. ronik says:

      Since you’ve decided to go off-topic and take this opportunity to ding Schumacher let me add this. Schumacher is a 7 time champion and Kimi has 1 (In a team that Schumacher built, thanks to Mclaren’s bad management of Alonso and Hamilton).

      Championships aren’t won so morons like you can take them away or discredit them. A champion is a champion under all circumstances. Learn to treat them as such.

    2. Spinodontosaurus says:

      What Schumacher has said is not an excuse, at all…

      And which 2 seasons did Schumacher win due to Raikkonen’s misfortune? 2003 perhaps, but 2005 was Alonso’s party…

  53. Jonathan says:

    Schumacher had everything his own way for years. Ideal regulations, unlimited testing, tailor-made cars, tailor-made tyres, subservient teammates. It’s no wonder he doesn’t like this new era, in which he is just one driver among many.

    If we look back to F1 before the Schumacher era, tyre management was a central aspect of the sport, and it was responsible for many dramatic races. We’ve gone back to that and the races are far closer and far more competitive than they have been for a long time. Bravo Pirelli.

  54. franed says:

    A bit of an overreaction from MSC bit of a tantrum. It’s almost the old Prost/Senna story, or tortoise and hare. He still has not accepted that F1 can never be like it was in his heyday, when quite apart from the tyre testing he used to do hundreds of hours testing all possible setups on each tyre type at each wear point. Adding to that the tyres were developed to his spec. Not so hot now when he does not have an advantage to start with, like the old Ferrari days.
    Some may remember my post on here 3 years ago before he came back, when I said “What if he is only as good as the others?” well I think that is the situation now.

    1. Jeff says:

      I’m not a Schumacher fan. I never was, and never will be. I do think that he has a point though. I was cheering after China, but I’m starting to think that the entertainment may be a little too contrived.

      The ability of the driver to go fast and push the car to its limits should be part of the equation. This appears to be disappearing from F1 in the new tyre management era. Let the tyres degrade, but the driver should be able to push for a few laps first.

  55. MISTER says:

    I voted YES, agree with Schumi.

    Now lets be honest. We should not complain about how this year started. We had so far 4 races full of entertainment and great battles, 4 winners from 4 different teams etc.

    But what is Formula 1? I like it how it is now, but I think we can have more. I think it’s too restrictive. I think the tyres do mix the teams alot in terms of strategies, but AT NO POINT IN A RACE A DRIVER IS GOING FLAT OUT FOR MORE THAN A LAP OR TWO.

    I don’t like that. Like James said, those who can nurse a car and keep a low and steady degradation will benefit while those which have the speed and can push a car beyond its limits will suffer.

    I don’t know if we can have both, most likely not. People were asking how come these cars are so reliable now? Well, they are not being raced to their limits for more than couple of laps in a race, so why would they break down?

    1. Nathan Jones says:

      Just think about those words, MISTER, “those which have the speed and can push a car beyond its limits will suffer”. At the pinnacle of motorsport, how can the fastest drivers be penalised for being the fastest. It is just wrong.

  56. SJM says:

    Formula 1 is PINNACLE of motorsport. F1 drivers are the best the world, so let them do what they do best which is racing! This whole “managing tyres” or “smooth” driving business is just turning F1 into a sissy sport.

    Rally drivers are starting to look more godly now.

  57. Craig says:

    Reminds me to get some Sauerkraut in.

    Fairly ridiculous comment from Mike as his team mate won the last GP.

    I think the Pirelli guy should have offered a helping hand to pick up MS toys which appear to be wildly scattered around ones pram.
    Or possibly offered a wheel gun to ensure MS dummy is returned firmly to der mund.

    Of course, everyone gets the same tyres.

    1. Rach says:

      ‘everyone gets the same tyres’ that is his point but you missed it!

  58. Tom says:

    I’m sorry you’re not enjoying it Michael, but the kind of “racing” you enjoyed bored millions of fans out of their minds! (customized Bridgestone tyres and fuel stops timed to avoid other cars on track)

    I believe there are too many stops at the moment. I’d like to see Pirelli pick the hard & medium tyres a few times so it’s one or two stops rather than 3 all the time. No idea if the hard tyres will take a bit more punishment, or be more fun for Michael. Nobody’s offered me a drive in an F1 car to find out…

    Pit crews are making mistakes, which could be dangerous (admittedly it’s way safer than the old fuel stops) and drivers don’t have enough sets of tyres per weekend to make a proper show of qualifying. And you can bet the teams have noted Raikkonen’s performance in Bahrain and will be saving more fresh tyres for the race in future.

  59. RobertS says:

    I can see Schumacher’s point, it’s not as bad as when these rules first came in and drivers were wary of pushing to hard. I find now drivers can push but have also to look at the tyre deg.

    On Sky martin Brundle mentioned something similar to this saying that he was a bit worried that tyres dominated the talk in races.

    I see both their points about tyres starting to dominate the races and how races are run. But it is providing great racing throughout the field at the expense of seeing the top teams battle like in the past. I can’t really see what the solution could be to maintain tyres that wear quickly while allowing hard charging drivers to show what they can do

  60. Irish con says:

    I totally agree with Michael. But I would rather watch a race like yesterday than say Valencia or Abu Dhabi 2010. The tyres are making f1 the best it’s been to watch as long time. I only think I don’t like is when behind an other car the tyres seem to go away faster and you have to pass straight away.

  61. Tifosi numero uno says:

    this is a tough one, im agreeing with Michael but then im not. The racing has been brilliant but I would like the tryes to last just that little bit longer. Im sitting on the fence here. Your thoughts James ?

    1. James Allen says:

      I like 2012 racing and it should help find new fans

      1. F1Fan4Life says:

        James, I am really surprised by your answer. Let me ask then, were you expecting the votes of your readers to be evenly divided, instead of as strongly in agreement with Schumacher? I completely agree with him but thought I would be in the minority. I’m pleasantly surprised not to be alone and I feel its testament to how knowledgeable your readers are, certainly above average in my opinion. Its not that 2012 isn’t exciting, it is… But as a longtime F1 fan, something is missing and something doesn’t quite make sense. I don’t mind having a crazy year… Just hoping there is a more logical future.

      2. T Nelan Esq says:

        Find new fans but lose old ones.

      3. gondokmg says:

        James, Rosberg stated in China that he was not able to go flat-out at any point during the race because of the tyres. Why do you think new F1 fans would be attracted to that?

      4. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Cheap thrills attract the casual viewer, who are often unaware or not fully informed of the sillyness of these tyres.

      5. Bollo says:

        Just because they cant go flat out guys think its poor form??? This year the racing is brilliant, we still have the technical innovations playing cat and mouse with the rules and the strategy game is fascinating. The drivers go as fast as they are able and thats the way its always been.

        You can please some of the people all the time…

      6. Jomy John says:

        Yes new fans who would be least bit interested in talking and following it as hardcore as the genuine old ones. You might get more casual viewers but slowly it will turn out to be like WWE. Lots of viewers but no one taking it serious! No wonder India doesnt consider F1 as a sport – It shows, its all about putting up a show.

        We might have get more fans for the London Marathon if we make the faster runners go slower because their shoes will tear up if they run any faster thereby enabling a close contest. But its not gonna happen, is it? Sport was always about the best coming out to the fore.

      7. Richard says:

        I haven’t seen any F1 racing since Pirelli supplied the tyres, and cars carried full fuel load. What I have seen is a rather articial and lame substitute to excite new audiences. I guess some are easily duped.

      8. Jean-Paul says:

        And what about the old fans?

  62. Shivanshu says:

    Balancing wear and going flat out is a fine art which requires two different sets of skills. But with the Pirelli’s this year it seems to me that their tyres tend to favour driver’s who are more adept at conserving the tyres. Up and down the grid the drivers have been complaining that they did not push to the limit of the car at any point in the race because they were too afraid of running into excessive tyre troubles. All i’m saying is that the tyres should not be overtly favouring one style of driving , Pirelli needs to do a balancing act.

  63. Chris says:

    James,

    I have what I think would bve a very good idea for qualifying. Who would be the best person to contact to put the idea forward?

    Chris.

    1. James Allen says:

      Send it to me and I’ll forward it to some members of the Sporting Working Group

      James@jamesallenonf1.com

  64. Rach says:

    I said he is correct because whilst I can see the benefits of the tyres creating better racing what it is also doing is manufacturing a close battle too much.

    It’s why I prefer test cricket over 2020 or football over basketball. I think the balance is wrong and it does need to be adjusted.

    I do feel sorry for pirelli though they are stuck in the middle as they have only done what was asked of them.

  65. Señor Sjon says:

    I dislike these chokotoff tires. I find it artificial and when you saw Kimi, he had ONE chance for the lead. After that, your tires are cooked and you’re finished. The last stint, nothing happened. Hamilton stayed behind Alonso, an attack would mean he had his tires shot. Same for Schumacher vs. Massa and Perez vs. Schumacher.

    Everybody saw what happend to Kimi and lesser extent Grosjean and Alonso in China. Nobody dared to do something on their last set of tires, because they fear tiping off the Pirelli Cliff.

  66. Mike says:

    I voted ‘not clear cut’.
    On the one hand its a shame that the fastest drivers can’t always show it. I have been following F1 since 1986 and have always enjoyed the atacking racers more than the smooth conservative types. On the other hand I was never a fan of the refueling era when strategies were fixed on Saturday and could hardly be changed and enjoy the fact that teams and drivers have to react and change strategies now.
    Perhaps degradation is still too high. I remember some great races in the 80s where some would try to go the distance on one set and others would change tyres- think of Spain 86 and Britain 87.

    Ultimately though, I would choose f1 2011/2012 over the boring races of 2010 (yes I know the championship was exciting but most of the races were not)and in fact over most of 1994-2009 (the refueling era).
    Just my not very clear cut opinion!

  67. Simon says:

    I agree to some extent I want to see flat out racing, and lots of overtaking, but these Pirellis litirally chew up and leave so much discarded rubber so there is only clean line, can this be minimised?

    A good example was the noise of Kimi’s onboard camera when he made his T1 attempt on Vettel yesterday, sounded like he was on gravel.

  68. Craig @ Manila says:

    James,

    What do you make of the fact that Button has also made some perceivably negative comments re the tyres even though he is generally thought of as being “smoother” and a better user of tyres than the “harder” drivers ?

    1. James Allen says:

      He didn’t complain in Melbourne

      1. gondokmg says:

        Could it be that it’s easier to manage the tyres in clean air leading the race, James?

      2. James Allen says:

        It’s a lot easier yes. Less deg

      3. Jeff says:

        While it mixes up the field behind, are the current Pirelli tyres in danger of making the winner almost a foregone conclusion? With the exception of the rain-wrapped Malaysian GP, every race so far has been won by the driver who came out of turn one of the first lap in first place. That’s not exactly a great trend.

        Jeff

      4. Andrew says:

        Other than Hamilton in Malaysia, every driver leading through the first corner has gone on to win the race.

        Clean air is obviously a massive advantage to tyre management, after all the drivers set up their cars whilst running in clean air with optimum downforce levels.

        Maybe it would be sensible for drivers to do their race simulation setup work in the dirty air of their team mate. This would probably sacrifice optimum grid position but would be much more useful to anybody other than the race leader when it comes to the race.

      5. Richard says:

        I think Button is having difficulty understanding how the tyres behave in different environments. Nobody complains when they are winning. Heard any murmours from Vettel since Bahrain?

    2. CraigD says:

      I don’t think the issue is really about smoothness or not. A lot is just about a car not getting them in the right operating window. Degradation and lack of grip is inevitable then.

  69. Vik says:

    I agree with MSC to a great extent. If you have technology that prevents drivers from performing at their maximum level then it does take away some of the excitement of the sport. However it is all about strategy at the end of the day, so yeah i think this isn’t so clear cut.

    1. JF says:

      I also voted not clear cut. It depends on how one defines “performing at maximum”. Schumacher argues (in my interpretation) that “maximum” is driving at the essentially optimal theoretical limit of man and machine at all times which is what he was known for in the 2000′s. I suspect Hamilton and Webber would also agree with this definition based on their driving style and racing attitude. Another definition of “maximum”, more practical in the Pirelli era, would be extracting the most out of any given set of circumstances at the time and managing circumstance it evolves to stay at the current limit as it changes in real time. I think that Alonso and Button are examples of this type of approach, Alonso especially as he seems to always get the most of a situation

      1. Doctub says:

        I am sure Alonso would fall into the Lewis and Mark group, can’t you recall the races in his championship fights with MS?

      2. JF says:

        Yes and No: In my opinion Alonso is one of the most adaptable drivers out there able to to take full advantage of his current situation as it unfolds, and in that respect if he is in a car that lets him launch into maximum attack mode, he will do so as aggressively as any out there, if he needs to preserve the tires and play the long game, he will do so, whatever it takes to get best result. Alonso is a bit of chameleon. So I grouped him with Button rather than Hamilton, Webber and MSc who all seem more likely (but not always!) to default to max attack mode in spite of or despite prevailing conditions.

      3. Glennb says:

        Good comments JF. I agree with you. Like Doctub, I would group Alonso into the Webber / Hamilton / Schumi group also. Having said that, Alonso seems to adapt to any given situation and can manage tyres as well as anyone. By placing him in both groups go to show what a complete driver he really is.

  70. lecho says:

    Well I have to disagree with Michael. The current tyre layout makes both racing and strategy more interesting and is also more demanding for a drive who has to do something else rather than just go around flat-out. This help various competitors and teams show their potential on some occasions instead of boring two or three-horse race all season long. Win-win situation for everyone.

    1. Doctub says:

      Its not a win win because the best designed cars are not consistently at the top. A win win scenario is two tyre compounds that give the fast drivers what they want and conservative drivers a durable tyre.

      1. lecho says:

        As far as I am concerned, making a car being soft on its tyres is a part of design too. And by the way, would You rather go back to 2011 when the best car steamrolled through entire season?

  71. Number says:

    i say give them 2010 bridgestones, now that we got kers and DRS. It was impossible to pass before, but DRS helps with that now, KERS also, so the tyres arent so crucial for overtaking.

  72. AlexNK says:

    I second Michael’s concern about the tyres, they have become such a huge deal this year, eclipsing all other technical aspects. But the most frustrating aspect is not their short life, it’s that this ‘sweet spot’ is so elusive that nobody can be certain, no matter how well he thinks he has set up a car on Saturday for Sunday, that come race day his tyres will perform. So, one team suddenly finds performance one weekend, and the next weekend it’s gone with no obvious reasons apart from this mantra ‘we couldn’t make our tyres work on a raceday’. This makes races largely a lottery and, imho, takes from the sport.

    But there is a second aspect of Pirellis, rarely discussed these days. A lot of sporting regulations, particularly mandatory pit-stops and mandatory use of both compounds in the race were specifically designed to counter the combination of bulletproof Bridgestones and overtake-prohibiting aero. Now we have KERS and DRS to assist overtaking and the tyres that don’t last. So, these rules are obsolete now and must be done away with, we have enough artificiality in F1 these days as it is.

    I say, let the drivers choose their tyres freely within the allocated lot, let them change their setups between the quali and the race. Drivers should be able to set their cars up for an optimal performance and race the tyre they want to.

    1. JF says:

      I agree: I think there is little need for such restrictive Parc Ferme rules anymore. Let them change set up between quali and the race so long as no major components are exchanged as per current rules. With limited engines and gearbox rules, can’t do quali specials anymore even if wanted to.

  73. Matt Devenish says:

    I think Schumacher raises a fair point and in some ways it reminds me of CART/Champcar from the early 2000′s when they introduced pit-windows which effectively made all the races about fuel economy. Teams/drivers would very often hold position, drive in a train ect. because they needed that extra lap’s worth of fuel. But because the driver in front was doing the same it made no difference to the overall outcome and so we were left with some rather processional races, which prior to the introduction of pit-windows were usually quite exciting.

    At the moment you could argue that F1 has its own unofficial pit-windows as teams/drivers try to stretch out as much life from the tyres as possible, to the detriment of flat out sprint racing.

    Personally I’m not a fan of the current regulations that requires a driver to use both types of tyre during a session. I don’t really see the need or point. I’d far rather see Pirelli bring tyres that were two steps apart (i.e. super-soft/medium or soft/hard) instead of the current one step (super-soft/soft, soft/medium, medium/hard) and give the teams and drivers the choice of choosing what they wanted to run in race, but they had to stick to that compound the whole way through. So a team/driver who elects to go for the more durable tyre can race conservatively and require less stops and the team/driver who opts for the faster but less durable rubber can sprint his way through the race, stopping more often.

    Having said all of this, I really think Pirelli have done a superb job and it would be a massive shame if this story snowballed into something bigger and they decide to walk away from the sport at the end of their tenure.

    1. Doctub says:

      Well said

  74. Benjamin Bruyns says:

    James,

    While I agree that the racing has been more exciting, and that part of F1 is the endurance aspect of a 300KM Grand Prix, I also think that the weight that is granted to aspects such as endurance vs speed vs aero vs strategy etc shouldn’t be this disproportionate.

    I agree with Schumacher in that the importance of the tyres is excessive, and clearly a strategy from Pirelli to make their tyres the constant talking point.

    I don’t know about you, but tyres in everyday life have no more than grudge-purchase status.

    F1 should be more about outright speed. If I wanted to watch endurance racing, I’d tune in to more 24 hour races.

    Otherwise thanks for the great website. Your insight adds to my enjoyment of our great sport, and I’ve enjoyed your commentary during the free practice sessions as well.

    Regards,

    Benjamin
    Cape Town, South Africa

  75. Jonathan De Andrade says:

    I think it is quite controversial that majority of fans would agree with Schumacher’s point. I do not. I think we must look at the bigger picture and James has made a good assessment of the past vs the current situation. If we are to move backwards to bullet proof tires of the 2000s it is clear what the result will be: domination in a vicious cycle where the richer teams get the titles, more money therefore makes it impossible to a midfield team having any chance of rise.
    I would though agree that in some moments it is frustrating that drivers like Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher, Kimi et cetera cannot race to their limits because of tire management, nevertheless if we are to chose I would vote for keeping pirelli tires as they are now.
    F1 has just gone through a massive change on its racing modus operandi, it will take sometime before the drivers adapt, some will do faster than others. Teams will also have do adapt in their way of approaching strategy, design so on. All this changing conditions will create the perfect set-up to new talents and new ideas to rise. We as spectators, fans and supporters will only profit out of that.

    1. Doctub says:

      No-one I imagine wants the return of bullet proof tyres, see post 73 above.

  76. McLaren78 says:

    Hi James, in your article you said: “However in the Bridgestone era the tyres would last a whole race if required with almost no degradation and the racing clearly suffered.
    ” The reason it suffered it wasn’t as much as the endurance of the tyres but rather what you described in another paragraph: “Schumacher’s heyday was the era of flat out sprints on Bridgestone tyres, when Ferrari had a testing budget from the Japanese manufacturer of over $20 million and so did hundreds of thousands of testing miles. Cost cutting measures introduced in 2008 have put paid to that.”

    Take out mid-season testing, make the tyres somewhere between Pirelli and Bridgestone, and the excitement should be there. Ferrari had preferential treatment those years. I didn’t see people complaining in 2007 and 2008. That’s when you could see real racing, overtaking, the top drivers like Hamilton, Alonso and Raikkonen making their mark. Double-diffusers and the lottery of tyres this year, make things definitely exciting, but not ideal to enjoying watching the best drivers at their peak extracting the best out of their cars.

    For the first time in my life I agree with Schuey.

  77. Chris J says:

    Whole heartedly agree with Shuey. I was never a fan of his but the cars/drivers used to really race. I miss the days when a driver passed another on pure skill without all the gizmos and gadgets of today. F1 was never, and will never, be a “green” sport. Yes safety is all important but I don’t want to see the best/fastest drivers driving carefully like granddads. F1 is losing it’s heart, danger and passion :(

  78. sankalp says:

    Yeah I think Schumi is right….tis year the dependency on tyres is just too much….Doesnt look like any driver is really pushing to the limit….hardly any chance for a driver to come ahead pushing through the traffic even if he has a quick car

  79. kenny5 says:

    I 100% agree with Schumi..

    The races have become a lottery, with no indicators of form at all. even qualifying is no indicator of what cars / drivers suit the track – and who has a good setup and who has problems.

    Why would a team invest 10′s of millions of euro developing exciting new features on the car (What F1 is ALL about) – when focus on optimizing the try gamble may have a higher pay out.

