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Pirelli caught in crossfire as F1 team factions go to war
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 May 2013   |  4:32 pm GMT  |  451 comments

[Updated]In the aftermath of the decision by Pirelli to make some changes to the 2013 tyres from round 7 in Canada onwards, there has been a backlash from those teams whose cars were working well on the tyres.

Lotus boss Eric Boullier and now Ferrari’s Horse Whisperer column have attacked the change and Red Bull in particular for lobbying behind the scenes and in the media for a change in tyres.

Pirelli is caught in the middle and whatever changes it makes from here onwards it will be perceived by some fans as having affected the outcome of the championship.

However last night the FIA indicated that any changes to the specification could only be made for safety reasons, not sporting ones as it entered the debate for the first time. Teams are due to learn in Monaco what the essence of the changes will be and the indications are that they will be relatively minor.

Pirelli is at fault for going too far with the 2013 tyres and for making them a larger talking point than the personalities in the sport. People tune into F1 because of personalities; it’s about Prost vs Senna, Alonso vs Vettel, not about hard versus medium.

The mistake of this season was in moving the centre of pressure too far towards a technical topic and away from the world’s best drivers expressing themselves on the race track. That imbalance has turned many fans off and this been recognised at the top.

However the essential truth to remember when sifting through the messages coming from the teams is that F1 teams will only ever speak out of self interest.

For example, as the Horse Whisperer pointed out, Red Bull won the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix with four stops and made no complaints at all. On Sunday they tried to do three, were forced to make a fourth at the wrong moment and ended up missing the podium. A volley of complaint ensued from Red Bull and especially from the owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, that F1 2013 is not real racing.

Lotus' satirical tweet aimed at Red Bull

Likewise Boullier and Ferrari are desperate to keep the 2013 tyres as they are because they have engineered themselves an advantage.

It was the same in 2009 when some teams thought of the double diffuser and the ones who didn’t tried to ban it, or 2010 with McLaren’s F Duct, which received similar treatment.

The difference here is that the argument involves a third party, Pirelli, and is much easier to target a third party than it is to face up to one’s own problems.

Arguably Pirelli made a tactical mistake when announcing the changes this week; rather than discuss a desire to cut the ideal number of stops down to two or three, which panders to the lobbyists, perhaps Pirelli should have focussed on the need to solve the delamination problem which we have seen in the last two races on Ferrari, Mercedes, Force India and Toro Rosso cars.

The priority in making a change from Canada onwards is to ensure that the tread block stays on the tyre in all situations; whether the problem is caused by debris cutting the tyres, overheating or manufacturing issues. That has to be solved in this raft of changes.

But beyond that the task is to produce tyres that are slightly more durable, but maintain the same shape and profile as the original 2013 tyres and perform in a similar way, so as not to handicap teams like Ferrari and Lotus that had found clever engineering solutions.

This is likely to be the outcome; tyres that are no so significantly different. But as the subject of tyres is so little understood by most of the media and many fans, the truth is likely to get lost amid claim and counter-claim.

Whatever the outcome and the changes, there will be complaints and factions who believe that it has decided the championship.

The reality is that until the new tyres go onto the cars in Montreal, it will be impossible to say who has won and lost with the changes. In all probability what will happen is that the engineering solutions of Ferrari, Lotus and Force India will continue to work, but the wider operating window of the tyres and increased durability will mean a reduction in the margin of deficit Red Bull and others suffer. It will being them closer together, but with the tyre-friendly teams still at an advantage.

But we will have to wait and see.

Despite their mistakes, one has a twinge of sympathy with Pirelli for being caught out with this year’s tyres by not having adequate test facilities, as the teams cannot organise themselves sufficiently well to provide a test car for them to work with.

Last year they reluctantly agreed to allow a 2010 Renault to be used to test 2013 tyres and then when Lotus turned up this year with a car that was engineered to work well on its tyres, there were complaints that Enstone had benefitted from the tests.

Now we have such an absence of trust between teams that there is no test car.

The only workable solution is to have an extra day or two after certain Grands Prix where teams can run development tyres and the process can become functional again.

Remember that when Bridgestone and Michelin were competing there were three or four days of testing after most Grands Prix. Bridgestone had a test budget of $20 million for Ferrari alone.

The Horse Whisperer sees it like this, “Maybe the brain cells that control memory only operate selectively, depending on the results achieved on track by their owners.

“A classic example of this is the current saga regarding the number of pit stops. Voices have been raised to underline the fact that various teams, some of whom got to the podium and others who were quite a way off, made four pit stops in the recent Spanish Grand Prix, making the race hard to follow.

“It’s a shame that these worthy souls kept quiet two years ago when, at the very same Catalunya Circuit and on the Istanbul track, five of the six drivers who got to those two podiums made exactly the same number of pit stops as did Alonso and (Ferrari’s second driver) Massa last Sunday in the Spanish Grand Prix.

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  1. James W says:

    Congratulations to Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel for winning the 2013 F1 Championships.

    It was Dietrich wot won it.


    1. Andrew C says:

      I personally can’t stand Vettel but you know, as a true F1 enthusiast, I’d prefer to see the drivers pushing hard and end up with a Vettel win than to see them all neutered driving at 70% ‘racing their own race’. Throwing in a variable like these tyres just to get a different world champion this year would be a hollow victory for that driver wouldn’t it? Ferrari are screaming now but what if Marussian suddenly found the secret to unlocking the tyres further and start doing even better for the rest of the championship and we end up with Chilton winning and Alonso 5th. They wouldn’t be so defensive about keeping the existing tyres if that were to start emerge as a possibility. Would we all then be happy with a Chilton championship winner? I somehow doubt it.

      1. AlexD says:

        Andrew, you are caught by Red Bull PR…please read the super detailed analysis by Autosport’s Mr. Anderson where he is explaining that drivers are pushing as hard as they did in the last 3 years and he is showing this by providing analysis of lap times and the difference between the qualifying lap and a race lap. it is the same as last 3 years.

      2. Brian Horgan says:

        However in his analysis he dosent address that this years cars are generally perceived to be faster than last years, 12 months more development with little or no reg. changes. Therefore it is unusual for race times to be the same, DC wrote an interesting article in BBC about pushing through his career. This year is a bit of a right off but hopefully the tyres will be much harder for next year particularly with the new engines.

      3. Mojo66 says:

        Ok, so the FIA says changes to the tire can only be made for safety reasons. If I was Mercedes I’d do the following: instead of telling my drivers to nurse the tires during the race, I’d have them not do any nursing but instead race at 100% and drive them down till they delaminate, make a pit stop, then do the same. They’d sacrifice a race but given that they end up outside the points from pole anyway, what would they lose? It would be slightly dangerous but would create an enormous amount of bad press and therefore pressure both the FIA and Pirelli to make the tires more suited to their car.

      4. roberto marquez says:

        Agree 1.000 per cent.I said something similar and some people attacked me furiosly. Thanks.

      5. Doobs says:

        The tyres wouldn’t delaminate. They would just be lapping 20 secs a lap slower.

    2. Sebee says:

      I’d like to thank all the boys working tyre-lessly back at the factory. Great job. Let’s drive for five and do it again in 2014!

      2012 “V3ttel” – you all have this already.
      2013 “Vette4″ – place your orders now!
      2014 “Vettel” – it was meant to be!

      1. Sebee says:



        OMG…this guy is never going to stop!

      2. Spyros says:

        It seems to run with that first name… if the other bloke in Rallying is anything to go by, we might just get to the end of your list!

      3. Tealeaf says:

        Well if he emulates Loeb’s number of championships and dominance then Seb has to be considered in the top 3 of all time greats, especially if he wins 2-3 titles for teams like Ferrari and Mclaren. I have a feeling the Renault and Ferrari engines will be weak next year though, perhaps Hamilton’s final title push.

      4. H.Guderiam says:

        Veeeeery funny….

    3. shortsighted says:

      Tire management as a part of F1 is accepted but when a driver has to do it by never exceeding a certain speed, it is no longer racing. I agree altering the tires completely in mid season is unfair. Is there a solution like using much harder tires that may reduce the fast rate of tire degradation that can allow drivers to race more uninhibited?

      1. VV says:

        Why does it cease to become racing if a driver is limited to a speed due to tire deg? Drivers are limited with other factors too, we often see drivers forced to back off at times due to fuel and wear on the Engine and Gearbox.
        The tires at Catalunya were not that bad at all, 3 Stops was the quickest on paper, but making the extra stop allowed drivers to push a bit harder. I don’t see how anyone who has watched a safety car period happen half way through a pit-stop window, which is genuinely confusing could be at all baffled by the number of pit stops in Spain.

      2. shortsighted says:

        When a driver has to limit his speed all the time, it is not racing to me. It may be to you.

      3. Richard says:


        Read the David Coulthard column (www.bbc.co.uk/formula1) from this last week, he explains he drove an F1 car from the “golden era” that I’m sure you would refer to as real racing, and describes how it would be impossible to go flat out the whole time as bits of the car would break!

      4. R M says:

        Is there another solution like letting the teams pick their own tyres for every race?… (apologies if already said somewhere)

    4. Equin0x says:

      What is the matter with some of you Hamilton fans??? You keep saying the tyres were a joke and should be changed because Hamilton can’t be competitive to save his life and now they are changing the tyres and finally you realise Vettel will benefit too you are up in arms again, give it a rest.

      1. furstyferret says:

        Mate for some reason you have a big problum with hamilton ,you only posted once rosberg finished ahead in the last race, but hamilton isn’t mentioned in this thread so why not give it a break for a while

      2. Tim says:

        I have checked the posts above this and cannot find any mention of LH. Which post are you replying too?

      3. KRB says:

        Huh? Who specifically are you referring to? I don’t mind high deg, but just want tires that drivers can race and defend with, w/o it screwing their race. I want the car’s adhesion limits to be the limiting factor for the car’s speed, not having to lift thru corners just b/c the tires give up too easily.

        Canada 2010 was a great race, and that’s what Pirelli’s remit was. That race was run full-out, with great action and great passing.

        Comments such as the “can’t be competitive to save his life” line are silly and embarrassing … maybe the norm at Planet-F1, but aim higher on here, please and thank you.

    5. Wayne says:

      Were Ferrari in RBR’s position they would have led the charge against the tyres. Count on it.

      You just get the feeling that F1 is in a very self destructive phase at the moment…..But we’ve been here before.

      F1 tried to take a short-cut to what it considered entertainment by asking for artificially engineered destructo tyres – a gambit that has Bernie written all over it. It was a lazy and stupid decision by people who ought to know better. However, to all those people who keep claiming over and over again that Pirelli are not at fault, it’s clear that F1 NEVER asked for the tyres it got this season – that’s all on Pirelli, they went to far all by themselves.

      What really worries me about the future of F1 is that some fans consider what we have been seeing for the past year and a half as the sort of motorsport they actually want to see.

    6. hero_was_senna says:

      Don’t be so hasty


      FIA declares Formula 1 tyre tweaks can only be for safety
      By Jonathan Noble Friday, May 17th 2013, 19:46 GMT

      Spanish GP 2013Pirelli’s planned mid-season Formula 1 tyre tweaks are set to be much smaller than originally anticipated after the FIA ruled that changes will only be allowed on safety grounds.

      Sources have revealed that the governing body has told Pirelli that it is happy to accept – and is indeed keen for – alterations necessary to prevent a repeat of the rear tyre delaminations that have struck at the last few events.

      But, in a blow to outfits like Red Bull hoping further tweaks would help them overcome tyre difficulties they have faced, the FIA has made it clear it will not tolerate further changes aimed at reducing the number of pitstops or decreasing degradation… “

      1. puffing says:

        So be it, I trust. Or should I not?

      2. Quade says:

        They are just doing that to cover the legal end. So long as Pirelli is making the changes for “safety” reasons, they can drive the bus through the park.
        Harder wearing tyres that are to the taste of race attending fans will come in based on the same “safety” reasons.

        I can wager a bet that the 2012 tyres will be coming back after Canada

      3. KRB says:

        Hmm, where was the FIA when the spec for the hard tire was changed? I guess we have to go back to the original 2013 hard?

        Unless all teams agreed to the change for the hard, as required by Art. 12.6.3. Somehow I doubt that.

