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Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Apr 2013   |  3:32 pm GMT  |  373 comments

Tyres were once again the talk of the Formula 1 paddock in China as teams chose to sit out much of qualifying to save rubber while in the race, those who started on the soft tyre were forced to pit as early as lap six because their rubber fell off the cliff. Jenson Button had to ask whether to fight another driver mid race as lap time consistency was more of a priority.

The performance difference between the two compounds also prompted a mix of strategies, with the front seven cars starting the race on the soft tyres, while the likes of Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel didn’t set a competitive lap in qualifying so they could start on the more durable medium.

That meant it wasn’t until those who started on the medium tyre stopped for the final time to put on a set of the softs – and in doing so set up a thrilling grandstand finish with Vettel hunting down Lewis Hamilton for the final podium place – that we saw the true pecking order.

While the mix of strategies provided an exciting end to the race, in the early stages the likes of Button and Vettel were forced to manage their tyres to make their strategy work, and in doing so couldn’t push to make up ground and at times they had to let people through to avoid losing tyre life defending their position.

The paddock is split as to whether the new brand of Pirelli tyres are actually good for the show.

Positive about new tyres

Former team boss and BBC pundit Eddie Jordan is supportive of the new range of Pirelli tyres. “What Pirelli have served up is unpredictability and unpredictability gives excitement – and that’s what we got in China,” he said.  “I didn’t know for sure whether Vettel could pass Hamilton or not. The intrigue went right through the race and that’s what we want.”

Meanwhile former Jordan technical director Gary Anderson agreed, adding that if Pirelli had chosen the hard, rather than the soft, alongside the medium in China, we would have seen a one-stop race: “In terms of the tyres themselves, I think they make teams think harder,” he told the BBC. “Some make it work and some don’t. There’s nothing wrong with that.

“You have to drive the car within its limits and the tyres are part of the car. If Pirelli had gone to China with the medium tyre and the hard rather than the medium and soft, the most critical tyre would have done 25 laps. So it would have been a one-stop race. Is that what people want?”

Former Red Bull driver and BBC commentator David Coulthard who won 13 races said: “I’m reluctant to end up being the guy who says: ‘Shut up and get on with it.’ But it’s difficult for me to understand why tyres are supposed to be a more fundamental part of the overall success of a team than they were before.”

In Pirelli’s defence, the Italian company’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “It was degradation, rather than actual wear, that dictated the strategy but we still saw consistent lap times from the medium compound, even on a long run of 15 laps or more.

“Once more we saw a very wide variety of race strategies, with Button and Vettel opting to run on the soft tyres at the end. This gave us a thrilling finish, with a battle for the final podium place between Hamilton and Vettel that went all the way to the chequered flag.”

There was also an interesting comment from JA on F1 reader Tim B, someone who has followed Motorsport a long time , which we thought was worth re-publishing. He said: “I’ve been following motorsport in general and F1 in particular for 40 years, and I compete in amateur motorsport in a purpose-built race car. I know a little bit about motor racing and what it takes to drive a car fast on a track.

“I happen to like the variables that have been introduced by the tyres. I also don’t mind DRS as a way of compensating for the effect on a following car of the turbulent aerodynamic wake of the leading car. However, I am getting tired of being characterised as a shallow or uninformed fan, or a “magpie”, or any one of a number of sneers, for holding those views.”

Critical of new tyres

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who saw his driver Button forced to let drivers through rather than defend his position in China so that he could make their strategy work, said: “It’s quite excruciating, trying to save tyres non-stop from start to finish. It seems to go on forever. It feels painful, and however bad it is for me, it must be a lot worse if you have to drive like that.”

Button, who led the race momentarily before going on to finish fifth, added: “It was quite a strange race: there was no point fighting because that was the quickest way to the end. One lock-up, one trip over the marbles and the tyres would have been gone so our strategy wouldn’t have worked and it was a very tight strategy.

“It was so difficult, I would radio in and say ‘Can I fight them?’ They’d come back and say ‘Yes, fight, fight!’ And then ten seconds later ‘No, you need to look after the tyres and get to our target lap.’ You don’t want to look like you’re not fighting but for us the best thing to do was to have clean air and not destroy the tyres. It’s not the most exciting way to go racing but we got 10 points because we did that.”

While Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso stormed to his first victory of the season, his Brazilian team-mate Felipe Massa struggled with graining and finished sixth: “I had amazing graining on the front tyres and after that I was just getting slower and slower because the graining was increasing at the front,” he said. “In the second stint I started to have a lot of graining and I was a bit scared it was too much.”

After qualifying and ahead of the race in China, Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who started from the pit lane and failed to finish the race, said: “It will all look good in the first five or six laps, having everyone fighting, but it’s a little bit WWF [referring to the wrestling sports-entertainment brand] at the moment. Whatever fuel load you have got in the car, if you race people, you are in trouble. So just don’t race, put the tyre on and just try and get home.”

Speaking about the soft tyres ahead of the race, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg said: “With those tyres it is more of a question of how many corners you are going to get to, rather than laps!”

Meanwhile Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda told the APA news agency: “You have to wonder if it’s necessary for the tyres to be so on the limit, when everyone has to go in the box just after starting a race. It’s so complicated, especially for the spectators.”

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373 comments

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1

Well, I know 1 thing, I will never put a Pirelli tire on my roadcar.

2

You would be missing out. They are the best tyres for road cars.

3

Even back in the 90's I was told Pirellis don't last as long, and the one time I bought a set that's exactly how it turned out. Good tires but did not last nearly as long as Michelins.

4

yeap, they are not cheap.

5

@Veteran

Lol! Jenson only had to brake had for the soft tyre to delaminate! Shocking stuff!

6

I totally understand your point and even I will buy a Michelin if I have to choose between the two but I think Pirelli are in F1 to do business and not for their R&D. However, that thought still won't help me in buying a Pirelli.

James, I have been following F1 for almost a decade now. I understand the need for Pirelli tyres and DRS, and I like them. For me what matters is racing even if it is at 80% push but isn't Pirelli losing its main business because of it?

7

Here...take a look:

http://www.motorsportsetc.com/info/spd_mon.htm

Remember, Monaco has changed a bit over the years.

2012 Mark was on pole with 1.14.381, 1s slower than 2011. It will be interesting to compare this year.

8

I think we can all agree here that even with these soft tires and drivers in cautious tire preservation mode, we're seeing an 80%+ push.

Also, is anyone here under some illusion about these cars? Even at 100% current F1 cars could be improved to probably 130% speed if given unlimited development room.

Quietly, behind the scenes it is also FIAs responsibilty to keep these things within a speed range. Not too fast another words. And obviously you can limit the speed of the cars with tires easily.

FYI - look back to early 2000s track records and pole position times. They haven't changed that much in 2012. They basically regained what was lost over the time. But in 10 years, lap times have not fallen 10%. If that's not an indication that there is speed control in name of safety, forces in case of accident - I don't know what is. And really...it's a good thing.

9

Pirelli wants a new, exclusive, contract, so it is presumably working for them after two years of looking at the data.

10

I'd be happy with 80% push, but this is genuinely 10% push. Even the drivers are saying so!

11

Exactly, I've kinda closed an eye to pretend all is fine with Pirelli. The softs should be tweaked quite a bit. I'll live with the other compounds.

12

Same here. Will never buy Pirelli. This is a massive PR fail for them, Don't care if they were told to build tires this way, don't care if it's the same for everyone, they should never be the main story of every race.

13

Well, this is certainly motivating for a Tire Manufacturer to be in F1. What will F1 be without a proper Tire Manufacturer brand in the sport after comments like this?

I would imagine that quite a few tires are sold directly as OEM choice on new cars by Pirelli to Mercedes Renault, Infinity (although I would think Michelin would be supported more by these last two car makers)

14

Well indeed, that was kind of the point I was making. It would be pretty embarrassing for F1 if they ended up having to buy the same tyres that rich playboys run on their 10 year old second-hand F1 cars!

15

iceman,

I'm sure Avon makes fine tires...but is it "F1 brand"? Do you know what I mean?

What I think would be funny is if a Chinese brand tyre pulled the trigger on an F1 brand project.

16

I'm sure Avon will be happy to let the teams pay full price for surplus stocks of EuroBOSS tyres!

17

Do you think, maybe, they have been *designed* to work a certain way in F1, and the road tyres, may, just may, have been designed to function in a different way ?

What-are-the-chances-of-that...

18

No, surely not?

19

I think, here lies the key to this whole story. Wayne, I'm sorry to be disagreeing completely with what you (and several others) have maintained for a long time, but we must separate what Pirelli do to build their road car tires vs. the F1 tires. In my view, they should be credited to build tires that do exactly what they were asked to. If anything that reflects on their engineering ability to be so precise in terms of building tires to the desired specs (at least 2 pit stops per race) and to be honest as a customer I admire this ability. Surely it won't be too hard for them to build a compound that can last the whole race!

Your concerns really are directed towards those who desired the tires to wear our more quickly and to add another element to decision making - guess who are they?

20

Here is my recipe for spicing up the race - remove all the computers from the teams, except for the ones in the pitwall. With the computers & number crunchers, what the analyst have done is to find the "optimum race plan" (irrespective of all the variables like tyres involved). Unfortunately, the "optimum race plan" is the same for most of the teams. Hence, we have a dud of a race. FIA should find ways to increase the "racing value" in F1, instead the "entertainment value".

When everyone is talking about GREEN, I'm not sure what the circuits do with tons of waste rubber (should I call this rubber? or cheese?). Do they sweep the entire track and collect all the marbles? Sounds like a BIG WASTE.

Remove the computers from all team analysts, limit the amount of ECU data sent live to the team (FIA can provide the remaining data after the race), bring durable tyres (lasts 1/2 race distance atleast),bring back refuelling (teams can opt for smaller tank and 2 pit stops or fake large tank with 3 pitstop, or large tank and no stop) - options are many. One of the reason why I got hooked up to f1 as a young teen was the refuelling. Sad those days are over.

Finally, apologize for hijacking your thread.

21

Some good ideas, but I can't see it happening.

I know the tyres are recycled, but I've never heard anyone mention the marbles before. Does anyone know what happens to them?

22

The marbles at the end of the race must easily fill a couple of large skips.

23

I can only speak for Monza but in that case it's a self-cleaning track. As the fans run onto the track at the end of the race they all get picked up. My missus was very happy to find one on the bedside table.

I was amazed at how sticky it remained even cold hours after the race, I would say a bit like touching the top of a pritt stick. I've no idea what compound it is.

24

I hear Michellin is sitting on the ever-lasting-tire pattent. May be a conspiracy theory, may be real.

Bottom line, don't worry about a few dozen F1 tires. Let's worry about how we drive our cars and air pressure in our tires to make our tires last. It's not F1 tires that are a waste problem, it is our road tires that are the real problem.

Just peak out at a highway in peak traffic hours and imagine each of those car's tires in the trash. That's what's going to happen eventually.

Fortunately, they are figuring out ways to put the rubber back into road building and other uses. But it's still a bigger problem than F1's green image.

25

Nuvo

Don't think it is filed. Not sure it exists even. If I did and had proof that comment would cost my life!

Obviously if a tire maker found a way to make everlasting tires it would pretty much be end of 3/4 of the industry. But like winning a lottery...just imagine if it is possible? Think of all the waste that would be saved!

For those keeping score. ..this does not count toward my book of conspiracy theories! 🙂

26

You realize that patents are public information, dont you, that the entire point of the patent process is to exchange protection for a time for releasing the knowledge to the world???

[mod]

27
Bring Back Murray

You wouldn't even get to the supermarket

28

Yes he will but he will have to change them to get back

29

I hope you guys are joking.

30

I remember the Pirelli CN36 hi perf street tires in the early to mid '70's. super fast on a SoloII or autocross or hillclimb course. a couple of miles and they were bald... same sorta goes for Pirelli oversize tires on a 4WD Chevy Avalanche today. Pirelli is a super fine top-tier tire manufacturer. I just refuse to buy into the FIA demanded, klag-spewing, helmet-shield shattering, delaminating on-a-single-lockup tire... and I am simply amazed that ANY RESPONSIBLE Company and their Stakeholders would agree to this probable PR disaster.

I get the expense and safety hazard of bringing back re-fueling during a race. I get the need for pit stop strategy to mix things up. I do NOT get "needing" the top 10 (or anybody) to start on their quali tires. make ALL use that tire sometime during the race. demand EVERYBODY have a minimum of 2, 3 or 4 pitstops during a race. screw the dual compound crap - regardless of a proper tire being able to easily go 1/2 distance, you must make 3 pitstops as an example.
F1 brazonly proclaims there are NO rookies in F1, so just what is the Pirelli definition of a rookie in providing a "special" compound tire on Fri only?? for what? 3 or 4 drivers with short-time F1 experience in a financially-strapped constructor car cruising around for a few laps - they still have the very same constraints of mandated penalties for engine changes, gearbox changes, and maybe more $$$ spent on crashed tubs or worse???

[mod]

31

Joking? You can bet they arent.

You've got to wonder what Pirelli was thinking about when they signed the dotted line to manufacture poor tyres.

It surely doesn't give the consumer confidence that the quality of their road tyre will not be compromised for some deal or the other. Would I buy Pirelli's after that? No way!

32

Yes, we know.... obviously. But you have to admit that the marketing campaign is ridiculous.

33

They'd degrade due to contact with the ridges in the skin of the mechanic who fitted the bloody things. Their head of marketing should be retired.

4 New tyres on my company car on Friday, I'm not even paying and I made sure they weren't Pirellis. The bloke at national tyres even had a laugh with me about Pirelli tyres.

34

Sure you Pirelli critics [mod] can see that an F1 Tyre is made for a purpose which is speed and grip rather than durability.

Will you also not buy a Mercedes, Ferrari or Renault engine because they only last 2 races?

How about the Shell fuel going into those Ferrari's? Clearly some problems with fuel efficiency there when they're getting only 50 laps to the tank!

I bet their Shell Oil change interval is a lot less than the 30000km interval my car is on. I better make sure I don't get Shell at my next service - even if the company is paying!

And why stop with the cars - how about the drivers too. With the number of dings that the 5 world champions in the field have had in the last couple of years, I think their insurance no-claims bonuses would all be long gone. Best drivers in the world! I think not - I haven't had an accident in my entire driving career.

...ohhh that's right - they race in Formula 1 cars - the pinnacle of motorsport, while I drive my "hot" hatch to my crappy dayjob. Pirelli's for me??? Yes please - if it allows me to maintain my Schumacheresque fantasies on the way to and from work for an hour a day, it's a bargain.