    From a championship point of view – it will remain open, probably between many drivers upto that last race – with the championship decided by the last throw of the dice -at the last race…

    It is shameful that the pussyfooted drivers are getting all the glory, while the real drivers are left to struggle.

    For Me, F1 is about pushing the technological boundaries and not entertainment. It should be about the fastest drivers, the best cars, the best technology, the best engineers, and the best overall package….

    As for for what I have seen the last few races – I could be just as entertained watching a fantasy horse race night in the local…

  80. Nadeem says:

    I love these tyres and the job Pirelli have done. But we have to at last year, the team will adapt and make the car and tyres work better as the year goes on. We actually see passing now on track not in the pits.

  81. Alain says:

    I don’t like this tyres stuff. Engines and gearboxes must have a multi race lifetime while tyres last only 45 minutes at most. Let them develop tyres that last 5 GP’s or 1500 km and use them over Free practice, qualifying and race. Then all components are on a equal footing.

  82. Joe B says:

    I was the 1,000th vote! And I voted yes, I do agree with Schumacher. There is no doubt that the races are more exciting, but I think we’ve lost as many battles throughout the field as we have gained with the tyres degrading.

    The front runner/driver in clear air gets an advantage over anyone who might be trying to catch him, and although we get racing in the midfield we’re likely to see a repeat of last year with most races being won on the Saturday.

    I’m loving F1 currently (appalling politics and TV coverage deals aside), but I think a middle ground can be reached between the endurance of the Bridgestones and current Pirellis; for example, fast tyres with massive degradation as the option and slower tyres that last the whole race for the prime, or something to that effect. It seems a shame to not allow hard-charging drivers to properly push throughout the race. Another option is to go back to harder wearing tyres and allow the KERS and DRS to continue negating the turbulence effect, which means passing without fear of ‘the cliff’. Whatever happens, after this weekend they need to introduce qualifying tyres. To have drivers not going out in Q3 and it being better to start in 11th than in the top 10 is ridiculous, no two ways about it.

    Understandable for Hembery to get defensive about Pirelli’s role, but Schumacher is right – and not by saying the tyres are bad, as some will undoubtedly read, but by stating they have too much importance in modern racing.

  83. Andrew says:

    a: I like Hamilton
    b: I like Button
    c: I want to see the slow teams winning but….

  84. Big Phil says:

    I think MSC has a point but other factors sometimes prevent a driver from attacking to the maximum lap after lap. Hopefully a good Spanish weekend for our friend Michael will bring back his love for this modern F1.

  85. Andrew Carter says:

    We’ve got exciting racing and the best drivers are those that are having to make use of a wide range of skills to get the best results. The difficulty in getting the set up right this year seems to have been exacerbated by the blown diffuser ban, an unintended consequence that nobody really saw coming to this degree. After a few more races I expect things will calm down a little and a pecking order might emerge.

    Frankly though, I fail to see any downsides to the current Pirelli tyres, long may they continue.

  86. westside says:

    As you can see from the poll, the fans agree with Schumi. These tires suck, they reward slow driving and are artificial. Simply done to improve the show.

    F1 used to be man vs machine, now its man vs cheese tires. Pirelli have made the show about them and team principals and journalist have stupidly drank the koolaid. Alot of fans hate it fyi.

    How is it right that drivers drive more flatout in LeMans than a F1 GP?

    The only time you are tested for speed is qualifying. The rest of the weekend is tiptoeing around to make the tires last and hoping you luck in with the weather and the tires can work.

    It is absolute rubbish. I hope more drivers speak out.

  87. Thomas says:

    Schumacher is 100% correct. The tires Pirelli have provided are not fit for purpose. Racing at the car or drivers limit is not attainable anymore, without the tires falling off a cliff and your race strategy shot to pieces. There is an acknowledgement the tires provide a better spectacle, but as a genuine racing series, the racing is fake, as no real racing takes place, except for a 90 minute tire management exercise.

  88. ian says:

    From an entertainment perspective this season is great, and the Pirellis are delivering. As for the performance aspect? Well, the engine freeze, lack of testing, and resource limits are all contributing to F1 no longer simply being about having the maximum performance, they’re making the sport more of a lottery race to race. However, over a season I think it won’t make as much difference as each individual GP would make you think, so it balances out.

  89. Simon says:

    If bridgestone-era sprint races return, Alonso will be powerless to stop Hamilton from lapping the entire field, even if he were to start from behind Kartikeyan.

    1. Jay says:

      LH was good, but he hardly lapped the entire field. He ended up on the same number pf points as Alonso, in what is considered to be Hamilton’s best year.

  90. Dean says:

    The racing this year has been great, however I do feel that in Formula 1 the drivers should be driving flat out for the whole race. This would require total concentration for the whole race and we would be able to clearly see those drivers who can not only drive quickly but think about race strategy etc while on the limit.
    In my humble opinion I think we need to bring back the tyre wars of the early 2000′s.

  91. Tom in adelaide says:

    The spectacle is there, but it’s just so manufactured. DRS has to go. Silly front wings have to go. Make the cars fast and strong. They used to look like they were on the ragged edge, with a spin always just around the corner. Now they look glued to the track and we rarely see spins.

  92. Yos says:

    Hi all, I agree with shcumacher he is a 7 time world champion and he knows what he is talking about after almost 20 yeras in formula 1. I feel that F1 is being taken a hostage by pirelli, i don’t think the tyre should have that much role on racing. All we are seeing is who got it right on those tyres and who manages is better, nobody talks about driving to limit nor does some ‘quaifying laps’ to jump a rival on the track.

  93. Shane Pereira says:

    The argument for having much harder compound tyre:

    - They won’t leave ‘marbles’ on the track, allowing drivers to use parts of the track that are considered “off the racing line” without being unduely punished by a load of marbles and tyre debris that causes them to lose traction and run off-track.

    - It removes (or reduces) one performance-variable from the whole race weekend which should help bring the whole field closer together in terms of performance (provides more of a level playing field for the drivers).

    - A harder compound tyre is a more robust tyre…it also will provide less grip for the drivers and will allow the car to slide around a lot more…so rewarding drivers who have better car-control and driving skill…and also rewarding engineers who can design a car that has handling & driving characteristics that are more stable and predictable for the driver.

    - More challenging for a driver to drive “on the limit”…many of the softer compound tyres, coupled with high amounts of downforce allow for once scary corners (130R, Turn 8, Eau Rouge/Radillon combo) to be taken flat-out…Drivers would have to think twice on much harder compound, less grippy tyres.

    - Allows racers to go racing!!…(without having to worry about holding back their true pace or aggressiveness because of fear the tyres won’t last).

    - More exciting generally…(the stability of engine regulations & technical regulations, coupled with the DRS and KERS would prevent the ‘boring Ferrari-Bridgestone-Schumi-domination’ years from happening again).

    1. Quercus says:

      That makes a lot of sense. So are we saying that they should make a tyre that is capable of lasting the entire race? That would of course mean that they only pit if they have a problem or it rains.

      It’s certainly worth a try. I never liked refuelling and racing is infinitely better now they run the entire race on a full fuel load. Could it be even better with one set of tyres that means they go balls out all the time? Then also ‘race position’ would actually be race position.

      1. Shane Pereira says:

        Having a set of tyres that last a whole race…or even two-thirds of a race would be a good idea in my opinion.

        Having tyres that can last a whole race distance would also reduce operational costs for every F1 team…less equipement needed, less practice for pit-stop crews, less expensive pit-stop gadets such as special wheel guns, wheel-locking nuts, traffic-light systems etc.,

        Also – the tyre supplier would be able to have a more intuitive Marketing & Advertising campaign as most normal road-users want to buy tyres for their cars that have a long lasting life-span…hence a tyre supplier in F1 that produces long lasting, high performance tyres would be easily able to promote their product favourably…(currently, its counter-intuitive of Pirelli to make tyres that effectively self-destruct for artificial “improve the racing” reasons.

  94. Ralf F says:

    Have the pirellis improved the spectacle? Yes. Should it be that way? No. But then there are many things about modern F1 that shouldn’t be the way they are. Overtaking shouldn’t be that hard, aero shouldn’t be that dominant, and the most important to me, spending more money shouldn’t make you faster. The best should be the best because or their talents and wits, not because they can buy better computers and produce more carbon fiber.

    So while the status quo remains, I’ll take Pirellis over control Bridgestones any day.

  95. F1racer says:

    I concur with Schumacher.

    His analogy is when a driver has a porche car, one is made to drive on a highway with 80mph speed limit, than driving in autobahn without a speed limit. Which drive would exhibit the full potential of that porche car?
    On the other hand, Pirelli is doing just what

    FOM is asking them to do. Someone has to find a middle path which doesn’t keep the tyre life long, but still allow drivers to push to the limit before the tyres fall off.

    Just look at kimi on his last stint in Bahrain, he wasn’t able to push vettel, simply because he had to conserve his tyres to finish the race.

    Shumi should be applauded for standing up and bringing this issue to the forefront.

  96. fausta says:

    I am also growing tired of the tires dominating the races. Though I like the shake-up in the order I am always left feeling like it is a bit forced. Pitting on lap 7-10 of a 57 lap race for new tires seems excessive.Perhaps they should find a better middle ground between the Bridgestone days and what we have now.

  97. T Nelan Esq says:

    I totally agree with Michael Schumacher.
    Drivers aren’t “managing” their tyres anymore, instead they are “nursing” them.

    The fastest drivers are effectively restricted from performing at their highest possible level. If that is where F1 wants to be, then F1 is not where I want to be.

  98. Bolaji says:

    In my opinion, i think schumacher is right. i think tyre management is playing too much of a prominent role in determining race wins. i agree that it should be a key element in the races but its current level of prominence encourages too much caution on the side of the drivers. its like they go around the track on tip toes trying very hard not to hurt their fragile pirelis. yes it makes the races exciting but it turns them into more of a circus performance. this year it is obvious already that drivers cannot race to the limit of their machinery and i think F1 is more about that than about tyre management. theres excitement in the races this year but a lot less adrenalin.

  99. Paul L says:

    Let me share some brief thoughts:

    There seems to be a science of going quick, which covers tyre management, car setup, etc, which is distinct from finding the limits. You can drive the wheels off a car that is not optimised for racing for instance.
    I used to like the blend between the science behind quickness and the driver really finding the limits – in particular when refuelling meant tyre wear wasnt driving the need to pit. I love it more than anything when the driver is dancing on the limits of adhesion and when the race is effectively won when a great driver finds a fraction extra.

    I appreciate F1 has created a spectacularly complex science which makes finding pace over a race a delicately fine art but is there an appreciable role still for the driver to find the limits? I think, if there is, its too diminished and fleeting in the context of a racing weekend.

  100. Nigel says:

    Hi James,

    I expected quite a bit of disagreement on this, and I can see from your poll that opinions are divided.

    For me, I tend to agree with Schumacher, albeit with reservations. While I agree with you that there should be a balance between managing tyre wear, and being able to race flat out, I think the balance has skewed too far in the latter direction.

    It’s clear that a set of tyres that’s been used in qualifying is a good 0.5 sec a lap slower than a new set throughout a stint. Moreover, the performance drop off is exacerbated by traffic.

    This on its own might be just about acceptable – after all, one can adjust strategies (I’ve been advocating only one Q3 run to save a set of primes for the last three races).
    What I think makes this tyre characteristic unacceptable is that it’s coupled with an unprecedentedly narrow optimum performance window in terms of car setup, and in addition that performance window appears to be extremely unpredictable.

    All these factors combined have turned qualifying into a bit of a lottery which depends rather more on track conditions than driver skill, and have made successful racing more dependent than it has ever been on getting a clear run on track free from traffic.

    I’m really not a Schumacher fan at all – but I think he has a point, and Pirelli are far too dismissive of his opinion.

    1. Nigel says:

      (edit) “skewed too far in the FORMER direction”.

  101. Rick says:

    I think in the future when F1 teams are looking for new talent in GP2, they should not take the aggressive winners, but those who finish with the freshest tyres irregardless of where they finish!

    Not a big fan of ‘The Schum’, but here he’s right.

  102. Ray says:

    “But it’s hard for the cream to rise to the top this season”

    I would disagree. Look at the winners this season – Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Vettel. Some might doubt Rosberg’s place, but without pit failures Button or Schumacher might well have won. Other than that, you’re looking at the best drivers out there, with perhaps Kimi and Lewis missing, but 6 drivers can’t win one of 4 races each!

    If anything this incredibly close season is letting the cream rise to the top more than ever, instead of just the overwhelmingly dominating car.

    1. Jeff says:

      In one way, the cream still rises. With the exception of Malaysia, every race this year has been won by the driver who exited turn 1 of the first lap in the lead.

      That driver can then control the pace from the front, with tyres which are kept fresh by running in clean air while everyone behind struggles in the turbulence and cooks their tyres. So, one lap pace is still important. If I were McLaren, Red Bull, Lotus etc., I’d be pushing to get that double DRS working before Spain to try and gain that all-important #1 spot on the starting grid.

      But do we really want the winner of almost every race to be determined at turn 1 of the first lap?

  103. Brendan says:

    Regarding your last paragraph.

    “F1 should be about excellence”

    Is excellence only measured by those that can throw money at a problem?

    I would strongly disagree and am very encouraged by the ‘work smarter – not more expensive’ teams sticking it to the established order so far in 2012.

    1. James Allen says:

      No. It’s measured by excellent performances, by drivers, engineers, pit crews, everyone

      Yesterday’s race was won with an excellent performance

      1. Amiga500 says:

        Ah, I get the feeling your separating what happens at the track from what happens at the factory.

        All wins so far this year have been the result of excellence by pretty much everyone involved – (1)the folks at the factory, (2)the race engineers, (3)the pit crews and (4)the driver(s).

        However, in years past, the factory guys had a bottomless pit of testing time, CPU cycles and windtunnel hours to spend on certain cars which became that much better than the majority of the field that the race engineers/pit crews and/or driver(s) could screw up – yet still get “great” results.

        I like it when Sauber, Lotus, Williams and Force India can beat the “grandees” on any given week simply as all 4 parties mentioned earlier have got it right, as opposed to the factory compensating for a merely adequate performance from groups 2-4.

      2. Richard says:

        It’s most likely that the race was won because the conditions suited the Red Bull car best. while I have great respect for Adrian Newey I think the win surprised even him a little, but before we past judgement let’s see how they fare in a cooler environment to determine if it is a genuine step improvement. There’s no doubt that the Red Bull has had faster race pace than McLaren from quite early on.

  104. Rod says:

    At last someone has come out and said the obvious – this years Pirelli’s are pure kak.
    What’s the point of haveing “operating window that is quite hard to hit”??? I want to see the best drivers in the world race hi-tech cars flat out, and not nurse them around so they don’t wear the rubber out!!! Get them out and get Good Year back in now, before they completely ruin what should be the best year ever. Disgracefull!!!

  105. Bolaji says:

    In my opinion, I think Schumacher is right. I think Tyre management is playing too much of a prominent role in determining race wins. I agree that tyre management should be a key element in the races but its current level of prominence encourages too much caution on the side of the drivers. Its like they go around the track on tip-toes trying very hard to be careful not to damage their fragile pirellis. Yes it makes the races exciting but it turns them into more of a circus performance. This year it is obvious already that drivers CANNOT race to the limit of their equipment and I think F1 is more about that than about tyre management. Theres excitement in the races this year but a lot less adrenalin !!!!!

  106. Sebee says:

    I wonder which compounds teams would choose would they be given the choice. Would they lean toward soft or hard?

  107. TBP says:

    Schumacher gained 12 positions in the race to finish 10th. Kimi gained 9 positions. If he had started in a better position he may have finished higher up the order.

    F1 is about being the best team and driver performing within a set of defined rules. Whoever can adapt to extract maximum performance given the rules deserves to be World Champion.

    It must be nice to be a midfield team and know that they are in with a chance for some points each race.

    Keep up the exciting races and mix it up some more.

  108. Rang says:

    James, I was hoping you write on this and just saw this one as soon as I visited your site..thanks ! I was expecting your thoughts too on this subject. Why you think Pirelli is right or if MSC had a point ?

    Personally I feel the tyres are kind off becoming the most important aspect in deciding the races. As a racing sport isnt’ it not too much for tyres to decide races? Lets forget Mercedes and Schumacher and lets think of the content what he said –

    1.)The main thing I feel unhappy about is everyone has to drive well below a driver’s, and in particular, the car’s limits to maintain the tyres,

    2.)I just question whether the tyres should play such a big importance, or whether they should last a bit longer, and that you can drive at normal racing car speed and not cruise around like we have a safety car.

    Personally I thought what he said applies to lot of other drivers/teams as well.I am sure this is the problem with Hamilton, Button, Vettel (in China where he started from behind and others this season. I dont’ believe this problem is isolated to MSC and Mercedes.

    Shouldnt’ the best team and the best driver win rather than just allow a tyre to dictate things ? This kind of formula1 makes it almost impossible for someone to drive with good skills and machine to drive from back to the podium. (Raikonnen did it y’day but I think again that was tyre management).

    I am sure lot of people say f1 has become interesting over the last few years etc and it is , but they are mostly because of DRS and KERS. Tyres if more consistent would surely be a value addition to the current excitement.

    Looking forward to hear your perspective on this too..

    1. James Allen says:

      I like the racing at the moment very much. It might be a little too tyre focussed, but it’s certainly the same for everyone and it’s an engineering challenge.

      Also important to point out that teams bringing updates like Lotus and Red Bull this weekend, saw gains, so it’s still about what they do, it’s not all about tyres

  109. Joe says:

    I’ve been watching F1 for 30 years and do not remember seeing so many marbles on the track after a race like these Pirelli’s leave. It is quite unbelievable. The teams and even Bernie Ecclestone are trying to reduce their environmental imprint on the world i.e. 4 cylinder engines, Pirelli should follow suit. I think and feel strongly that using 8 (?) sets of tires during one racing weekend is wasteful. Schumacher is absolutely right, these tires do not last long enough and there is too much degradation therefore we are not seeing the true speed of some of these cars.

    1. KGBVD says:

      Do you remember the year of no tire changes? Awful racing.

      1. SteveLWA says:

        Racing wasn’t awfull, There was some brilliant racing & some proper overtaking in 2005 when tyre changes were banned.

        Go back & watch Bahrain, Sepang, Imola, Monaco, Suzuka, Shanghai etc… from 2005 & you will see far more exciting racing, battles & overtaking than has been seen in the current crappy tyre era.

      2. Crom says:

        Imola 2005: one of my favourite races – Schumacher hunting down Alonso, with lap after lap of pressure Alonso held on by the skin of his teeth and clever manouevering, it was awesome…

        Then the tables were turned in Imola 2006 – a mirror image of 2005, with Schumacher soaking up the pressure… Amazing stuff.

      3. KGBVD says:

        You are being generous by listing 6 ‘exciting’ grand prix, in a season of 19, and that’s just over 30%. The ‘racing’ and ‘battles’ you talk of were the exception, not the norm. Particularly since it was a Renault cakewalk as McLaren build a breaker and Ferrari didn’t like it’s new shoes.

        Last season, we had MAYBE 4 boring GPs last year out of 19 (nearly 80% good), and this year we are already batting .1000

        These days we see battling and overtaking. Watching a fast car pass a slightly slower car during a pit stop is neither.

    2. Dante says:

      Also, not to mention that all of the tire detritus narrows the racing line/track, thereby limiting passing. One tire in the marbles and it could be curtains for those that stray!

      1. SteveLWA says:

        “You are being generous by listing 6 ‘exciting’ grand prix, in a season of 19″
        i could have listed more than just 6 as most the races in 2005 featured a lot of good racing. i only listed the best 6.

        the only really boring races that year were hockenheim, france & obviously indy. the rest were all great for racing & overtaking.

      2. KGBVD says:

        Well, I won’t argue what you find entertaining, bu maybe I just need more stimulation than watching a procession while praying for rain.

        2004-9, there were an average of 12 passes on track in any given F1 race. About one every 8 minutes on average (but not in reality as most passes happened at the start). Even IF every single pass was a classic (which they weren’t) that still hardly makes up for classic racing.

        Last year, there were 804 clean passes, of which 45% or 363 were DRS, with the remainder being non-DRS passes (you know, REAL passes). Which averages out to 19 passes per race.