    7. Ahmed says:

      To Horse Whisperer,
      I think you are the one suffering from selective memory. I challenge anyone to watch a replay of the 2011 and 2013 Spanish Grand Prix’s. the 2011 race whilst having 4 stops, the drivers were pushing flat out and the race win was fought out on track by drivers pushing flat out near the limit. The 2013 race, apart from the exciting overtakes in the first lap by Alonso, was a boring procession of cars driving to a prescribed lap time, being careful not to defend or push too hard in case they damage their pathetic delicate tyres. No one cares if there is 3, 4 or even 5 stops, as long as drivers are free to race and push and are not cruising around at 70-80%.
      As James pointed it has become too much about tyres, and driver skill and the cars full potential speed has become less important.

      1. AlexD says:

        Alonso and Kimi were pushing flat out all race, but you only see what you want to see.

      2. shortsighted says:

        Then how come Kimi wasn’t defending when Alonso went past?

      3. Steve K says:

        Spot on Alex!

      4. Grayzee (Australia) says:

        Spot on Ahmed!

      5. Robert says:

        Bullpucky. The 2011 race completed around 11 seconds less over the full race distance, meaning the pace was almost exactly equal – and in 2011 the teams had blown diffusers. And the only teams that had to pansy around on their tyres this year were the ones that tried to three stop and THEN reverted to four stops. Ferrari made a strategic decision to go four stops from the start of the race, and never pansied around on their tyres. RB tried the three stops, pansied around, and THEN reverted to four stops.

        You are simply being fooled by RB’s calls on the radio “Ohh, I can’t win this race on one stop Mr. Horner, PLEASE can you complain? Tell them we can’t race PROPERLY!”

        Simply a poor strategy from RB and a bunch of crying…

      6. Ahmed says:

        Lap time comparison year to year is not a good measure. As technology develops engineers always find new ways of making cars faster, that’s their job. Part of the reason Pirelli is blaming for the higher than expected degradation is the unexpected speed of the 2013 cars. The sad point is that we can’t witness the speed during the races for fear of the delicate tyres.

        If you think Alonso and Raikonnen were pushing flat out then please explain:
        1) the massive difference of qualifying laps compared to race laps, much bigger gap compared to 2011 and 2012.
        2)why the fastest lap of the race was by a Sauber that qualified 16th, and finished 11th???
        3)why did Raikonnen let Alonso drive past so casually?? I suppose he was being nice?
        4)why the onboard videos looked like a warm up lap? Not pushing hard into corners, not bothering to defend, no late braking manoeuvres or outside of the racing line moves (except lap 1 by Alonso)???

      7. Spyros says:

        Good point about the overall pace. There goes the “these cars are generating too much downforce for these tyres! No fair!” argument.

        Beyond that, is anyone seriously prepared to argue that the 2011 season was an exciting one..?

      8. Doobs says:

        Ahmed, the cars are lapping at the same speed as 2011 despite having tighter rules and no DDRS, so there’s your progress.

        1.Pole 2011 1.20.981 Webber
        Pole 2013 1.20.718 Rosberg

        2. The Sauber pitted late, less fuel, track rubbered in..

        3. Kimi was trying to go one lap less than Alonso and couldn’t afford to fight. This would have been the same whatever the tyres were like, except possibl if too hard he wouldn’t have been anywhere near P1-3

        4.The cars aren’t going as fast maybe..? The point is that all drivers nurse their cars these days. An engine and gearbox has to last a million races, so even if the cars go “flat out” they would soon be turning everything down. That’s progress. There will always be a limiting factor, this time it’s the tyres. In the old days it was engine life, fuel consumption etc.

      9. Ahmed says:

        Yes the cars have progressed, and their ultimate pace would be even quicker, i think everyone agrees that it’s being limited to a far greater degree in 2013 than ever before.

        1)is not a comparison between qualifying laps, have a look at the race lap times. Everyone agrees that in 2013 they were pushing harder and not coasting, just watch any replay.
        2)Even though the Sauber pitted late and on light fuel, they are hardly on leaders pace. That just proves that Alonso, Kimi etc were just coasting, because no one bothers pushing towards the end of races anymore.
        3)when Alonso passed Kimi, Kimi was still in with a chance of victory. Drivers in the past would never give up position that easily, even when on different strategies, they would try n hold up the driver behind and take away as much time as possible and try and ruin their tyres or force them into a mistake. These days they don’t even bother, they just give the place up.
        4)drivers aka Vettel used to only turn their engines down in the last few laps when their was a big gap and they had the win or position in the bag. Even then drivers used to push in the last couple of laps to try and fight for the fastest lap of the race, usually between Vettel and Webber in 2011. However these days they just limp home.

        If that’s what you call racing, then we obviously want different things from F1…

      10. Robert says:

        Ahmed, there is a fair bit in what you discuss that has LITTTLE to do with tyres. They turn the engines down earlier because they have so few and the penalty for exceeding their quota is very large, like 10 grid places if I remember correctly. Similarly, defence for defence’s sake makes little sense with DRS available.

        The whole game has changed, and it is important to look at the root cause analysis, not just blame one symptom. The root cause is an excess of aero, which led to “impossible to pass” races, Trulli-Train processions, and incredible boredom by the 5th lap. The solution has been DRS, KERS, and mandated pits tops, via refuelling and then tyres (refuelling being deemed to dangerous for the family entertainment F1has become).

        Anyone blaming Pirelli is focussing on a symptom, not the cause….any proposed “solutions” need to avoid a return to the boring processions that got us here.

      11. kandy says:

        i donˊt agree. thougt the cars of ferrari and lotus are friend to the tyres,i think driver skill of alonso and kimi helps on their tyre maintenance which is also the key factor to their success in those races. i think the 2 are best on the circuit now.

      12. KRB says:

        Indeed. Can’t compare the 2013 and 2011 Spanish GPs, in terms of racing.

      13. Spyros says:

        Check Robert’s post about 2011 and 2013 race pace. The race lasted just as long. So presumably the tyres took the same punishment from the double-diffuser equipped, high-downforce, all-conquering RB7.


      14. KRB says:

        Spyros, I know what I saw in both races. 2013 was a pale shadow of the 2011 race. I hate to hear engineers telling their drivers to lift and coast thru turns 3 and 9 (what HAM’s engineer was saying to him). I’m sorry but that’s not racing to me. In 2011 it was VET vs HAM for the lead, for the last 20-odd laps. It was very good stuff, and both were on the very edge.

        Overtakes are not created equal. The DRS overtakes down the straight pretty much suck, if you ask me. There is zero achievement contained in any of those.

        We’re stuck with these tires this year (they’re too far gone to be remedied by the upcoming changes). Let’s hope this never happens again.

      15. Tony Riley says:

        Read the Buxton Blog. He has a completely different take than yours and loved the Spanish Grand Prix. He in fact stated that Alonso showed everyone what is possible if you push on these tires (tyres if you’re British).

    8. Justin Bieber says:

      Sadly I think you may be right..

    9. JCA says:

      Were you saying the same thing last year after Hockenheim, or 2011 after Silverstone when regulations were changed midseason to Red Bull’s detriment?

      1. KRB says:

        Of course they weren’t. F1 fans are not the most objective lot. However, the regs in Hockenheim were to rule out engine maps that were illegal, mimicking traction control. This was after the ride height hole escapade, and the holes-in-the-floor episode from Monaco, both cases of RBR pushing the rules envelope to its limits.

        In 2011, it was only changed for Silverstone, before the ban EBD ban was rescinded for the remainder of 2011.

  2. Andrew M says:

    The number of stops is kind of a red herring anyway – I don’t care if four stops is the fastest race strategy, as long as the tyres are durable enough for drivers to push to nearer the limit than they are able to at present.

    1. Ron Colverson says:

      Exactly. It’s hearing drivers having to ask if they can fight. And they’re so far off the limits now that at the end of the ‘race’, they look like they just driven down to the shops. I want it to go back to when it was a real physical challenge; I remember seeing them hardy able to stand when they got out.

      1. Doobs says:

        That just shows the drivers and teams don’t understand the tyres and need someone on the pit wall making the call. Not that the tyres can’t take it(unless you’re in a Merc, and to a lesser extent RB) But it’s easier to get uncle Dieter to complain to Bernie.

    2. Dante says:


    3. JackL says:

      + 100

      Thank you. I think the issue for most fans is not the pit stops per se, nor the fact that they degrade quickly, but that drivers cant push as a result.

      DC and Brundle were both commenting in the last race about how slow the cars looked. The fastest lap was set by a Sauber and was well over 3 seconds faster than the leaders’ pace. Most of the overtakes were drivers waving other drivers by or being told not to race. Thats my issue with these tyres.

      I want to watch races and be in awe of their precision, speed, and courage. I dont want to watch them and think “I could do that”.

    4. Craig D says:


    5. Sebee says:

      First, outrage about tires. “Change them or hang Pirelli” they cried.
      Now, the tires change, RBR look to benefit, beloved Alonso and Kimi look to not, and the outcry is – “Don’t change them, it’s not fair!”

      First, OMG – so many pit stops.
      Now – ahh…who cares about the pit stop count!

      Meanwhile, no one in the media (not even you James) said that this year’s Spanish GP only had 2 or 3 more pit stops than last year. Also, no one in the media is conveniently talking about total race time, which I think is one heck of an important comparison point.
      Or pole time – which I keep mentioning.

      I’ve just done the rounds on other sites and it’ the same story from the keyboard worriors. Horse Whisperer is being supported in his argument to not change, Vettel is being undermined as a Champion, and the unhappiness continues.

      I don’t know what the solution is, but all this keyboard anger isn’t helping. First it made a storm in a tea cup over the tires, which weren’t even given a fair chance. Now they are changed and there is now a second storm in the same tea cup.

      1. Andrew M says:

        (a) I’ve never had a problem with lots of pit stops. Ideally I’d like them to bring back refuelling, but that’s a different topic.

        (b) I agree changing things in the middle of the season is hardly ideal, but tyre delaminations appear to have forced Pirelli’s hand. It’s not the first time things like this have happened either (Michelin tyres, blown diffusers, dampers).

        (c) Looking at total race times and fastest race laps is pointless and doesn’t address the issues being raised at all. Even if there weren’t a multitude of things that affect these things at least a year apart (regulation changes, track conditions and evolution, race strategy), the complaint isn’t about lack of ultimate speed, it’s about how much of this speed the drivers are able to access on a consistent and regular basis. At the moment even the cars that can push the hardest are able to do this less than at any time I’ve watched the sport.

      2. Tim says:

        Very well said, +1.

      3. Tim says:

        Meanwhile, no one in the media (not even you James) said that this year’s Spanish GP only had 2 or 3 more pit stops than last year….

        Might I politely suggest that you have a read of Gary Anderson analysis on the BBC before making such sweeping statements.
        Her is the link:

      4. JF says:

        well said. so true

      5. Arnie S says:

        James Allen has Said that it was only a small difference in pi stops

      6. Sebee says:

        Yes. James is very neutral.

        But there is a challange with neutrality. Readers deneutralize it with their views. And that is the reason why facts require presentation. Not to argue one side or the other, simply to use all colors of the pallette. When being neutral we’re assuming that readers will think about what they are reading. Quite often they don’t and this is why presentation of some facts may challange one’s views.

        Even now…look at all the responses I got when I posted the fact that race distance times are nearly identical last 3 years. Readers here say that lap times were slower in 2013. They are looking at start of race fuel load times, not avarage times, the fact that if the total race distance takes same amount of time then it means they drove at same average speed as previous years – hence it can’t be arugued that F1 is slower now. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and I almost expect that information to be here because of history of great inforamtion at JAonF1. But between family, commentary, interviews, reporting, there is only so much time our James has after all. He’s not going to rip his guts out to clear up other sites misinformation. Also, I hate to be so blunt, but there are fans who simply aren’t open to alternate views. Perhaps I shouldn’t speak…I have been so stuck in my “be cool, wait and see” camp, I’m pretty solidly against changes to the tires for 2013 by now. Obviously it is the loser camp as the tires are changing.

    6. DB4Tim says:

      And Ferrari did push to the limits and that is great

      1. KRB says:

        Alonso himself said he was driving at 90%.

      2. Elie says:

        Which means 80% at best in reality

      3. AlexD says:

        Do you think that vettel was racing 100% in 2011?

      4. KRB says:

        AlexD, yes I do, ‘cos Hamilton was right behind him waiting for any opening to go by him for the lead! YouTube the last 20 laps of that race, and you’ll realize there was no way that either of them was giving it less than their all.

      5. Doobs says:

        No different to when a car is leading and turn everything down, unless you’re Mark Webber expecting Vettel to do the same.

    7. Stuart Harrison says:

      Totally agree and many vociferous types are missing precisely this point. Four stops taken because that’s the longest stretch you can put the tyres through without them falling to bits (literally in some cases), while tip-toeing round the track, versus going full-tilt from the green flag..? No competition.