35

Did you hear? No softs for Bahrain Wayne. Happy?

36

Some jokes here about Pirelli are not of a high class, I have to say. One of the best tires available along with Yokohama.

37

Wayne,

I'm sure you're being dramatic on this comment. That's one heck of a tire conincidence.

You're a knowledgable guy, so I can hardly believe that you actually can't seperate this F1 spec tire from the road tires at your local centre.

Comments like this may result in Pirelli changing their tires. Or they may result in Pirelli pulling out of F1, and no manufacturer wanting to come in.

Tires are a serious challange in F1, and for Bernie. You and others keep this Pirelli "hate-on" going and you may not like the consequences it brings.

38

You could, but then you'd have to get there in a cab and abandon your car.

39

WOW.

Read all the comments here today, it's astounding.

Firstly - Pirelli are doing what they were asked to: in '12 the tyres lasted better but dropped off too steeply, so they've created a compound which has high deg but this is spread more evenly per lap.

OK - so to the main issue...

Can someone please explain what we really want? It's not overtaking - DRS provides that but it ends up 'too fake'. It's not close racing, that leads to calls of being 'processional'. We wanted 2 or more pitstops and it's too much! We have refuelling and we hate it, we get rid of it and we still argue races aren't sprints to the finish.

And finally tyres....

There is always outcry at this sport for reasons beyond my comprehension. There are plenty of other motorsports which have what many people seem to want - spec chassis, sprint races with no stops, durable tyres, no DRS, no KERS, no Pirelli, no wings even. These formula provide excellent racing and are easily available on television and online.

F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, and as such then it has to be just that - the PINNACLE OF MOTORSPORT.

Not, as some would argue it should be, a straight forward race where there is no strategy involved. No technical advancements to develop, manage and race in the heat of the moment. No regulations changes. No difficulties for the drivers to manage and overcome. No millions of fans to please.

My beloved F1. Stay true to yourself. Keep changing, keep challenging.

40

I dont think I have ever heard of a driver ask whether he should race another driver before.

This is not F1.

It should be called Tyre/Fuel Management racing,or TFM.

If drivers are not at 10/10ths for the whole race, it cannot be a pinnacle sport.

cars should start with the fuel and tyres to last the whole race, 2 hours or 200 miles, endof.

41

It really depends on what sort of F1 people want. If you want a fascinating strategic battle then, with no refuelling, the only way to do this is via the tyres. So Pirelli have to make them volatile otherwise everyone will pit at almost the same time to simply change compound.

If instead you want more overtaking, genuine overtaking that is, then you could try having stronger tyres with DRS zones (plural) and KERS used for cars to pass each other.

The current situation is, I imagine, meant to be a compromise between the two but on some circuits the volatility of the tyres is such that overtaking becomes inevitable and therefore meaningless. The teams will obv not like the current situation because they have to figure out how the tyre works but, for all their complaints, they do tend to figure them out by about mid-season anyway.

Overall I'd say it is a delicate issue with no perfect answer to satisfy all types of F1 fan as well as (and this is important) the casual, channel-flicking viewer. China was a little bit worrying in its implications, but I'd still be surprised if we saw races like that throughout the season.

42

I think GP2 was absent in China because there was a strong chance they would be faster than the F1 guys - and the only reason Pirelli have changed their compounds for Bahrain is because that would be a disaster for F1 so Bernie told them to change compounds...

43

When have drivers ever been at 10/10ths for an entire race? In any motorsport

44

In f1 when there was refueling. Your next question?

45

Why wasn't the racing any good during the refueling era?

46

There was still fuel saving at times when there was refueling, the entire race was not done at 10/10ths. And they had the different engine maps

Yes they were at 10/10ths at a lot of times in the race, certainly a lot more than these days. In fact Vettel in the last 5 laps last time out was the first time in a long long time that I remember someone going 10/10ths at any part of the race

47

there is something not right about a driver taking 15 seconds off the leaders in 5 laps -- but be denined the possibility of competing because he had to go too slow tring to make his hard tyres last long enough!!

A comparison of Q3

and fastest laps show a gap of 5 - 5.5

for the contenders...

FA: Qual3-> 1:34.788 Fastest Laps-> 1:39.506

KR: Qual3-> 1:34.761 Fastest Laps-> 1:39.955

LH: Qual3-> 1:34.484 Fastest Laps-> 1:39.981

How can this be right??

How can we be told that tenths or hundredths or thousandths are important on a Saturday, while the same cars, with the same setups are handfulls of seconds slower on a sunday??

is this what the fans want?

Overtaking? meaninless overtaking ? drivers not defending, or not attacking??

--nice safe overspeed overtaking on a straight, wide enough for the cars to run 20 abreast??

But, Boys and Girls - Its going to get worse!!

Remember, the authorities want to ration race fuel as well.... apparently its all part of the plan - moving to the new 1.6 liter engine as the nonsense electric concepts.

How can the feeder series adapt to produce the drivers of the future?? they are no longer trying to find the fastest drivers just the most light footed drivers....

perhaps teams will be looking to ballet studios rather than Formula Ford for the winners of the future

-- but by then there may be no fans left....

48

I agree on the tires. I I preferred it when tyre changes were banned.

There's nothing wrong with rationing fuel though. it works very well in MotoGP and we get some great racing there.

49

We had to put up with some years of processional racing though, and fights that were called off at half race distance as one rider's bike went into fuel saving mode. I don't think fuel rationing has contributed to the recent improvement; on the contrary, it's more likely because the teams have got the hang of removing fuel rationing as an issue.

50

If you look at the Bridgestone era where the cars were qualifying with say 15 laps fuel on board, (to do 20 with the fuel credit), the fastest laps were still well off the pole times even though there were generally three times in the race where the cars were lighter than qualifying.

51

haha. never ever bothered me that Fangio, Clark,and many more after in many deciples of racing ruled the World during their time. catching, stalking and passing is all fine. but I truely do not care if not 1 single pass is ever made during any race. I want to see the absolute purity of superior perfection.

I know, that does not sell tickets or TV time for the high-rollers or wanna-be-kewl sponsors...

and it does not leave much wiggle room for pundits, either 🙂

52

Nice post, agree with every word.

53

Totaly agree. I've been watching F1 since the early sixties and marshalled at Kyalami when racing was racing. What is the point of F1 today when you get this type of situation. I mean really, "can I fight"... ABSOLUTE NONSENSE

54

Music to my ears.

55

They do. Then they find out how fast they can use the fuel/tyres and still make it - because going faster is better, but uses them more.

56

Don't change the tire compounds and don't moan about them. Thank you.

57

This issue obviously has many fans divided on either side of the argument, but why does it have to be this way?

Surely there can be a compromise; tyres that drivers can push on, force strategic decisions to be made that can also accommodate different driving styles.

Formula 1 should demonstrate world class engineering, and I don't think anyone can argue that tyres which visibly disintegrate all over the track over the course of 5 laps is engineering excellence.

I think this compromise would be tyres that allow the driver to push but then fall away after a reasonable number of laps. A driver can choose to nurse them if he or the team wishes and can then make one less stop with the "pushers" and "nursers" meeting on the track along the way. That would make for a very interesting race.

If something like this can be achieved then surely the tyre manufacturer will be heroes, pleasing just about everyone.

With the volume of data and the amount of engineering expertise available, I don't see why this can't be achievable, and why we are so far from it at the moment.

I also find it very strange how as far as I am aware no pundit is willing to criticise the tyres, almost as if there is some sort of muzzling going on...

58

I agree. This has always been my view when it comes to these tyres. Instead of forcing all the drivers to use both compounds during a race, which will and has effectively resulted in them using the same strategy (or not, as was the case in china with VET and BUT sitting out Q3)

Drivers should be able to pick from a faster tyre to use all race, but it has the downside of less durability. Or a slower tyre which last longer so requiring fewer stops. But its down to the drivers and teams to choose which tyre strategy. Bearing in mind any advantage built up with the faster tyres will be chipped away due to frequent pit stops.

Right now, drivers are compromising their qualifying grid slots, as the points are handed out on the sunday.

59

+1

60

You're welcome......... Seriously, someone here tell me how it can be right for drivers not to defend their position on track? Preferably without any of that old tosh about 'it's always been this way'. Is that honestly the sort of racing you want to see from the world's premiere motorsport?

Honestly? I just don't understand how motorsport fans can defend gimmicky tyres and gimmicky DRS. Watching cars mugging other cars under DRS was insipid. Watching the cars change tyres after 6 laps was utterly laughable and, in my opinion, brings the sport into disrepute.

When did seeing a two dozen worthless overtakes per race become preferable to 6 great ones? Had VET overtaken HAM at the end of the race it would have been nothing to do with skill at driving fast and everything to do with skipping Q3 and ripping off the people who paid for a ticket to watch the world champion take part in qualy. (I don't mean to say this is VETs fault by the way).

It's indefensible.

61

can not argue. I have to watch maybe 3 to 6 races a weekend now adays to get close to the same "fix" I got outta 2 - 4 races A YEAR in the '60's to '80's.

pathetic....

62

Seeing two WDC's skipping Q3 was the last straw, but then came a WDC politely enquiring over the radio if he should fight!!! ...God!

I think its the newer fans or those than aren't avid petrolheads that support the tyre nonsense.

If I want unpredictabilty, I can buy the lottery on Saturday, or pay a few quid to go watch an "exciting" game of bingo.

63

But, we don't need fake tyres for racing to be strategic.

The argument for the tyres just doesn't exist outside injecting the artifice that Webber calls "WWF."

64

You don't like strategy?

There is an argument to be made about choosing your fights as well.

If the worse case scenario is that these tires deliver strategy wins as they did in the past, and best case scenario is they give us dry races that are wild like changable condition races - where is the problem exactly?

65

that's 3 times world champion

66

We collectively have to agree to go back two decades technologically then.

I honestly had no problems watching F1 in any era. I'm not sure we had 6 great passes per race. I think we may have had 2 or 3 great passes per season some seasons. But they were thrilling, memorable - I agree.

FIA did a fan survey. We answered. They determined we want more quantity of passes. And so they have delivered with rule changes. DRS is what..second year? Agressive tires...first few races? Not sufficient sample of data if you ask me. No need for a knee jerk reaction just yet in my view.

Apparently I read 600M people watch a Grand Prix each weekend according to Wikipedia. If you believe that number to be true, our 200 or 300 comments on the subject are but a small sample reflecting the more knowledgable fans who follow the sport beyond the weekend only. And without James putting up a poll, it looks about 50/50 or so for these tires. Some are angry, others understand it, others still aren't sure if there is a proper alternative.

67

i often disagree with you in some issues, but that was a very well exposed point.

68

+1

Do we really want to go back to 1 (or zero) stop races, where everyone finishes where they qualified ?

69

That's sensationalist nonsense and almost never happened. There are countless great clips out there of drivers battling each other fiercely on track, side by side, sparks, brimstone and hellfire and all!!!!

70

Maybe back when the cars didn't rely so heavily on aerodynamics and could actually get close to each other. It's just plain physics, and that formula would not work in this age..

71

That's because no-one can be bothered putting up the ones where they follow each other around and around and around...

What you said (drivers battling each other fiercely on track, side by side, sparks, brimstone and hellfire) is how it should be, but there's no way it was like that at every race.

Having said that, I am a supporter of Pirelli (even if I'd prefer a better way to make the races better), but after China even I'm starting to question the extremes they are going to.

By the end of 2013 the teams will have a handle on these tyres, just as they did in 2012, so what next? Bubblegum tyres?

We need exciting races, but there has to be a line.

72

I like having tyres that degrade, it means that drivers are required to manage a race distance, and as the best drivers in the world this skill should be tested. I recall the days of the tyres that never really gave up any performance, and the races were horrendously boring. I do not want a return to this.

All that said though this weekends option tyres didn't out perform the prime's for long enough. The only person who looked able to get any decent performance from the option in race trim was Vettel, and you could see in the last lap that his tyres were giving up after 5 laps from new. This needs to be more like 9 laps.

Overall though, I feel F1 has moved from a sport pre 2011 that was car dominated, to 2012 onwards, which is tyre dominated. I'm not sure that's a good thing, but equally with the tyres as they are you can win without the 'fastest' car nowadays.

73

It's moved from a sport to 'sports entertainment' where the cheap entertainment for people with the attention span of a gnat is more important than the 'sport'.

74

Wayne,

Sorry to pick out on your comments. But you're quite against the tires. I'm just trying to address some of your points with a counter point.

DRS is like jabs in a boxing match. You are clearly OK with a boxing match ending with a single punch with the audience waiting 2 hours for that punch. Most of the world wants to see the drivers exchange some jabs over the 2 hours, then at the end perhaps we see a knock-out punch on even terms. Or in some cases you may have an unsatisfactory result of going to the "stragety card" - or judge's score card.

I think a good match where jabs and punches are involved is better than Tyson coming out, one upper cut, 9s match - bell, done. Sorry, make that Tyson coming out, one upper cut maybe over 2 hours, bell, done. You see where the entertainment is important. You will watch and wait a boxer in the ring for 2 hours before a punch is maybe thrown?

I'm not sure if you are aware, but a GP is a show of moving billboards with ad space that's sold due to the apparent 100s of millions that watch a GP. It is punctuated by 30s commercials in some markets as a cherry on the 2 hour marketing event. Things have to be happening on track to keep people watching and it has be entertaining. By the way, this is not a revolutionary new secret I just let out of the bag. It's always been that way.

75

Steve.

Perhaps DRS is enough.

I am sure the tires can and will change again in 2014. Let's all remember that nearly no rules changed in 2013. Look at end of 2012. Great racing, but already teams were on too of the 2012 tires. With no rule changes the tires change was one way to bring some unknown at least to start of 2013.

I really feel that F1 sites see the comments and are afraid to do a proper defence of these tires. Putting some points down as to why it is good for F1 to at least make fans understand the logic is something I don't believe I've seen. Can someone point me to an article that says these tires are good for F1 and here are the reasons why?

76

Surely we dont need such fast degrading tyres now that we have DRS? When i watch back to older races with better tyres, Yes you do see a lot of following without being able to pass even though the following car is quicker, However, Surely if they had DRS in those days the faster car could have got by (i.e Alonso at Abu Dhabi 2010).

We got DRS and Fast Degrading Tyres at the same time so it is hard to know this for definite but i do think the tyres have gone a step too far this year, Drivers arent pushing the car anymore because theyre too scared of the tyres, Drivers dont even look tired when they get out after a grand prix because they are cruising, not pushing.