        Moral of the story? Ignore DRS and you still get more passes AND you did have to watch a McLaren get stuck behind and Arrows for 60 laps (thanks to all of those wonderful DRS passes!)

      3. KGBVD says:

        Ahem, my bad, it works out to 23 NON-DRS passes per race, and 19 DRS.

        I love it!

  110. Mike says:

    I think I have to partly agree with what Schumacher is saying and I think a lot of it boils down to who F1 is appealing too.

    For the general casual F1 fan the on-track action this year has been brilliant, no-one can deny that. To get hold of an audience and to keep an audience watching it is surely meeting that demand.

    However, for an F1 purist who wants to see a driver and car pushed to the limit, it is not meeting this demand. If drivers are driving within themselves then how will the better drivers rise to the top.

    Overtaking these days is so common that no-one is in awe of a superb overtaking manoeuvre (I’m thinking Hakkinen v Schumacher at Spa, Alonso v Schumacher at Suzuka), these no longer occur because drivers know there is a less risky alternative by using the DRS.

    Every sport out there demands that the competitors are pushed to the limit. I don’t think it is unreasonable for Schumacher to ask this. It keeps the drivers motivated and the best will only succeed. If the drivers are not pushing themselves then how do we determine who the greatest drivers are? It is like the greatest marathon runners walking the 26 miles to see who becomes the Olympic Champion.

    The technology is such these days that the cars are reliable. The only component which prevents the cars from performing flat out is the tyres. I want to see drivers perform super human efforts behind the wheel to see the car dancing around and being pushed and overtaking moves which are remembered and not forgotten.

    The solution is not easy though, more durable tyres equals potentially less exciting racing for the casual F1 fan and people turn off and the sponsors walk away. It will take someone with an in depth knowledge of how F1 cars work to come up with a solution.

  111. Ahmed says:

    Agree with his comments. F1 has always been about finding the balance between flat out pace and tyre management, however the balance towards tyre management has gone way too far. F1 should be about the fastest drivers, being able to drive flat out in the best motorsport category in the world. Racing in 2012, is about who can drive at 70-80% and nurse their tyres to maximise results. We saw Raikonnen damage his tyres after one passing manouvere on Vettel. That is not pure racing…

  112. Gareth Foches says:

    Creating a ‘show’ makes no sense to Pirelli’s pockets, because the answer to the question of “would you buy a Pirelli for your car?” is quite obvious after watching just one race.

    However, if indeed they are in the business of making ice-cubes for tires to entertain, who am I to question.

    1. Craig in SG says:

      Good one. James, perhaps you should have another poll: “Would you consider Pirelli for your next tyres”? Yes/No/Only if they were giving them away.

      Then you’ll see Paul Hembery really “surprised”, instead of treating Schumacher like he’s a (dare I say it) cucumber (or perhaps sauerkraut).

  113. Ed says:

    I for one am very happy with the tyres this season, this I believe is the reason we have had such good racing so far this season.

    The Challenge is fair – all teams have the same tyres to manage

    It adds another element to the racing that was missing in the Schumacher era, and was certainly something that you got years ago in the Mansell era and added to the excitement then.

    Shu didn’t seem to mind the problem in China when his team mate won.

    I also don’t hear him complaining about the fact the cars can’t go flat out anyway because the teams don’t fuel their cars for a flat out race – surely this is the same thing

  114. Stephen says:

    To be honest, I think the ban on refueling is to blame for this.

    I loved when it came close to pit stop times that the cars would push like hell to make up time, I really do miss that, and I think F1 does as well.

    1. Dizzy says:

      But in the refueling era pit strategy became key & this moved the racing off the track & into the pits.

      Far too often in the refueling era we saw teams passing cars in pit stops rather than on-track & that was dead boring to watch.

      If you compare the overtaking stats pre-1994 to post-1994 you see that as soon as refueling came in the number of on-track overtakes plummeted as overtaking was moved from the track to the pits.

      I hated the refueling era from day 1 at Brazil 1994, Much prefered what we had before refueling came in, better racing, more overtaking & drivers had far more input on strategy.

      1. Stephen says:

        Not sure if I agree with that, one event that comes to mind is Hungry 1998 with Schumacher blazing hell for lap after lap.

        We will never see that with Pirelli.

      2. Dizzy says:

        prior to refueling coming into f1 in 1994 all the racing & overtaking had to be done on the track. as soon as refueling came in teams started looking at fuel strategy as a better way to try & pass someone so much of the passing was then done via fuel stops & the level of on-track passing decreased massively as a result.

        refueling was great if you liked that sort of strategy, however if you wanted proper on-track racing & overtaking the refueling era was terrible to watch.

        one example is france 2004, schumacher/alonso fighting for the win with a great on-track fight between them. they both stop for fuel, schumacher goes onto a 4-stop strategy & for the rest of the race neither of them are anywhere near each other on the track, Schumacher pits for the final time & comes out miles ahead.
        had there been no refueling we would have seen a great race between the 2 & any pass would have had to happen on track so you would have had schumacher needing to push alonso much harder to find a way past.

        all you need do is look at the overtaking stats over at cliptheapex to see just how badly refueling harmed the on-track racing.
        every race in 1994 saw a lot less overtaking than any year before & the stats never went back up untill 2010 (when refueling got banned) which saw more on-track overtaking than any year since 1989.

  115. anil says:

    I’ve got to say, I’m delighted that Michael has spoken out about these tyres.

    the racing is a joke. They are driving so slow around the lap just to preserve the tyres and if you push too hard, you take too much life out of the tyres and by the end of your stint your lap times are just gone (happened to Vergne yesterday who set the 2nd fastest lap at the beginning of his last stint and he ended up slower than the HRT!).

    It makes no sense this is being allowed james. China was a dull race until Vettel and Kimi’s tyres went because you had 6-7 cars all within a second of each other, deliberately not trying to drive too fast incase their tyres went. At least during the ‘boring’ bridgestone days they were going flat out so if the order didn’t change you could say they were pushing like mad , as opposed to ‘racing a delta time’.

    The other problem with the tyres is simply that they have become the single most important thing. In Australia we had so many cars so close together but that wasn’t due to them being within tenths of each other in raw performance, it was due to the tyres being a limiting factor, similarly how Red Bulls pace last year was limiting their actual pace.

    I hope you have a chance to read this James (and anyone from the teams, for that matter) because it is clearly becoming the popular feeling across every motorsport forum that these tyres are terrible. Either bring back bridgestone esque tyres with DRS allowed OR bring back similar tyres that will degrade but only after 10-15 hot laps.

    Degrading from the moment you put them on is absurd.

    1. JustaFan says:

      This!

      Fully agree with the post above.

      When a cloud over the circuit causes some cars to slow down and some to speed up you just know something has gone wrong.

      Racing nowadays really is a farce. The amount of short shifting is ridiculous, drivers break earlier than they used to and everybody stays on track because nobody is driving on the limit anymore all thanks to the horrible tires. It even looks slow.

      Also agree that this is becoming a major feeling across motorsport forums all over the world.

  116. Don says:

    I like what Pirelli has done for the sport with the tyres. Schumi will never change. If things aren’t going his way he is not happy and will always try to find someone or something to blame and right now its the tyres and lets not for get he is also not happy with the ban on refueling.

    James there is 1 other comment I would like to add on the tyre issue. I would have thought that the FIA would have implemented a rule by now that would force the Q3 cars to run at least 1 hot lap which would put them on the track for 3 laps (installation, hot and cool down). We as fans pay good money either to some kind of cable/satellite company or to buy race tickets, and for us to have to see cars just sitting in the pit garage is not very exciting. If they were given a 5 place grid penalty for not going on track then I think they would change there mind.

    1. KGBVD says:

      I agree, the issue is NOT the tires, but in the rules governing them.

      I know it was for cost savings, but teams should have unlimited sets of all tire compounds all race weekend long. So you’d have interested strategies (maybe ever 4-5 stoppers for guys doing 60 quali laps on super-softs versus someone else doing a one-stopping endurance run!)

  117. schumilewis says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with MS about the Pirelli tyres, I don’t mind a bit of tyre management alongside racing but this year is mainly about managing the tyres first and racing second. It seems to me that winning a race this year is all about whether you can get the tyres in their “sweetspot” and keeping them there for as long as possible.

  118. Cookoo Mashu says:

    I would have to agree with Schumi to a point on this one but clearly his comments are borne out of frustration after a string of technical problems and seeing his team-mate get a significant number of points (and a win) in the same period of time. It must be hard coming out of the first four races with just 2 points knowing your car was capable of a much geater number. without the technical problems and being taken out by Grojean he would probably be sitting somewhere between 3 and 6 in the championship!

    In the old days, if he’d been back there with a a fast car (like he has now) he’d have no problem slicing through the field on a one stop strategy but with the realities of tip-toeing around on these Pirellis you can’t do that.

    We saw last year that it was possible to an extent but the operating window with the 2012 rubber seems to be more marginal.

    On the other hand, the 2012 rubber and 2011 rubber has provided us with the most exciting racing for years.

    Whilst Schumacher has come out and spoken his mind of this issue, I do think that other drivers, particularly Lewis Hamilton would tend to agree with him.

  119. Andrea de Cesaris says:

    What about the days of the early 90s, when they all changed tyres once, about a third of the way into the race? I think those tyres were of the same oompound.. Seemed to get exciting enough racing back then.

    Anyway I agree with Schumacher, it should mostly be about balls to the wall racing, and tyre management, although important, shouldn’t be dictating the races so much as it does presently.

    1990 system + DRS??!!

  120. Mitchel says:

    Hmmm, this does paint Schuey as a sort of ‘it’s my ball, and I’m going home’- type guy. It’s just a shame it’s not his ball anymore.

    Maybe the FIA could allow him to use the F2004 for the rest of the season?

    1. Spinodontosaurus says:

      The F2004 wouldnt need DRS to blaze past on the straights, thats for sure!

      The grooved tyres would be an issue in Monaco though…

      1. Jeff says:

        Naah – he’d just park it halfway round the Rascasse :-)

  121. Roland says:

    To me… The new tyres makes the racing more unpredictable but to my observation luck is now a big part of the game. If the racing continues like this we will never know if the world champion of 2012 realy earned it in the end, or if he just “got more lucky” than the other guy.

  122. Vinola says:

    MS is on to something here. Yes, the rapid degradation is a good spice for F1, but its also a matter of degrees. For me, its too much of a lottery right now and if the current turbulence in results continue, what’s the incentive to spend massive amounts on aero or engine? It could turn out to be counter-productive in the long run.

  123. Eduan says:

    I think part of Formula One is to go as fast as you can for as long as you can! Formula One is a sprint and I think endurance should be left for the LeMans 24hrs.

    The tyres have produced some good racing so I understand. I also think Michael is a bit frustrated at the moment because he is not having the best of luck.

    1. Andrea de Cesaris says:

      Who needs to play around with the tyres anyway. DRS is more than enough to get some good racing going. You’re right, it’s not LeMans. Drivers should be at 100% all through the race! Or be driving at 11/10ths as they used to say!

  124. Noelinho says:

    Like you say, James, tyres haven’t always been designed to last a whole race and tyre management has historically been a part of F1.

    For me, I’m happy with the situation because it’s the same for everyone; it’s a level playing field and the cream will eventually rise to the top. It’s just that bit harder this year.

  125. Clayton Macleod says:

    I never liked any rule changes that slowed cars down. It’s F1. Cars should be faster as technology improves. Nobody has a chance in hell of breaking lap records anymore, and that’s shameful. Competitive races are great to watch. But artificial handicaps shouldn’t be the cause. I feel tires should last flat out for about half distance before your pace is useless. You should be able to push as hard as possible *until you need fuel* and need to pit. Yeah, I want refueling back, too. Nobody should ever be in fuel-saving mode, because it shouldn’t be an issue. Racers should be able to go as hard as they can from start to finish. The better car and driver should win. Not whoever can baby the car the best, but whoever can drive it the fastest.

  126. Owen.C says:

    I agree with Micheal in that the tyres should has less deg. If drivers could push and then meet the wall a few laps earlier then that would be great racing. But we’re in a situation where if drivers push they overheat the tyres or just wear them out lap by lap and lose time too quickly.

    I mean Hamilton has qualified 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd so far which implies he is the fastest guy when he can push, but in the race he has to drive at 80% simply to be able to do the same amount of pitstops as everyone else.

    It’s an interesting challenge and it has it’s benefits, but I think I would prefer a cliff scenario rather than a “go faster 1 lap go slower the next 3″ type of tyre.

  127. Richard B says:

    Tire management has always been a factor in any motorsport, and there is no doubt that it adds to the complexity of the spectacle. However, Michael is probably correct in his assertion that F1 should not be a ‘slow race’ and the current tire implementations are too heavily weighted towards the degredation side of the equation. Watching Kimi fall off the map in China was painful, and in my opinion a good example of the issues with the current tire situation.

    It also sounds as if Paul Hembery took Michael’s comments a bit too personally. I have no doubt that Pirelli has done exactly as has been asked of them, and frankly the real question isn’t about Pirelli’s ability to make tires as much as it is about the spec to which they are made.

    1. KGBVD says:

      Kimi’s situation in China is EXACTLY what you want to see! A driver pushes hard, makes up the places, but then falls off the map cause he didn’t do it right. It was exciting, engaging, and kept the interest levels up at the end of the race.

      Do you remember the Bridgestone days? You could watch the start, tune out for 20 mins until the pitstops, where you get to see ALL of the position changes, then tune out again until the podium ceremony. Yea that sounds GREAT! Sign me UP!

  128. RA109 says:

    In my opinion one of the problems is “the tactic of saving new sets of tyres by doing less in qualifying.” During the race the tires may be better – in most aspects – for the show, but in qualifying it is the opposite. If the tire situation is not going to change, then there needs to be a greater incentive to run qualifying – (points?) – so that everyone runs and the fans get an appropriate show. Or give them qualifying-specific tires.

    Otherwise if everyone’s going to run just once, in the last 3 minutes, why waste our time with three long sessions? And Q2 is more interesting than the run for pole! This all needs to change.

  129. Atanu says:

    This is clearly frustration from Schmacher.. Particularly when his team mate has a race win and he has a grand total of 2 points against his name…

    Regarding tyres, I still remember, in the Bridgestone era, how everyone were frustrated that overtaking was almost impossible because of it… And I don’t remeber I heard a single voice then that the racing were exciting because of that.. Some fans always seem to oppose something when their favorite drivers don’t get the better of things… Seeing a Sergio Perez charging through the field in a Sauber or a couple of Lotuses in the podium is as good as we can get in F1…

  130. David says:

    It’s not just about degradation. The amount of tire debris, and the size of the chunks, means we’re not talking about “marbles” any more — we’re more into “golf ball” territory.

    That also has an effect on the racing, and I wonder when we’ll see our first incident where getting on the “golf balls” leads to some serious damage. It will come.

  131. andrew says:

    The tire husbanding is not good for the sport, as people’s heros sit out laps/sessions. It’s a joker’s wild type poker scenario ( Who has the wild card extra tires in the game. And that’s secretive, and not fun.). On the other hand, the car’s diminishing weight can help reduce the tire degradation and produce some surprising fastest laps towards the end of the race distance (And this new phenomenon belies Michael’s current rant, the drivers and cars due indeed get on the ragged edge.). Alas, this excitement only occurs near the race conclusion. How about as the season wears on let the mid-packers use refuling to their advantage, and keep the big teams away from the pump for the whole race? This might keep the ragged-edge driving excitement visible throughout the whole race day.

  132. T says:

    I agree with Schumi. Granted, the tyres have spiced things up a lot this year and its not like the Bridgestone years anymore, where things were pretty processional. But tyres are becoming too important. I agree that tyre management is important, but weve got to a point where all anyone talks about on race weekend are tyres and degradation. Theyre playing too big a role in F1, and Schumi is right that many drivers and teams have to race well below their maximum. I think we need to find a balance between the Bridgestones and the Pirellis that lets drivers maximise their potential while still managing their tyres so we can see some real b*lls to the wall racing (see Di Resta’s double overtake and Hamilton on Rosberg).

    My concern is that teams are devoting too many resources to understanding the tyres and getting them to work at each race, when they could spend some of that time innovating and developing parts.

  133. Dan says:

    I certainly see MSC’s point of view but I think it’s great that the tyres play a limiting role in the speed of the cars.

    If tyres weren’t an issue it would be all about aero as was the case for a long time and we all know how that turns out.

    If the marginal tyres bring the teams closer together and allow drivers to race, then keep doing it. This is what Pirelli were asked to do, this is what they’ve acheieved and we’re getting great racing.

    Make no mistake, teams will get on top of the tyres and the teams with big budgets will rise to the top. This is why Pirelli need to keep on their toes and keep it spicy for the teams.

    Is it artificial racing? No more so than teams with the next trick aero device having an advantage. Is it entertaining? That’s the bottom line and the answer is an astounding YES!!

    1. Monktonnik says:

      Well said.

      I feel that if the tyres were really limiting the drivers to 90% of their performance the races would be more processional.

      The racing and championship are unpredictable and exciting again. Well done Pirelli

  134. tony says:

    “Schumacher’s heyday was the era of flat out sprints on Bridgestone tyres, when Ferrari had a testing budget from the Japanese manufacturer of over $20 million and so did hundreds of thousands of testing miles. Cost cutting measures introduced in 2008 have put paid to that.”
    Only my opinion. MS is a good driver but not a great driver, he had some stunning drives but this was partly due to his car and the budget of the team being better than the competition. Even in the Benetton days there was strong suspicion MS had traction control but the FIA turned a blind eye. Ferrari had a special relationship with the FIA and again this helped MS. Now the playing field has been levelled (well a bit) he is struggling.
    In MotoGP we have seen the same thing whereby a great rider is only average when they have to use control tyres and not tyres to their liking. (Toni Elias)
    Again only my opinion. But the FIA could scrap the “must use two different compounds” per GP. Instead only have the same two compounds available for every race of the season and let the team decide which tyre they prefer to use at each event. (this will save money). This will of cause change depend on the different tracks and maybe a three stop will be required.
    The hard tyre should be hard enough to last the GP with little degradation and the soft should only last half distance but provides more grip so after a race distance it would be (to use a quote) nip and tuck which is the fastest option. This will allow the likes of FA, MS, LH to two stop and come back at the field and JB, FM etc to keep their tyres and one stop.
    Bring back qualifying tyres
    We could see some great overtaking.
    Wonder how SV would get on?
    Like I said only my opinion.

    1. anil says:

      Remember though, Michael’s greatest seasons (95,96,96,97,2000) were those in which he DIDN’T have the best car, sometimes by quite a clear margin. Infact he almost won in 97 and 98 in a much inferior car.

  135. elie says:

    James, my only question regarding the tyres is can they really be consistent for All teams during a race weekend.
    With such a delicate operating window of operating performance, I’m starting to wonder whether the Pirellis can vary from race weekend to race weekend, even team to team.
    Obviously each team manages set up in a different way and hence the tyre. However I do find it strange that some teams that were doing excellent in Shanghai struggled with tyres a week later at Bahrain- respective to their nearest rivals degradation rates.eg Mercedes.
    Whilst I consider Schumachers comments as purely for selfish reasons out of his frustrations. I do agree that F1 should not place its development pace in the hands of the tyre manufacturer. Honestly I would prefer fuel stops with teams managing fuel efficiency/ and performance and ultimate tyre peformance for a whole race. Michael is exactly right in saying that teams develop cars to the max, yet are limited by how a tyre manufacturer produces a tyre.
    Thats not what F1 should be about.

  136. Marcus in Canada says:

    The “top teams” do not have a right to be “top teams”, they must earn it. The tyres are the same for everyone, if they truly deserved the title “top team” they would perform accordingly; which, by and large, they are, it’s just closer. Maybe we are now seeing how good some of the other teams really are when the $ advantage of loads of testing is gone.

  137. Marcus in Canada says:

    WRT Michael in particular, I think that may be the sound of the first toy coming out of the pram…

  138. Grayzee (Australia) says:

    “The main thing I feel unhappy about is everyone has to drive well below a driver’s, and in particular, the car’s limits to maintain the tyres,” he said after the race.”

    I’m afraid I agree with MS. I posted a very similar view on the qualifying article for this race.
    It still irks me that we can’t see the true potential of the cars/drivers, except in qualifying.
    However, I am first to admit that it has given us some brilliant racing!
    Maybe I’m a bit of a purist, like Michael…..
    Oh, what the heck, give me these tyres and the cracking racing anyday……..
    Regards
    Confused Aussie! :-)

    1. Bollo says:

      It comes down the difference between
      borerain and bahrain.