      Right move to change the tyres, just don’t go as far as the old Bridgestones.

      James, you make some great points in the post above, particularly about the tyres taking over from the personalities of the sport. It one reason why I keep coming back to this site again and again.

      1. KRB says:

        Yeah, I don’t care if it’s 5-stop or 1-stop (Austin last year was a GREAT race, all thru the field), just as long as the cars can race!!

      2. H.Guderian says:

        What do you mean???
        Cars CAN race… Did you see Ferrari and Lotus???

      3. KRB says:

        Heinz, you mean Kimi letting Alonso by w/o nary a fight? That, to me, is not racing.

    8. John M says:

      Totally agree with you.

      As far as specific teams advantaged/disadvantage…I don’t really care. Props to the teams that engineered a better solution.

      That being said, I don’t like it that the racing is reduced to driving to a delta and not pushing. That’s not F1 to me. Pirelli just did what they were asked and I don’t blame them, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

      1. Grant H says:

        I agree they need to change, but u gotta love kimi’s comment something like “in a football match at half time they don’t make the pitch half the size cos one player is nakered out”

    9. Robert says:

      The teams/drivers that COMMITTED to a four stop strategy from the race start drove nearly all out, it was the teams that foolishly tried to three stop that pansied around on their tyres in stints. That is the issue…and was discussed in detail on Sky F1 coverage.

      1. Andrew M says:

        No they didn’t, even Alonso said they didn’t.

      2. The Catman says:



    10. Quade says:

      Maybe there are people who do, but I certainly don’t enjoy watching pitstops.
      I couldn’t care if there were even zero stops for a whole race. All I want is real action on track.

      1. VV says:

        The average pit stop is really boring, but every now and then you get a situation where you have a car in the pits, and a rival on track racing to turn one. Watching those vital seconds in the pits knowing that second place is pushing harder than ever to get the advantage never fails to get my heart pumping

    11. johnpierre says:

      that what i’m talking about. 1, 2, 3, for 4 what ever. on sunday ferrari and fernando showed us you can go racing with the tires.

      1. Andrew M says:

        They showed us you can go racing at 90% with the tyres.

  3. Nihad Gluscic says:

    James, wouldn’t such a major change require an unanimous agreement by all teams? The gist of Lotus/Ferrari message was such that they just have to deal with it even though they are far from happy.
    Just wondering what sort of changes does require unanimous agreement of all teams.


    1. James Allen says:

      Normally, but there is no Concorde Agreement at the moment

      1. Simmo says:

        When do you think a new one will be done? What progress is there?

      2. Spyros says:

        Interesting. So with such changes possible when the Concorde Agreement is in the air, why would any team wish to get the thing signed at all..?

      3. schumerak says:

        so James, does that theoretically mean that any team can disregard the parts of the rules it doesn’t agree with, so long as no Concorde agreement is in place? What are the limits on not having a contract between the teams and FOM?

      4. James Allen says:

        No but it means the FIA can legislate as it sees fit

      5. Wayne says:

        James, excuse my ignorance but, why could Pirelli not just get rid of the super-soft and replace it with a harder compound tyre at the other end of the spectrum rather than change all the tyres completely?


        Why would the situation not have been resolved even just by going for a tier harder on all tyre selections for the rest of they year?

      6. Anne says:

        FIA rules and regulations don´t allow Pirelli or any team to do whatever they want with the tyres. Unless, as we see now, there are safety issues. So for safety problems Pirelli can make minor changes but they can´t switch to 2011 or 2012 tyres nor to any other kind of compound.

      7. kers says:

        In this case, what is stopping Ferrari from bringing back the in-season testing at their home track? That way, they would recover the losses incurred by the change of thr tyre specs.

      8. The Catman says:

        Good point apart from where would they get the tyres from??


      9. Brian Horgan says:

        Because one team cannot make a change, despite public opinion Pirelli have made the decision to change the tyres not RBR,

    2. If there is an issue with safety there is no need for the tyre supplier to seek for unanimous agreement. If the tyres are being changed because some teams have an issue with them then they have to vote it out. Of course Ferrari get the special veto vote.

      But in this case there is a pitch about the safety of the tyres after the delaminations that have plagued many drivers and that is a serious concern.

      I agree that they must sort the structural integrity of the tyres and ensure the high speed delaminations dont occur, but they shouldn’t touch the compounds. Red bull will whine for a while but they will shut up after some time.

    3. Grant H says:

      I read a comment that the FIA are now going to block any major change that is not for safety reasons

      FIA (Ferrari international assistance)

      Hope they can fix these tyres as I don’t enjoy watching F1 coasting through corners

      1. Anne says:

        I wish people will stop that silly FIA and Ferrari so called conspiracy. RB won 3 championships. It doesn´t look like FIA helped Ferrari that much. Besies Lotus is not happy about this situation either. And nobody is saying that FIA wants to help Lotus

      2. Grant H says:

        I seem to remember Ferrari and shummy dominating for some years when they had the best tyres

      3. Anne says:

        Yes Ferrari have Schumy, the tyres, Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, James Allison… Many elements combined. Call it a dream team if you want. They didn´t accomplished all that only with tyres.

      4. hero_was_senna says:

        Surely you mean Force India Assistance?

      5. David C says:

        Any assistance to Force India is mearly colateral assistance. FIA has been stepping in to help Ferrari for years like last year when they “closed a loophole” redbull were using with their engine mapping….. or in other words “changed the rules mid season”. Although at least now that the tyre performance is staying the same everyone will accept the winner of the championship as such …… or complain about something else such as what tyres they bring to each GP. The most important thing is that the tyres stop delaminating as it could strike a title contender soon and from pirellis view does them no good for marketing their tyres, and its not good to see such an important partner damaged. I honestly think thats what the whole tyre change was about in the first place but by implying they were giving in to Merc, Williams, Red Bull, Torro Rosso and McLaren they avoided having to say the cream of our development dept made bad tyres that fall apart, the same guys who design our road tyres. Not that the two products are the same but it looks bad.

      6. KRB says:

        Well, it is odd that they poked their nose in now, and not at the time Pirelli said they would change the hard tire (for Spain).

      7. Anne says:

        Pirelli never said change. They just said they would made a little tweak on the hard tyres only. Now some people were requesting to go back to last year tyres. That can´t be done under current rules. That´s all FIA said. So we will have minor change in all the tyres not only the hard ones for safety reasons.

  4. jmv says:

    Is probably cost related…. but why not widen the spectrum of tyre compounds and create an on demand situation.

    Teams must indicate to Pirelli 3 races in advance the compounds they wish to run, and they can choose from a menu of 2011, 2012 and 2013.

    That means the teams will have freedom to choose. But when they screw up their selections, they cannot keep on moaning.

    By receiving the requests in advance, Pirelli can plan and produce the tyres.

    Of course every team gets the same menu.

    1. Simmo says:

      It is a good idea, but like you point out, costs would be an issue, plus then we will just get Ferrari and Lotus running the 2013 hard and medium, Red Bull running the 2012 hard and medium, etc.

    2. j says:

      Man that would be awesome. Produce a set amount of tires and then let the teams choose. Do 5 ordering dates throughout the year so we could talk about how our favorite team botched their choice last time and whether they will do better on the next order.

    3. Wayne says:

      Imagine the nightmare for the pundits and fans trying to keep up with that!

    4. Andrew Carter says:

      Because the FIA rules wont allow it and require a unanimous vote from the teams to change. Since Red Bull seem to like voting against all the other teams out of habit these days, thats not going to happen.

      1. Me says:

        …like the recent vote on testing where Red Bull voted against all the other… oh wait!

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        There’s always an exception.

  5. Sebee says:

    Sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing.

    They should have left the tires unchanged. Vettel and RBR were going to work around this and win a fantastic 4th…now we won’t hear the end of how Pirelli’s change won Vettel his 4th.

    But it all makes sense…4th championship won on 4 tires!

    1. Rob01 says:

      Doesn’t make a difference, Vettel is leading the championship on these tyres and he will be leading the championship on more durable tyres, its all the jealous Hamilton fans don’t even know what they want now, just concentrate on beating Nico thats all I can say.

    2. James says:

      Without any change, Alonso would have the title tied up before the end of season flyaways. Even with changes, he still may well have it tied up nice and early.

      1. johnpierre says:

        that is quite a prediction james. i just can’t see adrian newey not being able to compensate for the high wear rate. it might mean that the RB9 ia not the fasted on saterday but in vettels hands it would surely be a race winner some of the time.

        ps i hope your right…

      2. Tealeaf says:

        Really is that why Vettel is leading the championship right now? Also Seb’s form improves in the 2nd half of the season and will turn his engines up from Spa onwards its traditional now, and yes plus Newey will probably find more time than Ferrari will with B-Spec cars towards the end of the season. So all in all Alonso won’t win the title with any given tyres, watch Monaco when he has another brain fade bet on it.

    3. Wayne says:

      You’re probably right, I utterly despise these tyres and the so called racing they produce but the changes should have been left until next year. However, if they had done that would they then be accused of not responding to the fans and the media?

      I have said all along that Pirelli are at fault and have been shot down over and over by people here saying they just did what F1 asked for. It’s clear that F1 did not ask for what we have seen this season so that argument is garbage.

      1. KRB says:

        Pirelli need the testing they’re asking for. Why not use some of the Young Driver days for testing the next year’s tires?

      2. Sebee says:

        Did you see Wayne? FIA spin in full force…changes on safety only. But when the structure has to be changed to stop delamination or compounds have to change to stop same issue, and those changes still shift the balance of power that’s just a nice way of rebranding the same act.

      3. Wayne says:

        Shocking isn’t it. They do not even have the courage of their convictions.

    4. Calmo says:

      1 WDC thanks to webber and mostly alonso failing on the last race stuck being unable to overtake. The rest 3 are pure pirelli and the reason why he pulled ahead of webber coupled with in-team favoritism

      1. David C says:

        Its not very fair to pick one moment from one race of a season and say that is the only reason a particular driver won. Using your example of the 2010 f1 season, both webber and alonso were stuck in traffic by their own fault, they made the decision to pit. Also in that season vettel suffered mechanical failure from p1 in australia and p1 in Korea loosig him 50 points and giving Alonso an additional 9 points for a net change of 59 additional points to Alonso who had no mechanical failures just one accident with no other cars involved. So it could be argued that Alonso was only near SB because of relibality. Either way the champion is decided over the course of a full season with many contributing factors.

    5. Rudy says:

      Ha ha, keep on dreaming mate!

      1. Sebee says:

        Are you Rudy with the Notre Dame football dream? Then you know you have to dream big, because dreams cone true. :-)

  6. Mani says:

    The test car advantage is laughable seriously.

    Kimi was falling off the grid during last year’s chinese gp from 2nd to 14th.

    And the E20 still suffer to switch on the wet compound under rainy condition. A problem that still bugged them until today.

    Not only Lotus that had engineered their car around the tyre, Force India and Ferrari too.

    Redbull should shut up and start focus on mechanical around the car instead of focusing on addding madness amount of downforce.

    1. Rob01 says:

      Vettel has won 3 titles with all different tyres, diffusers and throttle mapping and he will win this year’s title with whatever tyre they throw at them, RBR are conserving Vettel’s engine til the final 3rd of the season its a pattern they’ve deployed for the past 2 years, but yet still Seb is leading the championship anyway, Seb would beat Alonso at Ferrari.

      1. Doobs says:

        Yeah they (RB don’t sound rattled at all. Not a bit.

    2. CJD says:


      i’m austrian, so RBR is a bit closer than other teams atm for me.

      but i always hate it when they are so bloody slow on straights or now eating the tires, because “only” consentrating on adrian and aeros.

      the mechanical part of the car must get more important again in F1, so even if the tires are crap for racing this year, pirelli must keep the actual construction.

      please no politics for RBR like it happend for Ferrari years ago.


      .. i know mateschitz, he did not do this interview because he wanted changes of the rules for RBR, he just expressed his thoughs about “actual racing” … the rest is media interpretation

      1. Doobs says:

        An astute business man like DM doesn’t “just” express an opinion ;)

      2. Brian Horgan says:

        I don’t know about that, DM puts a lot of money into forms of Motorsport which have very little return and RB supports a lot of young drivers through RB junior team, I always got the impression he loves Motorsport and the idea of people sweating bricks and pushing the cars to the limit.

  7. James K says:

    Great article! You articluated the issues and politics. The problem that exist is who will take over for Pirelli once they get tired of the abuse.