I am not a fan of follow the leader racing but i personally feel that DRS was the key to this, Not tyres you cant race on.

Also, Next years engines are supposed to produce more power and less traction on corner exit, Surely for this they need better tyres or what is the point? That power will not get used because they will be too scared of tyre damage.

77

Quade,

Bolt would be racing against others with same paper running shoes.

Fastest over a single lap means that teams had the fastest dominating cars. It means start from front and lead lights to flag. As last year proved, these rules allow those without fastest cars to compete and challange. To have a shot.

Isn't that what we complained about for a decade wasn't happening?

78

Now, because of artificial tyres, drivers need permission to fight for their place. How ridiculous can F1 get?

We now have phrases like; "fastest over a single lap." If a driver is fastest over a single lap, surely they should be fastest through the race, otherwise, they have been artificially hampered. Its also easy to see that in a real racing era, either Alonso or Lewis would have won the WDC last year.

The tyre show is only good for dumbed down entertainment and bad for F1. Imagine providing Ussain Bolt with paper running shoes to spice things, then claiming he is only fastet over 5 metres and World records are unimportant. F1 is absolutely ridiculing itself.

79

I have to wonder. On one hand, yes it was exciting to see Vettel almost make the strategy work to perfection yesterday.

However, would it not also be exciting to see the cars be able to drive to their full potential on every lap? Would that not separate the good drives from the great ones that can do a qualifying lap for 60 laps?

It all does seem a bit contrived at the moment with people just driving to the delta provided by the team.

It's funny how Schumacher brought up this exact issue last year and was criticized for it. Yes you have to drive to the tire, but it seems awfully silly to invest 100-500 million into two cars every year, and then have to drive them like a Grandpa out for a Sunday cruise.

I don't know it's a tough call. Pit stops have always been important in F1. With refueling gone, forcing the teams to do pit stops seems a bit much. I found the strategy of refueling more interesting than choosing when to pit for tires.

80

I agree 100%, at least with refueling each stint was like a sprint race, maybe the answer is slightly more durable tyres and 2 mandatory stops per race per car. Keep the split compounds tho and you could still get some good stratagies out of it. Possibly have "special" qually tyres for those in Q3 but the ten runners must nominate which tyre they start on b4 going out and setting a time for grid position.

It's only one idea of many but it was so hard to explain to my misses what was going on at any one point, as she was in bed next to me asking silly questions. Should imagine anyone with a passing interest was proper baffelled what was going on LOL

81

No I do not think it would be exciting to see a car drive to the full potential every lap, as the cars will generally qualify with the fastest on pole and the slowest at the back, without a variable such as degrading tyres or rain, cars will finish in pretty much the order they started in.

82

In that case why aren't Caterham or Marussia winning now.. Why don't they have a chance .. It's no different if we have tyres lasting a whole race- only you will see drivers ringing the neck of the car for the whole race & if you ask me this is where skill will highlight itself more than what we currently have and also this will test the teams & cars more as they are drive. Flat out like they should be

83

Caterham and Marussia?

There's mixing it up and then there's mixing it up.

For them to win it would have to be a lot of the latter 🙂

84
Mike from Colombia

What was the plan for next year? So when the teams "master" tiptoeing around this year - was the plan to introduce tubed rubber radials for 2014?

DRS is an even bigger problem than these tyres.

When will we ever see a proper overtaking manoeuvre ever again ?

85

Kimi does it nearly every race whether there's DRS or not. He said before he returned to F1 that the DRS was "not really racing"

86

Between laps 1 and 3, I think, any maybe if it is really raining, but apart from that... Good luck 🙂

87
Mike from Colombia

If Button, one of the world's best tyre nurses says there is a problem - there IS A PROBLEM.

88

I had this exact thought myself as I watched Button cruise around, ultimately competing against his tyres rather than the competitors.

F1 may as well just let the cars run with a "safety" gap and just see who completes the laps quickest, as in WRC. Or even better, see who completes the most laps in a limited time, then the broadcast would never run overtime!

I've been a fan for 20 years and not missed a race in that time, I used to watch every race live (I'm in the southern hemisphere, so that means anytime up to about 5am) and as each season goes by, I seem to be watching more and more by replay. This last weekend, I watched it in 3 chunks, I actually had better things to do and fell asleep through the last 10 laps!!! I was shocked at myself, but it really made me wonder how many others feel the same way.

89
Grayzee (Australia)

Nah..........you must be just like me, mate......getting old! My eyelids seem to drop a lot easier these days..... 🙂

90

Drivers moan. No doubt he moans about the aero of his car or whatever too.

91

True, but that's not the point that Mike was trying to make I think.

92

I'm sorry, but I don't buy the argument that tyres were always a limiting factor. They were to a certain degree and to certain tracks. Right now it's too much. Put DRS and KERS on top of it and it's clearly artificial racing (if you can call it racing). Don't get me wrong, it is exciting, but you don't see people fighting lap after lap, race after race. You don't get the faster drivers fighting for wins but those we can manage races better. There needs to be a middle ground. Either take DRS out and keep the tyres as such, or make the tyres more durable.

93

For me - Bluntly - get rid of DRS (dumb racing system) and fake tyres and put it literally in the hands of the race drivers by making them return to a manual gearbox. They make a mistake - they pay. At the moment it seems to be just fake racing. I won't deny it hasn't added excitement at times but computerised starts and tyres that delaminate and false overtaking demeans any skill the drivers have. I can guarantee that sore feet, blistered hands and missed gear changes are likely to cause just as many passes.

94

to a point, I MUST agree with you. DRS and KERS and dual compound tires, and must start on qualy tire (but ONLY if in the top 10 and ONLY if you actually make a qualy run is massively contrived, artificial, and mind-boggling stupidity for anybody of more than average intelligence.

F1 can be entertaining today in a manner that lines fat cat pockets, but it no longer has anything whatsoever to do with sport or TALENT or GUTS. it is all about computer programmers on "TEAM" super computers and sponsor $$$... the WWF keeps popping up in my antiquated brain...

95
robert b. NY, NY

what are you talking about when you say "clearly artificial racing"? We do see people racing more than ever. Yes they have to manage their tires and pick their spots but there was never so much "racing" prior to DRS, KERS and these tires. Most races were a procession with the final result largely determined in qualifying. Cars could almost never get past before even if faster because as soon as they got close they lost the aero so they suddenly were slower. I am not saying all is perfect with this tire thing but it wasn't so great before either.

96

What you see is overtakes, with not much fighting going on, the type of overtakes I do on the motorway! We want to see drivers fighting for their position lap after lap. It is exciting racing, but not very real to me, a bit like WWF vs Greco-Roman wrestling.

97

Give a bit of time for the teams to develop the cars. They'll work the tires better in time in a similar fashion to the way last year progressed. We went from 3-stop races to 1-stop races with the same tires in 2012.

I think we'll probably see a big leap in Spain, and then another one after the summer break.

The lack of running in Q3 was really unfortunate but I think that will be the exception not the rule.

It's a constant balancing act with all the technologies you mention, and the almost constant improvements the teams make. The DRS zones looked much to long as most of the DRS passing occured before the braking zone. That's probably a result of the gains in DRS efficiency the teams are finding.

I think it would be a mistake to change the tires now. If the problem persists into the summer, then maybe they will need to consider a change for the second half.

98

I don’t like the new tires and its clear that something needs to be done. I would be surprised if Bernie doesn’t get the message soon. Its easy to chalk it up to certain teams making the tires work better than everyone, but clearly there is some dissatisfaction up and down the grid when the entire field sits out of the majority of Q1 to preserve tires and when multiple teams come to the conclusion that its best to sit out Q3. There has been far too many instances in which drivers from multiple teams are asking is it okay to fight, how is my pace, or being instructed not to defend a position due to tire deg. Some may find the new aspect of tire strategy interesting, but I am not among them. I don’t find tire preservation contests to be as intriguing as racers going full on lap after lap. I’m not saying to make it a one stop race, but when the tires are so fragile that the best racing strategy is not to race hard I have a problem with that. Same issue with the DRS. I felt both have reduced the importance of driver skill and engineering to the overall result. If you can get with 1 second of your opponent a pass is virtually assured. For me the final few laps of the race were both thrilling and depressing. Thrilling because someone (VET) was finally actually pushing and depressing because of how suddenly it became clear it was that up until then the race was just a parade.

99

I do understand why they have done what they have done with the tyres but...it makes for a boring race. I pay good money to see the British GP, I want to see cars being driven on the limit not nursed around conserving tyres. We are considering just going to the Saturday qualifying this year and even then we might be short changed if some teams decide to save a set of tyres in Q3.

100
Bring Back Murray

Maybe you can pay 66% of the fee, and just see Q1 and Q2

101

The current tyres just make the result a lottery. So why bother putting the cars on track; just toss a coin to see who wins. Please, please, please bin these stupid "designed to wear out tyres" and get some that will last so that the best car and driver wins rather than the car that the tryes suit at a particular circuit.

102

A lottery where 5 world champions in the best cars on the grid happened to end up at the front?

103
robert b. NY, NY

a lottery, what joke! if it's a lottery why are the best drivers best and best teams still at the top fighting like cats and dogs to win? It's still racing and more dynamic and competitive than before.

104

You can't say it's a lottery. If it is, why it it still the usual top drivers and teams that frequent the podium? If a top driver is being overly handicapped from producing their skill due being unable to push at all, why does Alonso and Raikkonen, for example, still whup their team mates?

There's a balance to be met, and I agree it could be going too far but it's not a lottery. The cream is still rising to the top. The laws of physics still govern the situation but tyre modelling is not as advanced as aero simulation, making it harder for the teams to control such variables. I like the requirement of a driver to have to show top outright pace and also knowing how to manage a race distance.

I actually like an idea I read where each driver gets a limited number of DRS uses a race, to be used as they see fit. Cars can overtake easier these days so we don't need such reliance on DRS.

105

In sports you don´t know the result before the competition ends. If Liverpool plays against Arsenal you don´t know who is going to win. It´s not a lottery it is in the nature of every competition.

106

Maybe it is not a lottery but it certainly is an absolute farce so I fully agree... "Why actually put the cars on the track" seeing as we not seeing true racing. Flip the coin and let someone like Charlie decide who should be named the winner.

107

I support the role tires are playing in F1 today.

One aspect that has not been brought up, is that these tires require more skill from the driver, meaning different teams are on more level playing field and race results are a better indicator of drivers race craft than before. It's not just about the car anymore. Lotus is gentle on its tires in Kimi's hands, not so gentle when Romain is driving the car etc. When top 5 are made of cars from 5 different teams, you know it was the driver that made the difference in each case. I think that is great.

108

Goodness me NO!. They do not require MORE skill at all, not even slightly! They require DIFFERENT skill. Less skill at driving fast and more skill at saving tyres!

109

Everyone knows how to drive saving tires. Not everyone knows how to do it while driving fast. My point is, now the race results are not dictated just by the car you drive, but how well you drive it. That's how it should be.

111

I dont understand why Gary Anderson thinks a medium-hard allocation wouldve been so bad. If theyre already managing the pace so much why wouldnt it have simply led to a "normal" 2 stop race?

Ive also heard numerous times now that its the degradation and not the wear that limits these tyres, but Pirelli have always said theyre designed to degrade thermally.

112

Yeh agree. Give them a better mix of tyres & they might push @ 90% instead of 80%.

113

If they had had to really, really manage those medium tyres, it would have been the case it would have been quicker to make more stops than they did.

Of course there was managing going on, not saying there wasnt, but they ran the quickest race time they could.

Overtaking was too easy and that was a problem. We must note that Button was a special case because he was going for an extreme tyre life strategy.

114

I think this is the problem with the tyres "degrading" as opposed to "wearing".

We need tyres that "wear", that at one third distance theres no rubber left on the tyre from being scrubbed off, not that they overheat and fall apart with load.

115

I agree with this. Having a tyre with a consistent level of grip, or slower degradation rate but with a certain life to that grip.

So, e.g. you have options that can do x lap time, and has rubber that will last say 12-15 good laps depending on the car, after which the rubber is gone and you need to pit. Throughout those laps your grip level doesn't decrease too drastically (15% say by stint's end).

Then you have the primes, which might be 0.3s slower but lasts 22-26 laps say.

Something like this, could result in a 2 or 3 stop strategy giving similar race times (they're just guess numbers). But it would be based more on the driver needing to extract the tyres' potential grip each lap as opposed to overly looking after them. And of course getting through traffic would be a critical part too.

Of course I'm sure it's difficult to do all this. As I say, Pirelli's engineers have a tougher task than the others did.

116

Between the tyres and DRS, it's simply too artifical. F1 was incredibly exciting before these gimmicks. The competition between constructors and drivers is unparalleled drama.

117
robert b. NY, NY

this whole tire thing is a bit of quandary and I can see both sides of the argument. I have watched every race since 2005 and I guess for me I have to say that this new tire program has made for a better more dynamic spectacle. When I started watching an awful lot of races were just processions and overtaking was all but impossible so between the DRS and the new tires the races have become more dynamic. Although as I said I understand the other view as well.

At the end of the day though it is still the best car and the best drivers at the top so it's not like the new tires have shaken things up that much; they just lead to more interesting races involving all the usual suspects.

One complaint is that the races can be a bit hard to follow mid race and the announcers here in the U.S. aren't very helpful. You really need to understand lap times and tire age at any point in the race to have some understanding who is in the best position. It's a bit frustrating in that sense but if the broadcasters would giver more info it would make it better.

118

Totally disagree, you can still tell whom is going to finish in the top 3 places from about one third race distance, you just have to sipho out all the alternative strategies. It isnt more exciting, just the same thing but painted to look different so a less intelligent viewer can lok and say "gee I cant tell who is going to be in front at the end" when with a little bit of calculation its still painfully obvious, its just there are more cars pretending to pass each other on track due to different strategies.

Yawn.

119

@robert b.NY,NY

I like your post. I really do. congrats on being a fan for 8 years! lottsa changes over that time - not all for the good or bad.

yes, the cream will most usually rise to the top. good observation!

while a number of the passes by many in China were contrived due to DRS, start-line clutch settings, KERS and tire strategy, they were ultimately completed due to massively committed and superior driver efforts. it was pretty good and I soooo appreciated seeing that!

keep in mind, many of us have been hooked for a very long time. I have been an F1 and other racing venue junkie since 1962.

I watched both SKY and NBC coverage for this race, practice, and qualy. u r right. it sucks... can't wait to get to Austin this fall...