      I know which I prefer.

  139. Craig Baker says:

    Can you honestly tell me that the fastest cars and the best drivers are winning? Why does Pirelli not want to listen to a 7time WDC?

  140. Dante says:

    “I just question whether the tyres should play such a big importance, or whether they should last a bit longer, and that you can drive at normal racing car speed and not cruise around like we have a safety car. I’m not happy about the situation, let’s see what happens in future.”

    I agree w/Mr Schumi 100%.

    Tire management is too important this year.

  141. snailtrail says:

    Keeping my thoughts of MS to myself – he has a point – but then DRS and KERS can be placed in the same boat as tyres – they have been placed there to spice up the racing in a kind of fake way.

    The thing about modern F1 is its not too much about the driver – and its understandable drivers get annoyed not being able to show their own ‘special’ skills.

    MS should be annoyed – he now has a car capable of winning and hes not getting close to it for different reasons.

  142. Msta says:

    I agree with Schumacher here. I’m all for close and exciting racing but f1 has become a game of cat and mouse. Its hard to watch as clearly faster teams are having to risk getting knocked out in Q1 and Q2 in order to maximise their chances on a Sunday while backmarkers with nothing to lose can throw it all on the line for a false grid position. Schumacher battling through the backmarkers is not exciting at all and not good for the sport. I just want to see the fastest drivers in the fastest cars battling it out against each other. After four races i still don’t know who will be the team or driver to beat!

    1. Marc Aubry says:

      Would you rather have last season on again then? marc

      1. Msta says:

        Hi Marc, with the exception of Seb, last year was quite close and given what we saw on Sunday I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just the start of another strong period from Vettel. If drivers such as Schumacher, Lewis and Kimi etc miss out on Q1, the fans won’t get to see who really is the fastest driver and best manufacturer. Vettel even admitted he was lucky to get through Q3! As a fan I just don’t want the fast cars squabbling out of position. I want more rivalry and sustained attacking opportunities from following drivers, not easy passes or one lap only opportunities. If F1 is trying to win over more casual fans there is almost so much going on in the races this year that a casual fan would struggle to keep up and most likely lose interest, after all it’s just cars going round in circles!

  143. John says:

    Thanks for this article James. I find it very telling.

    schumachers real gripe is that he is not being given an unfair advantage. When ferrari were given $20million by Bridgestone he was able to sit back as test drivers pounded out lap after lap perfecting the car so he could win on race day. I wasn’t aware that this was funded by Bridgestone but it does confirm that he was given at least one of the unfair advantages most of us were convinced about.

    Weren’t ferrari the only team for a long time to inflate their Bridgestone tyres with a special gas (nitrogen I believe) that gave a more stable operating window?

    I find it very sad that he has to moan now. I thought that the idea of him coming back was to show that he could still do well [mod]

  144. Richard D says:

    I think it is ridiculous that tyres are designed to last for such a little time. F1 has introduced various rules, in recent years, designed to cut costs. Things like testing limitations and fixed numbers of engines and gearboxes. Yet there is a built in requirement to waste tyres. Lets have a more durable tyre, design to last the race and only be allowed to change them if you get a puncture, or it rains. The drivers can then race properly and not be dependent upon pit-stop strategies to gain advantage.

  145. Neil Jenney says:

    When a casual F1 fan like my wife is complaining about the over importance of the tires to the racing, something isn’t right.

    I think there is a middle ground between where we were in the past and where we are right now that will produce great racing at an increased pace. Finding that sweet spot is the challenge for Pirelli.

  146. Shawn Karow says:

    You have drivers who are now intentionally missing out on Q3 in order to save tires for the race as it is more advantageous to have new tires than to move up the grid in qualifying. This to me is not what F1 should be about. It should be about the fastest cars going as fast as they can. Not about who can preserve his tires the best while reducing their speed the least. It seems to be about 1/4 of the commentary on the F1 feed is about drivers preserving their tires. You must hear it 100 times a race. This to me misses the point of F1.

  147. Spyros says:

    As much as I’d like to see Schumacher jump again at the top step of the podium, I have to say I like the way things are in F1. As a fan of his, I didn’t really mind him winning race after race with Ferrari, but I’m sorry — I can’t pretend to dislike a season with four different winners in four different cars, in just four races.

    The good news for Mercedes is that apparently, McLaren and others are not quite 100% up on the tyres, either.

    James, what happened with the idea of giving teams extra sets of tyres on Friday?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, we’ve seen that. But it doesn’t affect quali and race

      1. Grayzee (Australia) says:

        So,James, is there any more talk of allowing more sets for quali, so drivers are not afraid to give everything to get through to Q3?

  148. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Could not agree more with Michael.

    The only thing that is interesting in F1 at the moment is the UNPREDICTABILITY…not the RACING. Made even worse by the dreadful drift-by overtaking from DRS.

    Every single overtaking move is now subject to question as to relative tyre life and whether a driver has not bothered to defend so as not to take life out of the tyres.

    Maybe Pirelli just can’t make tyres that are as good as Brigestone’s.. and this making tyres with high degradation and drop off is a convenient excuse….

    It will be interesting to see what effect F1 has on Pirelli sales. I know that Bridgestone high performance tyre sales rose by multiples since 1997…I very much doubt that Pirelli’s manufacturing reputation will achieve them the same results.

    1. JF says:

      Pirelli is making the tires that the teams, FOM, and the FIA asked for. Just like before when Bridgestone made the tires that the teams, FOM, and FIA asked for.

  149. CraigD says:

    I voted no due to the better quality and unpredictable racing, plus I’m a fan for strategy and adding a “thinking man’s” element to racing.

    But on the other hand I agree that perhaps tyres are becoming the be all and all, and too strong an influence on performance, as opposed to talking of some cars with a great engine (which is fixed at the mo I know – bah) or another with great mechanical performance, or aero package, or the best KERS system, etc.

    It’s right that tyres should degrade and require some thought on how best to use them, but you do also want to be able to see drivers able to do parts of the race in full attack mode, not just a one or two lap burst to undercut at the pits then back into conservation mode. But then maybe we do have that in truth… Kimi was certainly able to go on a charge with his options in Bahrain, for example? I think it’s more a case of drivers and teams getting frustrated at not being able to extract their performance through an inability to switch their tyres on, rather than over-degradation being the issue.

    Also, people might not like Hamilton say, being unable to be on 100% attack mode for the whole race. But if the tyres were super durable, all drivers would be on attack mode all the time and you’d just get stalemate again. You wouldn’t see Hamilton pulling overtake after overtake. The cars and drivers are too close in performance and talent for that.

    Overall, I like it how it is and it’s infinitely superior to the Bridgestone days. The unpredictable form guide is due to the engineers not getting on top of the tyres, not certain drivers being handicapped from exploiting their skills with them, in my opinion.

    1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      I think that you would get Hamilton/Webber/Schumacher pulling overtake after overtake.

      Apart from Webber-Alonso at Spa last year, name me one stunning and memorable overtake from 2011?

      Almost all were forgettable DRS assisted drive-bys.

      1. CraigD says:

        Nah, you’re just cherry picking your data/memories. There were plenty of great overtakes last year and many not DRS related. I’m sure there’s data somewhere. In fact James Allen surely did a blog piece analysing it.

        Off top of head, Vettel passing Alonso at Monza was top stuff and not DRS based.

        And talk of the same race, if Hamilton was so far and away better at overtaking than others, he wouldn’t have sat behind Schumacher at Monza for so long. Button had him first chance.

        For sure DRS was at times too easy, such as Turkey but on a whole I think it’s well judged.

      2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        I was not asking anyone to data-mine in order to get overtaking stats.

        The point is that you can’t recall an impressive non-DRS overtaking move. Besides Webber-Alonso last year, there weren’t any.

      3. Dizzy says:

        DRS should be banned!!!!

        Best overtake of 2011 was Webber on Alonso at Eau Rouge, However a lap later it came to nothing as Alonso easily blew by Webber using DRS!

        Im fed up of watching boring, unexciting, easy passes via DRS.

        I want to see real racing & real overtaking, not silly push of a button highway passes!

      4. Jay says:

        “Apart from Webber-Alonso at Spa last year, name me one stunning and memorable overtake from 2011?”

        Vettel on Alonso – Monza
        Alonso on Button – Interlagos
        Hamilton on Button – Shanghai
        Hamilton on Vettel – Shanghai
        Vettel on Rosberg – Spa
        Schumacher on Massa & Kobayashi – Montreal
        Webber on Alonso – Singapore
        Schumacher on Hamilton – Monte Carlo

  150. Formula Zero says:

    F1 has always been about tyre management, teams still had to manage tyres throughout the season to achieve the most out of the car. Lets not forget that Schumacher was beaten by Fernando & Mika both even though they had different tyre suppliers. I like Pirelli but doesn’t mean that I like racing where the tyres are more important than the cars. It doesn’t make Pirelli any special. Bridgestone or Michelin or even Dunlop can do the same job. I am only backing Schumacher up here because I feel like that the top cars are guilty for using their money to build a fast car car for a fast driver. I’m not rich, but I don’t blame rich people for my poverty!!! One day there will be no top team left if it carries on like this.

  151. Zlatko says:

    Tires have become star of every race this season so far. There is no single interview of the drivers without mentioning tire management. This was the case also in the era of Bridgestone vs. Michelin recently, or in any other period of F1. But what is different now?
    Now we have engines that last at least 3 races each, gearboxes that last 5 races and softer compound tires that last 8-15 laps and harder 20-25 laps. Not to mention that even with this poor 10 laps in average, no wise driver will pull everything out of the car. How many times we have heard the Hamilton radio communication last year. The message was: … (Please), take care of the tires… And this year, China, several passing attempts ended disastrously, because, drivers are willing and want to make bold moves in the name of the racing, but… Even in Bahrain, Kimi had only one shot. I don’t know other reason for not having another and another shot, but the fading tires.
    The Pirelli counter argument for not pursuing downforce but to understand tires are not completely true, because, F1 teams do exactly that whit each race like they did that last year. They do trying hard to understand tires but also to put downforce as well, because the fast driving produces sliding in corners, and that makes tires vulnerable. More downforce reverses that trend. Anyway, anyone can notice that the tires are not good. Some complains a lot, some less so. Raised voice against current tires is good.
    Even in the days of tire competition, strong tires, and one-race engines, the tires have been changed every 20-25 laps (+/-).

  152. S2K says:

    Is Michael trying to find excuses?

  153. MrNed says:

    I agree with some of what Schumacher says, but also agree with the argument that it makes for more exciting (I.E. unpredictable) racing.

    I wonder if the situation would be improved if teams could choose the two Pirelli compounds that they want for any given race, thus allowing them to choose the rubber that best-suits the combination of car and track. Maybe at new tracks (such as USA this year) all teams would be given the same two compounds, but the teams would have enough data to make an informed decision for other circuits, and so could make their choice a couple of weeks before the event. (Finding out who is on what tyre would then become another interesting strategic facet of the sport).

    On the one hand a system like this would allow teams to chose the tyres that suit them, their cars, and their drivers’ styles; On the other it would represent an additional “roll of the dice” because teams may get their choices wrong and then have to work around that mistake through the whole weekend… which could be interesting too!

    Or maybe I’m missing something that would make this unworkable?

  154. Methusalem says:

    I completely agree with Schumacher — it’s getting boring that the whole F1 world is talking every other weekend mainly about these stupid tyres. We are only deceiving ourselves, there is no excitement with Pirelli. I think they are forcing the teams, drivers and us, fans, to give more attention how Pirelli does this, that, blabla.. Everyting looks like totalitarianism. I believe a referendum should be planned among all the drivers — let’s know who likes Pirelli, who doesn’t.

  155. Peter G says:

    I have to say i think Schumacker has a point and it is something i have been thinking for the last month or so.

    Although I appreciate it takes skill to look after the tyres and make them last, i believe that too much emphasis is being placed on this skill. F1 is about speed and the drivers should be able to push themselves to drive as fast as they possibly can for more of the race, instead of always worrying about their tyres wearing out at the end of the stint, to the extent that they lose second after second.

    I would rather see a driver pushing and gaining tenths of a second through driving to the limit more, than see a driver who drives slower and looks after his tyres gaining seconds a lap at the end of tyre stints as the driver in front has lost all grip in his tyres.

  156. Jenson says:

    This is exactly what everyone was asking for last year.

    In 2011, most people were complaining that the tyres didn’t have a drop-off-cliff effect – hence Finger Man Vettel cruised to his 2nd WDC.

    This year, I myself am thrilled to see more variety in the racing results. Sure my red team aren’t doing very well, but as long as we see the “dropping off the cliff” effect more with Vettel and that will open up the championship.

  157. TheCuteKitten says:

    Schumacher is spot on ! F1 is about being FAST & now it is not anymore. The DRS & KERS make it feel a bit fake (but I am okay with that). However, the freakingly delicate tires mean it is now a damn lottery.

    We had such exciting racing in 1990s, 1980s with Senna, Prost,Mansell,Schumi,Mika & they were all about fast drivers pushing it & doing exciting stuff. We did not have delicate tires to spice things up.

    What this sport needs to make itself exciting is a bunch of darn good drivers and cars with roughly same performance. From China & Bahrain, I think we do have cars that perform roughly the same & the drivers are very good. That alone should guarantee exciting racing.

  158. Wu says:

    I voted for not clear cut because it simply isn’t. Let’s remember these tyres were chosen to be that bad because of Canada 2010 when everyone’s tyres went off – one of the best races of the decade I reckon.

    Basically these tyres are like that for a reason, and a good reason. I know it must be frustrating not to drive at maximum, but Schumi has to remember why the sport is as big as it is; the audience. Good tyres equates to boring races I’m affraid to say. I know some people love the purity of speed, but then the same people tend to whine when one driver keeps winning all the time.

  159. Tom says:

    For me the races became “processional” when we lined the cars up (pretty much) in race performance order i.e. they qualified in race-trim. Also Parc-Ferme meant that no set-up changes were possible so it was hardly a surprise that the order barely changed in the race!
    I’d still like to see Parc-Ferme scrapped above all other changes, it would single-handidly shake up the race.
    As for the tyres, if it’s true that they can’t do a 3-stop race flat-out then there’s something very wrong! Yes there has been the element of endurance in the past but that was not out of design, simply technical — manufacturing and engineering has moved us beyond that.
    Aerodynamics are still the key issue and we shouldn’t be relying on DRS or tyres to liven things up.

  160. MrNed says:

    The more I think about it, the more I tend to agree with Schumacher. Think of the ’07, ’08, ’09 and ’10 championships. The likely outcome of these seasons remained unclear until very late in the season (even the last corner in ’08!) which, for me, made these were far from boring seasons. They featured some intense and exciting racing too, even if they didn’t have 50+ passes per race.

    The two things that made these championships exciting IMO were the stability of the rules (allowing the field to close-up) and the points system (that prevented the top teams from pulling too far ahead after only a couple of strong races). The testing ban and resource restrictions did not make for dull racing either – if anything they further levelled the field, giving us thrilling ’09 and ’10 championships.

    Now let’s look at last year’s racing. There was a single runaway team and driver. There may have been more overtaking but does that equate to better racing? Not always, IMO. The extra passing was as much a function of the new overtaking aids as it was tyre degradation, and arguably it is the lack of tyre durability that prevented McLaren and Ferrari from making any serious attempt to chase-down RB during the races.

    Finally, the tyre degradation issue seems to give a hugely unfair advantage to the lead driver because of the rate at which the tyres degrade: The loss of downforce caused by running in “dirty” air causes greater tyre degradation, and so if the following can’t pass within a lap-or so then their challenge fades cos their tyres are screwed. Even if the leader is having to push hard to stay ahead he’ll still suffer less tyre deg than the chasing driver. Just ask Kimi!

    So all in all I think Schumacher may have a very valid point.

    1. Crom says:

      “the tyre degradation issue seems to give a hugely unfair advantage to the lead driver”

      This is very important point IMO.

      Faster drivers out of position struggle even more to get through the field, despite DRS, because tyre deg becomes so high.

  161. Matthew Yau says:

    “While fans are divided, F1 insiders are, on the whole, excited by the 2012 style of racing, believing that the racing is entertaining and the key point is that tyres are the same for everyone.”

    This comment is most telling. Indeed the tyres are the same for everyone.

    While as a whole, I like the excitement and differing strategies the tyres offer up, I can also see what Schumacher is getting at.

    Because tyres play such an important role (fast degradation, small sweet spot), do you think it levels the playing field?

  162. Rudy says:

    He’s absolutely right. Pirelli has been changing the compound even in the same season (2011). The actual F-1 has been dancing on the tune they select. Even if a certain team or driver has the best set-up it all comes down to the punishing tyres. All this smells like FIA controlling the game from the backstage. If they can’t control the RRA they’ve decided to do so through the rubber. Hence the performance levels from teams that are well deep in the midfield like Sauber and Force India.
    Does it put up a better show? Yes, absolutely. So, this is Formula SHOW. Everyone gets DRS, everyone gets KERS, everyone gets punished by those floppy tyres. Modern tracks designed by one man only (Tilke) most of them absolute rubbish. What’s next? Just one or two engine manufacturers? I’ll be better watching GP2 or GT racing. F-1 artificial racing.

  163. James Draper says:

    I miss mechanical failures…. Drive trains and drivers should be pushed to the limit this is like synchronized driving.

  164. Martin says:

    I think that there is a problem with the tyres.
    Ultimately i like to see drivers really trying to chase down the cars in front and then try and pass. The problem currently is if the more you try hard to catch the cars infront the quicker your tyres go off (too quickly) you catch up and then don’y have the tyres left for the rest of the job.

    You could have 2 quicker driver/car combinations one defending hard the other attacking hard therfore wearing tyres out too quickly whilst jo bloggs plodding along 0.5 – 1secs a lap slower can eventually beat them.

    Personnally i would like the tyres to hold up a little better and be a little more durable.

    Ideal tyre would be one that could be driven hard without too much degredation through the entire stint ( whether designed to last 15, 20 or 30 laps doesn’t matter)Until the last coupl e of laps when they could fall of the cliff and within 3 laps be 5-7 secs of the pace.

    This would mean drivers could push hard during their stints but they would also have to be careful of running out of tyre at the end of the stint.

    If a qualy tyre was introduced for the top 10 then then the new race tyres could be a second or 2 quicker for a lap or 2 which would give a big difference if you got your pitsops timed wrong.

  165. Steve says:

    I’ve never been a Schumacher fan. I usually can’t stand a word he says.

    But before everyone criticises him, I think we should at least listen to what he says. If any F1 driver is suggesting they are not at the limit it is a cause for concern.

    Personally I think this is just the start of the complaints.

  166. Janis says:

    Schumi’s right.
    He is not suggesting F1 should go back to Bridgestone style tyres. Just that at the moment tyre management plays a disproportionate role in the races.
    Sure, it’s fun to watch them fighting, but – it all seems a bit artificial, like DRS overtaking.
    Tyre management should be important, but – not of such paramount importance!

  167. jay says:

    A poor attempt james at indirectly telling us that schuey only won because of unlimited testing!

  168. While I enjoy the racing that these new tires have introduced, I agree with Schumacher that it is unfortunate that we aren’t seeing the driver’s and cars at the max.

    I suppose the racing is a bit like GP2 now, more evenly matched hardware (resulting from tires, not chassis) is bunching the field up. The best drivers and chassis should still shine, but it may be harder to do so.

    I wonder if a larger gap between performance levels and longevity of the tires, combined with free Q3 tires would be a good compromise?

    I love races where the strategy and conservation happens for the first part of the race, then onto new soft tires and push like mad for 10-15 laps. You get to see strategy and controlled driving as well as brutal pace as fuel burns off and desperation is managed.

  169. James Clayton says:

    Tyre management was always important because tyre technology didn’t allow for tyres that could last 100 laps and still give good speed.

    The way to bring genuine exciting racing is to have 2 tyre manufacturers fighting it out to make the fastest and most durable tyres. Let them bring as many compounds as they like; supper speedy softs, super lasting hards, whatever. Then give the teams free choice on what they want to use and when. It’s easier to pass in F1 anyway since the days of the 1-stop Bridgestones as the double diffuser (and subsequently blown diffuser) have been banned. The trye situation was just another poorly thought out knee jerk reaction.