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Just thinking, if Cosworth engine doesn’t work, it is replaced; if the driver doesn’t perform, he is replaced; if alternator doesn’t work, the manufacturer is replaced… Who do you think it will be the tire manufacturer in 2014 when no contract is in place yet?

      Can Michelin play any role since it’s the Formula “E” supplier for 2014?

      1. Quade says:

        Michelin says it will only participate in F1 if there are other tyre suppliers to compete against. They are against monopoly, even if its to their benefit.
        I guess their position is dictated more by the economics of a clean image than morality, but its the right way to go.

    2. puffing says:


      1. puffing says:

        I meant +1 to James K’s commentary.

    3. An how many times, back in the day, did we hear about how Bridgestone (and their Ferrari testing budget) were making the difference for MS and Co.? Perhaps the “do nothing” or “live with it” or maybe a “let’s go fishing instead” . . . and read about it in the papers approach are really things to consider. F-1 Supremo and Commercial Rights folks got what they asked for from Pirelli. Is BE now unhappy that SV isn’t runnin away with it again?

      Oh, the story lines to come, eh?

  8. dean cassady says:

    I am against changing the formula in the middle of the competitive season.
    The formula and the competitive specification were set, so that teams could develop their package to maximize theior performance to those specifications. Some teams have done better than others.
    Make no mistake about it, high-powered lobbying drove this mid-season change to the specifications.
    Be that as it may, this has been going on in Formula One for the entire modern era, and likely, though I am less familiar with it, the entire duration of Formula One racing.
    So now it is Red Bull, the heavy-hitting three-times-in-a-row champions, who have been successful. Let us not forget that they paid the price with the double diffuser, in 2009, otherwise, they would have won that year, and let’s face it, it should have been ruled outside of the specifications.
    But previously, when not REd Bull, the red team made fortuitous advantage of this pattern in Formula One, and the Schumacher era is unflatteringly conclusive evidence; many believe that they got exclusive customer-Schumy tires!
    So, in the end, that’s just the way it goes.
    But who is the real winner? Usually we would look to the real whiners; in this case Red Bull and Mercedes. While it is true that Red Bull will benefit from this change, will their benefit be comparatively better than the benefit to their main rivals?
    In the case of Mercedes, even the bullet-proof Bridgestones wouldn’t likely preserve their tires on a car which seems to have been designed to use the tires hard, but get the benefit out of doing so. Mercedes just made a fundamental design error, and there is just no easy way to fix that.
    The chief rival of Red Bull, is Ferrari-Alonso, and Lotus-Kimi.
    Ferrari: the big winners: with their improved tire-management design, they may now be able to match Lotus on one less stop than Red Bull.
    But Lotus is not likely to get enough to reduce their need for pit stops further; so they’ll get no benefit, keep the same constraints that they accepted to design their car to be nice to the tires, and are likely to get pushed down the order, probably fighting it out with Mercedes, rather than Ferrari.
    But who knows…

    1. Andrew says:

      “Make no mistake about it, high-powered lobbying drove this mid-season change to the specifications”


      1. Doobs says:

        Mateschitz and Bernie weighing in about this isn’t racing not high level enough for you?

    2. Quade says:

      The changes that are coming are likely to be so fundamental that guessing who will benefit at this time is impossible.

      1. James Allen says:

        Disagree I think they will be relatively minor

    3. Quade says:

      As for Merc, they are bringing a brand new suspension to Monaco to sort their tyre chomping issues. They are also bringing new brake cooling updates, especially for Lewis who uses brakes that run at a higher temperature than the brand Rosberg uses.

      Horror! Those new updates are based on the current tyre, so are worth one race only. Horror!
      I guess all the teams would suffer in similar ways from the tyre change too.

      1. Anne says:

        I´m glad Mercedes is taking that step forward. That´s the way a team should fix their problems. Unlike RB who want Pirelli to change the tyres.It is RB and not Pirelli who must work in order to find a solution.

      2. Alexander Supertramp says:

        A new suspension, where did you read that? Sounds great!

      3. Grant H says:

        new suspension really? Bit surprised for monoco as their mechanical qualy grip is fantastic and they are one of only two teams who have the interconnected system, I guess it will be a modification rather than new suspension

    4. KRB says:

      Mercedes chief designer Aldo Costa is known for designing cars that are easier on their tires. Merc have come out and said there’s no inherent problem in the car. It’s obvious they can’t get the best out of the tires, but I doubt the problem is on the mech grip side (if anything, that’s been emphasized over the aero). It’s known that Merc’s coanda is the least effective of the bigger teams, and this is where the problem lies, I believe.

      1. Quade says:

        It could be the coanda indeed, but I think Merc is somewhat lost. There have been all sorts of other suggestions too, like the shape of their fuel tank affecting centre of gravity; or the engine having so much grunt that the torque destroys the tyres etc. With what Paul Hembery said about the cars being too fast for the tyres this year, it could also be something as crazy as the Merc being just too fast (unlikely, since they only manage to amble off the start line like a dizzy fat mama).

      2. kallisto says:

        How ‘s that possible that for 3 years nobody inside Mercedes camp is able to figure out the problem? Waste of time, money and resources!…
        Though I hope Paddy Lowe can help them to solve the tyre issues! Really embarrassing race Barcelona 2013 was!

      3. KRB says:

        Ok, but how to explain Force India’s treatment of the tires? Mercedes would have all the data of how the FI uses the tire, if they run different engine maps, etc.

      4. Quade says:

        I have no clue. Mercedes have Force India’s data as well as McLarens, but it doesn’t seem to help them. In 2012, McLaren was not only the fastest car, it was also kinder on its tyres than the works team was. Mercs problems are a mystery.

  9. Sebee says:

    And by the way Horse Whisperer is 100% correct.

    SELECTIVE MEMORY CELLS – perhaps a Newey invention?

    Races are taking same time to complete.
    Drivers are making same amount of stops.

    Yet there is this wave of anger, and I strongly believe the drivers started it for some reason.

    It’s been argued that they are driving to a delta, or that they can’t push, or that they can’t race. Well, HW has put another bullet into my gun which was already loaded with faster pole times and same race total time even with the “extra” stop. Now we are reminded that the 2011 win was same number of stops. And if you remember my comments and if my memory serves me right 2013 race was only 13 seconds slower total race time vs. 2011. With tougher flexi wing tests, with no defusers – that sounds just right.

    1. Sebee says:


      I remember when Schumi and Ross decided to win a race with a 4 stop strategy. Apparently Schumi woke up on the wrong side of the bed that Sunday and had some anger to burn off. He figured a GP worth of quali laps should just about do the trick.

      Everyone hailed the win on a 4 stop as a huge achievement and it was regularly listed as one of Schumi’s greatest wins. Suddently, 4 stops is a failure? Another selective memory moment.

      1. James Allen says:

        People also forget that race was in days of refuelling; more about light fuel loads and multiple stops, it was the fuel that decided the strategy more than they tyres

      2. Elie says:

        Yes and 160kg of fuel is having the biggest impact on the tyres now also. The length of the first stint and the length of the last stints with same compounds are miles apart as well as the speed diff.

      3. johnpierre says:

        thanks for reminding us. so many issues and points are getting lost in this discussion.

      4. Sebee says:

        Indeed James. My points was they did it, and it was hailed as a huge achievement.

    2. puffing says:

      Yeah, this is it.

    3. Cliff says:

      I normally take comments from the Horse Whisperer with “a pinch of salt”, but you’d be hard pushed to disagree with any of his statement around this issue. We are constantly being told that F1 has some of the best engineers in the business, given time, they would have solved the tyre issue.

      As a McLaren Fan I have no wish to see Ferrari win either of the championships, but I can’t help feeling that they’ve been penalised for doing a better job.

    4. Quade says:

      2013 cars are 2 seconds per lap faster than the 2012 ones. If not for the rotten tyres, 2013 races would finish 2 MINUTES faster on average.

      The massive speed increase from last year is even one of the reasons Pirelli has given for the outright wretchedness of its tyre performance.

    5. Dizzy says:

      But look at the lap times through a race & you actually see that they are actually lapping further off there ultimate pace than past years & that includes 2011/2012.

      The total race time may be similar, However the cars are lapping a lot slower than what they could & this shows that there is a lot more tyre management in 2013 than in either 2011 or 2012.

      In 2011/12/13 the fastest race lap was in the 1:26′s.
      However in 2011 the drivers average lap time was only 1-3 seconds off that & for much of the race they were lapping in the 1:27/1:28 range.
      In 2012 the figures were fairly similar.
      However in 2013 they were lapping 3-5 seconds off that time & most drivers spent most of the race lapping in the 1:29/1:30 range.
      Also in 2013 most in the top 10 never got out of the 1:28 range for there fastest lap while in 2011/2012 most in the top 10 got into the high 1:26′s.

      You also see the level of tyre management each driver had to do in each season by looking at there lap times & you can easily see there is a lot more tyre management in 2013 than the 2 years prior.

      Also consider this, If tyre management is no worse in 2013 why are we hearing so much more radio messages regarding hitting lap deltas, not racing cars around them & been told to slow down?
      Why are more of the drivers, teams, media & fans complaining about it in 2013 while they did not in 2011/2012?

      Its all clear to see, Pirelli’s 2013 tyres & the way you need to look after them are hurting the races & drivers don’t enjoy driving on them!

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, and I may have to re watch the races , but Ferrari and lotus haven’t mentioned lap delta once this season. Certainly not over the radio

        I’m quite cynical of what TV likes to portray. I don’t believe we get all of the radio messages transmitted, only the select few that the puppet masters deem fits the production this week. At times both drivers and audience fulfill that role.

        I do wonder why teams haven’t adopted a blue language set of instructions.
        Can you imagine, Jenson or anyone could be called into a stop yet the FOM feed couldn’t put it on screen for other teams to hear. Yet when a team wants to mislead opposition, “box in 4 laps”

      2. Doobs says:

        So the drivers lap at a slower speed for the same number of laps yet finish the race in the same time as the 2011 race. Spooky.

    6. Jacob says:

      Rubbish. The cars are supposed to be getting quicker, so race times lower as well. Pirelli are preventing that.

      Anyone wanting to bring up the early 4 stop races in 2011 are completely overlooking the situation that led to those races having so many stops. That being the teams had nowhere near the data on the Pirellis that they have now. This far in to the Pirelli era it shouldn’t be so difficult for Pirellis 2 hardest tyres to deliver a 2-3 stop race, as has been asked of them.

    7. Robert says:

      Totally agree – and will add that the issue is the teams that tried to three stop pansied around on their tyres, those that committed to four stops at the start did a lot less driving to a delta and pushed harder, which is why they won the race. In reality, this is simply RB blaming Pirelli for a bad strategy call from their pit wall, which was to attempt the three stop and then revert to a four.

      I personally LOVE the pit stop drama, and the varying strategies. I love not knowing until 5 or 10 laps who might win, and I love the battles all up and down the field in the final laps as the strategies play out.

      I think the “it must be flat out all the time” fans are either 1) new to F1 and have forgotten that tyres and other mechanical wear factors have always been a part of F1, or 2) are trying to project themselves into that race seat, and KNOW that they can (of course) drive faster than anyone driving to a delta, because their ego says they are real men and real men don’t drive to deltas or conserve tyres.

      BTW, they can’t. There are few on these boards that could get two laps around Silverstone in an F1 car without going off, even at conserving tyre speeds, and nearly all of them have racing licenses and come here to see how the plebes live.

      1. johnpierre says:

        great comments robert. i wish more people felt this way

    8. Martin says:

      An area that could be debated is the relative time lost behind Rosberg – around 2 seconds per lap compared to the time lost behind Alonso in 2011 for the first two stints.

  10. Stefanos says:

    They are all right and that’s the troubling part. Any such artificial situation is bound to be fragile. It was exacerbated by the new compounds for 2013 and the testing limitations. Now the teams that were lucky and got it right are right to complain. And everyone else is right to complain that the tyre situation was sub-optimal, to put it kindly.

    1. Brace says:

      The one more problem that gets overlooked is that Red Bull is strongly lobbying against in-season testing, which would help avoid all this mess in the first place, but then, instead of voting to reintroduce it, they vote against it, because they are afraid Ferrari and McLaren are more efficient in real-life (not virtual) testing development.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        The last time Newey took on Ferrari with in season testing was in the early 2000′s. He was head guy at Mclaren and he won nothing in terms of titles. Trust me, he doesn’t want Ferrari, with a circuit in their back garden, having in season testing.