120

It's not who wins, but how they are winning. They are not winning through skill at driving fast on the limit of adhesion, they are winning through skill at nursing the tyres. Imagine if NASCAR drivers all had to slope around at 80% capacity to save tyres!

I've watched every race since 1984 and it is utter rot when people say drivers all finished in the order they started and the races were dull. Google some classic examples, there are hundreds.

121

It's costly but the F1 Timing app for iPhone (and others I guess) is fantastic.

You see lap times, a GPS map, you can see a driver's tyre strategy to date and how many laps they've been on their tyres, etc.

For example I noticed before the commentators did that Webber was going to be near the front after pitting on lap 1; his sectors were significantly better. Definitely a good aid for reading these races. (Can help if placing bets too! 😛 )

122

I totally agree with you on this. Our coverage in Canada is the BBC feed and though we don't get the benefit of any pre-race or post-race show, the commentators need to talk about this more, and the graphics need to be updated to display this information. Tire type and age in laps would be a good start and not require too much screen real estate. They could remove the DRS graphic to save some space since this is pretty easy to see on the cars anyway and occurs in the same place every lap. At the very least they could post some of this on the internet feed.

123

those suffer moan

those didnt get on with it

People got confused with the meaning of driving on the edge....even back in 2000-2010, you have to look after your tyre and not to be on the edge all the time.

People that able to look after their tyre amazed me more and proven to be difficult as only a few can do so.

Fernando and Kimi etc. Neither of their teammate capable of making their tyre last as much as they wanted despite driving the same cars.

Lastly, no matter what's the reg are..the cream will always rise to the top.

I salute Pirelli for their hard work in making F1 interesting again.

124

Wow, ok, thats not how I remember 2000 to 2010 in f1 but cool story. Nando & kimi used to charge to their victories back then, maximum attack every lap. Was great to watch, especially Nando vs Schumacher.

125

As an F1 fan, I want to see the best drivers going wheel to wheel and racing. But as we know F1 cars can't follow and overtake that easily and races became processions that none of us want.

DRS has helped with this, but can seem a little artificial at times, and now we've got the excitement of tyres that no-one knows how long they'll last. Perhaps they are a little fragile, but that's what we've got at the moment.

Do I prefer processions or not pushing to save the tyres. Personally prefer the fact that we don't know who's going to win until nearer the end of the race. But would like to see the best drivers being able to push for the whole race instead of having to save tyres/fuel.

Come on F1, with all your intelligence you should be able to get the balance correct!

126

I am ok with the tires like this... if not we will see one maybe two teams storm away with a 1 stop race like the old days... Lauda is saying they will change to harder tires for all races so that will help Merc and RB a lot.

127

The problem with overtaking in F1 was never due to durable tyres, it was down to poor track design and dirty air.

Take the 2010 season; add in DRS to bridgestones and you wouldnt have cars stuck behind each other, even at tracks like Abu Dhabi, Hungary and Barcalona. The pirelli solution was unnecessary and didnt address the actual cause.

James, next year drivers will have to save significant fuel too. Will we still see these tyres next year as itll result in very slow F1 cars?

128

Next year is a whole other ball game.

129

Next year is the death of F1. Bring back the v10. Cant believe the "green" argument in F1 when one single Jumbo flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo uses more fuel than all the cars use, for every session including the races, FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON!

Marketing gone wild eh?

130

+111, 111, 111, 111, 111, 111, 111, 111

131

If everyone was allowed to start on the tyres they chose, instead of the tyres they qualified on, then they would be fighting for position with every car. It's as simple as that.

132

Aah the tyres... To be or not to be, is the question.

No doubt about it, Pirelli went extreme with the 2013 tyres for the drivers (just like in 2011) felt straight away in winter testing that something just wasn't right.

Yes, I do support degradation in tyres but tyres that last 5-6 laps is just not on, full stop and I hope Pirelli's board meeting after Bahrain will address this. For yes we need degradation but reasonable tyre-wear.

The 2012 tyres weren't bad at all for their only negative is they had a small operating window for inserting heat but the teams got on top of this by the midway of the season >>> so there was no need to change.

Meanwhile another thing that left a some fans unsatisfied is the two DRS zones. The two DRS zones was a mistake because moves like Lewis' overtake on Jenson into turn 1 from 2011 were made that much easier (look at how Alonso failed to overtake Lewis before DRS was enabled)

Having said all that, for the good of the sport and all that's holy, we can never go back to the Brigdestone era or the Goodyear era for in these times of aero-dependant cars, that's a none starter.

133

Good balanced post.

I think there's a bit of a misinterpretation with drivers not pushing. They're still pushing, but just to the limited package at that stage of the race. If there wasn't such skill required why do some drivers massively beat their team mate?

In some ways it's more skilful to know how to maximise such a package. This is indicated by the drivers apparent constant request from the team on how far to push the package! It's easy to see why Prost was a master at this in the days without all the simulation tools and he had to rely more on his judgement.

134

So if useless tyres don't matter with the cream still rising to the top, why introduce them at all?

The tyres are simply an unecessary variable brought in to inject uncertainty in place of driver skill.

135

Hi Craig D, I appreciate your view point on the tyres, its quite balanced and sensible. However, the F1 situation becomes alarming when driver after driver complains about being limited by the tyres; its even worse when fans can pick out that drivers are not doing their best and actually driving flat out. Instead of a display of on-the-edge driving skills, F1 has decayed into tyre management and lost focus. Thats the real point we are driving at.

On the point about the number of pit stops, I don't think the amount per race matters that much. Pit stops are rarely exciting and should only be a convenience to refresh the car with tyres/fuel, a wing turn or two, or car repairs; they shouldn't be part of the race proper. The fact that they now are sadly points to the effect of the artificial limitations (tyre etc), they make what the drivers are doing on track so boring that we have to look to pit stops for excitement. That isn't right.

Give the drivers the tools to go crazy and we would be thoroughly entertained.

136

And conversely if the cream still rises to the top, why get rid of them?

It's pretty evident that driver and engineer skill is still valued. The type of skills required might be different - or rather expanded as it is still important to be able to squeeze out fast laps when required "Push, push, give it all you've got" are still radio messages we hear alongside the "target lap time" ones.

I accept some people don't like this requirement change and that's fine to have that view. I do to an extent as well.

In my ideal world they'd be a choice: if a driver like Hamilton wants to go for a 100% flat out sprint race of 3 stops, he should be able to have the tyres to do that (so doing the race on 4 sets of fast options). It's just that such tyres won't survive the whole race, so you have to do short sprints for this strategy. The Mercedes might work better in this condition for example. If someone like Button instead wants to opt for a 1 or 2 stop strategy on slower but durable tyres, then that should be a viable choice too. The difficulty is getting such tyres tuned to each circuit. It's the same as DRS, sometimes it's tuned perfectly, sometimes God awful! Technically Pirelli have a far greater challenge than Bridgestone did.

At the end of the day to enable a strategic, varied race the tyres HAVE to degrade. The issue is getting the balance. Options that last 6 laps of a 56 lap race is ridiculous.

The thing that stops me jumping on the Total Tyre Hate bandwagon is pausing to think of what the alternative will be. Hard tyres and we'll have stints of 45+ laps in a 65-60 lap race. They'll certainly be some classic races still but there's going to be a lot of dull events. Mark my words, you're not going to get a flock of posters on this site praising the driver's skill and fitness, they'll be moaning at what a dull event it was because little changed in the race, or that Vettel just steamed off into the distance. We had that with some of the latter races last year that were 1 stoppers.

For example, each year in Monaco, you don't get posters praising the skill and concentration of the drivers to complete lap after lap of such a demanding challenge. No, you get people complaining on the dull procession the race was and that it shouldn't be on the calendar.

137

These tyres are terrible.

When drivers are too scared to defend their position or attack for fear of ruining the tyres - this is not racing!

When drivers are driving to a delta for most of the race - this is not racing!

When a driver 'overtakes' another driver whose tyres are older and therefore 2 seconds a lap slower - this is not racing!

138

I agree.

I've been a fan of F1 for over 35 years, and even designed electronic controls for F1 in the early '90s. I'm about ready to cancel my premium satellite tier which I only purchased to watch F1.

I can watch both the MotoGP series and the Australian V8 supercars on a non premium channel, and both are far more entertaining and far less artificial than this year's F1.

A friend of mine used to call F1 'Formula Yawn' in the worst of the Schumacher years. It's even more true this year.

Give the teams tyres which can be driven flat out for 15 to 20 laps, or slower for longer. Mandate a minimum of 2 pitstops which have to be taken within a window between 15 laps from each end of the race, and let the top drivers in the world actually race.

When the fans in the stands are BOOING during qualifying, drivers are asking "Can I fight?", and there are 5 second laptime differences between similar cars just due to the tyres on the same lap, there's something badly wrong with F1.

139

In my view there have always been limitations on how fast a race car can go. These are created by anything from corners, chicanes, aerodynamic regulations, engine type, a host of other controls and...yes, tyre management. Ultimately, there are less engine failures these days, less cars flying off the track like they used to at the old Monza or the Nurbergring circuits, so imposing limitations on tyre compounds seems eminently sensible to me as a means of maintaining the inherent excitement of this historic sport.

I watched Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso thrash out a championship against one another in 2005, and were it not for engine failures and a flat-spotted tyre in Germany Kimi Raikkonen might well be a two-time world champion right now rather than Alonso. But those were the variables in those days and Renault and Alonso overcame them better than Mclaren and Kimi. Yesterday I watched Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso thrashing out a race with an entirely new but equally intriguing set of parameters.

Both drivers are great, and both are there or there abouts regardless of the regulations.

The only people complaining about the regulations are those who haven't mastered them. The same happened when Brawn built a double diffuser. To my mind watching Button run away with the world championship in an unbeatable car for the first 6 races of 2009 was significantly more tedious than watching Button and Vettel not bother to set a qualifying time on Saturday.

As Kimi says, "If you don't like it, go and do something else".

...he did in 2010.

140

I hope you remember this when you complain about redbull mastering the tyres and running away with the championship later in the year

141

I expect you're right: everyone will master the tyres as they did last year and the WDC will ultimately go to Vettel or Alonso. I don't see why I should complain about that.

142

I fully expect them to. Vettel or Alonso will probably win the WDC.

143

I think they have taken the tyre game to far this season. With all the changes like DRS et cetera in play races have become pretty exciting already last year. And pit stops may play a big part to that, but it's not necessary to have 70+ stops per race, for a big spectacle.

And right now with the need to stop after 5 laps in to the race things have become too silly. Or the necessary stop for Vettel shortly before the end of the race.

I strongly oppose the rule stating that teams have to use two different types of tyres during a race. They should leave it to the teams which tyres to choose and in general tyres should last at least 15 rounds to keep this a serious motorsport.

Just my 50cents....

144

I like what the tyres are doing for the racing right now, it may not be good for the Team Principal's blood pressure but so what?

Maybe not for this weekend so much as I don't particularly think China was a typical example, overtaking was easy[ish] for the frontrunners against the rest - so possible issues with traffic were taken out of the equation, Webber coming in after 1 lap suprised me though, surely 4 or 5 would have yeilded better overall times?

It was all down to the calculator in the end for this race

145

To my eyes, the China event looked more like "Formula 1 Tire Management" rather than "Formula 1 *Racing*". Future cars will need a plow on the front to clear all the marbles at this rate.

In my view - the most advanced racing cars on the planet competing on a compound that only lasts 6 laps makes no sense.

146

+1 and they will need to start cleaning the tyre rubber off the following cars front wings, that much rubber all over the following cars wing has to affect the wing performance over time. Did you see the state of the front wings for even the top 3 drivers after China? Appaling.

147

Well I expect my views on tyres have become quite well known, but to be clear they are an utter nonsense. The reason we have high degradation tyres is a consequence of highly developed aerodynamics which has made overtaking more difficult because chasing cars get into the turbulent air behind the leading car, and immediately have a reduction in downforce, and so the powers that be decided that we'll get Pirelli to introduce high degration so that cars will be slowed down and make them easier to overtake, unfortunately this makes the situation even worse for a car trying to overtake a leading car all over things being equal because his tyres start to degrade even faster due the lack of downforce.

Worse still it has the result of protecting the leading car as so often this is the fastest with it's downforce remaining unaffected. Enter DRS to counter the effects of dirty air, and make passing easier. It just isn't proper racing anymore. I want to see talented drivers driving the wheels off a car to catch someone in front and experience proper wheel to wheel racing. It is NOT proper racing anymore it has become a tyre strategy and conservation exercise which is both dull and boring. All I say is look at F1 before this was introduced, and the cars are visibly faster and more exciting to watch. The answer is to restrict aero significantly, and as a consequence introduce greater reliance on mechanical grip then the drivers may start enjoying it again!

148

@richard. a voice of reason!!

@billy. u bettcha!!!

149

I feel your pain Richard, i really do.

Don't quote me on this, but I think it was Frank Williams that said "but where am I going to put the sponsors logo's if there are no wings?"

If I had it my way they;d all be running around in Lotus type 25's

150

Having watched Formula 1 for over 20 yrs for me its way better nowadays. Being a Michael Schumacher fan of old as much as i enjoyed his 91 wins. However when you look at the races in Schu's Ferrari years (2001-2004) races were boring and predictable. The same can be said for 2011 where Vettel would bolt on some tyres, break DRS and just have a controlled race.Not exciting at all. So I thank Pirelli for 2012-13 and onwards.Long may it continue. FTR I also would prefer less AERO dependancy and much more MECHANICAL.

151

NB. I know Schumacher drove for Ferrari from 1996 just pointing out the dominent yrs.

152
Alberto Martínez

James,

Do you know if Pirelli has changed its tyre choice for Barhein from 'Soft-Hard' to 'Medium-Hard'?

153

Yes it has. Medium and hard was announced today

154
Daniel Marshall

I really don't know where to hang my hat with this tyre argument. Having fragile tyres equalises the cars to a large extent, providing a greater variety of winners depending on circuit characteristics and who gets it right 'on the day'. But has that come at the expense of making the racing 'false'?

To an extent, everything about F1 is false - the cars themselves are designed within such narrow rules, and could go a lot faster if that wasn't the case.

I think the biggest problem is that the drivers can't 'push' - they can't get to the limits of the car without compromising their race. That does feel wrong.

But on the other hand if they *could* get to the limit of their car, then the car becomes the limiting factor, and the fastest car would just end up winning the majority of the time.

I don't know what the answer is but I know people are very quick to blame Pirelli for doing a fantastic job of making tyres exactly to order.