  170. Fareed says:

    One could argue that the tires are as much a part of the car as is the engine, aero, suspension etc. Therefore, the tires in part define the limits of the car. To drive the 2012 F1 car at its limit means you must manage the tires correctly as well as the other factors. If you exceed the aero limits of the car you spin and crash. If you exceed the tire limits your tires “fall off the cliff” and you lose 12 places quickly. In other words the new tires are defining rather than artifically restriciting the cars’ limits, and tire management is a perfectly valid part of overall racecraft and driver skill now.

  171. Ivan says:

    I agree with Michael. To drive with 60-70% of the car and driver capabilities is not F1. To cruise around with some delta is not F1. We want drivers to push and to attack. Not to wait the guy ahead to come to them, but to try to catch him. Tires can’t last only 2-3 laps of hard driving. You have to be bale to push with the tires at least 10-13 laps. To push hard, after that it is normal to wear. It is not F1 tire ,the tire that last only 2-3 laps hard driving. Tires shouldn’t be a puzzle, they just need to be tires, something that is siting on the 4 corners of the car. Something that will give us chance to see how good they are. Now it is just fake show. And I am sure Michael know better that Hembery what racing tire is. So he better listen.

  172. Andy says:

    Schuey should be aiming his comments at the FIA. Pirelli have done exactly what was asked of them and should be congratulated.
    He moved up to about 14th before his first stop, so considering he finished 10th I don’t think it was down to him trying to conserve his tyres. He either didn’t have the right set up or his mind wasn’t on it. If he had a justifiable complaint about the tyres why didn’t he voice it last year or after the previous 3 races?
    As for having to drive below the drivers/cars limits, don’t forget the teams give the driver various engine modes and often underfill the car with fuel. Therefore it is rare that a driver maximises the car for the entire race, irrespective of tyres.
    The last thing I would want to see is a return to recent Bridgestone era, which saw some of the most boring racing imaginable.

  173. aaron parsons says:

    This has more to do with last race’s winner. It occurred to me while everyone was saying that it was Mercedes’ first win since 1958 or something that although branded “mercedes” and benefiting from increased investment, they are not a new team. Mercedes are what was Brawn GP, what was Honda etc. Also Lotus are what was Bennetton (I think) and Force India are what was Jordan. Does anybody have a list of sorts that show which team used to be what i.e. the origins of a team down to when that team entered the sport. Are Williams, Ferrari and McLaren the only ones not to have been rebranded from something else over the years?
    Just wondering.

    1. Joe B says:

      Torro Rosso was Minardi, Red Bull was Jaguar, and Stewart before that. Don’t know about any of the older teams, it would be interesting to know though.

  174. Michael says:

    Is it easy to go as fast as tyre degradation will allow? Is that significantly less challenging than simply going as fast as you can?

    Even with more durable tyres, don’t they still have to nurse round things like engines, gearboxes and brake discs? Not to mention fuel levels.

    It’s all part of the game isn’t it? Michael built his success on his mastery of every aspect of Grand Prix racing, not simply by driving really fast. This is just another variable to optimize for.

    Maybe the influence of tyres has grown a bit too strong but better that than aero.

  175. Dmitry says:

    Totally agree with Michael!
    Tires became too much a factor. It’s not like the championship of drivers and manufacturers, but the championship of different Pirelli teams… no matter what engine and aero efficiency you have, you will go only as fast as your tires allow it… stupid and artificial.

    And Pirelli’s comments that during winter no one complained about tire life is just ridiculous! Did they forget the testing was primarily done in relatively cold conditions? Noone tested these tires in real-life summer conditions.

    Yes, the part of me speaks so because my favourite team and driver suffers from this issue, but as I already told on numerous ocasions – I am totally against artificial racing (regardless of what team I support), created in the first place by DRS and now by tires.
    Bring back old tires! Or better – bring back tire war! Bring back Bridgestone or Good Year or persuade someone new… thanks god noone (at least for now) is proposing one engine maker for everyone! Why is it different for tires?

  176. Ian Angel says:

    F1 is about the fastest cars and the fastest drivers. It’s not an endurance form of racing, see IMSA. It’s not a sport of tire/fuel management, that’s NASCAR.

    I hate this new era of no refueling, no tire competition, frozen V8 engines (soon to be even smaller) restricted to 18k revs, grid penalties for engine/gearbox changes, no qualifying engines, no T-car, frozen chassis, parc ferme, pump gas, platypus nose, and last but not least, supporting repressive governments that have no issue violating it’s own people’s human rights.

    I fell in love with F1 because it was a drag race, both in terms of technology and race pace. Now we have spec racing, that rivals the likes of GP2, or IndyCar. And with the added bonus of knowing that if I watch, I’m helping funnel money, and support to a regime that murders it’s own people. The whole situation becomes untenable.

    I’ve already canceled my trip to Austin. I thought F1 was returning to the US. I’m not traveling 800 miles for an IndyCar race that induces me with self-loathing and guilt.

  177. Doug says:

    These intentionally under-engineered tyres are becoming a real test of one’s patients. Surely F1 has become a purely contrived spectacle devoid of skill. Yes there is more overtaking but its all meaningless if its because the car in front’s tyres are gone and there is nothing the driver can do about it. Is this racing??????? If the prority is the spectacle you might as well introduce underengineered engines that go Kabooom if over revved like in video games!I want the fastest driver to drive at and beyond the limit not this charade!

  178. knoxploration says:

    Dear Mr. Schumacher,

    Kindly shut up and get on with your job. In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re in the midst of the most interesting season in decades, and that’s largely thanks to the very thing you’re criticizing.

    Love, The Fans

    1. Brett says:

      Is it exciting when Kimi makes a single attempt at passing Seb, and that single attempt destroys his tires and then he has no other chances?

      F1 used to be about drivers pushing each other to make mistakes. In case you hadn’t noticed, no one makes mistakes anymore because none of them are driving close to the limit. The only time you see a mistake is in the wet, when they are able to drive at the limit.

      1. KGBVD says:

        So when Schumi was driving a Bridgestone clad Ferrari, 30+ secs clear of the chasing pack, what driver was pushing him to make a mistake?

        It was BORING, BORING, BORING!

      2. Dizzy says:

        Main reason Schumacher’s Ferrari was often so much faster in that era was because the Michelin tyres were not as good as the Bridgetone’s.
        When Michelin produced better tyres & were able to compete with Bridgetone in 2003 the racing became much better. Kinda went back the other way for the 1st half of 2004 though.

        Also even in 2002/2004 when Schumacher/Ferrari dominated, There was still some brilliant racing to be found a bit lower down the field.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxfDvwyjFUI

        People’s opinions of 2002/2004 been boring are based solsly on the dominance shown by Ferrari, However the actual racing behind was brilliant so those seasons overall were far from boring.

      3. KGBVD says:

        I disagree. Last year, RB dominated but there was action EVERYWHERE, just like today. Back in the early 2000s, there was no on-track action, only strategy and pit stops. That’s what made it boring. (Also, no one watching gps to see HRTs mix it up with the Marussias, its all about action at the front)

        The only exciting thing about that era in that regard? Hakkinen’s pass on Schu using Zonta as a pick in 2000.

    2. KGBVD says:

      HEAR HEAR!

      I do NOT want to watch F1 circa 2002 for the rest of my life. Pirelli’s and DRS are perfect for F1, the SHOW is amazing! I haven’t tuned out of F1 race this year, and probably won’t (at least until Valencia or Hungary, but hey, who knows!). Without Pirelli or DRS, the BBC could do their highlight reel in 60 seconds and miss nothing.

      Schumi has sour grapes watching Kimi score the first ‘old-boy’ salvo? He could only ‘push’ his way back to 10th, so what? In the Bridgestone days, his only pushing would be on his ‘in’ and ‘out’ laps, and we wouldn’t get a single pass on track.

      Long live new-style F1! Bring on the turbos!

    3. Abscrazyfast says:

      You forgot to mention, the new/NASCAR/wwe/ 15 year old fans. Fans that love seeing cars overtake each other, just for the sake of the show. Not because a driver/car combination is faster than the other.

    4. Joe B says:

      The result of the vote suggests you may not speak as conclusively for us fans as you think…

  179. Paul Piggott says:

    Hi James,
    I think Michael has a good point. Motor racing should be about who can get to the end of a race first, using all their skill and bravery and getting the most out of the technology available to them. Having to manage tyre wear and fuel consumption shouldn’t come into it. It means that starting from the back end of the grid, as Michael did, there is little chance of using superior skill and experience to fight through to the front. I think it was Gary Anderson who, when asked for a prediction before the race, said that it would be a ‘thinking man’s race’. In other words, it doesn’t matter how skilled and experienced you are, the one who can work out how best to manage the tyres will win. To me, this is totally against the spirit of racing and the sooner we can get back to a situation where the drivers can race without having to worry about tyres or fuel the better.

  180. Brett says:

    I was just saying this exact thing to my wife like two days before this race. When Nico Rosberg wins a race, and states after the race that he was not able to drive to the limit for even a single lap of the entire race, then something is wrong.

    Everything in F1 this year comes down to the tires. I just think they have gone a bit too far. Schumacher was from the era where there was two tire companies duking it out, so the tires were simply amazing.

    When F1 went to a sole tire supplier, it was a great idea I thought. Race to race, it was coming down to who had the better tire for each event. If it was Bridgestone, then all the Bridgestone runners would be at the top, and the same with Michelin.

    Going to a sole tire supplier was supposed to get rid of that, but with the latest batch, we are almost back to that. The difference being, which car puts the tire into the exact (and very small) operating window to get the best performance.

    I love F1 this year – the passing is great, but with DRS and KERS already available, don’t we have enough passing gimmicks already? Do we really need tires that no one can push to the limit even for a single lap? I don’t think we do.

  181. BurgerF1 says:

    I can agree with Schumacher’s comments a little bit, although I think he speaks with the backdrop of frustration in Bahrain. I think Pirelli have tried to deliver what was asked of them, but I don’t think they’ve quite got the balance right. Last year they were perhaps a bit conservative given it was their first year back in the sport, and this year it’s gone a bit too far the other way: they appear to be very sensitive to track conditions with a narrow sweet spot. I’m sure Pirelli will continue to make adjustments as time goes on and they gain more experience – I think they’ve done an excellent job overall. It’s a bit like trying to get the DRS right for every race. The tires will always be a big factor in car performance, but they shouldn’t be an overwhelming performance differentiator.

    In the end, Schumacher just needs to get on with it, and start putting more pressure on Rosberg (who had a pretty decent weekend despite the “terrible” tires). He’s got the same equipment and the same tires and has shown instances of good pace. Now he needs to string together a perfect weekend…

  182. abscrazyfast says:

    You forgot to mention, the new/NASCAR/wwe/ 15 year old fans. Fans that love seeing cars overtake each other, just for the sake of the show. Not because a driver/car combination is faster than the other.

  183. Bayan says:

    I love schumi but… Let’s see what Schumi will say when he has a weekend that will go his way.

    1. For sure says:

      No it is not that. Look he is frustrated because he can’t push but he is smart. That kinda lottery gives him more chance than anything at his age. BUt is he having fun? No because he is not allowed to try drive the fastest. I assume he rather accept losing while pushing than lottery.

  184. Rich C says:

    I would seldom question the Great Man’s statements, but he’s just dead wrong on this one.

    Don’t be slagging Pirelli – it is the FIA specs they’re made to.

    Back in the day when Ferrari had their own captive tire company the tires were optimized for Michael and Ferrari alone. He won partly because he’s the best and partly because they were ‘his’ tires. A billion km of testing them by Ferrari on Ferrari’s track made it so.

    Now they’re not “his” anymore and its a struggle.

    Well, cry me a river.

    1. gondokmg says:

      I think this year’s tyres are somewhat different from last year but I don’t recall the FIA changing the tyre rules or their requirements from Pirelli. Even last year Pirelli were improving the tyres through the season so what FIA specs are you talking about?

      Yes, the FIA, FOM and the teams may have asked for a tyre with more deg than the 2010 Pirellis, but that that does not mean any tyre with deg that Pirelli can come up with is suitable.

      Tyre management should be part of the story, not “the story”. Being a great driver requires a lot of different skills that make one a complete driver. Tyre management is just one of those skills.

  185. KGBVD says:

    People keep asking “is this racing?” I believe it is.

    What’s NOT racing? Watching 24 cars drive around for 2 hrs only to see them finish in the same order they started in.

    You CAN go to far and get circuses (NASCAR), but I know what I would prefer? What would you prefer?

    1. Dizzy says:

      I’d prefer to see proper racing & not something pretending to be a race with stupid artificial gimmicks like DRS, KERS & these stupid tyres.

      What we have in F1 now is not racing, its unexciting highway passing down to DRS/KERS & just as unexciting passes due to pirelli.

      1. KGBVD says:

        Well, we didn’t have proper racing for about 10 years before DRS and Pirellis. So where does that leave us? F1 as an expensive pinnacle with no show and all go (in the order you started, if you please)?

        Ppl are upset that Kimi only had tires for one go at Vettel. But without the tires and DRS, he wouldn’t have got anywhere near him (look at the difficulty he had passing Grosjean who was on HARDER tires, even with DRS; without it, he would have been 5th).

        I watch F1 for it’s entertainment value. If I wanted to watch ppl think things through and not change position, I can can watch old men at the park play chess.

      2. Dizzy says:

        “Well, we didn’t have proper racing for about 10 years before DRS and Pirellis.”

        Disagree, I think we had some brilliant racing Pre DRS/Pirelli. I think we had better racing pre-gimmicks as well.

        We saw some real racing, real battles & some real overtaking. Now we get none of this, All we get now is boring/easy/unexciting passing (i dont even class what we see with drs/pirreli as overtaking).

      3. KGBVD says:

        Just out of curiosity, what do you define as ‘pre-gimmick’?

        Before high degrading tires? DRS? KERS? High rear wings? Outwash front wings? Multiple race gearboxes? Rev limits? Standard ECUs? No refueling? Banned launch control? Mandated tire compounds? No tire changes? 4-grooved tires? Multiple race engines? Full race tires? 3-grooved tires? One tire manufacturer? Banned traction control? Raised front wings?

        Seems to me that over the past few decades the rules and regulations that govern F1 has ALWAYS changed.

        Today’s gimmicks are no different than yesterday’s, except they finally have worked.

  186. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Maybe F1 needs a second tyre supplier again. The FIA could then require a minimum of 2 stops. Or maybe have a random no of minimum stops announced just after qualifying.

    That would shake up Pirelli and test them see whether they can actually produce high performance tyres. Pirelli is not being tested at all at the moment.

    Really hope that Bridgestone can be coaxed to come back into the sport again.

    1. Rich C says:

      Nothing wrong with Pirelli!

      They are making exactly what the FIA ordered!!

      Get over [expletive deleted] Bridgestone!

      1. gondokmg says:

        What exactly did the FIA order?

      2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        Maybe producing average quality tyres is convenient for Pirelli?

        I would like to see them challenged and put up against Bridgestone or Michelin to see what they can really produce.

    2. tommyt says:

      I agree, its time for a multiple suppliers. I think 1 supplier creating a spectacle is too artificial. Not sure about your other points though.

      I just knew this would a topic that James would find interesting.

  187. Kevin Irwin says:

    I have to agree with micheal, the tyres should degrade but also offer full performance till about 3/4 laps before they fall off the cliff, if the tyres are only going to last 16 laps, for 12 of those laps I want to see the drivers pushing their cars 100% and when the drop off comes it hits like Mike tyson searching for a ear, not 70/80% because the tyres will fall appart if they drive any harder, F1 is about pushing the envelope in all senses and that means pushing like there is no tomorrow.

  188. samuel roslund says:

    Degradation is same for everyone. So no issue there.

    The real problem now is “marbles” or tire debris. Marbles are actually making the track so narrow that overtaking is extremely difficult.

    Yes it’s still “the same for everyone”-saga but if it wasn’t for the marbles – we’d see alot more overtakes and even better racing.

    The cars are nowdays more even than ever, and with KERS and DRS they could overtake – but not if there are marbles.

    The only possible line to race on is the racing line and it’s roughly as wide as the cars are, because on the rest of the racing track is full of marbles (equivalent to practically going off track).

    We saw plenty of situations where DRS and KERS made overtaking possible, but the cars couldn’t find track space to overtake anymore. Kimi vs Vettel was one clear example. Speed was there but marbles made it impossible.

    If Pirelli could make a tire which didn’t produce marbles – somehow, we’d have even better races.

    1. For sure says:

      But the problem is no one is driving at their best, they are just trying to drive slower than they can to manage their tyres, is it something we want?
      Rosberg said last week that there was not a single lap that he could go flat out.
      So we have a winner who never push, doesn’t it sound like a joke?

  189. Roman says:

    “in the Bridgestone era the tyres would last a whole race if required with almost no degradation and the racing clearly suffered.” I have to agree with that, but I also agree that these are a little excessive.

    I’d like to know Micheal’s response when someone asks him about fuel? How often does he or any other driver have to slow down to get the fuel to last the whole race? Changing the tires isn’t going to help. Teams barely fill the tanks (and plan for a certain pace, safety cars, etc) and that means slowing down at some point to conserve fuel if the pace is high enough. Look at Seb (and others), he couldn’t even risk the cool-down lap. If you’re going to change the tires, bring back refueling too, then it can be a full sprint between pitstops (instead of fuel-conservation).

    Oh, and the marbles are terrible, just terrible (China seemed worse though, visually).

  190. ferggsa says:

    As usual, it is impossible for everyone to agree
    Sheer speed? Car’s limits? The limit is the fastest you can drive the car given it’s mechanical limits, and that includes engine, gearbox, chassis, fuel and TIRES holding together (as well as not crashing into walls and other cars)
    In the old days parts were fragile but tires lasted long, now it is the other way around, by legislation if you will, so drivers have to play with the available limits
    Nursing the tires to 6th like DiResta or making the most out of a slow Ferrari to 7th like Alonso is good driving and they are driving to the car´s limits, even if they do not win races, and just add points for the championship
    Fast, high budget, reliable combinations like Ferrari/Schumacher or Red Bull/Vettel will eventually win more races, regardless of tire wear or fuel restrictions, but makes for more consistent (boring) racing
    I do not agree with Schumacher in the sense that FIA decided for KERS, DRS and Pirelli short life tires, and that is the game for this season, whoever makes best use of all resources and drives faster with them, wins
    If you want level conditions watch GP2, same cars, same engines, same tires, sprint races, usually best man wins, but FI is not like that and has never been
    On Pirelli’s behalf, they are delivering what the FIA ordered, and IMHO doing a very good job at it. If we don’t like it FIA needs to change specs, not supplier

  191. Simmo says:

    Yes I agree that tyre degradation makes it interesting. But F1 is a game of ‘racing’ not ‘caring’ for tyres (see the anagram there 8) ).

    I want to see drivers pushing to the maximum, racing top speed.

    Pirelli need to make tyres which do have an outcome on the race, depending on your strategy, etc. but not so extreme, that you have to care for them. Not so extreme that pitting 1 lap late will cost you everything. Just tyres that degrade gradually, not hitting any cliff, and that you can take a huge gamble on a one stop and see if it pays off.

    I’m not saying they should be invincible tyres. That would be pointless, but just ones that last enough to get by…

  192. gonzeche says:

    ‘F1 should be about excellence, the best of the best.’ How is that defined? Just raw speed or driving skills? – which, dear Schumi, inevitably includes tyre management! Criticism on tyre degradation as opposed to any technical, mechanical and/or aerodynamical excellence denies one of any motorsports’ axioms, which is tyres being the most crucial factor for being the only element contacting the racing surface – and therefore making tyre degradation management a cornerstone of racing excellence!!!

  193. zoomsthru says:

    I am not convinved by Schumacher’s arguments, especially since a direct comparison of the 2010 and 2011 seasons will show that the tyres had little effect on the final result. Red Bull still had the best overall package with McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes behind them.

    One equation which did change to a degree was Schumi’s competitiveness with respect to his teammate, and it has been widely reported that this was thanks mainly to his ability to handle the degrading tyres better than Nico. Little surprise then that we didn’t hear him complaining about the tyres last year.

    I do believe that Schumi’s complaints are at least partly motivated by his frustration with the way things have gone this season. If anything, Bridgestone-like tyres will hurt him even more. The closest we come to drivers going flat out these days is during qualifying, and Schumi’s record vs Nico here is not one he would like to be reminded of.