  11. No hope says:

    Surely all teams are concerned that the tyres, as they are, can delaminate in a dangerous fashion. Whether you are Ferrari, Lotus or RedBull, everyone must agree this needs fixing.

    1. Jorge Gaviria says:


    2. Robert says:

      They are delaminating, but that steel belt (which apparently will be gone in the re-design) kept things together safely. The cars that I saw delaminate actually got back to the pits. Besides, on Tilke-designed tracks, what is there to hit? ;-)

  12. colin grayson says:

    love the propaganda from red bull , the boss saying that it isn’t racing as the drivers can’t go flat out all the race , as though they ever did !that’s just something that the uniformed so called fans believe

    and horner’s …the fans can’t follow it ! easy solution , go back to pole sitter wins the race , easy to follow..then we won’t have to waste our time on sunday’s

    truth of the matter is that pirelli’s stronger belt is safer because the tyre doesn’t deflate , I pray that when we revert to the old type belt vettel gets lots of punctures

  13. Doug says:

    From what I’ve read I’m a voice in the wilderness on this…I really enjoyed the Spanish GP! 4 stops was the smart way to go & Red Bull..who’ve won doing 4 stops in the past start bleating on about “4 stops is not real racing”. My only concern about the tyres is the delaminating issue, fix that & leave the teams to work around the wear/warm up problems…they are the same for every team, some have just adapted better than others.

    For the record I’m not a Ferrari fan..I’m a McLaren/Lewis Hamilton fan..and any changes would probably help the team(s) I support..but any changes to alter the performance of the tyre at this stage in the season are plain WRONG!

    1. VP of Common Sense says:

      Great post, Doug. We all have our favorites but making a change like this 5 GP into the season is wrong. I’ve enjoyed the pit stop drama, it’s added to the spectacle. It was brilliant strategy from Ferrari. Everyone was thinking 3 stops and Ferrari was always pushing a 4 stop race at a furious pace. It’s up to Red Bull to keep up on their own merits and hard work, not to be given a helping hand from Pirelli. It should also help Mercedes, but their car is so bad on the tyres that one shouldn’t expect any non Monaco podiums from Mercedes any time soon.

  14. Russ Howe says:

    All the teams saw these tyres at the end of last season and designed their cars with the same information. Now the wrong teams are winning and were changing the rules. The vunder kid can’t win unless he has a second a lap advantage inherent in his car so lets change the rules. Nothing can upset the established order. Lotus near the front?

    1. Sebee says:

      You expect RBR not to try to tilt it their way? After all the teams treid to tilt it away from them by having rules change?

      It was up to the powers that be to yield. After they figured out things others did not in the past, and had that taken away from them with new rules and new tests, I say this one if it results in a benefit for RBR is part for the course based on recent history of advantage being clawed away from RBR.

      1. Sebee says:

        par, par, par for the course. :-)

      2. Anne says:

        RB made a strategy mistake. Well Vettel did not Webber. They thought 3 stop was the right way to go. It wasn´t the case. And it is not the first time. The whole multi 21 drama in Malasya happened because they had the wrong strategy with Vettel.

        RB should be smarter with their strategy and they should work in the factory to find a solution withe their tyre problem.

      3. JCA says:

        Agreed, just like they changed the engine map regulations the last two years in mid season.

    2. JCA says:

      You really believe Vettel has never won a race without a car that is a second a lap faster than any other?

    3. JCA says:

      Sorry, I ment a car that isn’t a second a lap faster.

      1. Russ howe says:

        No I don’t mean ever and this season and last season I have reluctantly been impressed but I still don’t class him in the same league as Kimi or alonso and without his advantage he is a good driver competing against the very best. IMO. To change the rules mid season is blatant favouritism.

      2. JCA says:

        But in both 2011 and 2012 the engine map regulations were changed to curtail a Red Bull advantage, where they did the best job to interpret the regulations, and in any case the FIA has minimized the changes today to only improve the safety of the tyre, not to improve performance.

      3. Russ Howe says:

        Yes I saw that this morning. I thought the engine mapping was deliberately to stop one team running away, but my interpretation of this weekend was that the Red-Bull would have been just as quick as the Ferrari had they chosen the correct strategy, with Kimi quick on the alternate strategy there are three evenly matched teams at the front. I didn’t see a need to change the rules especially not mid season. Probably all immaterial now.

      4. Andrew says:

        Apart from the Toro Rosso win I don’t believe he has.

        We will only see the truth if he’s in the same team as Raikkonen, Alonso, or Hamilton or another fast driver.

        We also need to see him in a bad car for a season.

      5. JCA says:

        The Red Bull has been designed for good Quali pace, and use the Renault engine’s good fuel economy to start lighter than the Merc and Ferrari engined cars, but he has had to hold on to many victories later in the race when the opposition equalize their weight and can use their better top end power to overtake. So I would say he uses his car’s strength very well, but his car is not 1 second a lap faster over the whole race distance, imho.

      6. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Err, except for every victory he has ever had?

        The only times he has come close to having a second a lap advantage is the 2010 Spanish and Hungarian Grand Prix’s, and Webber won both of them.

        >”We need to see him in a bad car for a season”
        So his 1.5 seasons in a midfield Toro Rosso don’t count because?

        He makes Webber – a very strong driver formerly regarded as a bit of a qualifying specialist – look mediocre.

      7. Andrew says:

        >”We need to see him in a bad car for a season”
        So his 1.5 seasons in a midfield Toro Rosso don’t count because?

        Because he has become a spoilt brat who thinks he has a divine right to have the best car. He needs taking down a peg or two as Hamilton and Alonso needed in the past.

        I don’t doubt that he is very good, we know he is faster than Webber but we need a comparison with somebody else.

        I do believe that every race he has won for Red Bull he has had the best car. Webber can’t make the Pirelli tyres last in the race as well as being incapable of starting properly. If the guy routinely gets shocking starts then it indicates to me that his reaction times have declined and that he has lost a few tenths of speed.

  15. Irish con says:

    You would have to say Ferrari and lotus both have a point. And if they make the tyres harder and back to 1 stop races then we will back to the Bridgestone era then that will be pointless and a red bull 1-2 every race.

    I like the way f1 is now that when u wake up on a Sunday your not sure who is going to win but I do agree that Sunday was a step too far. 2-3 stops is good but it doesn’t sit we’ll with me that some teams who didn’t do a good enough job as others compline and them the tyres are changed. It’s like in the wet lotus can’t generate tyre temps but there is no talk of making them softer.

    1. cubby says:

      Why does everyone assume that fixing the tires will lead to RB winning every race? There is some merit in the argument that the tires are making performance less about car quality and driver talent. But we don’t know that RB would be beating Ferrari or Lotus with decent tires. I have a sneaking feeling that these two teams will be competitive whatever we do to the tires this year.

      1. johnpierre says:

        this is the question that everyone has in the back of their mind right now. and one that we will have to wait until Canada, England and Germany to find out. we should get a fairly good indication of the point you bring up.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Yes but what’s stopping RBR then doing 2 stops, Ferrari 3 and RBR claiming they can’t race with these tyres?
      Red Bull have been claiming since the winter that these were too soft. Lotus and Ferrari got on with the programme.
      After Kimi won in Australia, Ferrari said they couldnt have got through on two stops, have to work harder.Red Bull? They complained.
      Such a subtle difference in mindset.

    3. KRB says:

      I would like to know what was the worst-ever result for a team that had locked out the front row, had finished with both cars, and had zero adverse incidents (i.e. no collisions, punctures, or the like) during the race?

      I would bet a lot of money that it was Merc’s result last Sunday, a 6th and 12th. And that at Barcelona to top it off!

  16. nusratolla says:

    I don’t think it is fair for Ferrari and Lotus who got it right.

    A change like this would be equal if not more than outlawing the double diffuser (when Brawn was dominating) four races into the season.

    I don’t think nothing should change during the season…. its not like its compromising safety in anyways (of course, they are delamination issues, but they are not racing on Indianapolis)

    1. dean cassady says:

      very succinctly expressing the argument against mid-season change to the formula.

      1. nusratolla says:

        Thank you :)

  17. Grabsplatter says:

    ” But as the subject of tyres is so little understood by most of the media and many fans, the truth is likely to get lost amid claim and counter-claim.”

    Exactly. Most “fans” only hear what they want to hear. Tell them of the first ever GP being won almost purely because Szisz had detachable rims that allowed him to change wheels quickly when everyone else had to change tyres on the wheels (a much slower job), or the GPs lost by Bugatti and (much later) the 6 wheeled Tyrell due to poor quality tyres made quickly for non-standard wheels, and they refuse to accept a word of it. The vast majority of comments this year claim that tyres have never affected a race prior to the start of this season, and that is simply not true. To make it worse, if anyone dares to point out the truth, these “fans” turn on them to shut them up. This week’s Gary Anderson article on the BBC site might give them a clue, but they would all claim he knows nothing about racing!

    I wonder what Jenks would’ve thought of these “fans”?

    1. cubby says:

      Wow, you had to go way back to try to justify your point there, and pick some pretty unusual circumstances. We are not talking here about detachable rims or odd shaped wheels.

      F1 strategy should be about making the most of a variety of factors – car design, set up, driver style, circuit characteristics, fuel consumption and tires. Right now it is just about tires. When JB is complaining about not being able to drive flat out, we have a problem.

      1. Andrew says:

        I agree with that but neither should it just be about aerodynamics which has been the case for far too long and has given us the blown diffuser brat prince.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      What a great question about Jenks.
      Careful though, most of these so called “fans” you speak of would believe you’re talking about the opera singer Jenkins!

  18. Rayz says:

    Moving the goalposts in the middle of the season is a non-runner for me. The tyres were at their worst in Barcelona but Australia, China and Malaysia and particularly Bahrain saw some superb wheel to wheel racing.
    Perez and Button certainly weren’t thinking about tyres as they were side by side down the main straight there. Neither were Webber and Vettel in Sepang.

    The fact is that the brains at Mercedes havent managed to find a way to make the tyres work and last properly in the manner that other teams have. They deserve to be falling away in races as a result.

    If people are unhappy with the tyre situation, the changes should come at the end of the season. Teams have spent half of winter attempting to design and engineer a car to best make use of the tyres, the rules and the regulations, which were all set out long beforehand.

    Some teams got it right, others have made a hash of it. I’m amazed that such considerable changes are in the offering. What impact will it have on the championship? Goodbye Lotus and Raikkonen I reckon. Alonso still has a quick enough car to compete with Vettel but the raw pace of the Lotus is not there on durable tyres. They simply dont have the downforce. Oh well.

    1. James says:

      ‘Multi 21′ happened because RB were worrying about the tyres.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        It’s starting to make sense why Vettel passed Webber. He knows full well that Ferrari are exceptionally strong.
        5 finishes, 2 wins, not lower than fourth against Alonso, 2 wins, 1 second and 2 incident affected races, yet less than a second place behind…

      2. KRB says:

        If things stay as they are, then yes, Ferrari/Alonso look very good. Still hard to say who has the best car, even still. The Red Bull was the best in Bahrain by quite a ways, while the Ferrari was best in Spain and China. The Lotus is a very good all-rounder, but I think it’s still just behind the RB9 and F138. Alonso would’ve been in the top 4 at MAL and BHN w/o his incidents.

    2. Oly says:

      Agree. I’m supporting Fernando but it was good to see Kimi strong. Now, with this tyre “modification” and limited budget/upgrade capabilities Lotus lost 1 pit stop advantage so goodbye Kimi. Such a shame.

    3. Hansb says:

      “Alonso still has a quick enough car to compete with Vettel but the raw pace of the Lotus is not there on durable tyres.”

      Have you thought about what the comments on this website will look like if Alonso would lose the WDC to Vettel again with a few points ?

    4. Sid says:

      +1 agree, plus when there are massive rule changes next season and teams are diverting resources and suddenly they need to figure out hybrid 2012-2013 tyres

  19. roberto marquez says:

    I insist make durable tyres but make it compulsory to have 2 or 3 stops during the race.That way outcome will come from drivers able to drive fast and crew pits not making mistakes . Also this makes the drivers safe at high speeds. If I was Hamilton or Vettel I would drive very fast next race till my car ran out of tyres and would leave the car in the middle of the track as protest.

    1. Russ howe says:

      What? Why not drive very quick and do the optimum amount of stops ala alonso in Spain

    2. Tyemz says:

      like Schumacher you mean? would’nt it be safer for everyone if you stayed out of the race altogether?

    3. JF says:

      Many fans already consider todays racing artificial. Compulsory pit stops would make it more so. I think less restriction on fuel ie. have refueling again, and de-restricted tire usage would be a better way to go. That way teams could use fuel weight and tires to get the most out of their package (including tires) and use a greater variety of strategies.