I also think people calling for more durable tyres should be stating - if not tyres, what do they want the limiting factor to be? Or should competition not necessarily be close?

155

The limiting factor should be driving talent. Anything else is fake, the fastest car would still be fastest even on the gum tyre. So whats its purpose, except some dumbed down "WWF" style entertainment which F1 as the peak of motor sport does not need?

156

If a talented driver is in a slower car, is driver talent the decisive factor in the results?

No, it's the car.

157

the fastest car, the fastests pit team, the fastest driver, the most monied manufacturer, etc., has almost always won. where is the problem here??

pretty much the same for militaries, NFL, MLB, NHL, World Soccer and anything else in the World...

158

DRS was introduced as a way of allowing overtaking between cars that otherwise cancel the following cars downforce. For years engineers have been asked for solutions to this problem, and offered nothing.

If cars need clear air to be able to race, there's something fundamentally wrong in the rules.

I appreciate why LdM is happy that mechanical will become more important than aero, ultimately aero serves only the track.

Look back to by gone eras, you didn't have passing like now, it was a skill. One that signalled the better drivers over the merely good. If DRS had been available in Abu Dhabi 2010, we would have Alonso as triple champion and Vettel merely a double.

MSC dominated an era where we had bullet proof tyres and the only overtaking was completed with pitstops... Woohoo!

Massa. Suffering graining and more problems beside. His teammate won the race. Forget the clear air theory because at different times Alonso caught and passed other drivers, what we have here is the difference between good and great.

If we are to believe, mainly because of ludicrous beliefs about Ferrari and Alonso, that Massa is his equal, why do people accept Kimi as being far better than Grosjean? Or Vettel over Webber. Why is there not a balanced view that these lead drivers really are the best out there?

Last point. Mclaren imagine it must be terrible for Button to drive to a delta and not fight.

Maybe they should look at their history and re-learn a few lessons.

Buttons hero was supposedly Prost. In 1985 and 1986, the rules limited the amount of fuel cars could run. A clumsy rule to allow non turbo cars some equality.

Prost was nicknamed Professor because he used his intelligence.

Countless times, Prost would drive to a "delta" and would not fight anyone attacking him. In the later stages of races, his discipline would mean that he could run faster and faster passing all those that had raced off before.

It wasn't because he wasn't fast enough, he proved his speed against Senna in 88 & 89, but because he used every weapon he possessed.

In fact, if you ever read about Adelaide 1986, when he won his 2nd WDC, he threw caution to the wind and ignored his fuel gauge, because for the last 15 laps it was reading minus, he figured it was faulty and just drove to win the WDC. If it had run out, he wouldn't have lost anything because he was safe in 3rd place in the standings.

Whether pro or con, be careful what you wish for. Rose tints gave to be applied carefully.

159

@hero was senna

🙂

160

If we had DRS in 2010 Vettel would have gone past Alonso @ Singapore hence would have still won.

161
Val from montreal

Must have been my imagination then when the Regenmeister fought countless battles with Mika and both were doing their over-taking on the race tracks ! With no DRS and Kers to help them out ... Both of them were a very different breed from another era = the MAN era !

Nowadays you have Hamilton crying over the radio like he did at Monza 2011 .. Poor guy !

And you can visit Youtube and search :"Schumacher overtakes" ... Maybe thay will refreshen your memory ..

Ciao !

162

Mind you in that era Schumi didn't have any tyre problem's he had his own specially made.

163

Whilst you tubing your MS you will see him being overtaken by King Kimi at Spa and Brazil last year but to name a few.His win from 18th in 2005 at Suzuka was unbelievable. Surely the best overtaker since he joined the sport. There are countless clips of mon drs adsisted both last year and the past and I urge you to watch them Val -since he become your new "man"! 🙂

164

I luv ya man 😉

165
Val from montreal

I meant BREED , not bread !

166

This debate doesn't seem to be going away does it. The bare facts are that tyre degredation has always played a part in F1, and drivers have never been able to simply drive the wheels off the cars, just read Gary Anderson's F1 column on the BBC website. Refuelling years ago hid the fact that tyres went off as the cars pitted so often for fuel. The difference now isn't the tyres per se, its that combined with fuel having to last the race.

The only way to take tyres out of the equation completely is to make them last the whole race, otherwise there'll always be an element of who can best look after their tyres, matters not if it's 1 stop or 4.

If the tyres become so good that everyone can drive the wheels off the car then you end up with a season (I'd imagine)a little similar to when Vettel won his second WDC, or during dominant McLaren/Williams/Ferrari years. In that instance races again become somewhat processional.

Finding a balance is the key.

The Chinese GP finished with 5 World Champions in the first 5 places, all in different teams. I'd therefore, at the very least, argue that the best drivers whether pushing fully or not are still coming to the fore, that at least is a good thing and somehting F1 should never lose....

167

really??? I am merely going back to 1962. tires lasted the entire race. fuel lasted the entire race. the fast were fast and the rest were last. seems fair to me!!!

168

Of course going back to 1962 removes the fundamental problem that all these patches tyres, KERS, DRS - are trying to paper over. If the cars don't rely on aerodynamic downforce, they can race closely without the rule-makers having to intervene.

169

Through the 60s/70s/80s/early-90s in the pre-refueling era we regularly saw tyres which could last a full race non-stop & which didn't need conserving anywhere close to the levels we see today & the racing through those eras was better for it.

Through those era's nobody was complaining at the lack of pit stops or the lack of strategy, They were enjoying the fantastic racing & real overtaking.

170

From a technical standpoint, I think it's great for Formula 1 because it gives the teams a real challenge to innovate. Every time a team finds a big area in which to innovate, F1 takes away the toys with new technical regulations. This is bad for the sport, and it leads to hierarchy, as the big teams spend countless amounts of money on refining the most minute details of the car to squeeze extra tenths and they hire all of the talent out there. Think about it: if you are a top-level engineer, even at entry level, and you have an offer from a top team in a very part-of-the-system gig or a mid-level team in which you are allowed some freedom to develop ideas and maybe have them applied, then you may take the mid-level offer if the competitive conditions are very conducive to innovation. If they're not, you will always take the top-level team, since they'll probably pay more and you will get the prestige of working for them. Get rid of opportunities for innovation drives manufacturers away, too, because less freedom to innovate means less potential applicability of F1 to the road product.

Having tires that go off provides a fresh engineering challenge that can lead to some real innovation. We've already seen some of this with the hydraulic suspension systems on the Lotus and Mercedes- which Lotus seem to have working quite well at the moment, and Mercedes may still be figuring out. This gives a team like Lotus a chance to contend even if they don't have the biggest budget, as they have smart people and gave them a lot of freedom to come up with a bold and creative solution to give Lotus an edge. The new tires could also be an attraction for manufacturers to get back in, as so many resources will now be required for understanding the tires- knowledge that is certainly applicable to the road product. (Not that manufacturers would come back in with teams. But if they sign up as a works partner with a team to build engines, the would also presumably have engineers with the teams who would have access to the development of the rest of the car.)

It also agrees with the message that F1 is trying to send. They have a public agenda of wanting to appeal to more eco-friendly concerns. That is part of what the new engine is about and the incorporation of KERS. The ban on refueling is a positive step, as well. Now having tires with more limited life is forcing the teams to emphasize efficiency- getting the most out of the tires with limited resources (in this case, the grip of the tires).

171

For the first few laps I thought - this is ridiculous. But then I became engrossed in the multitude of strategies, tactics and encounters. A thoroughly entertaining race and something I could get used to - unless Pirelli blink that is.

172

The "strategy" I loved most was Jenson (the 2009 World Champ) asking if he should fight for his position. I found that very exciting.

I also loved the none-racing Q3 strategy," as a great way of racing.

173

I remember when Formula One used to have racing cars that raced each other.

It's now gone too far.

174

Oh! plus racing drivers 🙂

175
Robert Schumann

Since F-1 has opted for entertainment value over pure competition I would like to say that the China Qualifying session was a joke and a waste of spectators and viewers time.

NBC Sports has been doing a great job here in USA, but staying up until midnight here in Tucson, AZ to watch and listen to a vacant track is an abuse. No fault of theirs.

If we have to have the artificial elements added to the show, let's give the teams sufficient tires to run the total time allowed! Have you ever paid for a ticket to a Formula 1 event?

176

Yep and RBR will still be crying about it. If Newey is such a Genius why can't he figure out the tires?

177

Since when has an aerodynamicist had anything to do with tyres?

178

simple aerodynamics directly applies pressure to the tires in an attempt to keep the car pushed down against the track the more aerodynamics the more foot pounds of pressure applied to the tires.

179

Webber, can't you get anything right?

It's WWE, not WWF!

Old timers....

180

Not that I follow it, but WWE has never sounded right...

181
Scuderia McLaren

It is certainly a complicated issue. I am not sure where I stand but my heart says that whilst the unpredictability of races and variability of random results will attract new audiences, the save tyres / save fuel / manage car from lap 1 to finish and don't race attitude will eventually alienate the established fan base, which I'd like to think is more important than the sole purpose of attracting new fans.

I grew up amazed at the GP racing which was sprint style at the time. Fresh engines every session, very sticky tyres, quite durable, refueling stops, very light cars and crazy ballsy drivers. F1 was a series of super fast sprints, with maximum intensity. Maximum performance driving skill.

The best, most courageous and fittest drivers really made a difference in qualifying and a big difference if they could qualify for a whole race. For me, that pinnicle of speed and intense racing was captivating. But predictable i suppose. Though that didnt bother me. The fights had a real intensity. Some of the lap records still exist of that era. For me, watching F1 Le Mans racing (now) as opposed to F1 Grand Prix racing is a let down. But I still watch, but am slowly slipping away as the sports total flat out speed credibility slips away.

182

Well said. It's like you read my mind.

183

James I'm glad you noted the split here... I've been watching f1 for 3 decades and I don't have complaints about this years tyres at all. Last year I actually did complain about them but it all settled as teams came to grips. I've watched some horrendously dull processions in the past and this added variable provides for an alternative option for slower teams to affect a race, such as Hulkenberg did. I hope they don't change these tyres midway as it will seem more like a political farce than fair. Let the teams improve performance with these tyres, the cream always rises to the top.

184

I don't mind tyres that wear down in a linear way so a driver can either go faster and do less laps or vice versa.

The problem with these tyres is that the driver can't push at all because once the tyre gets out of its operating range it degrades too fast.

This makes it more of an engineering problem and has taken it out of the drivers hands.

Is it not possible too design tyres that wear down but are not thermally so sensitive.?

185

Funny how the winners rarely complain

186

Redbull complained in Malaysia and still do

187

As kimi says if u don't like it the way it is u should do something else. And I bet in come the end of the season it will be boring 1 stop races sometimes and people will still complain. I prefer the way f1 is now when u don't know who is going to win compared to the days of put it on pole get into the first corner first and the race is over.

But my solution to the problems would be for Pirelli to give the teams all the tyres for the season at the start of the year and let the teams decide what compounds they bring to each track thru the year. Some teams would go aggressive and be ahead on Saturdays but the teams who go conservative would be well set for the Sunday. Would mean teams could go for the harder tyres earlier in the season and then when they make the cars easier on the rubber during the year go softer as they go further into the season.

188

James,

One interesting matter,

Car's acceleration and cornering drop as tire degradation increase, but does that influence on cars' straight line speed (top speed)?

189
Tornillo Amarillo

The solution for me, it should be inexpensive to fix this tyre problem as follows:

Change the rule for race day from "Mandatory" two tyres to "OPTIONAL" two tyres.

For example, in China teams had chosen certainly Medium-Medium instead of Soft-Medium-Medium or Medium-Medium-Soft.

And no need to use in race day the same tyres of qualify, they are two different exercises (fast lap versus long stints).

190

While I feel the drop off of the tyres is to soon I do think they are helping to keep the races interesting. Just wish the drivers could push harder for longer before they fall away.

I'd much rather they do something about the drs instead. The fact that alonso was able to steam past hamilton for the lead AND massa ducking inside isnt racing in my eyes. Hamilton was just sotting there totally unable to do anything. The overtaking is becoming to easy with drivers being totally defenceless against a car due to the massive difference in speed achieved. If rather they get rid of drs and allow extra KERS boost in your within 1 second of the car in front to let you close in enough to then have a go rather than they just breeze past and pull in ahead before the braking point

With regards qualifying we may as well just go back to the old 1 hour and do a run when you want cause that's what the tyres have become - a qualifying tyre and then just let all choose what to start on instead

191
vuelve kowalsky

“I happen to like the variables that have been introduced by the tyres. I also don’t mind DRS as a way of compensating for the effect on a following car of the turbulent aerodynamic wake of the leading car. However, I am getting tired of being characterised as a shallow or uninformed fan, or a “magpie”, or any one of a number of sneers, for holding those views.

Like those who moesley used to call the keepers of the flame.

192

I'm all for the Pirelli tyres and the variables they brought to the sport altough perhaps the soft tyre was really too extreme on this particular track. Perhaps it is more suited for a track like Monaco.

They should probably get rid of the DRS now, I really don't think it is necessary anymore. It would make sense with the Bridgestones that lasted the whole race but with the effect that the Pirellis have had on the racing it is really too much.

The only way to bring back durable tyres that don't need looking after and drivers can go 100% all the time, is to at the same time reduce aerodynamic effect and prioritize mechanical grip, bring back manual gearboxes and then we'll see what the drivers are made of.

193

I hate a boring race but I also hate tyres that last only 5 laps. I guess they could use soft for qualy ONLY and hard for the race. Not in one particular track but in all of them. I mean I think we have too many sets of tyres.

194
Val from montreal

Schumacher was the first to raise concern about Pirelli and their artificial racing show ....

Now it seems people are finally waking up !

F1 is boring as it is , its just a bunch of cars going fast through corners ... The fun factor for me was always to watch the best driver in the world do his thing ...

Vettel is the only reason why I keep watching ...

F1 in the mid 90's until mid 2000's was worth getting up for in the morning or staying up late at night ...

I wanted to see MSC do 60 qualifying laps during a race , that was FUN ...Winning a race by over 50 seconds , that was fun too !

Winning races by doing sprint laps , changing strategies on the fly , that was extremely fun ...

Bring back Bridgestone please ! Those Japanese knew what they were doing ... Italy's Pirelli is ruining it more and more ....

195

Doesn't it seem there are some easy solutions, without changing the tyre compounds or the racing format in any way??