  194. Sharp_saw says:

    I think that for a race with such high ambient and track temperatures, the Hard tyre should have been the prime tyre and the Medium the option. This could have enabled the field to push harder on primes. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  195. Wu says:

    Saying what I said though, Schumi has a great point. We should see drivers at their maximum, but it also needs to be fun. Schumacher used to win by a ridiculous margin just about every race, and even to his fans that started to get stale.

    The Pirellis, the DRS, the KERS, they seem to be quick fixes; supergluing interesting aspects to a sport of a by-gone ere. I think the time has come to stop all that nonsense and figure out how to change the forumla back to the basics, when the sport was exciting and about the purity of speed all about the same time. I’m affraid to say this but it’s about time the sport became dangerous once more; about pushing the boundaries of technology. Tyres that last, engines that could power a fighter plane… That’s what made the sport what it was. Now we have the illusion of great races while forgetting what the whole thing is about.

    I think Schumi should be commended for speaking out. He might not win a WDC, or even a race, but if he gets the sport back to what it was he’d be a bigger hero than a winner of 8 WDCs.

    1. ronik says:

      Well said, I totally agree.

    2. Joe B says:

      Yep, I concur fully. Reduce the aero effect and build monstrously fast machines that drivers need to truly wrestle to control. THAT is a sport…

  196. Malcolm says:

    Good for Michael…….Pacing oneself in order for yours tires to last, seems to be the primary concern on the minds for most drivers today, which really hurts what most fans want to see is……racing.

  197. Anand R says:

    Agree partly, in principle. Racing is becoming a sham now. Millions of $$$ spent on Chassis development, and million of hours and sacrifices done by Drivers like Hamilton, Alonso and Raikonnen… all gone to waste by artificial rules like tires and BDD’s.

    Its like a centrally-controlled regime, you bring up a brilliant idea for a product and a freak regulation outlaws it or makes it less profitable.

    This artificial bringing the field closer is ridiculous. Rather watch Poker than the professional pinnacle of motor racing that F1 was.

    1. Anand R says:

      On the other hand, interesting comment by Gary Anderson on BBC F1 regarding how Schumacher-Ferrari combination ruled F1 by private negotiations with Bridgestone…

      “When I was involved with Bridgestone tyres with Jaguar in the early 2000s, in the middle of the tyre war with Michelin, Schumacher and Ferrari had tyres we were not even allowed to look at.
      They cost so much money that Bridgestone could not afford to supply them to everyone. And whenever we did have an opportunity to run a derivative of those tyres, our lap times were much, much better.
      It’s a bit sad that Michael now sees things the other way around, because a lot of his competitiveness in those days was down to the working relationship he and Ferrari had with Bridgestone, one to which nobody else had access.
      Now there’s a standard tyre, it’s down to him and Mercedes to get it working properly, not point the finger at the supplier.”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/17816565

  198. Sammy says:

    If I were a driver I would love to go as fast as possible, every single lap, every single race.
    Due to the tire specifications that is not possible anymore and drivers need to compromise on lap times by saving the tires.
    F1 is no longer about having a fast car and being a fast driver – it’s mainly about aiming for the best compromise.
    I agree 100% with Schumacher.
    F1 is no longer F1 but F-fake.

  199. For sure says:

    I strongly believe he is right, not because I am his fan and I certainly think that view is not short sighted.

    I mean think about it. F1 should be all about who can drive fastest (which doesn’t do him any favor as his reaction times are not getting faster).

    It does look good and exciting for casual fans but not for others. I mean this is a point where everyone is cruising and see whose tyre last longer.
    Imagine a guy like Lewis got beaten by some slower driver just because he drives slower. This is wrong. Senna would be turning in his grave.
    And it’s like a lottery. But I rather watch Vettel winning all the races if he is the best at going flat out.
    Ideally, I think drivers should be able to do at least 15 qualifying laps without any compromise and than tyres fall off the cliff.
    Honestly, I think this situation is an opportunity for guys like Schumacher who has more experience and less pace but what’s the point of seeing him winning if he isn’t the fastest driver?
    God, I miss the refueling era.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Same time though there all getting dealt the same tyre’s and its up to the teams as a whole to deal with it whether it be more so driver or tech/design,

      now back in the days of over 1 tyre supplier that is a farce with unjustifiable possible variables.

      But on that I feel there should be only one tyre compound dry a medium and obv a full wet. under that format it is more so fairer on the fans as in knowing what the hells going on in the sport and where everyone is.

  200. BW says:

    As far as two years ago, Bridgestones could last for 75% od the race distance (in dry&hot conditions). Result? Drivers taking it careful to avoid unnecessary stops hoping to win thi way, and no passing attempts.
    And Schu would probably like to have the race like US’05, with his superb-lasting tyres bringing him a win… among just six cars..

  201. Nick Hipkin says:

    James,

    You must remember in 2007 how exciting it was to see a driver enter the sport with such raw speed that he was able to manhandle a car on the ragged edge and almost make it dance. So much so that he nearly won the title at the first attempt.

    You know who I’m talking about but can you imagine someone doing that in the F1 of 2012?

    I enjoy the racing a great deal now but I’m not sure how I feel that arguably the fastest drivers are unable to drive at the limit and show their full ability.

    1. Anand R says:

      Spot On! Its an endurance/patience race rather than a Formula ONE.

      Even DC said, maybe Hamilton is showing more maturity… we need him to show his talent in audacious overtaking moves without worrying about tires and more about skills and tenacity in overtaking.

      Sigh.

  202. Rob says:

    There is a possible solution to this problem.

    Somehow, and I am not sure how, try and make the pits stops shorter. Maybe having two entrances and exits. Granted this wouldnt work at all circuits.

    This would mean that the hard chargers would be able to do more stop and not be penalised as much for it.

    Leaving the “Easy on the tyre brigade, Vettel, Button etc” to trundle around looking after tyres.

    Can you imagine the carnage, Hamilton, Webber, Schumi on 4 or 5 stops with Vettel and Button on 3.

    The combinations up and down the field would create mismatches all over the place leading to a very tense end to races.

    Some might say this is even more manufactured but the tyres and to much in favour of management.

    On the other hand, just make the tyres a little harder and move back a little towards speed over management – but the races might become a little more processional.

    Its a trade off.

  203. For sure says:

    Again, I ask myself this question. Forget about who said this, forget about politics. F1 drivers are not allowed to go flat out one lap in entire race, let alone 20 qualifying laps, isn’t it sound like a joke?

  204. Iain:R8 says:

    100% agree with Michael. Having read and listened to Pirelli people, mostly Hembrey, talk about how “they” decided the tyre characteristics. I find their attitude somewhat arrogant, and dismissive. This is shown in post #37. It’s just so different to that of the Bridgestone people. I don’t think many are calling for a tyre to last a whole race. But the current situation is providing a false spectacle. Even in NASCAR, where tyres have limited durability, drivers get more than one chance to push the limits. I’m just wondering whether we will have another USA GP type fiasco at one of the hot weather races, and drivers run out of tyres.

  205. Joel says:

    Not a big fan of MS, but he is absolutely spot on.
    1. Man, this is a pinnacle of motor racing that has an entertainment value – not the other way around.
    2. Get rid of DRS, it is soo artificial.
    3. Keep KERS, it is very relevant.
    4. Tweek the rules such that both aerodynamic and mechanical grip contributes 50% each.
    5. Build a reliable tyre that should lost at least half a race. Well, there can be degradation – but it should not have this artificial “falling off the cliff” or “sweet spot” nonsense.
    6. Last but not the least and very important – BRING BACK REFUELING.

    The argument that f1 is always about tyre management is not relevant to this age – every thrown out tyre is a BIG WASTE.

    1. Hal says:

      Could not have said it better myself. If I had to only choose one out of your list to implement it is refuelling. This actually will reduce the importance of tyre management (it will still be important but not so dominating).

  206. Garry J. Berry says:

    I had no problem with tyres degrading either progressively or suddenly (hitting the ‘cliff’), as last season. However, this year the very narrow efficient operating window of the tyres appears to be directly dependant on the track or air temperature at any time. An individual driver and team can use their considerable skill to optimise the set-up the car during Friday and Saturday practices to get the best from their ‘package’ (based on the prevailing air/track temperatures on these particular days). Then, on race-day, the temperature changes and all the skill exhibited over the previous two days becomes irrelevant as their developed set-up no longer performs (by a considerable and arbitrary margin). But a team that has not developed their set-up as well ‘lucks’ into the race-day temperature dependant tyre window & does so much better in the race compared to qualifying. Whilst I really do welcome the close racing we have seen I find this over-emphasis of the ‘luck’ aspect dictating race-day tyre performance totally arbitrary. The current situation seems to discount a team’s set-up skills to the detriment of the sport. Technical staff within teams must be pulling their hair-out! I think that Pirelli should widen the air/track temperature window of the tyres just a bit so that the car set-up skills of the teams are rewarded on race day.

  207. Gary says:

    Would Schui be complaining if he had won Bahrain? I think not.

  208. Stone the crows says:

    So long as there are race cars and on each of the four corners of the race car are circular objects made of rubber known as tyres, there will be racing car drivers complaining about said tyres. Michael has had two middling seasons and the results for the first four races of this season are abyssmal. With Nico’s win in Shanghai all of the excuses are gone save one which he used yesterday. Paul Hembrey is right, and far more charitable than I would have been; Pirelli are providing the tyres they were asked to provide, if Schuey has complaints he’s barking up the wrong tree. Hembrey is also right in pointing out that Schumacher had no complaints about the tyres in winter testing. I also think it is a bit soon to be casting aspersions, of the four races one was wet, another the temps were colder than normal and another was on a track they hadn’t run on since 2010. By the time the circus pulls into Interlagos they’ll have the sweet spot figured out an it will be business as usual.

    1. Joe B says:

      Which other excuses has Schumacher used so far? For everything I’ve seen/read he’s been entirely graceful, even when Petrov forgot to brake and took him out from nowhere last season, or when his wheel wasn’t fitted in China. Other than the Barrichello incident he’s been the perfect professional on his return.

      It’s a shame he polarizes opinion (not unjustly), because there is real merit to what he’s saying. Furthermore, he’s earned the right to say it, more than anyone else in the sport.

  209. Tay says:

    I’m having heartburn that this one time we have 6 champions at each others’ throats, they’re held back by geeky technical car management. I want to see them scrap at each other with 5,000 hp and a tinge of anger that makes the rear end of their cars dance out of each corner. Ragged, on the edge driving where the results come down to the characters in the games, not the engineer’s maths.

  210. veeru says:

    James, you have a point. But aren’t you bring in the ‘luck’ factor when you say some teams find sweet spots and some don’t

    so whoever finds that sweet spot wins?? Shouldn’t the fastest car and the best driver win?

    what’s the point in having to cruise to save the tires. The tires should play a part but not affect the race

  211. Gary says:

    Agree with Schumi 100%. When they said slicks are coming back I thought great, cars sliding all over, never happened. Economy racing we have now, fuel and tyres.

  212. Sergio says:

    To have trillions of marbles on the track it’s not the best publicity for a tyres brand I guess. If you add a lottery factor about degradation, well I didn’t buy shares of that company.

  213. Timwahoo says:

    I used to be bored of refueling, but if that came back then simply put – so would the sprint aspect

  214. Geenimetsuri says:

    The problem with the Pirelli tires is that when it comes down to real racing, they’re good for few laps at best or one corner at worst.

    Take for example Räikkönen: This race he got past most people with ease, but when he had to race – Massa, Vettel – he could do only few attempts before the tires melted. Last race his tires quite literally melted because he had to race to defend position.

    On the other hand…It does bring more variance to otherwise rather dull event where DRS-magic-button makes ‘retaking track position’ bit too easy.

    I’d say that the tires need more racing stamina, but a sharp degradation curve like we see doesn’t hurt.

    Also, on topic of tires, they should ditch the mandatory change – rule: With the weak tires and DRS-button it’s completely pointless.

  215. danf182 says:

    Pop on a season review for 2000-2009 and compare. There is your answer.

    The drivers still get to show their speed in quali. The race has become about speed, use of tyres and keeping headstrong. They are a real test for drivers. At the end of the season, the driver who manages this best will win.

    Maybe in a few years the regs will change and the skills required will be different. Same story – the driver that manages the situation best will win.

  216. Pani Tsouris says:

    Pirelli have definitely added an extra element into racing but to an extent where teams are blind to extracting there full potential.

    Is it time therefore to rethink the mandatory 2 compound rule to compulsory one?
    It will still make for interesting racing but it will allow teams to be in more control of their strategy.

    Not every team/driver combination will opt for the faster soft tyre option on all stops. Teams that know can go a fare distance on the harder tyres will go for a more conservative approach. Whilst other teams will opt for a faster softer compound tyre strategy involving more stops.

    What do you think James?

  217. Lexus says:

    I agree with MSC and have a solution to the problem.

    Lets make tyres that give maximum car performance for say 20 laps and then die. The tyre should die whether the car is driven conservatively or flat out touring car style racing. Whichever way you drive they simply die at lap 20.

    This way a driver who drives flat out and drifts, slides the back, overtakes, take risks, keep us on the edge of our seat, make F1 cars do things they are not supposed to do etc… will not be penalised and the driver who cruises around as if they are carrying their granny to church on Sunday do not gain an advantage.

    This way we are guaranteed racing and drivers can chase each other down, overtake and try to build a gap before lap 20 pitstops of which there would be a flurry of pit activity.

    Then they can change to a different set of tyres that are faster but still die after 20 laps so strategy can play a part. Just an idea that gives us a great race.

    1. Joe B says:

      That sounds brilliant! I see it Battle Royale style, with the tyres exploding on the given lap. Teams could pre-select strategy beforehand, take the softer tyres and the two stop versus one stop on the hards.

  218. Steve Zodiac says:

    ” Buy Pirelli Tyres, They’re Great” Well for the first 30 miles or so! What does this tell customers about Pirelli products( after all they are doing this to promote the quality of their wares). Personally I like the closer racing, however, I think there must be a better way of achieving this through “real”rules on design rather than the false systems used at present. Perhaps we really should look at losing the down force (not the aerodynamic efficiancy though) in favour of mechanical grip, afterall road cars don,t rely on downforce and F1 is supposed to be relevant to them.

  219. ronik says:

    F1 is just not pure racing anymore. With KERS, DRS and the tires it’s increasingly hard for viewers to differentiate between truly great drivers and the regular field.

    I like the fact that F1 pushes the boundaries of what can be done technically but it needs to be more about the racing on the limit and less about taking care of tires.

    I want Hamilton and Schumacher to win because they can get closer to the limit. Not for Button to win cause he is the smoothest driver (although he is a great guy).

  220. Luca says:

    Sorry, Michael. I love those tyres! It’s as if F1 had become the Premiership all of a sudden after a decade of trying to be Serie A. And on the day it seems that even Wigan can beat Man Utd! … And all thanks to those gorgeous strips of burning liquorice from Pirelli.

    BTW, Michael, you burst out with this insight on the very weekend that Raikkonen achieved a podium in just his fourth race back in F1 — something that has eluded you for a couple of years … Yep. I can see why those tyres must be ticking you off.

    It’s more fun when one arrivs to a race with the anticipation that any one element out of a score of variables might decide it “on the day”, including the weather — and in Bahrain it seemed to be the relatively lower track temps that proved the suprise element.

    Great season.

  221. Ashley Scott says:

    I do agree with Schumacher pretty much, If you look back to when Kamui Kobayashi first entered F1, he was able to push and push and fight his way past people. Look at him now, these tyres have made him a shadow of his former self.

    I am not a fan of returning to the Bridgestone era though, I do not want to see any team be able to buy a better tyre than another team, but there is nothing to stop Pirelli from widening the tyres operating window a little in the sake of allowing drivers to push like crazy.

    Although, I often wonder whether it would be more worthwhile giving the teams just one compound for the race weekend, rather than having to run different compounds. Might give teams a more of a chance to get a more stable setup?

    1. Pani Tsouris says:

      Totally agree with your compound strategy. I wrote a similar piece expressing the banning or the rethink of the 2 compound rule. Use what you wish, that way teams have more control of their strategies. It will still make for good racing as strategies will vary depending on driver style and chassis design.
      Another factor that could be considered is for each team to select which compound they wish to run for the race weekend after FP3. Qualifying and the race will need to be done with the same compound. There are plenty of options, they just need to be explored

  222. Gatsby says:

    Some of you guys seems to forget that on matters of Formula1, Schumacher is always right!
    So, when he says: “Jump!”
    Everybody should answer:”How high?”

    End of the case!

    1. JohnBt says:

      Does that mean domination or cry baby. LOL.

  223. Armchair Critic says:

    I have to say that I agree with Schumacher and I don’t want to see a competition which is dominated by tyres. I remember recently seeing Peter Windsor talking about how does not like the idea of limiting fuel per race as he prefers to see flat out racing, and I agree with that too.

    I am wondering if it would be nice to see racing where the cars are absolutely pushed to the limit for the whole race distance, then we really can test the life of those super reliable engines and gearboxes as well of course as seeing the fastest driver.

  224. Bob Quindazzi says:

    He is dead on in his comments. Of course, tire management has always been important, but now it has been exaggerated greatly in that drivers have to go very slowly in order to win. Look at the fastest lap vs Qualifying time- 4 seconds difference which is an eternity.
    As it is, the limit on lap speed is not driver skill, or car design, it is how fast the tires can go round without turning to mush.

    1. BW says:

      “Look at the fastest lap vs Qualifying time- 4 seconds difference which is an eternity”

      It’s been since 2010 season, so Pirelli is no reason.

  225. Nigel says:

    Have you seen the Whitmarsh interview with Autosport, James ?

    When asked by AUTOSPORT if the most important factor over the course of the season will be exploiting the tyres rather than delivering improvements to its car, Whitmarsh said: “In my view yes…”

    That’s a pretty striking statement.

    I think it supports Schumacher’s position.

  226. Hal says:

    James,
    While I see your point of view, I think you are ignoring the fact that it has gone too much the other way to the point that F1 now seems too contrived. I have been watching F1 for almost two decades but for me all this ‘overtaking’ and ‘exciting’ racing is just an illusion.

    1. James Allen says:

      Ah well, you can’t please all the people all the time. It was boring for many years

      1. Andrew says:

        Overtaking back when it was ‘boring’ was absolutely thrilling and drivers would regularly crash off the track due to drivers driving absolutely on the limit (something we don’t see anymore). It wasn’t all bad.

      2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        100% agree. Exactly the point that needs to be made.

      3. Mattoz says:

        I agree with you James and, with all due to respect to some of those that have commented on this issue, I think that some people have short memories. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Besides the re-fuelling era (except for 2005 when tyres lasted the whole race), the history of F1 has been about the combination of speed and preserving the car/tyre package.

        As was the case last year, we are having some crazy races early on in the season, but I think that as the year progresses and teams understand the tyres better, things will start to settle down a bit.

        I think those that call this season a ‘lottery’ need to remember that the pack is so genuinely condensed that we have the pleasure of going into a race weekend with 7 or 8 drivers who can genuinely win on merit – unheard of! Bring on Barca…

      4. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        The boring years are now quite a long way back. now.

        2001, 2002 and 2004 were boring. But we were given some cracking competition before Pirelli.

        2003 – Schumacher/Montoya/Raikkonen
        2005 – Alonso/Raikkonen
        2006 – Alonso/Schumacher
        2007 – Raikkonen/Alonso/Hamilton
        2008 – Hamilton/Massa
        2009 – oddball year with Brawn
        2010 – Vettel/Alonso/Webber/Hamilton

        Drivers now biding their time and having their one overtaking stab. Not daring to go offline because of marbles and abrasion.

        It’s now just a case of timing your pitstops right to run in clear air on your own and then hope that the race comes to you at the end. If you’ve been a good boy then you can press the DRS button and drift pass on fresher tyres.

      5. JustaFan says:

        I sort of suspect you are in the entertainment rather than racing camp then.

        Really strange hearing from you that F1 was boring for many years. Could you tell me wich years were boring according to you?

        Quote: “F1 insiders are, on the whole, excited by the 2012 style of racing, believing that the racing is entertaining and the key point is that tyres are the same for everyone.”

        Do you have a source for that statement? Because I get the feeling that F1 insiders are, on the whole, not that exited about the racing. According to Schumacher about 80% of the drivers feel that way.