    4. Dave P says:

      Sounds good to me…

    5. Tealeaf says:

      Vettel is fighting for the title I doubt he’d destroy the tyres and risk to finish outside the top 6, he will be looking after the tyres and hopefully end up on the podium, Im sure Mercedes will destroy their tyres so Hamilton could use it to his advantage and convince Ross to not pit Nico for an extra 5-6 laps whilst Hamilton pits early and undercuts the rest, they can do this because Mercedes will qualify on the front row again, its Hamilton’s best chance for a win hope he doesn’t blow it.

    6. hero_was_senna says:

      Or like a young child, sits on the ball because he is spoilt and can’t score every goal.
      Actually I’d love to see them park their cars on the track, I’d recommend the naughty step for both!

  20. rafa says:

    I can understand the need to revise the tires out of safety reasons. But I think that the lobbying of RBR and merc has gone far beyond what is acceptable. Fans that have been demanding a “change” out of “love” for the sport should also revise their priorities I think.

    Many posters here and elsewhere have written paragraphs like “I want wheel to wheel… I want the fastest drivers…. I want this and I want that”, as if they had any other right than to turn off the TV if the show provided didn´t suit their expectations. Perhaps most tellingly of all is the idea that for the sakes of a mythical past of F1 that hasn´t existed, fans and teams have pressured f1 into a cul de sac setting the precedent that if you don´t like or are loosing in a certain situation you can always lobby yourself around failure. For the matter, RBR are leaders in both Championships, but have pre-empted loosing these by sustaining a fallacious pose of “love for the sport” that barely hid their aversion of -God forbid- failure. I think that for all their grandstanding RBR love sport not: if they did, they would have kept their head down and worked to beat Ferrari and Lotus on track, not in BE´s office. Eager fans that keep Homer Simpson- like speeches of a F1 that nobody as far as I can see can provide proof of have just played into the hands of these lobbyist showing how much they love the sport themselves, if we accept sport as a stable set of rules that provide the platform for a fair competition… in other words, not changing the rules halfway the game to content the moaners. Purists will say Pirelli´s are not rules… as a purist myself I have to ask if the “love for sport” could not wait until 2014 as so many of us have had to wait for the end of the season on many other occasions for the changes that keep our “love for the sport” intact.

    This is all a big farce. Rarely do I get disappointed with such things as sports, but this time I have to admit that I am truly disappointed.

    1. Bob says:

      What I find interesting is that everybody is crying foul on RBR and Mercedes for pushing for a change this year, but in past years when rules were changed or “clarified” during the year to eliminate the advantage of a clever solution, it was the teams that had figured out that clever solution, the ones that were being called “cheaters”, while very little was said about the teams asking for the rule “clarification” (when the key thing is they had been simply outsmarted in terms of interpreting the rules). Personally, whatever makes the racing closer favors the fans, so looking forward to see what happens in Canada.

    2. Brace says:

      “as if they had any other right than to turn off the TV if the show provided didn´t suit their expectations”

      I loved that one. :)

      But unfortunately, too many people feel entitled to selfishly demand this and that in globally enjoyed sport, without caring for anyone else who has the same right to enjoy it.

    3. James says:

      As retweeted by James Allen, viewing figures in the UK for the Spanish GP were their lowest for 5 years.

      1. Anne says:

        Since when the UK is the world? I bet the viewing figures in Spain, Italy, Finland, Brazil and even Germany and Austria were different.

      2. Alexander Supertramp says:

        But is that because of the tyres? I don’t believe so. Mclaren is underperforming, Button & Hamilton are not in contention for the WDC or even for race wins.. I guess the Brits forget Lotus is an english team..

      3. Tony Riley says:

        Could it have something to do with McLaren and Williams being so uncompetitive this year?

      4. Doobs says:

        Blame Sky deal

      5. James says:

        You can’t blame Sky when the race was live on BBC.

      6. Doobs says:

        Yah true – I’m in Australia so I wouldn’t know- but. It’s a bit like watching A soapie- You either watch all or most or the episodes so,you know what’s happening. If you just watch the odd one or two you don’t get the the Same level of involvement.

    4. hero_was_senna says:

      Great post, but we haven’t seen the end of this.

    5. Quade says:

      For you, its simply a show were you turn the TV on or off.

      For some, its about getting their moneys worth for very expensive track side tickets. Yet for others, the definition of F1 is a race the fastest wins.
      For these two groups, hating the current tyre era is the only option. This type would rather die than switch the TV off during an F1 race, 3rd parties destroying a race is like blasphemy to them. Its F1 passion, I hope you now understand.

      1. Rafa says:

        A pasión that demands that the rules be broken. Mind You tire specs have to be approved by 30 sep in advance of each season and under no circumstance save por safety can they be modified in season. Your arguments have some merit but the correct thing to do would be leave the 2013 spec as they are except for the de-lamination issue. The talk can only be for next year.

      2. Quade says:

        Yes, its wrong and unprofessional to change the tyres mid-season. But the truth is that, the changes Pirelli is making were caused by fans, not just raising sheer decibels of complaints, but also walkning away from the sport. Race attendance figures have been plummeting to increasingly desperate levels and TV viewing figures for the last race were the lowest in 5 years. There is no sport without the fans.

        Something had to give.

        The FIA might say that changes can only be made for safety reasons, but I guess the laminations have given even excuse for them to murter some back watching legalese while driving madly fat hippo’s into skimpi bikini’s.

        This is one situation where two wrongs make a right.

    6. heinzman (Fan of ALO) says:


      This article quotes ‘Prost vs. Senna’, a battle which at its peak occurred 25 years ago.

      Enough with the nostalgia. Too much talk of the ‘good old days’. I have followed since 99 and have enjoyed every year, some more so, some less so.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        I’m glad you said of 99. Many people who talk of the “good old days ” had the good fortune to watch a sport contested by men, not boys. A sport run by piranhas not celebrity. A sport that the BBC showed for free because Sky wasn’t interested in it.
        A sport where the drivers made more difference than the engineers,
        Many of us have a huge appreciation of the history of the sport, there does seem to be a kind of envy of anyone who watched F1 back in the day.
        its very much like the media hype of a current musician makes them greater than all the pioneers, simply because they didnt follow them or were not born in that era.
        nowadays, the fans need entertaining more, life is much faster paced and the electronic media is very important.
        Totally off topic but it may highlight the changes, years ago, from a cinema release to home release could be 3 or 4 years. Now, a blockbuster has 3 months at the box office before its released on Bluray.

        I would have loved twitter and the net to “speak” to Senna, but maybe these guys wouldn’t be superheroes any more.

      2. Heinzman (Fan of: ALO) says:

        Well it unfortunate I was not born early enough to see all of that. But then you were not born early enough to see Stewart or Brabham or Hill or Fangio or Nuvolari – you may be old enough to see some of those guys, but surely not all of them. My point is people who watched Fangio and before him Nuvolari would say those of the era of senna and Prost are softer than those guys, their engineers have taken away driver influence etc. It is a moot point. F1 of today is great, many young fans appreciate the history of the sport but that doesn’t mean we want it recreated and manifested by giving alonso et al. FW10s and MP4-4′s to drive. The drivers still make a difference, they are still ruthless, competitive and driven individuals who go over the edge and risk their lives driving on the very edge (tyres permitting at present!). That is the essence of F1 – and it has bot changed – everything else is peripheral.

    7. David C says:

      Rafa ……. quiet a spanish name we have there, I suspect you are quite the fan of Mr. Alonso. Fans do have a right to complain, they most certinly do thats not to say every whim of a group of fans should be acted on. Some people love F1, travel to see a few races using their hard earned cash and holidays, pay subscriptions to TV channels and buy merchendise so to just say put up or shut up is hardly appropriate. As for red bull they sponsor many competitors in many forms of motor sport so to say they “love sport not” is also not fair on them. Rule clarification/changes/redefinations happen quite often in F1 alot of the time to the help of Ferrari and a few recent ones have gone against RBR so the changing of a rule to the detrement of a team who have engineered an advantage such as this proposed tyre change is not unprecidented. I personaly dont think they should change the tyres as long as they are a bit more conservative on their choice and get to 2/3 stops for most races, they do need however to stop these tyre delaminations ASAP.

  21. Phil says:

    A typically well balanced article, and a voice of common-sense amongst all the rhetoric and polemics (remember that word?).

    In other words, let’s wait and see ;-)

  22. CRT says:

    Nice article on a difficult topic. The fact is that it is impossible to have a sensible discussion about tyres mid-season. Everybody is influenced by the potential advantages or disadvantages of the possible changes in the performance of particular drivers/teams. For sure that is my case. Talking about “real racing” and “good for the sport” (from both sides) is most of the times a smoke screen. A discussion about tyres for next season would be much more constructive.

    In reality the better drivers are at the top of the WDC, so there is not a problem of random results caused by the tyres. So it would had been much better to delay changes to next year.

    The only doubt I have is if there is a safety problem with current tyres. Pirelli denied it but the delamination incidents were scary. Of course, safety is most important than any other consideration.

  23. Neil M says:

    I am sad to say if these changes have a dramatic affect on the running order then I will stop watching F1 after 19 years of not missing a race, a mid season change is a total farce.

  24. Russ howe says:

    The best two drivers don’t struggle.

  25. Harvey says:

    Maybe Mateschitz will take Bernie’s place after he’s arrested, then Red Bull can field 10 teams and run their own World Championship!

  26. goferet says:

    Red Bull won the 2011 Spanish
    Grand Prix with four stops and made no complaints at all

    From, what I recall, all teams complained about the 2011 tyres and it was only the fore sight of Vettel to visit the Pirelli factory in the winter that enabled Red Bull to enjoy the 2011 tyres better than others.

    And yes, the 2013 tyres are much worse than the 2011 ones for softs that last just 5/6 laps is not racing whatever way one spins it.

    But it has to be said, all this politicking in F1 is rather fun to see and what I read in this is that Lotus and Ferrari feel the only way they can ever beat Red Bull is if they have some sort of advantage.

    I mean, if you really are confident in yourself, it doesn’t matter whether your rival attacks in the mountains or the sea, either way, you would emerge as the victor.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      You seem to miss the irony in your statement.

      I think you meant to say red bull feels the only way to beat Lotus and Ferrari is by having an advantage.
      Bear in mind, Ferrari and Lotus are happily fighting each other, as historic race teams do, it’s RedBull that wants the advantage back.
      So they have more downforce, it’s their design direction which is at fault

      1. goferet says:

        @ hero_was_senna

        Hmm… I don’t think so.

        All Red Bull are asking for is an even playing field with a switch back to durable tyres.

        This season is so tight that no team has an advantage apart from the one created by the tyres.

      2. Honkhonk says:

        What rubbish. The even playing field was created when the rules were set and the tires came out. Changing them now is the opposite to an even playing field. Everyone gets the same tires all season. It’s just English…

      3. Elie says:

        Against my better judgement – so aren’t the tyres the same for everyone right now you FI and don’t mean force India.

      4. Anne says:

        No, McLaren or Williams cars are worst than last year. Ferrari on the other hand has a better car this season. Tyres are not the only reason for a good or bad performance.

      5. David C says:

        @Senna was hero The Lotus team are 2 years old, they just bought the name …. Senna man ive seen your posts you know alot about f1, surely you know this. RBR are 9 years old thats older ….. 7 years older. Ferrari didnt exactly get on with it last season complaining about RBR engine maps and got the rule rewritten mid season i might add. I believe in 2011 they wanted recommended camber setting to become mandatory to the detriment of RBR …… mid season i believe. In did ferrari not use a filming day to illigaly test new car parts. The list goes on really if you choose to look. and on the off chance you think the Lotus f1s previous guise as Renault gives them history that history involves a premeditated crash on a street circut to cheat.

      6. Tim says:

        All Red Bull are asking for is an even playing field with a switch back to durable tyres….

        Pull the other one! RBR are looking to gain an advantage, over their rivals, by getting Pirelli to make tyres more suited to their car. I don’t blame them for this tactic. All the teams try to influence the rules to benefit themselves but, please, tell it like it is :-)

      7. David C says:

        @Senna was hero The Lotus team are 2 years old, they just bought the name …. Senna man ive seen your posts you know alot about f1, surely you know this. RBR are 9 years old thats older ….. 7 years older. Ferrari didnt exactly get on with it last season complaining about RBR engine maps and got the rule rewritten mid season i might add. I believe in 2011 they wanted recommended camber setting to become mandatory to the detriment of RBR …… mid season i believe. In did ferrari not use a filming day to illigaly test new car parts. The list goes on really if you choose to look. and on the off chance you think the Lotus f1s previous guise as Renault gives them history that history involves a premeditated crash on a street circut to cheat.