What do you think of the following minor rule changes, which would appear in principle to make F1 racing closer:

Qualifying:

- One extra set, of either compound, tyres can be made available to each of the top ten qualifying drivers (BENEFIT = all drivers will run fast in qualifying)

- All drivers need to meet the 107% rule in each qualifying session (BENEFIT = makes qualifying in all sessions mandatory)

Race:

- Remove the restriction to use both tyre types, instead there remain two tyre options which teams have full choice over (BENEFIT = strategy control goes back to the teams)

- In it's place, the above restriction is changed to ensure all drivers complete one pitstop in each race, (BENEFIT = maintains the reason for introducing the Option/Prime in the first place, ie pit strategy is part of F1)

- Finally, and I don't strictly oppose it, but remove DRS (BENEFIT - would bring cars closer

together again)

With high degradation tyres and more strategies to play out, you would get closer racing with no DRS. HOWEVER, as with previous regulations, this would likely lead to processional races, which we don't want.

The only way to get rid of that as far as I can see, and this doesn't ever seem to come up, is to lengthen breaking zones to allow more lines, skills, etc to play out during this critical area of what we all want - close racing and the possibility of over-taking.

So the final change is to have standard brake discs....

Discuss!

196

Some good ideas, but...

Having standard brake discs on cars that are meant to be the best in the world is as bad as having rubbish tyres on them.

Limit aero. Let them innovate in other areas.

197

FIA limit aero every year but the engineers and aerodynamicists creatively avoid these restrictions.

Remeber, the issue is the braking zone distance, not the speed at which cars can corner.

198

Qualifying I think has got to be the priority at the moment. The race in China was quite interesting, plenty of decent overtaking, good strategic racing throughout the field, and a fantastic finish between Hamilton and Vettel for the last spot on the podium.

The current quali system however, has had its day in my opinion. It was designed around a different F1 era, one where fuel loads differed in Q3, tyres were a lot more durable, and the race win was fought out exclusively between McLaren and Ferrari.

Those days have long gone now. The current quali format is just not working. No excitement generated until the final moments of Q3, if even then. The problem so far as I can see it is that no real suggestions are forthcoming that will improve the spectacle.

Talk of an extra set of tyres for drivers that make it to Q3 rather takes away from the current dynamics of quali as the only reason teams are not doing a lap in Q3 right now is because they dont want to start the race on the "quali" tyre due to the fact they will be in the pits within the opening minutes of the race changing them.

The degradation is too extreme at the moment, but only just. At the end of 2012, we got back to a world of one stop strategies leading to a couple of boring races towards the end.

Qualifying needs to be brought in line with the current F1 system of massive tyre deg and no refuelling. Whether that means perhaps looking at previous quali formats is another question. The old 1 hour and 12 laps format has its merits. All teams get a chance to run throughout the hour. Currently, Marussia and Caterham's qualifying session comprises of a couple of hotlaps and a debrief.

The one or two lap quali run dating back to 2005 probably still wont work. Too much track improvements over a session means that its not a fair test, plus it lacks the buzz and excitement.

Personally, I am a fan of having the two tyre compounds in use from the start of the race. I like that different strategies are in play right from the off. It leads to good racing but the trade is as we saw in China. Teams that feel pole is unattainable refusing to go for it in Q3 to save the tyres. Its a poor spectacle for the fans who pay their hard earned money to see Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso and Raikkonen at the limits of their and their cars ability.

As to what would improve things, I suspect a drastic format change is necessary. But like all the others, I'm struggling to come up with the perfect answer. Anybody else got any ideas on what kind of quali format would work that ensures drivers are out there in the last few minutes giving it their best shot for pole, but yet we keep the two tyre choice for the race to have differing strategy options for those who are further sown the grid?

199

Rayz,

I can only see one change for qualifying: Points for the top 10, or maybe just the top 6. Possibly the old scoring system: 9, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1

And if a car failed to run in Q3, then no points (would only apply if 5 cars failed to run in Q3, which is unlikely anyway).

Points is what teams and drivers are after, so give them points for qualifying on the front rows and they'll go for it. Wouldn't Vettel go for pole if he knew he had little chances of victory anyway? I thinkg he would.

As for the rest, DRS, KERS, short living tyres - I would keep it that way for now. Plus, I would make mandatory that the tyres would be 2 compounds apart. No Medium-Hard for races... only Soft-Hard or SuperSoft-Medium.

200

The current qualifying is an entirely new thing.

In the old days, it was every bit an adrenaline soaked, straight laced shootout, no artificial Q1, Q2 or Q3.

201

I am a long time reader of your website but post here only occasionally.

I am really enjoying the unpredictability of how different teams engineer the cars to use the Pirelli tyres efficiently. Just like everything else in F1, managing tyres is an engineering challenge - some will do it better than others.

During the processional races in the Bridgestone era, folks used to complain about the lack of unpredictability and the same cars/drivers at the front. Pirelli has rectified that and the racing is exciting. Not knowing the outcome of the race till the last corner of the last lap is what F1 should be all about.

Managing tyre wear has always been part of F1. Every team that is complaining has its own agenda - the moment they figure out how to use the tyres better than the competition, they will be all over the media in support of Pirelli's tyre allocation.

Compliments to Pirelli for a job well done.

202

Absolutely agree!

According to this blog's comment pages F1 is a terrible bore-fest, as artificial as WWF and with no discernible skill on show from teams or drivers.

Anyone would think F1 fans hate F1!

203

Totally agree with everything you said.

204

Hi,

I have been following F1 from 2003

I am seriously bored with the tyre thing...Agreed that the races are more strategic...but the randomness all feels artificially induced..the drivers dont attack the cars in front for a longer time as their tyres just go-off..plus drivers are constantly thinking of saving tyres

I think we have had pretty exciting races in the past with refuelling and more durable tyres like Japan 2005 or Indianapolis 2007 with drivers on the limit till the last lap

What actually made overtaking difficult in the recent years might be the higher emphasis on Aerodynamics with the new regulations..

Do let me know what u guys think?

205

I feel like this year they've gone TOO extreme. Last year's tires had degradation and provided a good show, but this year they degrade way too much. I dont agree with the people that say to go back to the Bridgestones type tires, I think they should just go back to last year's tires.

Ive watched video of races from the 80s(Im 35) where a drive would let cars go at the beginning of the race so they could save tires and then mount a comeback at the end of the race and pass the car they let go, so yeah, back in the day the had to cneserve tires too. But thats the thing, if they conserved tires they could make them last all race(the rules didnt allow tire changes back then). This year the tires dont last, they have to go at a snails pace to make them last or make more pit stops. And when a driver cant fight then that negates the purpose of a fast degrading tire, theres more passing but no driver battles.

206

I like seeing different strategies evolve during the race and the excitement this brings such as the race for third.

I dislike the cars sitting in their garages during qualifying, and also the build up of marbles off line.

207

PITY (PIrelly TYres) tyres made of cheese? What a sad state of affairs. BRING BACK MOTOR RACING!!! Get rid of DRS. Lets see racing drivers RACE!

208

How about every car is the same chassis, on tyres that last the full race distance, and see what driver is best!!

Wait - that's GP2!

209

What draws me to Formula one besides all the technological advances that are present in the cars, is the natural talent or true speed that each one of the drives has to present. Unfortunately, with these tyres, it is just impossible to get the same satisfaction. Think about the excitement we used to have when Senna and Mansell were battling in Monaco! I'm afraid we will never see that kind of excitement if the tyre manufacturers continue in this route.

210

Didn't everyone complain back then that Mansell couldn't pass and it was a procession to the line?

211

Think about the excitement we all had watching Trulli train....

212

+1

They've all forgotten.

213

- One solution to the problem of cars not running in Q3 is to add in a rule that any car in Q3 that does not set a lap that is, let's say, within a second of the fastest car that missed Q3 (ie: the car that would be 11th on the grid) would have to start in the grid position that his time would have given him in Q2. If they set no time then they start in P16. Provision would have to be made for rain, yellow flags, crashes etc but I think it would eliminate this problem at least.

214

Honestly I have no problem with a few people who just scraped into Q3 deciding not to run. As long as the people who have a chance of pole or the front row are still going for it, I'm happy.

Usually the cars that just scraped into Q3 will have had to do more runs in Q1 and Q2 than the front-runners. On Saturday the Q3 non-runners all did at least as many laps in qualifying as the guys who ended up on the front row. So there is no question of them somehow short-changing the fans. Forcing them to use up even more tyres in Q3 would be punishment for their success in Q2.

215

Can't wait till after Monaco when everyone complains about no overtaking. That was f1 10 years ago and be careful what you wish for

216

So how do the horrible tyres help overtaking? Especially as they make the drivers slower and have to radio for permission whether to fight or not, or if their speed is in keeping with a wretched tyre saving, but talent limiting delta?

The only reason we have these gummy tyres is to provide dumbed down drama that does not add to the technological or driver prowess that F1 as the pinnacle of motor sports should be striving to project. Why alienate genuine fans for footbal fans who won't even buy a race ticket either at gun point or if they had all the money in the World?

217

Biggest problem is the cars. Unless the fia can come up with a set of rules, were one car can follow another round a corner with out a major loss of performance, we are are stuck with these tyres and drs

218

Splits the paddock as in Red Bull hates the new tyres and everybody else loves them?

Red Bull seem to be aggrieved because they have designed a car for a tyre other than those that are supplied. It's like designing a car that is really fast in a straight line then complaining because there are corners on the racetrack.

219

My point exactly. Couldn't agree more.

Complaining because you are unable to understand the tyres is a little petulant because everyone has the same tyres. Complaining because you missed out on a technical loophole (mass dampers, double diffusers etc.) is perhaps a little more understandable because you weren't sure where the rules began and ended. But if you design a car that can't cope with the tyres then that's your fault, not the tyre manufacturer's.

You're right. In 2008 the Ferrari with it's long wheel-base was faster than the Mclaren on circuits with long fast corners. Should they have complained about having to race at Monaco, Hungary or the 3rd sector at Hockenheim? Moreover that Ferrari was significantly better in the dry than the wet and it rained in half of the races in 2008. Perhaps Ferrari should have demanded a new rule that bans races from starting in the wet...!?

You make do with what's presented to you. It's part of the challenge of being an F1 engineer: adapting a piece of machinery to changing conditions and changing regulations. It's what brings us fans back year after year. If Red Bull thinks the current challenge is unfair then they should restart formula A1 where everyone has the same machinery...

220

Q3 in China was an abomination, and what was once an exciting part of qualifying has been totally neutered by these tires that Pirelli have been asked to produce. Watching the top 10 drivers during Q3, because of concerns regarding tire conservation, sitting in the pits, just to make 1 run for pole position, was xxxxxxx infuriating. Bernie had better realize that the average F1 fan want to watch car and driver racing on the track during Q3, and not just simply sitting in their cars staring at a computer, while in the pits.

221

Bahrain will be medium and hard tyres this weekend

222

I'm somewhat of a novice fan of only 10 yrs or so and I'm not as knowledgeable as many here. But I felt the race could have been so much better on Sunday but for the tire issue. You have FA, KR, LH and SV - 4 champions and we never got to see them race properly. We did see what SV could do with the softs for 2 laps as he closed on LH-but of course his tires would go no further. Just imagine if the softs could have gone 10-15 laps and the mediums say 20-25 laps. What if all 4 guys could have pushed for say 10 laps on the softs or longer on the mediums? Then maybe we could have seen some real racing at 100% or near it by 4 champions for a good portion of the race. At the end I couldn't help but think how I wanted to see LH and SV battle over a few laps on fresh softs. To me spending most of the race driving at 80% to save tires is not proper racing. Tire management should be a part of a race, but not the entire race.

223

2 words BAHRAIN 2010? Do we really want a repeat of that?

224

Processional racing has NEVER had anything to do with tyres, so thats a poor argument.

Overtaking has always been difficult because of aerodynamics ONLY.

Thats why DRS was introduced; there is absolutely no reason for the wretched tyres that limit seat-of-pants racing as we used to have.

225

Look we moan if there's too little action and moan if there isn't any, we cant have it both ways? DRS/Pirelli, has changed the sport, I think its made it more interesting and better. Okay gone are the days on most tracks watching drivers follow each other and try and find a way past, but at Monaco, Singapore it still happens.

If we had seen no overtakes in China, everyone would be moaning that F1 was boring. TV figures show more interest in the sport now than during the Michael Schumacher yawn years

226

by then the sprinkler system will be introduced 🙂

227

Thank God we are having harder tyres from the next race. The wall of protest got to the right ears and proved in emphatic fashion that the fans do not appreciate artificial racing.

The quality of F1 will now improve and next year, you can be sure that the useless tyres will be gone. The fans have spoken.

228

Or even Abu Dhabi 2010...

229

Singapore 2010

230

That is a bad argument James. DRS and Pirellis were introduced the same year.

Add DRS to Bahrain 2010 or Abu Dhabi 2010, and realize how little it had to do with tyres.

Now imagine China 2013 without DRS for a moment.

But I see you are sponsored by Pirelli on the website, so I understand you have to be somewhat supportive.

231

Forgot to add: If you want some more views from drivers and engineers, check this out:

http://forums.autosport.com/index.php?showtopic=155428

232

Heh, this topic could break the record for comments!

I've put my views across a lot recently but I'll just say that I do think there needs to be some tweaking (qualifying was unacceptable and DRS too influential at this track). The tyres need beefing up a bit but an extreme reaction would be unwise - baby and bath water and all that. And beef them up too much and we'll have 1 stop races, which tend not to offer enough strategic options and variables (2-3 is ideal).

Also it's not as if every single car in every single race struggles. The likes of Alonso, and Raikkonen, (and Perez at times last year) have been able to get good performance out of the tyres. It's a good challenge for the teams and they did prevail last year.

At the end of the day we need races with pitstops and strategy and refuelling has its side of negatives too. A F1 race should require thinking and planning as well as intense pace. If it was 66 laps of constant qualifying laps a lot of races wouldn't be that fascinating. It's not Le Mans but it's not a sprint race either.

And personally, I still think the key issue about China was the DRS. The ability for a slower car to defend was missing. Without that we'd have had some tense battles (maybe not from 2 stopping Button) but Ham/Rai/Alo would have been good, allowing the likes of Lewis the opportunity to defend with a slower car.

233

For F1 to be interesting, we have to see drivers ragged and on the edge, I keep referring to Lewis in Monaco 2007. That to me is what we want to see; supreme car handling, uninhibited drivers going into corners sideways and coming out at eye popping speed, ballsy drivers brushing the barriers at mind numbing speeds.