      6. jjpm says:

        T’was boring for the journalists not for the fans!

      7. Doctub says:

        A flippant reply from a respected journalist. Things can go too far the other way and the majority of posters think that. There has to be a happy medium. Form and having a great car design has to be a factor in racing not a tyre sweetspot/management lottery.

      8. Wu says:

        Wow James, one clear opinion you make and everyone’s out for blood.

        I agree with you, as much as I liked F1 then it was boring compared to now. Overtaking is the key aspect of the sport in my view. If high level technology is the problem it has to be dumbed down again.

        The problem over the past decade was professionalism that arose in the sport. Young drivers groomed to be superstars, everything methodical. I hate to agree with Eddy Jordan, but he’s absolutly right when he says everything is too technological. Even rain during races has become stale because of the official predictions.

        F1 might be the pinnicle of motorsport, but what is motorsport? Is it about the drivers or the teams? Now the driver:equipment ratio has gone down to about equal, but driver input now comes from the tyres more than speed. This has to change.

        I would reccomend much, much much less downforce, no tyre warmers, good tyres, worse brakes, then ban DRS and KERS if the changes provide enough excitement. Also increase speed in the cars. Even Indy is faster than F1. Pinnacle to me means fastest cars, faster drivers not tricky tyres and overtaking-aid gimmicks.

  227. richard c says:

    So many good points raised and agree with all the pro MS ones. F1 should be exciting and FAST! I now see so many drivers at the front I am beginning to wonder just who is the quickest?? Let the drivers go, unleash them and don,t hold back. I cannot understand how the FIA can consistently get it wrong so many times!!!!!

  228. brooksy007 says:

    I HAD A DREAM -

    A motorsport catagory where -

    rules were non-existant for designn,bar limited dirty air behind a car to allow for closer racing

    U were able to refuel

    Tyres were able to be driven on the edge (still having a drop-off point – but consistant)

    Unlimited sets of tyres for qualifying

    Testing seasions every 2 months

    Budget caps enforced

    And – drivers and engineering technology were pushed to the limits! I want to see drivers get out of their cars looking spent! Not like they just ran to the corner shop!!

    1. Don Farrell says:

      Sounds like F1 in the early 1990′s – Happy Days :)

    2. adam22 says:

      this is awesome – oh wait, i think they already have something like this. JetSki racing?

    3. Joe B says:

      If you add in that cars can re-fuel between qualifying and the race, that is a series I would be all over!

  229. Mustapha says:

    Tyres have and are stifling the real racers from racing to the limit. Surely thats what F1 should be about. More on the driver racing hard as opposed to pot luck tyre wear depending on who has everything set up absolutely at the sweet spot at the right time (which is such an unpredictable task in any event). Cant they just leave the bloody regulations alone from year to year

    1. Don Farrell says:

      +1

      1. Doctub says:

        Spot on.

        As an aside I was watching V8 supercars from Oz at the week-end; exciting, hard, close racing.

  230. jamesls says:

    “I like 2012 racing and it should help find new fans”.

    Cmon James, you, like I, know F1 is close to its lowest point ever in term of popularity & TV figures – it is no longer connecting with with masses at all. Which primarily comes down to lack of mano a mano confrontation on the track, which comes from drivers NOT being on the ragged edge through the race and pushing to the limits – now a bunch of guys crawling round the track so their tires do not explode. Forest for the trees me thinks.

    Sorry, f1 is currently an old mans sport, nursing tyres like a grandpa rather than the fastest reaping the rewards.

    New fans, ha, not a chance with the current no passing, no aggression, Lets go for a Sunday drive tire regulations.

    Senna would be turning in his grave i’m afraid.

    1. James Allen says:

      I disagree with pretty much every one of your points. Just shows how differently we can look at this complex sport

  231. Bollo says:

    Hmmm, there are always limiting factors in f1 weather it’s the track conditions, fuel load, revs, track surface or the strict regulations on the cars themselves so to say that they can’t drive flat out and get the most out of the car is normal.

    The unpredictability of the racing this year is just great. Those who manage it all properly look great and those who don’t look stupid.

  232. Markus says:

    Just imagine if Senna had been racing now, what a loss that would have been. He would have faded as he is a natural racer and as we now F1 is not longer about that.

    F1 should be about the fastest and most spectacular racer, not slower drivers who a great at preserving tyres.

  233. Bollo says:

    Also MS is probably looking and feeling a bit silly with his long, painful and perhaps ill advised comeback compared to Kimi’s return??

    BTW Is this a record number of posts???

    This is quite a contentious issue!

    1. James Allen says:

      Not even close. 1,200 on a story about “Fernando is faster than you” in 2010. That’s the record!!

      1. JohnBt says:

        Wow! No wonder Nando is so loved and hated. LOL!

  234. LD01 says:

    It’s a shame some people can’t see past their anti-Schumacher agenda and discuss the topic of tyres.

    Hopefully others (if they feel the same) will pipe up and we can have a proper discussion without the outpouring of hatred.

  235. Paul J says:

    I really agree with MSC on this. I’m sure his outburst was all down to having had a frustrating day at the office, and his young team mate taking Merc’s first win, but he does have a point. These tires are having too much of an effect on the racing. If the drivers all say that they are not able to push the car to the limits because they are worried of ruining the tires within 5 laps, then we are not in a good place. I’ve personally really enjoyed the racing this year, it’s been a great season already, but I want to see the drivers flat out, pushing the limits throughout the duration of a race, and qualifying. Drivers shouldn’t be pussy-footing around the track at 85% of their ability in order to beat the guy who’s giving it his all. I think the combination of wacky wheels, DRS and KERS all together is just too much artificiality.

  236. Don Farrell says:

    I blame Bernie…. his quest to increase his advertising revenue / personal fortune by tinkering with the essence of F1 is getting ridiculous. He has meddled with budgets, the points system, these unnecessary annual rule changes, the introduction of unnecessary trinkets such as KERS & DRS. Short-life tyres is just his latest fad… what will Bernie suggest next… 3 wheel cars? peddle-power? Enough is enough…. lets go back to basics… F1 Unplugged… and chuck out the driver aides… and let the real racing begin again. :)

  237. Andrew Carter says:

    Gary Anderson makes a very good point about this in his column on the BBC website. Schumacher has had the advantage in past years were Bridgstone would spend money for his team to go testing and develop tyres that nobody else could even look at. Now, everybody has the same equipment and, as it has been for the last 62 years, its all about doing the best job with what you’ve got.

    The tyres arent a lotery, it’s a case of the teams not having done a good enough job so far.

  238. Daniel MA says:

    At the end of the day you can´t please everyone, purists and drivers themselves would want racing to be always on the limit (at the expense of 1 or 2 team´s dominance) and the average person just wants to see something good on sundays (more overtaking, different leaders) so its a compromise in my opinion but I´m sure it be changing constantly in the future between the two.

  239. John says:

    Hi James. This subject has collected over 300 responses on your site. Therefore the public stands divided and a very touchy subject. Many years ago there was an australian driver that put slicks on a fairly damp track that was slowly drying. He put on a show for the public at Bathurst and it was superb to watch. It was memorable and i still remember those last handful of laps. I for one love the current state of F1 , but would like the drivers to push their cars a little more and show us what they can really do.

  240. JohnBt says:

    Schumi, if you can’t adapt than that’s too bad. Look at how Alonso is making the best of the car and tires. This is 2012 not 2000 – 2004 as a reminder. And rules are not bent to suit Schumi as in the past, need I say more.

    Ahem, Raikkonen is driving well I thought, in fact very well. It’s been like only 4 races and my hats off goes to Kimi.

    1. Doctub says:

      Do you actually think that Alonso likes things the way they-poor car aside? I don’t think MS is advocating going back to how things were in the early 00′s but getting a tyre now that they can race hard on so that the car can be driven to the limits. Even Kimi hinted at that in post race comments. This isn’t about pro or anti MS or Kimi or any driver.

  241. SteveLWA says:

    Martin Brundle aired similar frustratings on the Sky coverage last weekend, saying he was starting to feel that tyres been the most important factor was starting to get a bit silly.

    I agree with Schumacher on this one. I want to watch a proper race with cars been pushed to the limit by drivers pushing to the limit.

    The current era of F1 with Pirelli/KERS/DRS may be producing unpredictability & masses of passing, However it certainly doesn’t include the great racing, great racing fights & real overtaking that made me fall in love with F1 & keep hooked all these years.

    Its become far too artificial now with silly gimmicks like DRS, Pointless technology like KERS & tyres designed to force tyre stops.

    all way too artificial.

    1. William says:

      Agree with the general sentinment, but it’s still room for great racing fights and real overtaking. They just get drowned out.

  242. jjpm says:

    Just get Jean Todt to rename the World Drivers Championship in the World Tyres Saver Championship!

    end of discussion!

  243. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    James, can you love have Kimi charging to the front and stop racing Vettel because of his tires? Or Hamilton, Alonso or others quick drivers looking for a “sweet spot” God!
    Or Di Resta getting success driving like and old lady?

    I prefer a hard fight and maybe somebody doing an error, going wide, touching, coming back and fighting again.

    The tires are too important now and maybe should be the engine, the power of the car (and neither the aero).

  244. Steve says:

    Imagine telling Usain Bolt that the 100m Olympic final was now going to be an egg and spoon race. I think his comments might echo Michael’s.

    1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      Or give all the runners a set of leather soled loafers so that they get punished for taking the bends too quickly.

    2. pallys says:

      and then some party proclaiming it’s not all about speed but about balance also!

  245. StefMeister says:

    We were discussing this elsewhere just after China.

    I agree with Schumi, I think Pirelli have gone a bit too far with there 2011 tyres. The softer compounds should wear, However the harder compounds should be able to last loner than they do.

    I still think the best thing that could be done with tyres is to take things back to what we had before refueling was introduced in 1994.

    Take all 4 compounds to every race (Hards are slower but can go full race non-stop, softer compunds are faster but wear requiring tyre stops), Drop the rules forcing them to run both compounds during a race & let them run there race however they want. If a driver wants to take a set of hards & run the entire race without stopping, let them. And if a driver wants to run the softer compounds planning to make tyre tops, let them.

    You had far more varied strategies & Far better racing back then.

    Go back to the Pre-94 tyre formula & teams/drivers would have more strategy options & drivers would have more freedom on how they want to run there race (Take hards which made need to be conserved a bit to get to the end or take the softer compounds plan to stop & run flat out).

    I recall many great races Pre-94 where different drivers running different compounds & totally different strategies (No stops, 1 stop, 2 stops on different compounds) produced good races, great racing & some real surprises.

    Ivan Capelli nearly winning the 1990 French Gp by Non-Stopping on the hardest compound,

    Schumacher at Estoril in 1993 planning 2-stops but switching to a 1-stop Mid-race (And switching from soft’s to hards) & then been able to defend his position against Prost to win the race.

  246. Peter Jones says:

    I have to say i agree with Schumi. The tyres have become the most important part of the car which isn’t what you want really. It’s reminiscent of the Firestone/Michelin war a few years back where if you had the wrong tyre, your race weekend was shot.

  247. JohnO says:

    Completely agree with Schumi on this one. Races have become more about managing your tyres than racing and in my eyes has become boring to a point. Drivers are just not pushing anymore and settling for where they line up halfway through a race.

    DRS and KERS should be enough to enable overtaking and excitment. Drivers like Schumi, Hamilton and Alonso push their cars to the absolute limit but now are being restricted to preserve tyres. Pirreli have good intentions but I feel have stepped over the mark quite a bit. Tyre degredation should be a prt of F1 but has to limited

  248. Chris G says:

    The current drivers championship standings are:
    Vettel
    Hamilton
    Webber
    Button
    Alonso
    Which talent is being stifled exactly?
    I’ve watched F1 since the 70′s am loving the current racing and the cream still seems to be rising to the top.
    Schumacher despite his complaints is still in the mix along with his team mate plus Raikkonen is also showing his quality. Not sure the naysayers arguments are born out by the championship standings and the fun I’m having on Sunday afternoons

  249. olivier says:

    On a positive note: if the driver doesn’t need to perform to his maximum level, then Schumacher can easily stay around for a few more years.

  250. Pier Rodelon says:

    I echo the many sentiments expressed here against the new tires. This isn’t racing any longer, it’s something else, more like a tire-calculation game.

    “Racing” is about going fast, working at the limit, taking risks, pushing hard against all odds.

    Crippling the cars produces a kind of dodgeball game complete with false passes, fake overtaking (the ridiculous DRS rules), phony “duels” — get rid of the Old Man Bernie and let’s redefine F1 as RACING again.

  251. Anand says:

    Unfortunately, Michael said it! That makes the discussion polarized!

    Anyways, F1 is not about everyone overtaking each other all the time. At least, that’s not why I started watching the sport 15 years back. It was about being able run close to the optimum all the time.

    With the tires nowadays, they become part of the ‘optimum’ definition. So far so good. But, the tires are unpredictable to many car/driver packages most of the times – that’s where the problem is. It gave Kimi one chance to have a go at Vettel and nothing more than that. Why should I be pleased with this rather than seeing Vettel and Kimi having a go at each other lap after lap when their race pace allows them to do so if not for the unpredictability of the tyres. (the way we used to see in odd races, remember Alonso and Michael doing that for almost a race distance?). If you remember, we heard Kimi’s engineer telling him that Vettel is killing his tyres and Kimi should be able to have a go few laps later – this is the engineer who has all the information on tyre degradation of Kimi and Vettel in the past few races, making a prediction. A woefully wrong one at that! It will be told that Vettel’s tyre management in the last stint was stellar or something like that – it isn’t something that I am able comprehend. To me, it is due to unpredictability of the tyres. Another example is Vettel wondering about where Kimi got his tyres from!

    But James isn’t be a good moderator here. He seems to say:

    a. Good racing drivers will find a way. But Jenson and Michael may not be good enough (Jenson said “Last year, we knew the tyres had high degradation but we understood them. This year, I don’t really know what to make of the tyres, but it’s not an excuse because other people are doing a good job on them this weekend.”). The other people he is referring to are Red Bulls and Lotuses! Even Hamilton was falling back as soon as the race started before his issues with the pit stops.

    b. Alain outscored Ayrton in spite of being ‘slower’. So, Jenson outscoring Lewis consistently isn’t such a shocker. Well, Alain had more fastest race laps than Ayrton on the same car. If James is trying to imply that the gap in speed between Ayrton and Alain is comparable to Lewis and Jenson, I have to disagree.

    c. He likes the racing in 2012 and this will bring new fans. We’ll have to wait and see whether this is the way to bring new fans – come and see how you can go fast-ish while making sure you still hv tyres on your car and so you’ll have to allow others to go past you now and then, you can also go past others now and then etc.

  252. SK Anand says:

    Dear James,

    Coming from Michael, the views will be note and coming from him, there will be people who will strongly support him or strongly disagree with him.

    But yes, if a certain factor becomes the single most determinant in a race, then i think it like a situation of a driver jumping thru hoops, but where is the true capability of the driver?

    If he conserves his car, and finishes in points is that good testimony or persist in trying to drive beyond the tire capability and just see his performance deteriorate like Kimi at China?

    There are people who criticise Michael for wining and racing in a era where there was unlimited testing and budgets, but is that his fault? And he delivers 7 titles.

    There is too much tinkering in rules these days and what we hear is KERS, DRS, diffusers?

    For instance had it not been for DRS, Bahrain would have been a train procession like we saw in 2010.

    The problems faced in Bahrain will also be faced in Hungary and to some extent in Monoco.

    If one size fits all rule applies to all and only few benefit then it is not a good standard or a benchmark to set the rule. And this is now being highlighted, coz we have marquee drivers talking about it.

    Imagine the plight of teams down the order.

    If one size fits all rule has to be implemented, then it should be fair to all. Not one particular team. And if it is benefiting a particular team, then there is lack of transparency in the sport.

    sincerely,
    SK Anand

  253. GGG says:

    If James is surprised that so many people agree with MSC then I am apalled at how many think the current tire situation in F1 is the best thing since sliced bread. The reason for this is that apparently the results are more unpredictable now. Well, would it satisfy you if the final order would be drawn out of a hat? Because if you aren’t allowed to have real racing then you might as well go that way. To all the people that love the racing on the new tires, have you ever raced, even on your computer? The idea that I could ace the guy in front of me but I shouldn’t even try because I would run the risk of ruining my tires would probably kill it for me. I always imagined that the F1 fans deep in their heart imagine they could be one of the best drivers in the world, duking it out in F1. Apparently I was wrong, it looks like the F1 fans just want some cheap entertainment because I can’t imagine anybody phantasizing about tiptoeing around corners and not getting the power down too early lest the car slides and the tires wear too much.
    However, I also question how much extra entertainment these tires really bring. Sure, it may be entertaning that the final order is just a matter of luck at the moment, but say that in a couple of races Red Bull get on top of the situation and VET starts taking pole every race, what then? The penalty for running in dirty air would pretty much make sure that it would be near impossible to challenge him if you couldn’t jump him at the start. What would the entertainment be like then? For me, entertainment would be MSC in a fast car, able to go flat out from P22 trying to make up as many places as possible instead of nursing his tires through the midfield, but I guess I’m a minority.
    It’s true that in the past we had some rather uneventful races. However, the fact of life is that on a given track some cars are faster than others and some drivers are faster than others and in normal circumstances this order is reflected in qualifying hence not so much overtaking in the race. I don’t think it’s wrong for the fastest car-driver combination to win, do you? And it’s not like it’s granted that the fastest guy wins, you still have strategy involved, a botched pitstop or off-track moment can ruin it for anybody at any time when everybody is running at 100% and it still takes a special drive to convert a pole to a win for instance. But if that’s not your cup of tea, you know what else used to be fun? Wet races. Most often in the wet the differences between cars were not so important as the driver’s ability to keep the car on the road and that allowed drivers with excellent car control to rise to the top regardless of the machinery. We’ve only had one wet race this year but my feeling is that now even in the wet car setup trumps driver skill because otherwise I can’t explain how the likes of BUT, HAM, VET and MSC all seemed to struggle.

    TL;DR: It may look entertaining to some but sheer driver skill is becoming less and less important in F1 these days and that can’t be good. You can argue that tire management is part of the driver skill but the fact remains that if the car setup isn’t helping then there’s nothing a world class driver can do to change his fortunes and that’s just sad.

    1. James Allen says:

      I never said I was surprised at the number of people agreeing with MSC. I posted that many fans were unhappy in the first place, remember

  254. Matt (the vote counter) says:

    There needs to be a balance and the balance isn’t right at the moment.

    The people that are in favour of today’s tyres are convinced by the great racing and unpredictable results.

    However, tyres that let the drivers push the limit and great racing shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

    The biggest illustration why the current situation is too extreme came whilst I was watching the GP2 race that James Calado won in Malaysia. They use the same tyres in GP2 this year and James said that for 80% of the race he wasn’t pushing.

    This situation isn’t right! How can someone win a race without pushing for 80% of it and fans say that’s ok?

    By the way, it’s not because his car was so fast that he didn’t need to push, they reverse the grids in GP2 for the second race and James won from pole, having finished 8th in the previous race.

    Tyre conservation is a skill, of course, but the premise is that you drive on the limit but in a way that is kind to the tyres i.e. the fastest way around a track is not hanging the back out and spinning up the rears.

    That isn’t the case with F1 right now. The drivers can get nowhere near the limit without destroying the tyres, so how do we know who the quickest driver is any more?

    The F1 Drivers’ World Championship has always been about who is the most ‘complete’ driver but a significant portion of that needs to be about who is the fastest e.g. 50% speed, 20% race craft, 20% strategy, 10% tyre management (or something along those lines).

    At the moment, the 50% speed is being utterly dictated by the tyres. We talk more about tyres at every Grand Prix than anything else. That is undeniable. It is also wrong for one single element to be so important… how would we feel it were Brembo brakes being completely unpredictable, or even Alpine Stars bringing gloves that had tiny operating windows? It sounds ludicrous but what’s the difference, really?

    I love the racing we have in today’s F1, I love the unpredictability but I would gladly trade some of this for tyres that you could put some energy through without dying, so then we’d see who the quickest is again.

    Schumi’s comments may wreak of sour grapes but I agree with him. Pirelli have done a great job on their return to F1 but what’s wrong with asking them to do an even better one by finding a better balance?