      8. hero_was_senna says:

        All teams use filming days to test parts for their cars, they also use young driver tests for the same reason.
        Ferrari didn’t complain about engine maps, it was discovered by the FIA delegates and they told the team to change it. Much the same as over the recent winter.
        It was also the FIA who asked for wing loading tests and flexing tests to be introduced. Wasn’t it in Monaco last year that Red Bull were ordered to change a hole in the floor as it contravened rules.
        The camber change was something that PIRELLI advised the teams. In Belgium 2011, RBR ran their tyres as aggressively as normal and found blistering on their inside shoulders. They became little divas asking for new tyres and the rest of the world said, if you choose to ignore safety advice, it’s your problem.
        As to Lotus provenance, their naming may be 2 years old but this team dates back to the early 80′s. Toleman became Benetton in 1986. In 2002, the team became Renault until the Crashgate scandal gave Renault a chance to get out of F1. It was named Lotus after that.
        Does it have anything to do with Hethel, of course not, nor did what has become Caterham.
        Does Mercedes have any link to the team of the 50′s?
        Tyrrell became BAR and then Honda before Brawn bought the team.
        Force India? They started as Jordan in 1991.
        Even Red Bull date back 16 years, Stewart F1, Jaguar and then the current operation. All working out of Milton Keynes.
        But you’re right, the lists always go on, depends how you wish to see things

      9. David C says:

        At that time not all teams got reprimanded for testing parts on filming days, after the FIA had discovered the engine maps and deemed they did not contravine any régulations Ferrari and others called for the rules to be changed mid season which is the same as is happening here. Also with the camber your right Pirelli provided advice on the camber however the “rest of the world” didnt say its your problem they changed a recomendation into a regulation mid season, a mid season change of rules recommended by Pirelli ….. just like now. I am aware of the history of the F1 team changes but I dont think that makes the older teams morally entitled to influence or that they behave in a better manor. All teams are self interested and regardless of age, and i was just trying to point out that even the older teams kick up a fuss sometimes.
        Im not saying I agreed with the the proposed tyre change and as long as they can get 2/3 stops out of all the remaining gps it should be fine once they stop the tyres falling apart.
        Id like Ferrari and FA to win this year but I just dont see the need to bash Redbull and SB. Anyway have a good weekend

  27. Atb says:

    Very similar to the Michelin Bridgestone argument after Hungary 2003. A certain number of teams having a soloution ( Michelin teams back then) the world champion team on the back foot ( Ferrari at the time). As Ron Dennis said in 98′ “it is easier to ban something rather than rise to the technical challenge”

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Referring to the extra brake pedal…

      The funniest thing I ever heard Ron Dennis say, was how Ferrari were using illegal traction control. They weren’t, just developed a gearbox that changed gears so quickly it could act as a form of traction control.
      In April 2001, at the Spanish Gp, they reintroduced traction control for all teams, Mr Dennis told all the media how you would now see who was running TC as they effectively would fall backwards as all the teams would be using it freely. His inference being Ferrari.
      As we all know, Mclaren got worse and worse, Ferrari became a juggernaut, dominating for the next few years.

  28. Oz Geezza says:

    Mr Allen,whether over the time one agreed
    with The Horse Whisper or not, this time
    they are spot on,they back it up with facts.
    Sadly the ball is in Pirelli court,and only
    Pirelli can make it right, that is to make
    sure that the rubber does not peel of the rim
    and leave the compound to its original design.
    Luca D.M has not come to the fray publicly as
    yet, however one feels he will and to my knowalage he has not lost the forum.
    Mr Allen,bit outside of the above subject, in
    my parts of the woods the rumour mill say it
    a warrant by the German Court for the arrest
    of Birnie E is imminent,is rumor mill a lot
    of hot air or it has some currency?.

  29. Kay says:

    I am sooooooooo loving this for Pirelli.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Benetton had some tasteless advertising years ago, victims in hospital beds etc. made major headlines around the world. They replied honestly, no publicity is bad publicity.
      Same with Red Bull after Malaysia and certainly with Pirelli. I would imagine their only concern is images of delamination, not teams playing games with the press. :)

      1. Kay says:

        Benetton was before my days so I can’t speak on that.

        But no publicity is bad publicity? Depends.

        Alonso / Piquet Singapore GP a few years back, it was bad enough that Renault lost ING with immediate effect, and some other sponsor cut early from their original contract.

        With Pirelli, it’s their manipulation with tyre compounds rather than making a really good tyre to the best possible is what causing this.

        IF Pirelli were making tyres as good as they could and not playing with the test tubes of chemicals, then it’s up to the teams to come up with the car that fit these tyres requirements.

        However, like the current situation, Pirelli can play like whatever they want, so like how it happened recently, Pirelli saying out loud “we are going to tweak this and that”, it is no surprise there’ll be complaints and various fingers pointing at various people, because Pirelli play with things in making these tyres. This makes people feel faviroutism as it turned out.

        At the moment I don’t see this publicity doing much good to Pirelli after they’ve gone way too far..

  30. Rui Queirós says:

    This is stupid and a shame on you, Pirelli and RedBull

    Last year they were doing 3 stops in early part of the championship. After mid-season one stop.
    What´s the difference from this year? They did 4 stops in one Grand Prix…
    What´s the problem? Do whatever you think is fast an adapt, as you did last year.

    For Pirelli, yes solve the delamination problem and that´s it.

    If RedBull starts win easy i surelly will stop too see F1.
    The tyres were there in the begining of the year, so built a car around those tyres or go fishing..

    1. Rui Queirós says:

      And by the way, this is a disrespect for car manufacters and teams with 30 and 50 years old, that a drink company with 8 years old in the sport have such a power in the decisions
      This is a farse, this is not F1, this is comercial and politics stuff.
      I want to see Ferrari, Lotus, Macs, Mercs,Williams, Honda racing each other, not RedBull, Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fairy.
      The fans of F1 are linked to the cars manufacters… I dont think the tiffosi would like to see a new team to have such power in f1, and i´m not one of them… But i can understand that this could be very dangerous for the real F1, wich are the old teams

      1. Tom says:

        I could not agree with you more. Great post.

  31. Gilbert says:

    Pirelli confirmed delamination is not dangerous so teams can oppose technical regulation art 12.6.3

    1. Quade says:

      All Pirelli talk is PR and hot air.

      One example. Lewis Hamiltons delamination was violent enough to destroy his gear box, in different circumstances that could have caused a crash and possibly, a death.

      1. kallisto says:


  32. Andrew says:

    Pirelli were briefed to produce tyres that replicated the ware caused by the abrasive Montreal circuit in the 2010 Canadian GP. They have consistently FAILED to do this. Instead we have tyres that operate in a narrow temperature window which seems to be getting smaller every year.

    Pirelli have not replicated the tyre wear of an abrasive circuit they have introduced thermal degradation.

    Drivers can’t push on the track, they can’t defend, qualification is a farce and engineering efforts are increasingly at the mercy of weather/track temperature. On top of this we have tracks covered in discarded rubber, and recently have seen tyres delamination seemingly at random (claims from Pirelli that ‘debris’ is causing this phenomenon are suspect to say the least).

    The sooner Pirelli leave the sport the better as far as I’m concerned.

    1. Mike says:

      Yes, but tyre wear is more dangerous than thermal degradation because it could lead to tyre failures when the tread becomes worn to the canvas.

      As stated by Gary Anderson F1 drivers have never been able to push 100% of the time during a race. Drivers can’t defend is a symptom of both DRS and the tyres. DRS overtakes result in drivers being unable to defend because often the cars pass each before the braking zone. The weather has always played a role in F1 racing. That is why in wet races there is often a surprise winner because car performance is leveled. Discarded rubber or ‘marbles’ has always been present in F1. Look back at some of the races from the 1980′s.

      Pirelli’s explanation to the rubber delamination makes perfect sense. All components have a weak point. In an effort to prevent tyres rapidly deflating through debris, which is after all a safety issue, has resulted in the weak point moving.

      If Pirelli did leave the sport who is likely to pick up the baton and supply tyres after all the bad publicity Pirelli are getting for something the FIA asked them to do? The end result would be no F1 racing.

      The root cause of all these issues is the fact that Pirelli do not have access to a current 2013 F1 car. This could be solved by bringing back in season testing however, as the majority of teams, except for Ferrari (the irony), oppose this they only have themselves to blame. More testing would result in an improved understanding of the tyres for both Pirelli and the teams. This would then allow teams to develop the car to allow them to push tyres.

      1. Andrew says:

        “Yes, but tyre wear is more dangerous than thermal degradation because it could lead to tyre failures when the tread becomes worn to the canvas.”

        I don’t remember that being a problem at Canada 2010.

        “As stated by Gary Anderson F1 drivers have never been able to push 100% of the time during a race”

        They were pretty close to it in the Bridgestone/refuelling era. Drivers used to look physically exhausted when they finished a race but, as many drivers have pointed out, the physical challenge is not there anymore due to lethargic pace at which they are required to drive. The problem of carrying such a heavy load of fuel around certainly doesn’t help and I think the banning of refuelling was a massive mistake. Martin Brundle has been very vocal about the fact that the pace of the cars is far too low and, to be honest, I respect the opinion of a man that has driven an F1 car far more than an ex designer who fetishises over the engineering challenge of understanding Pirelli’s enigmatic tyres. Furthermore, how often do we see drivers losing control and crashing out? The answer is barely ever, because they are no where near the ragged edge. Even in the Bridgestone era (when aero dominance, traction control and high performance tyres meant that the cars were extremely well planted) more drivers would lose control because they were racing on the edge. Contrast this with other top motorsports – MotoGP, Rallying etc

        I agree with you about DRS, I don’t want it in the sport, along with thermo deg it has helped destroy the skill and excitement of overtaking. If it is to remain then the zones need to be made much smaller. It seems that every year the zones are increased to make overtaking even more of a formality.

        “Pirelli’s explanation to the rubber delamination makes perfect sense. All components have a weak point. In an effort to prevent tyres rapidly deflating through debris, which is after all a safety issue, has resulted in the weak point moving.”

        I think the high number of delaminations show that there is a construction problem with the 2012 Pirelli that out weigh any potential safety benefits. Punctures were never really a huge safety concern in 2011/2012 anyway.

        “If Pirelli did leave the sport who is likely to pick up the baton and supply tyres after all the bad publicity Pirelli are getting for something the FIA asked them to do? The end result would be no F1 racing”

        Again, Pirelli have failed to do what the FIA asked them to do.

        Your assumption that Pirelli leaving would end F1 is bizarre. Either a more competent manufacturer would pick up the baton and actually do the job that the FIA asked Pirelli to do, or the FIA would be forced to concede to a manufacturer that is only willing to produce high quality tyres.

        There is no way that the FIA would allow F1 to end because manufacturers are unwilling to produce tyres with artificially high levels of wear, they would simply have to find another way to introduce “excitement” such as the reintroduction of refuelling or greater aero restrictions.

        “The root cause of all these issues is the fact that Pirelli do not have access to a current 2013 F1 car”

        That is certainly a problem, but if Pirelli didn’t think that they could do the job then they should have aired on the side of caution and produced tyres closer to the 2011 or 2012 compound rather than producing even more revolutionary compounds that have introduced more of the hugely problematic thermal degradation.

  33. Mark says:

    It still is not right from the standpoint of the regulations, set up by the FIA and accepted by all teams.
    As is states very clearly in artikel 12.6.3. form march 9th 2012:

    12.6.3 Tyre specifications will be determined by the FIA no later than 1 September of the previous season. Once determined in this way, the specification of the tyres will not be changed during the Championship season without the agreement of all competing teams.

    So, regardless of a concorde agreement beeing signed by all teams or not, this is part of the regulations that are still effective and that bind all the teams.

    So should not the FIA be the party that gives Pirelli orders to change the tyres? I haven’t heard a single word from them yet…..!

  34. F12012 says:

    You are never going to satisfy everyone, but redbull have won two races already and are top of standing, plus they didn’t do great at Spain last year either

    But surely people can see that the cars weren’t racing each other in Spain, kimi has already stated this

    F1 in abit of a mess just now

    1. aisha says:

      wouldn’t bother thrusting my view on anybody, but doesn’t feel enough when you say Kimi stated it without a quote from him. Your interpreting his words to the way you think doesn’t mean racing is ruined for everybody. I for one enjoy it, I can see some others enjoy it too. For those who doesn’t, I can understand if they turn away. What I don’t understand is why you bother to complain.