The current tyres don't allow that, the drivers have now become like mice, pussy-footing around the circuit to preserve tyres handed down by Beelzeburb. We want to see uni crazy, exhibitionist racing again.

234

You need a mix. You had that all out attack with Vettel, which was good. But if it was like that for everyone they'd be no real strategic variation and so that attack of Vettel wouldn't have existed.

Button got a good result through a different approach (and did well to beat faster machinery of a Ferrari and a Lotus). It may not be as exciting to directly watch a driver attempting to make one less stop than the others but as a race narrative it is interesting to see if such a different tact would work come the final laps.

F1 wouldn't be as sophisticated and have as much depth if the only approach was quali lap after quali lap... That's what sprint events are for. We wouldn't need 60 lap races of that, 20 lap, 30 minute races would suffice (especially given the reliability today). After the first 5 laps, you'd expect the car leading (who likely would have been fastest in qualifying) to continue that pace and race to the win. It wouldn't stay interesting for long. People would soon nod off.

At the end of the day the drivers still need to push to maximise the package given the current constraints at that time/lap. Mathematically it's an optimisation problem. It might not be as physically draining for the driver as doing a quali lap but the challenge still remains.

235

Yes, Quade that is fantastic racing. I've followed F1 since 1994. There was some great races but unfortunately I remember a lot of not so good ones. Sometimes you'd be lucky to get a dozen overtakes in a race that weren't done in the pits (and often not from the leaders).

China was a bad egg for these rules. I've posted many times but I think the real culprit was the DRS rather than the tyres (quali notwithstanding). The balance was off. However we've had 3 really exciting seasons, ones which I think it unfair for some to call false and random. The general package of F1 isn't bad (for me at least)!

I completely understand your concerns but I just prefer F1 now. The tyres need a tweak but not a total binning.

A big decider for me is the fact that we just don't know who's going to get pole and win now. Bahrain is in a few days: will it be Alonso, Vettel or Raikkonen? It could be any of them and maybe others (predicting Vettel though)! That was less the case in the past (thanks to Schuey mostly)! The tyres aren't a total reason for this but they are a part of it.

Anyway, I've chatted enough on this this week haha! On to Bahrain!

236

Heres a video of real racing, before Bennie and the FIA cut the vitality out of the sport. Just 2 laps of incredible action. No DRS, no chewing gum tyres, no jiggery-pokery... Just 2 laps!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivHrg_S86Ts

Heres yet another video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XonOCEpiwZU

Those were the best days of F1.

237

We don't need a mix. Here is a video with one of the best overtakes ever in F1 history. No DRS, no fake tyres, pay drivers etc:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1WuWu8kGak

That is what it should be about. Pure racing.

I watched that race and can still recall the intense excitement and disbelief at the drivers car handling prowess.

I pray to God that we will one day have such racing again, what exists today is a parody that just keeps getting worse.

238

...only for F1 to be interesting for you...

239

James,

This says it all:

" If Pirelli had gone to China with the medium tyre and the hard rather than the medium and soft, the most critical tyre would have done 25 laps. So it would have been a one-stop race. Is that what people want?”

No we don't!

240

James, thanks for bringing this up, i cant understand why people are moaning, i have watched F1 for over 20 years and i fear if pirelli continue to be pressured we could return to the procesions of the early 00s where only a few teams were capable of winning. I think an advantage of the current tyres which doesnt get mentioned much is the fact that cars can run closer together in turbulant air as they have grip available if they are prepared to risk addition degredation. The tyres have closed the performance differential between teams, the midfield is tight and have a chance of a great result if they understand the tyres, in china we had 5 different teams in the first 5 places and to those who say the tyres are a lottery, look at the drivers in the top 5 in china, 5 world champions, the cream always rises to the top!

241

I would like to say only one thing to all F1 Teams who complain about Pirelli Tyres.

Just stop complaining and get one with it. If you can't find a way for it, then just agree other teams who won the race did a better job than you.

I heard Horner criticized Pirelli. Is Horner afraid of losing this year's title?

Or Is it that stupid one stop strategy they just want?

242

Horner complains because he wants Vettel to lead from start to finish with durable tires. Had vettel been winning all races, he would not say a word against pirelli.

243

Its enough of him winning three years in a row!

Let somebody wins this years Championship!

244

It's enough?

And you're justification for that is... you're not an F1 fan... just an Alono fan?

245

Who wouldn't want to lead from the the start with durable tyres?

246

I would not want to see Vettel doing this, so I prefer how it is now.

247

Its funny people support the tyres after Alonso wins and they think Ferrari would win the title when redbull gets on top of the tyres I would like to hear peoples opinion again.

248

Opinion will not change. Soon all teams will be OK with tyres. As it was the case last year.

249

True but it is also wrong to have tyres that last only 5 or 6 laps.

250

Well, it is only one compound. Mediums were really OK. Let's not create any drama out of this...3-4 races from now teams will be fully on top of this situation. Last years was the same, people have short memory really. It was even boring because of how durable tyres were...people were accusing Pirelli of being too conservative.

Really tired of all these discussions...

Making human being happy is a wasted effort, it is impossible to achieve this.

251

Wouldn't you be afraid of losing it after winning it for the last 3 years in a row?

252

You are right. I am an Alonso fan. But above that I love F1. I don't care what u say about me!

I saw the someone who won 7 Titles and One day it just stopped.

How about this guy!

253

My problem with F1 right now is the lack of fighting over places. I know us fans can sound fickle; it wasn't so long ago I was desperate for more overtaking. At one point it was so frustrating that a driver 2 seconds faster a lap couldn't pass the car ahead in F1! And that has changed, which is a good thing, and it means teams base strategies with the acceptance that their driver can overtake, whereas it used to be keep them in clear air at all costs. This is also a good thing.

But we don't just want overtaking; we want battles between drivers. We want the driver ahead to have to battle hard to keep ahead. We want the driver behind to know that if he's clever, and good, and is at the right place at the right time, he can overtake. But that battle doesn't exist right now, because the car ahead just wants to avoid trouble.

Overall, the length that the tyres last for isn't so much the problem if they pick the right compounds for the track; it's how they degrade that is the problem. If the tyres lost a consistent amount of performance each lap, then the teams and drivers could plan around this. As it is, everyone is in fear of the "cliff", that could happen at any moment, and means teams and drivers become risk adverse

254

...Or they simply brake like Jenson did in free practice and the tyre bursts! Whoever heard of such?

255

Both sides have good valid points and no one is absolutely right. My only doubt is would using a harder combination have given an interesting - but different - race?

While it would have been much easier to make the strategic choice of the Q3 (starting) tyre, teams still would have had to decide when to come in for the (theoretical) single pit stop, and also to manage both sets.

Maybe it would have rewarded sheer driving skill more - who knows?

256

I hate the way F1 is now. There is no proper racing. How can tiptoeing(saving of tyres) around the track deemed as "spicing up" the sport. To me, it is only driving away fans who want to see flat out driving by the skill of the drivers and not dependent totally on the tyres.

It will only supress the talents of true racers such Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen which is very bad for the sport, in my opinion.

257

James, could you setup a poll on the support for these Pirelli tyres? These Pirellis are ruining the races.

258
Spinodontosaurus

Whilst the driving to delta times in China was clearly excessive, the majority of fans' whining about Pirelli is just over the top nostalgia blinded nonsense.

"It isn't real because they aren't pushing 100% every lap" they say. Well, that isn't what Formula One has ever been about. If you want flat out balls-to-the-walls sprint racing, watch GP2.

Besides that, conserving tyres or fuel doesn't stop the racing from being 'real' or anything of the sort, and is completely different to the excessive delta matching we had in China.

Whilst artificially weak tyres and DRS may not be an ideal solution, to claim it is destroying F1 and that we should go back to 5-overtake processions is beyond ridiculous.

259

Well Tim B. couldn't have been more eloquent of plain spoken.

I feel as a newish fan of the sport that sometimes me liking the way things are is somehow wrong.

Like I said somewhere before I grew up with racing. Not this high level and it was drag racing not closed circuit but I know even back then having the budget to run the best tires along with flow bench testing for the heads (NHRA, IHRA Prostock) was what you needed to be competitive.

Grip whether mechanical or aero dependent is what goes fast. Top Fuel Dragsters with 6000 to 8000 HP that cant "hook up" with the track or have tire shake can't go anywhere. Get traction correctly and they go 1/4 mile in over 300 mph and under 4 seconds from a standing start.

I see these tires as much the same. Should they last a little longer or have better controlled degradation, yeah probably. Am I dumb because I enjoy the extra strategy, no I don't think so.

DRS and KRS is much the same. Does it take some of the skill out of passing, possibly but it probably encourages more passing overall.

260

I think the tires are taking away from the racing. The drivers are driving to a delta, not pushing to be faster. We're not seeing many drivers get sideways in corners, or going off because they're pushing too hard to be faster. Instead, everyone is driving within the limits of the tires, so they don't fall apart after a mistake, or just from pushing hard.

Personally, I'd like to see the tires be a little more forgiving and allow drivers to push. Of course there are limits imposed on technology (engine size, revs, etc.), but I find the tire limits a bit too contrived for my taste.

261

While I can appreciate the arguments being given my McLaren and Red Bull, given the choice of Pirelli era F1 or Bridgestone era F1, I would definitely, 100% prefer Pirelli era.

With the tyres providing so much variation in speed, I no longer really see the need for DRS. Perhaps it should be switched off completely for a couple of races and see how things go?

262

I've only been following F1 closely for 12 years, but I can recall ever so clearly, the days when there weren't hardly any passes-if not none. I also remember when the biggest thrill was the fueling nozzle coming off quickly enough. I remember knowing who was going to win the race on SATURDAY. I remember a lot of things, and in only a little over a decade.

Granted, this is painful to some drivers, team principals, and some fans...but races are at least not a foregone conclusion after qualifying. I was actually wrong in guessing who would win the race, and that makes me HAPPY!

While there are some fans who'll take some sort of ersatz "moral" high ground, as well as the contingent who says the rough equivalent of "back when I STARTED watching F1, we walked to school barefoot through the snow, uphill...BOTH WAYS...and we never would've dreamed of sacrilege/anathema like seatbelts/full-face helmets/DRS! BOOOOOOO!!!", I can appreciate the fact that the race was interesting, and all the way to the finish, no less.

Pirelli only built what they were asked to build. I just wish that there was something that could be done about the marbles off the racing line.

263

I thought that it was a very entertaining race.

The more pit stops the cars need, the more room there is for strategy, and DRS is a great solution to the problem of aero turbulance. I'm not too worried if the drivers don't like it; they are being paid a lot of money to race, and the cream is still rising to the top.

I've been watching F1 for nearly 25 years and I remember just how dull races were when there was only one sensible strategy and drivers couldn't pass.

264

If the cream is still rising to the top, what is the point of the tyres? What exactly is their purpose, aside "WWF?"

265

The point of the tyres is to keep the bottom of the car from scraping along the ground 😉

Ok, seriously though - the point of using short-lived tyres was never to stop the cream from rising to the top. I don't know where you got that from. The point of using those tyres is to improve the entertainment value of races, because as we saw in the Bridgestone era, races where nobody can pass and where the tyres last forever are often very dull.

Throughout motorsport, the tyres are a key part of the car. Why shouldn't they matter in F1?

266

Lol! That was funny!

However, in the Bridgstone era, the problem with overtaking (which lasted for one year, 2010 only) was never due to the tyres. It was due to the extreme aerodynamics of the era, check out an example below:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/Nick_Heidfeld_2008_test.jpg

It has always been the areo, not tyres that has made it impossible for chasing cars to keep close enough without destroying their tyres or getting nervous, due to the turbulent wake of the car ahead.

The aero issue was addressed by drastically increasing the sizes of both front and rear wings and the introduction of DRS; therefore, the aero issues have been logically addressed with aero solutions.

That leaves the only purpose of the current tyre compounds to be "WWF" style entertainment which the fans generally feel is belittling the sport. We don't want to watch ludo or anyone rolling dice.

Racing should be racing. It should be seat-of-the-pants, red blooded, hang-it-all-out stuff. It shouldn't be domesticated by an artificial tyre lottery.

267

Also, if Lotus, Ferrari and to an extent Force India can design a car that doesn't chew its tyres, why can't all the others?

It's STILL the top teams that are winning the races. it's STILL the best drivers within those teams that are winning the races. How can people say

It seems to me that "the tyres wen't off" is just an easy / lazy excuse that drivers / teams are using when they don't end up going as fast as their team mate / main rival team.

268

I copied this from Gary Anderson column on the BBC. I think he is talking a lot of sense.

There is a bit of navel-gazing in F1 at the moment about whether the Pirelli tyres are preventing proper racing because the drivers have to drive within themselves to manage their performance.

But at the end of the day, the fastest three drivers in qualifying were on the podium, albeit in a different order.

There are ways you could tweak the tyre rules to ensure people run in qualifying, which some did not in China and which definitely harms the show.

But in terms of the tyres themselves, I think they make teams think harder. Some make it work and some don't. There's nothing wrong with that.

You have to drive the car within its limits and the tyres are part of the car.

If Pirelli had gone to China with the medium tyre and the hard rather than the medium and soft, the most critical tyre would have done 25 laps. So it would have been a one-stop race. Is that what people want?

I ran three teams during the tyre-war era of the late 1990s and early 2000s, which some are saying was a time when drivers could push right to the limit all the time. But that's a fallacy. They could never go 100% all the time.

That was the era of refuelling, when the cars were never as heavy as they are in the first half of the race now, so they always looked after the tyres better.

The fastest way was a multi-stop race abusing the tyres. But if there was a one-stop race - such as was often case at Monza - you could not abuse the tyres, they would blister and fall off the rims.

F1 has never been any different in the 40 years I have known it. The only difference is the tyre-management aspect is more visible now and the complaints have developed a bit of momentum.

Whether F1 needs the DRS overtaking aid as well as the current tyres is a different issue - I would like to get rid of it and make the drivers fight more to overtake.

But F1 is a sport and, for the show, what we have now is very good.

And I guarantee that if we still had the Bridgestone tyres that were last used in 2010 and had become so good that the teams rarely needed to consider them, the viewing figures would be half what they are now.

Gary Anderson, BBC F1's technical analyst, is the former technical director of the Jordan, Stewart and Jaguar teams. He was talking to BBC Sport's Andrew Benson.

269

Agreed completely. Pirelli got it wrong in China and the balance was not correct. DRS should now be dropped however that will not occur mid season since the teams have spent money to develop it. We don't need all of the added-ons.