    Absolutely nothing. But that’s just my opinion. Judging by the poll, nearly half of us feel the same.

    1. zx6dude says:

      The bottom line is that drivers are spending too much time nursing their tyres instead of racing. I think good old Pirelli should work to find a balance and consistency. Give us a tyre that degrades yes, but also give us a tyre that can be punished by acceleration, off-line driving, hard breaking. More racing, less tyre management is what I would vote for… and allow drivers to have new tyres for the race to stop this nonsense during quali 3 where people don’t even post a time to save tyres

  255. chris says:

    We all recognize Ayrton Senna as one of the best if not the best.
    His famous line is well known -” As a racing driver, if I see a gap I have to go for it”
    Today he might need to change that to something like ” if I see a gap I have to think, do I really want to spoil these nice new tyres”
    When was the transition made from an F1 Race to a “show”.
    “Show” suggests something false and manipulated.
    Racing was boring before 2012?
    Really?, I’ve been an avid follower since around 1984. I remember epic battles between the Likes of Senna, Mansell & Piquet.
    Not a massive Lewis Fan, but when he arrived in F1 he brought huge excitement back with his never give up hard racing. He’s not able to do that now.

  256. Derek says:

    Michael Schumacher is correct. F1 is supposed to be a sport and the tyre business (coupled with DRS, etc) means that the races are now artificial. I want to see all-out racing and not “tyre management” skills. Of course, people will talk about “entertainment”, but I dont want to see F1 become the equivalent of wrestling. As a fan since the early eighties, I have to say I rarely bother watching the races these days – I just catch up with the highlights and the result afterwards. I would much rather watch MotoGp or other forms of the sport where racing still counts.

  257. Craig in SG says:

    To me, F1 is supposed to be like the Olympics – the best of the best slugging it out to see who’s the best.

    Maybe we should let the FIA stipulate the characteristics of the equipment the athletes use later this year in London. See what the world thinks of;

    - Javelins/discus/shotput that disintegrate in mid air if thrown with too much force.

    - Running shoes that fall apart if run too fast.

    Then it would be down to whoever “manages” their equipment the best gets the medals. And Bernie could say “I told you medals were a good idea”.

  258. ROBERTO MARQUEZ says:

    I have been saying this for quite a while . Do you remember a few weeks ago I said What is next cows in the middle of the track ? If this continues they will have to change the name of the championship to ” driver and pit crew championship “. This way a driver championship will have no meaning.

  259. chris green says:

    MSC is spot on.
    Tyres with a narrow operating range are a problem because the teams cannot change the set up after qualifying. It is common that the weather is different on race day. So the teams are stuck with a saturday setup for a sunday race. it makes the teams look stupid. Another issue is that the driver who gets out in front is uncatchable because all the other cars are tripping overthemselves once the pitstops start. The rest of the field is just churning. What we are seeing is not real racing but just drivers on massively different tyres.
    I think the FIA need to allow teams to tweak the setup for sunday.
    Otherwise the 2012 champion might not be the best driver but the best meteorologist!

  260. Wildbob says:

    Schumacher is biased.He definately drove in the era of the race being composed of 2-3 sprints.

    I’ve always personally felt that GP racing should involved some form of car/tyre management – it’s an endurance event.

    Also, Pirelli should in no way be held responsible for the tyre in its current form – they’re performing miracles with the balance of grip/longevity they’ve been asked to produce.

    If there was any improvements to be made – I’d suggest the fall off in performance could take a little longer giving more room to respond/drive around tyre performance rather than the very sudden cliff we have at the moment…

  261. bauss says:

    James Allen, I’m ashamed of you F1 journalists that support these cheese tires.

    You argument is that no driver is dominating and that is entertaining? Really?

    God save us if other sports decide this is good enough reason to tinker with fundamentals of their discipline.

    Part of your job is that you guys are supposed to be custodians of the sport always in support of the keeping the sport at its root which is showcasing the fastest drivers (not most tire conserving drivers) in the world competing in the fastest cars.

    F1 is at this point shameful. It is not F1, it is something else.

    Tires that you cannot properly race on for more than one lap without losing serious performance are not racing tires.

    It is a now a fact that drivers drive flatout more in an endurance race like LeMans than in an F1 race. How the hell can that be right????

    Can it be ok for long-distance runner to exert more energy and skill over 200meters in a 5km run than 200meter specialists in a 200 meter race?

    What would be the point of having Bolt, Micheal Johnson and co run a 200m race if they would be forced to jog for 180 meters because their running boots can only sustain a 20 meter sprint (if such thing ever existed )?

    or would it be ok to have tennis or pingpong balls you cannot smash with because they would break and you would lose a point (so that the best and hardest hitting players can no longer dominate)?

    This is exactly the scenario the current Pirelli tires introduce to F1. Drivers came up in karting, junior formula etc learning how to extract the max from their equipment, how to push consistently, take corners at max speed possible, overtake etc only to come to F1 to be told
    “chill chill chill…you know where you would normally brake? Yes, brake 10 meters earlier if you want to finish this race and have a good result” and so on.

    This whole gimmick with super degrading and unpredictable tires is absolutely no worse than having shortcuts, sprinklers and so on on the track. As a matter of fact, you could argue something like a sprinkler creates more of a challenge for drivers hence has more credibility than pancake tires.

    I sincerely hope Rosberg and Schumi’s comments are the beginning of a serious movement that will turn the sport around from this ridiculous path it has chosen (shame on you M.Whitmarsh and co for championing this bulls**t)

    1. JustaFan says:

      You have eloguently spoken what is in my heart to, bauss!

      I also don’t get a journalist like you isn’t more critical of the way the sport is changing. To me and I suspect a lot of others, the core of the sport is racing and doing laptimes against a computer delta going at 60-70% of their max is not racing anymore.

      If however the entertainment value of the sport is more important to you than real racing, I can understand why you like this 2012 championship. Also, hearing you found racing boring for many years may explain your current preference for entertainment races.

      Your own poll does show you are in the minority though and as a journalist I would expect you to rethink your position on these tires as clearly something is wrong with this form of F1 when opinion is thus divided.

      I would not be surprised if the opposition against the tires will grow so big that something will need to be done shortly.

    2. Dmitry says:

      Why are you blaming Whitmarsh?
      He only said, that it is crucial to exploit the tires, what’s wrong with that?

      If all the teams are in this artificial situation, and nobody can (or want) to change it, then the only way right now is to exploit the situation to the maximum…
      If they can, they will certanly try to persuade Pirelli.

    3. KGBVD says:

      Of course journalists support the tyres, they improve the show! With a better show comes more viewers, comes more TV dollars, which secures their jobs.

      F1 is an expanding sport, moving into new markets where the fan is casual and not hung up on good ol’ days of fossil fuels and processional races. An exciting race makes a new fan. The show is all that matters.

      For ALL Pirelli dissenters: how do you feel about T20 cricket? Or introducing challenges in tennis? Sports change, fans should keep up or shut up (and watch something else).

    4. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      Superbly put. Your analogies with running shoes and tennis balls are spot on.

      The silly answer is to say that “well, everyone has to play by the same rules”. Sorry, but that does not wash.

      That is akin to saying that all snooker players should now play with MDF cues so that they make more errors and mix up the order a bit. The better, more aggressive players like Ronnie O’Sullivan will just have to lump it. He is then told by some “fans” that if he doesn’t like it he can always go to the US and play pool.

      I’ve come to accept that Pirelli really is not part of the sport….they are merely paid to manufacture tyres to spec.

  262. ROBERTO MARQUEZ says:

    In view of the results in Formula 1 and to make matches more interesting the World Tennis Association has decided to force Rafael Nadal use quick degrading string for his racquet.They will last no more than 6 games and if he tries to do Aces it will degrade quicker. Every time he changes his racquet one or two games will be awarded to his opponent. The same will apply to women ,but to make it more attractive the strings will come in colours matching their shorts. I am sure the great drivers of the past would be really upset about this.

    1. Dmitry says:

      +1 Looks like its Pirelli’s dream.

    2. PW Rocket S says:

      Or quickly degrading outsoles supplied by Pirelli. Whenever Nadel change shoes / wipes his face, his opponent is allowed to serve and win points!

  263. Rob says:

    Worlds most technologically advanced racing cars, world’s best drivers all driving around trying not to break their egg shell like racing-tires.

    Ridiculous.

  264. KGBVD says:

    The amazing thing is that NO ONE is forced to watch what they consider to be horrible, artificial racing.

    Euro fans are spoiled for choice with dozens of different racing series, strata, and championships. Maybe you all get your fill of action watching European and national F3 championships, BTCC, Formula Ford, DTM etc. Canadians get none of that, apart from NASCAR North (ew). I may be silly for thinking that on track action adds to the excitement of a lazy Sunday morning, but it’s what I like. Call me crazy.

    1. jamesls says:

      “The amazing thing is that NO ONE is forced to watch what they consider to be horrible, artificial racing”.

      Have you seen the global TV ratings for F1 now – hardly anyone IS watching F1 now.

      1. KGBVD says:

        I haven’t seen them. Who published them and where? (All I have heard is that attendance is up at OZ and China had record attendance.)

  265. JF says:

    I think the key take away here is that it is impossible to make everyone happy.

  266. Martin one time F3 driver says:

    Seeing that Paul di Resta and Sergio Perez are the best ‘tyre cnservationists’, if one of the top 4 teams hire them both, set them on different strategies, then at least one of them would likely win or get on the podium in every race, voila, job done !
    ( haven’t got time to read all the comments here, so appologies if anyone already come up with this idea..)
    Regards, Martin

  267. GT_Racer says:

    Im going to come at this from a slightly different angle in that I don’t think the current more artificial F1 is good for F1 in the longer term.

    Many believe that the current F1 with KERS, DRS & the high-deg tyres is producing good racing with less preditable outcomes & we are seeing statistically more passing.
    The shall we say more casual viewer in particular seems to enjoy this while many of the more long-term, dedicated fan’s seem to dislike it.

    The problem will come when things begin to return to normal, Maybe we get a tyre war, Or Pirelli pull out & we get longer life tyres again which see’s a drop in the action.
    If or When that happens many of those who jumped in when the races were all a bit crazy will tune out again.
    Same will be true if we hopefully see the back of DRS & KERS in the future.

    Eventually those attracted to F1 because of the artificial stuff brought in to artificially spice up the show will leave & this will only hurt F1.

    Nascar is going through this right now.
    They went down the entertainment route & in many cases used artificial means to spice things up, They allowed contact which produced more action & this brought the fans in.

    Recently however the races have featured better racing but less contact/cautions & bigger margins of victory & while the race fans love it, The casual audience Nascar brought in are now all tuning out & grumbling that Nascar is boring while the other fans are all loving the great racing.

    1 example is the Bristol oval which used to feature tons of contact, 20+ caution periods & the casual viewers all loved it. They altered the track in 2007 & its now a better track for racing but features a ton less contact/cautions & track attendance & tv ratings are down substantially. The race fans love it but the casual fans hate it.

    Texas the other week was a great race but featured no contact & only 1 caution & the winner won by 6 seconds, Again casual fans hated it but the actual race fans all loved it.

    1. AndrewB94 says:

      Nascars Tv ratings are down 8% so far from last year, ( Bristol race has lost 1.5mill viewers from 3 years ago) which shows the “casual” fans are gone and while Nascar was chasing them, alienated their core fan base who are also leaving. With the current situation in F1 with all the gimmicks you could see the same thing happening.

  268. Igor Hitrec says:

    In general, after 25 years of watching F1 I dislike this F1 because it over-inflates the effect of a couple of gimmicks – DRS, KERS and fast-degrading tires – over pure driver skill and racing. I absolutely don’t like the fact that the fastest laps are 2-3 seconds off their Q3 time. With DRS and KERS, they pushed it to the limits for me, that much I can bare and it’s actually cool. KERS more then DRS, but that much I can handle without feeling like something’s orchestrated.

    I have no problems with Pirelli per se. But the fact that – while the race is on – drivers are doing more “computing” in their brains with regards to tires then absolutely anything else. That’s just so far removed from what I think F1 should be that I can’t really put it into words. Tires should and always be a factor, but up to a point. Without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, not the decisive factor. Wasn’t this the primary reason why they went back to single tire supplier in the first place?

  269. jonnyd says:

    schumacher is absolutely correct in his statement.
    Of course F1 insiders will think its exciting – they are ‘f1 insiders’ and have to put a good spin on anything that happens in f1.

    unfortunately its not the case. Tyres are absolutely dominating this season, as well as the ambient temperature – ridiculous. Of course tyres have always played a key role – but i remember the days when there was refuelling, and when drivers could drive absolutely flat out for the whole race, pushing themselves and car to the limit, every lap, for the whole race.

    None of this conservation rubbish, which is absolutely ruining the spectacle. Tyres are creating such dramatic differences in performance between teams as well, and so we simply aren’t getting close fights between the front runners – ok Bahrain was fairly close – but how much of that was Kimi having to manage his tyres, worried that if he pushed, his tyres would go into a downward spiral of degradation?

    thats what all the drivers are now thinking. Its absolutely ruining it.

  270. Grayzee (Australia) says:

    WOW! Having just read through the above 268! posts(is that record?)one thing is for certain.
    We seem to very passionate about this topic, and the end result looks to be about even in the opinions.
    This what I love about this site. Good solid intelleigent debate.
    Well done readers.

    1. James Allen says:

      1,200 is the record for Ferrari switch story in Germany 2010

  271. Hal says:

    James,
    It seems to me the majority of your readers do not like current situation with the tyres.
    All your responses so far seem to be defending the status quo. Of course I have no doubt you believe your point of view but to suggest that some of readers are ‘losing the plot a bit’ and stating the Pirelli’s are proper racing tyres is somewhat insulting. Of course we know they are racing tyres but the rate of deg is to some of us not what we grew up F1 to be. And yes we know drivers always had to manage their tyres and maybe with Bridgestones it went too far but I think the point a lot of readers are making is that it has gone too far the other way and has robbed us of aspects of F1 we used to enjoy.
    Just look at the number of comments to realise its not just bunch idiots posting rubbish (well there are always some) but a genuine plea from a large number of fans.

    1. James Allen says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I sympathise with the contrary view.

      But I was referring to the spikenofnnegative comment due to the specifics of the Bahrain circuit and tonSchumacher’s comments

      But the fact that I posted this at all was due to being responsive to comments on the tyres in previous weeks. I listen to my readers

      1. KGBVD says:

        And that’s why we love you.

  272. leeshleeash says:

    It is a sorry state of affairs. Schumacher is right and I am surprised the other drivers have not voiced their hatred as well.

    F1 is lost at this point. The entire reason for formula – the fastest and most talented wins – is now persona non grata.

    I agree with all those referencing Senna. He is the most admired, the most dynamic, the driver everyone dreams of. The irony is with the current tyres Senna would NOT have been able to perform at his peak, we would have NEVER seen all those amazing races that have now gone in history.

    F1 is NOT more exciting today, it is more Random and more likely to help drivers that can MANAGE tyres but are NOT necessarily the fastest or most dynamic.

    All this equates to F1 now been a race of tortoises and not hares. Guess all the golf fans will love it.

    Unless something changes fast in the next few races, F1 will continue its downward spiral and its NEW fan base will come from Andre Rieu fans – boring, dull and love slow n steady.

    1. Richard says:

      I fully agree! We had potentially another driver in Lewis Hamilton that could have delivered breathtaking wins in the Senna style only to have his style cramped by high deg tyres. I tell you what James why not let another manufacturer supply durable tyres to those that want them and see just how long Pirelli stay in this business. My guess is that there would be a universal shift away from Pirelli within one race.

    2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      You forgot that Hamilton is not allowed to voice his opinions. He will be instantly condemned by the public as being a whinger, disloyal, out of control …you name it.

      The public now have the watered-down Hamilton that they were crying out for. Playing it safe and not taking risks.

      Drivers should forget the testing at Mugello. It would be better for the teams to send them to Kwik-Fit to learn about how to manage those awful Pirellis.

    3. jonnyd says:

      the other drivers do agree with him – read brundles blog on sky about the race.

  273. F1racer says:

    Oh man! Schumacher makes a statement and the message boards are reeling with comments.

    Just shows that this man always makes big headlines for F1! And i do agree with what he has to say… i want to see some real racing based on pure speed than limousine driving to the chequered flag.

    1. Jomy John says:

      Yeah, I know …. its gonna take me an entire day to go through the entire list of posts.

  274. TheBestPoint? says:

    Well all i know at this point is that i will NOT be buying Pirelli tyres anytime soon!!!

  275. ROBERTO MARQUEZ says:

    I have a degree in Material Science Engineering and for the past few years have had quite a lot of dealings in rubber products for washers and o rings.We use a hardnees rubber tester to check lots of washers in the order of 2.000 to 4.000 at a time, of course we apply statistical tables to approve or reject the lots.We have found the spread in hardness values to be in the order of plus or minus 6 percent.My question is if in small lots the variation regardless of process controls might be considerably higher lets say 10 %, that could make tyres differ greatly in its duration,for argument lets say 15 %. That would mean some tyres could last 20 laps average ,but some 17 and others 23. If you are lucky to get a whole set of the ones that will endure 23 laps hurra, but if you get at least one of the 17 laps, bad luck.I do not fancy Schumaher too much but I think he is VERY MUCH RIGHT ON THIS ISSUE.

  276. eric weinraub says:

    What has really struck me reading all thse comments are the following 1)Most people who responded to this column really support Schuey’s comments 2)Folks in the media don’t want to be bothered by details such as ‘racing’ as long as the ‘show/spectacle’ continues. Each race has been won not by the fastest car but the best tire manager. Is this really racing? The sport despreately needs a 2nd manufacturer to end this horrible farce.

  277. jameshrt says:

    “playing it safe & not taking risks”

    This statement sums up F1 now perfectly – no drama (unless falsely created through DRS and tires that last 2 laps)), no true racing – man vs man (senna/prost style), slow drivers who can make tires last, penalties for aggression…

    no wonder F1 has lost its headline created ways

  278. Jean-Paul says:

    Hi James,

    I would like to know your thoughts about the result of the poll so far (46% agreeing with Schumi)

    1. James Allen says:

      It doesn’t surprise me. I’ve seen that the fans had a problem with this all season and that’s why I gave the opportunity for the debate.

      1. rang says:

        you always seem to strike the right chord with (your) fans. Can we have some more pics as well, not the usual ones but something little different from a race weekend.

  279. pallys says:

    Yes tyre conservation has always been a part of F1 in previous era. BUT the racing came first, and tyre conservation after.

    Now we have tyre conservation coming BEFORE the racing.

    You can see from the in car cockpit views at how the drivers are not pushing, not attacking the apexes, not braking late at the hairpins etc. Instead they are backing off the gas 100m before the corner to look after the tyres.

    You can quite visibly see they are nowhere near the limit.

    Hembrey has already said countered his own defence by doing so, that the guy in P1 after the start has an advantage because those in P2 and down will be damaging their tyres.

  280. thestretch says:

    i hope pirelli make there tyres last a bit longer i dont think many people will want a return the the bridgstone days but with kers and DRS do we really need tyres going off after 7 to 10 laps to aid overtaking or add entertainment the tyre situation is starting to affect qualy too teams not even bothering to go out in Q3 i enjoy a battle between the teams lower down the order as well as the teams at the top but because of the pirellis many teams would rather keep there tyres for the race than waste them in qualy which is a shame. I want to see flat out racing and you can now clearly see with the cockpit view on the tv coverage the cars just arnt going as quickly and drivers are working harder at going slower to keep tyres than going flat out to catch the car in front which i feel robs us fans of wheel to wheel racing. alot of the passing we see on the tv now just shows a car being passed because his tyres are finished and no other reason.

  281. Victor says:

    I voted “it’s not clear cut”.
    I am happy altogether with the faster degradation of the Pirellis and the calls on strategy and on the drivers’ sensitivity. However, I feel that race pace is far too slow. And, just maybe, Michael could be right in that the tyres force the driver to drive too much below the ultimate car/driver limit, as a further pitstop would ruin their race.
    On the other side, having a narrow “sweet spot” window makes for unpredictable races and is, I believe, good for the sport.

  282. JB says:

    I’m really glad that Schumacher actually stood up and spoke how he felt. I only wish other drivers would be courageous enough to do the same.

  283. Arvind says:

    I think michael is correct, Pirelli has less experienced and Bridgestone had performed for years…..

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