I was quite surprised whan Pirelli were asked to change specs for this years tyres. I thought it was 'about right' last year.

If it ain't broke.....don't fix it.

270

a note of realism from gary anderson

perhaps he should have added that economics also come into this ...there are only 4 tyres available

it was clear that the medium tyre was spot on for this race , but the soft didn't work here , but at the majority of tracks it will work well ; so should pirelli have designed the tyre for china or for all the other tracks ?

heaven forbid that we should go back to the bridgestone era !

or the era before that when bridgestone made their tyres for ferrari , michelin for renault , and the rest could just make do with what they could get

pirelli are , in reality , doing a brilliant job ; unfortunately a lot of ill informed criticism will only force them to change to a conservative policy for commercial reasons and the fans will be the losers if that happens

as gary says , tyre management always was [ and always will be ] part of F1 ; let the teams that can't manage the tyres learn instead of whinge

271

So because Alonso failed to overtake in one race in 2010 people say bridgestone era was mainly a procession in 2011 redbull found what Brawn had in 09 and had cash to develop further tyres had nothing to do with it we had races like China catalunya 2011 thats racing not this farce same was said early last year about the tyres but people got excited as Redbull were disadvantaged pronto Redbull got a hang of the tyres and that was it. if they dont change now and they get a hang again season would be over quicker than it started.

As for Gary Anderson he said Mclaren looks the fastest at the launch its all guess work

272

Be careful what you wish for.....

273

Ok, I watch F1 since 1998 and I have to say that I prefer what I see today to what I used to see before in the last 10 years. I remember how my friends quit watching races because there was no more than 5-6 overtakes during the race and typically people finished how they started. It was a given in 2006, 2007 that in 90% of cases they will finish in the same order the started. Even last year, the second half of the season Pirelli went a bit too far convservative. I see a lot more people watching races today because it is so much more interesting.

I have to assume that the majority of people complaining are not supporting Ferrari or Lotus. People complain when they do not win. If your team is winning because it got the tyre formula right, you will not complain. I do not think that Lotus or Ferrari will really complain too much, but Red Bull surelly will. They would rather invest in flexi wings.....

I support Pirelli and I enjoy races now...

274

I do wonder, will this help pirelli sell more tyres? I wouldnt buy them

275

Why? If Pirelli can make a tyre to such specifications that it can befuddle the cleverest engineers in the world, don't you think they are also clever enough to design an extremely durable tyre for your road car?

276

"Why? If Pirelli can make a tyre to such specifications that it can befuddle the cleverest engineers in the world, don’t you think they are also clever enough to design an extremely durable tyre for your road car?"

No. The F1 image sticks in my mind. To be honest, just hearing the name Pirelli makes me mad. Its unfair, because its what they were engaged to do by the FIA, but thats the way it is. They should be principled enough not to produce bad tyres for any reason.

277

'Principled'?...

I think you'll find they're being paid enough to not worry about principles.

278

I know I am alone, but I really miss Michelin-Bridgestone days.

I never liked these Pirellis (and DRS), they are awful. Yes, they create some action, but to me it looks very artificial.

I think current tyre\DRS implementation is not correct and requires some alteration.

279

You are not alone.

280

What frustrates me is that there continues to be fundamental issues regarding modern day F1 aerodynamics and the inability to closely follow and race each other. If that were resolved would we even need 'quick fixes' such as huge front wings, DRS and manipulated tyres???

281

I agree with Tim B.

282

I have to say the simple answer is exactly what David Coulthard said ".. it’s difficult for me to understand why tyres are supposed to be a more fundamental part of the overall success of a team than they were before.”

Spot on ! Been saying exactly this since Pirelli came on board .

Further to this I believe success in the pinnacle of motor sport is to see constant improvements ( no matter how small or incremental) in speed , efficiency, innovation, safety, durability,contribution to automotive, economic viability. I don't want to see F1 falling back toward other categories and its clearly heading that way in more than just speed.

More over I never want to hear a driver ask " do I race him" ? Senna would be rolling over in his grave ! I don't doubt the best teams & drivers will always find a way to adapt. But Is this what racing fans want to see. ? Is this what racers start carting at age 6 to do. Surely new viewers cant understand the need to change the tyres after only 10minutes.

I don't mind the spectacle as it is because I understand most aspects of F1 and racing in general having watched for around 30+ years. So I can "balance" things out pretty well but I doubt new viewers understand (or even want to ) the complexities of tyres etc. This is why I believe many fans will be thrilled at first - but once they get into it- they realise that the tyre company-has more say in how the car is driven than the driver and the team and switch off. Not everyone wants to understand the details they just want to know the fastest car and driver and it gets too hard if we only speak of degredation'& wear ahead of everything.

283

Let these guys do what they do best. Drive balls out fast. Keep the DRS to compensate for aero loss following another car though..

Let's go back to proper tires please

284
Michael Prestia

Why don't we demand a tire that lasts a whole race and get rid of that fake DRS pass and continue with no refuelling so we ca watch a precession of fast cars. Race is over after Qualifying. Woo hoo. Oh yeah... people complained about that too!

Hey, here is a new thought: Stop complaining people.

Racing is fun to watch and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. I actualy enjoyed all three races this year.

285

Racing is fun to watch and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. I actually enjoyed all three races this year.

Me too 🙂

286

In short like life it is about balance.

Nobody wants races like Bahrain in 2010 however on the contrary the soft tyre in china was too far.

It sounds like a sensible decision to me to run the medium/hard in Bahrain and I expect we will have a nice race and hope everyone will be happy.

Roll on a good race and a battle like last year between kimi and seb.

287

Everyone is looking at it from the wrong angle. It is not a case of have it like it is or go back to how it was. How about a new approach that works better than the previous two. I say tyres that mean drivers can drive hard and fast but two mandatory pit stops per race and two tyre compounds must be used. Teams can pit anytime in the race but must pit twice. That would add strategy for the team and when on track we get to see quali lap after quali lap by the drivers. One small drop in concentration and its the gravel for them. Would also mean more mechanical failures as teams push the cars and engines harder.

288

If these tyres stay we definately need to get rid of DRS, you cant keep adding more and more "artificial" differentiators and maintain the driver influence at the same level. The drivers are too often helpless to defend..

289

Following F1 for more than 40 years and it is now very exciting, so much better than the boring processions of the past, but who else agrees that promoting an expensive set of tires that lasts about 20 miles is the right image for F1! This is not a good idea.

290

To me it's a simple case of "my driver does well when the tyres are durable" and are not appreciative of the intricacies of an f1 race. As long as "their" driver wins they couldn't care less whether a race is interesting or not. The only thing which can be improved is qualifying, where i would suggest the top 10 get an extra set of tyres to qualify with.

291

Couldn't agree more...

Apart from the qualifying bit.

292

In all honesty, there's nothing wrong with Pirelli. They were asked to bring these plastic tires to add spice to F1. An they did. This isn't Pirelli's problem. F1 rule makers are to blame for this mess. There's nothing sadder than looking at a car falling prey of DRS and "weak" tires. It's sad. Even worse, there's nothing the other driver can do about it. These tires are ruining the race. And so does the DRS.

DS

293

Well.. let me think.

That reminds me of a driver just three years ago giving up the chase after Schu just not to ruin his Bridgestone tyres. What was his name.. Button?

294

There are a lot of valid posts on this site today. It just shows how informative and passionate we are about our F1.

295

Why don't we have 3 compounds that will not have any degradation like the good old Bridgestone and Michelin days but enforce minimum 2 pitstops per race.

Tyre changes should be between 30 t0 35% race distance. Each team to choose pitstops when it suits them and tyre choice can be in any order they want.

Drivers can push from go to woe with the pitstops mixing it up for fans to keep the excitement and unpredicatbility. Wheel nuts can still come off and we won't have as much in the way of boring processions.

Qualifying would also be better as drivers will know that they don't need to save rubber for the start of race on Sunday.

Perrelli still bring the same number of tyres, the race track stays cleaner due to less marbles, they save their brand image and more people will be happy.

296

The tyres still degraded in the Michelin and Bridgestone days, just at a slower rate than the fuel effect usually allowed the cars to gain time.

Apart from that, there are three points to consider that I can think of:

1: Pirelli appreciates being talked about. Even if the tyres wear out quickly, not having the tyres mentioned in the race is what Pirelli wants to avoid.

2: weak tyres bring the high downforce cars back to the field. The tyres you propose probably would have seen Vettel on pole in China as the car could be set up for maximum downforce with no penalty in the race. Downforce would equal winning while the engines are near equal.

3. The driver skill set would be reduced - being intelligent and adaptable is of much less value. For example, Alonso's ability to avoid graining in the way Massa had would not be very relevant.

Being obliged to stop by a particular lap would limit some passing via the pits, which would generally be regarded as a good thing. The rules around safety cars would need to be carefully thought through - e.g no more than one change of dry tyres.

A thing to remember in all this is Pirelli's analysis that based on downforce levels Red Bull would have won Malaysia by a lap if the tyres allowed it.

297

The 2012 tyres were fine, had some great races, mainly two stop strategies but some one stops. It's gone a bit to extreme this year it really wasn't necessary, also with the drs to, overtaking was already easy at china with the long back straight but to have 2 was just stupid! Like brundle says in commentary the overtaking driver is getting the move done way before the braking zone, this is not formula one. The tyres should definitely be a big part of the racing but not to this extent. I agree with other posts on here that drivers who get into quali 3 should get extra set of options to use in that session only and given back after. Although with this we could still see 1 flying lap and teams saving new set for start of race, but it's better than what vettel did in china not putting in a lap at all.

298

So much crying that F1 has been ruined. I've been watching F1 for 35 years and I can confidently say that in that time the racing has never been more exciting or unpredictable as it has been for the past couple seasons. So what if some of it is artificially introduced? Don't forget that an F1 car by its nature is artificial. Its VERY NAME comes from the fact it is a FORMULA of rules. Rules in F1 have always existed to artificially limit speeds, increase safety, spice up the racing and so on. In this respect absolutely nothing has changed.

299

This is what Pirelli should do in my opinion:

Give all tyre compounds to all the teams way long before season begins. In fact even before when teams begin their car design,etc. So that teams would come up with optimum design such that it suits the tyre.

What we are seeing now is like a lottery and not F1 at all. Of course they can change the tyre compound but not in middle of that season but for next season.

300

The tyres are acceptable. Not really Pirelli's fault that the constructors or the drivers are unable to make tyres last. The tyre performance drops too quickly? The accelerator pedal is under right foot. Drivers know it perfectly, when they release this pedal at the end of the straight, not to get killed.

The negative effects I can see:

1)More tyre marbles. Makes the racing line narrow, not good for overtaking.

2)More pitstops increases the relative importance of the pitcrew. As car's performance is already highly team dependent, wouldn't it be better to shift more weight to the drivers shoulders?

But DRS is a real mystery to me. The reasoning, the "solution" and most disappointingly, that drivers are not protesting against it. I think they should, because there is not a single race result since 2011, that can be taken seriously.

301

The pros and cons of the current tyre ‘formula’ have been ably summarised by others. Suffice to say that Pirelli is enjoying maximum advertising exposure as a result – their marketing department and executives must be over the moon.

As regards calling F1 the ‘pinnacle of motorsport’ or ‘premier motorsport’, if that is referring to its ‘entertainment quotient’ then I’d have to agree. For true ‘motor racing’ I’ll probably be keeping more of an eye on LMP1’s and the WEC in future although I’d be the first to admit that this series is not nearly as much ‘fun’.

302

I think there's two genuine choices on the table. You can't have one-stop races for interest's sake.

Either continue with the current tyre situation that brings about two-stops per race, or make the tyre compounds more durable AND reinstate refueling.

For the latter solution, I would advocate leaving DRS. Thus, I think it will allow a good mix of drivers pushing hard, overtaking, and the retention of pitstop strategy.

Who's with me?

303

You only need one person with you Paul: Bernie...but he's too busy making money 🙁

For what it's worth though not a bad idea 🙂

304

I could understand the fuss about the tires better if the situation was like the start of last year and the results seemed to be random. However, so far this year, ALO, VET, HAM and RAI have two podiums each, and most people would agree that they are the top 4 drivers in the series and drive for the (current) top 4 teams. If you look at the results in China for the top 5 teams, where both cars finished (so excluding Red Bull and Mercedes) the gaps between the two drivers were substantial - over 40 seconds for Ferrari and Lotus and almost 30 for Maclaren. What this suggests to me is no team has a particular advantage, but the top drivers are making a huge difference. And surely that's the way it should be. The current situation is giving the drivers an opportunity to show exactly what they're made of, and the usual suspects are taking it. However much people might like to think that F1 is about driving at 10/10ths for 60 laps, that's never been the case in my experience (I've been watching since the early 80's), it's always been a trade off between pure pace and getting to the end of the race, whether the limit is reliability (as in the 80's), fuel or tyres. The worst time to watch that I can remember was when the tyres never went off, the cars were reliable and all overtaking took place during the pit-stops. Compared to that, seeing Vettel hunting down Hamilton on Sunday was the stuff of dreams.

305

what compared to the 'overtaking' now, DRS assissted, with one driver on fresh tyres overtaking another cruising around to conserve.

is that preferable overtaking? id argue not.

306

I agree wholeheartedly!

307

James, what chance another tyre manufacture entering the sport in the future and a tyre war developing?

For me, the tyres are making for unpredictable races but theres not so much spectacle to drivers breezing past one another either due to tyre strategy or DRS. That's not racing to me.

The tyres degrade because they're designed to, which is hardly pushing the technical envelope as the sport so proudly reinforces.

308

Zero with current regulations

It's massively expensive for the teams to have a tyre war. Is it a good use of money?

309

So many complaints!

Didn't the three fastest cars win at China?

Every team and driver have to overcome the same problems. If you don't then you'll probably end up behind those who can. That's also racing right?

310

Pirelli make superb tyres, no question.

For F1 they are making the tyres they have been asked to provide.

Don't blame Pirelli.

311

Surely we can all be agreed that 5 laps is ridiculous for a tire to last? We aren't too far from Indy 2005 when the Michelins could only do 3 laps safely!

312

It would be interesting to see how current F1 would be with the old Bridgestones but with current DRS & KERs?

313

Bring back more than one tyre manufacturer and stop this top fown engineered nonsense.

314

Five wolrd champions are the five best-placed. So, Ferrari is the best, Red Bull the second, Lotus the third, and Mercedes the fourth best. Does this now tell us who the best driver on the grid is?