      1. F12012 says:

        I’m glad that you enjoyed it, but for me apart from the start the rest of the race was a tyre management exercise and feel F1 is losing out

        Plus I don’t care if redbull comes first or last so don’t think I’m a Redbull fan

  35. Michael says:

    If the tyres are causing so much uproar and complaints this year about not real racing – I look forward to next year when there is a fuel limit….

    Then the drivers really will have to drive carefully.

    1. KRB says:

      I thought the cars looked slow compared to prior years, especially going around Malaysia … there the big sweeping turns need a car zooming thru there or else it just “looks” slow.

      If the fuel limit next year makes the situation worse, they’re gonna have to have a serious re-think about what F1 is. The last thing we want is a 100-minute pseudo-road-safety advertisement.

  36. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    James, you are absolutely right: “Arguably Pirelli made a tactical mistake when announcing the changes… Pirelli should have focussed on the need to solve the delamination problem which we have seen in the last two races on Ferrari, Mercedes, Force India and Toro Rosso cars.”

    By the way, the FANS are always right!

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Oh, “The F1 Times” says that a SAFETY reason has been legal, but the justification to target less pitstops as given by Pirelli is a breach of regulations and needs unanimity from teams… Oh.

  37. Spyros says:

    About Pirelli’s test car… why didn’t they fit it with ridiculously oversize wings, front and rear, to simulate this season’s increased downforce levels? F1 cars are limited to FIA rules, but as long as safety doesn’t come into play, why not modify what is already a donor car to something workable?

    Note that I’m referring to testing this year’s tyres, for this year’s downforce levels. 2014 cars will arguably be so different that no existing car would work…

    …unless someone can think of another donor candidate..?

  38. johnpierre says:

    as usual great post james. you hit all the points quite well. from the over 900 comments over at the BBC, 800 or so comments on your site for the couple of posts that you have written concerning this issue, i am just amazed to how much fall out there has been. it is saddening that most of the fans are either misinformed or haven’t taken all the issues into careful consideration, or as the the whisperer said have selected memories. and as you so well and clearly pointed out, it is quite a shame pierlli did not take a step back and precede in the matter that you suggest. instead their knee-jerk reaction will do them no favors. i don’t know if this is allowed it not, that is fine, but here are some link’s that people should read to provide a little perspective to the issue. as you say we will not know anything until canada. the shame is that if the changes don’t help red bull [or merc] they will still claim that they can’t race to their true potential, and if this changes levels the playing field and red bull go back to having the dominate car, then the championship will look as though as it has been tampered with. here are the links:




  39. Truth or Lies says:

    The media and some fans were very quick to criticise Pirelli which is ok, but the virtual witch hunt that’s taken place since last Sunday is disgraceful.

    It’s starting to look as though a middle aged Austrian multi millionaire who owns, not one but two F1 teams is really calling the shots. Red Bull is a self serving publicity machine with no racing heritage and should just be made to work harder or get used to losing. I’ve heard the FIA previously referred to as ‘Ferrari International Assistance’ but this latest forcing of Pirellis hand by Red Bull and their media cronies is disgraceful.

    All teams go through performance dips, look at McLaren at present or Ferrari from 1980 until 2000, except a couple of constructor titles it was a very barren spell. Red Bull might put lots of cash into motor sport but at this level at least, their influence is not appreciated.

  40. johnpierre says:

    james is it a possibility that pirelli will change construction to address the delaminating issue but for the compounds and operating temp window less than they propose that way they can claim we did make the change to redbull and fans, and at the same time not punish lotus and ferrari or force india for their good work in tire management?

  41. Jay Rooney says:

    Has anyone noticed that no one has ever seen James and the Horse Whisperer together in the same room…… ;-)

    1. James Allen says:

      Oh yes they have! Many times…

      1. Jay Rooney says:

        Of course they have, James. Don’t worry, we’ll say nowt;-)

      2. Enzo says:

        Hmm…after Luca Colajanni has been “promoted” to the Middle East car division, the Horse Whisperer all of a sudden speaks excellent English.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        Interesting, so the media knows THW’s true identity? You’re not Robin are you James?

      4. Rui Queirós says:

        That´s look suspicious:)

  42. Kidza says:

    Pirelli have not been caught in the crossfire at all , its their own chickens that are coming home to roost.

    Back in 2011 Ferrari struggled on the harder tyre, especially at the German GP, and Pirelli effectively banned the harder tyre for the rest of the season. They have continuously made the tyres softer ever since.

    In that time the Red Bull has progressively become “slower” while Ferrari and Lotus have become “faster.” They have not caught up because they have made a quicker car than Red Bull, no. The tyres have just increasingly suited their cars more than the Red Bull. Even without the EBD the Red Bull is still the quickest out there on core pace.

    I doubt very much that Pirelli are not aware of this effect their tyres are having on F1. They don’t toss a coin in making these decidions. They knew what they were doing, they knew which team(s) stood to benefit the most from the direction they were taking.

    YThe change in the tyres from the Canadian GP needs to be seen in this context. It is merely the latest chapter Pirelli’s F1 story. Pirelli are not only now starting to affect “the outcome of the championship”. They have been at it since 2011.

    There is no way that Ferrari and Lotus are now that much quicker than Red Bull as the Spanish GP would suggest. Its not a tyre management contest is it?

  43. Hermann says:

    What a great reply by Ferrari and Lotus. I still think that the only way to stop RBR BULLYING is for Ferrari to retire from Formula 1 and watch it go bust. We all know: every race has full red stands which obviously are Ferrari fans, the greatest part of the merchandising is turned by tifosi money. So the only solution is let RBR be the new Ferrari with their caffeine drink!
    It’s not fair to change rules almost half way through to suit them. This is sheer arrogance. If you’re not able to perform with these tyres, try harder.
    In my job I strive for perfection knowing that I will never obtain it 100%! But I play by the rules.
    I think Bernie forgot that he got rich through Ferrari’s myth. And the FIA? Why has Todt stayed silent. The FIA wanted weaker rubber tyres so the last word should be hers.
    I would like some feedback on these thoughts.

    1. KRB says:

      No one team is bigger than F1. If anything, the FIA and FOM need to get over the Ferrari extortion tactics. Ferrari needs F1. Never be afraid of them leaving. The more impartial the FIA is in administering the sport, the better.

  44. Ahmed Ginnah says:

    In a soccer match the Blue team fails to score goals in spite of many blasts at the net, narrowly missing each time. The Red team easily finds the net successfully each time. Come halftime blue team complains, sulks and “throws its toys out of its pram”- somethings got to be done as blue team daddy also sulks and complains. NEVERMIND to keep you away from complaining we will WIDEN and RAISE the goalposts and request Red team gialkeeper to tie his one hand in his back. No more crying NOW!!! Shame on you RBR.

  45. Brace says:

    James, few request, that are actually interlinked, with all due respect:

    1. It’s media and disadvantaged teams that made the tires a talking point.

    2. Those “fans” that are being put off are those who’s fav driver isn’t winning and most of them wouldn’t care beyond that if it weren’t for media forcing the tire agenda, thus creating a spiral effect.

    3. And last but not least, fans can’t really be confused by 3-4 stop races. That’s just insulting my intelligence.

    1. Quade says:

      Last race, Alonso himself said that the number of stops would have been confusing to the fans. Alonso cannot be described as unintelligent and I’m sure he is his own biggest fan.
      Lets not forget that Alonso also drives for Ferrari.

      1. Yago says:

        Alonso is having problems with the combination of soft front tyres and stiff front suspension. His quali performance will be boosted if front tyres are hardened. You can see he is the driver with less gains in lap time between the harder and softer compounds during practice and quali. Actually, he has been the overal fastest with the harder compounds since the begining of the year.
        Perhaps he thinks going to harder compounds will be beneficial for him, while not that bad for his car performance. So balancing the situation, he finds that a change in the tyres could be a good thing for him.
        That said, I am specting bigger differences between him and Massa from Canada onwards. But of course it depends on the relevance of the changes made from Pirelli, which if we listen to Gary Anderson are going to be marginal for the front tyres.

    2. Johnpierre says:

      Great points, especially #3

  46. Guy says:

    Whilst there were the same number of stops as last year, the drivers were at least able to push, unlike the last race.

  47. Jim Stanford says:

    Who is in charge of the FIA governing body? why doesn’t that man speak out ? He must offer a solution that all accept.

  48. Anne says:

    Maybe Pirelli and the teams could make the changes for Canada. If the situation for Lotus and Ferrari don´t change much, meaning win or podium for Kimi and Alonso. In that case problem solved. However if the podium is RB and Mercedes with Lotus and Ferrari in P5 or worst. Then Pirelli should go back to the original 2013 tyres and worked something out with RB, Mercedes and others. For example change the rear tyres for them. That seems to be spot with safety and overheated problems.

    In Canada we´re going to have changes whether we like it or not. Well let´s wait to see the outcome of the race. And let the teams and Pirelli find a solution. I hope FIA can come up with some ideas as well

    1. KRB says:

      That assumes that Ferrari and Lotus would’ve won at Canada to begin with. It could be that the Red Bull or even the Merc would’ve run better at Canada than at other tracks.

      Looking at the Pirelli-era Canadian GP’s, it seems that Ferrari has qualified pretty well there, and I would expect they would this year, with their top-speed advantage. The thing with Canada is that there’s not as big a hit for doing a pit stop there, compared to other tracks.

      Lotus hasn’t qualified well at Canada in the last couple of years.

      Last year wear/deg played a big part in the final result, but in 2010 the two Red Bulls figured that pole-man Hamilton would be a sitting duck on the super-soft tires. But the expected drop-off didn’t happen, and Hamilton went on to win. It’s too early to know how the Canadian GP will/would go, whether with the orig 2013 tires, or the new ones Pirelli will now bring.

  49. Lee says:

    Instead of specifying the 2 compounds to be used, why not let the team picks the 2 compounds they want to use (a month or two in advance, perhaps). So, Pirelli take all compounds with them, and each team gets to use any 2 of them they chose – which would allow them to select based on the strengths of their car.

    That way, we could potentially have a more varied result – especially if the gaps between each compound was wider.

    As a side note, I also believe they should be forced to start the race with a minimum level of fuel – enough to go flat out for the entire race, rather than this whole push then save fuel lark we have now. Take away the advantage for not pushing 100%

    1. aveli says:

      good idea about tyres but they must be safe.

  50. Random 79 says:

    This is a very strongly worded article that expresses your own opinions perfectly well, and yet it still manages to be accurate and objective.

    Seriously impressive and very well written.

  51. Chris J says:

    I am totally against changing the tyres mid season. They weren’t changed last year for Lotus and they seem to be managing with them this year. I thought the Spanish GP was marginally more entertaining because of the tyres it added a little unpredictability. If we’re going to go back to unfailing tyres can we go back to pre Kers and Drs as well please.

  52. Kbdavies says:

    James, though you may disagree, i have to say this is the most unbiased article you have written on this tyre saga so far.

    Pirelli are to blame for this sorry mess. No one asked them to make the 2103 tyres so marginal, nor to be on the limits of what is safe – the FIA and Bernie have confirmed this. Their remit was simply to spice up the show by indroducing tyres that degrade a bit more. This they did in 2011 & 2102, however, they took it upon themselves to change the compounds in 2013 after the teams understood the tyres better by the end of 2012. Why, i will never know.

    Regarding the comments made by the Horse Whisperer, whoever it is must have a very faint memory as Montezemulo and Alonso have both criticised the tyres before.

    Also, whilst 4 pit-stops were also common last year, they were harder compounds, and importantly enough, the drivers were able to push. This is the main difference between 2012 and 2013. Making 4 stops whilst being unable to push is useless, and people have a right to gripe about it. The Horse Whispere should also remember that Red Bull still criticised the tyre after their 1-2 in Bahrain. Remember, in Barcelona, the Soft compound was changed for the Medium, and the Hard has already been made harder – Yet, there was extreme degradation. Pirelli, it seems are simply shooting from the hip when it comes to these tyres. They are as much confused by them as the teams are; and that is their fault for going radical when they didnt have to, no were required to.

    Pirelli have no one to blame for this debacle. They should have kept quiet and simply got on with rectifying the issue.
    Instead, Hembery keeps talking, making excuses, apportioning blame, incessantly flipping, and stoking embers of favouritism. This should be a lesson of how not to do PR

    He made excuses for extreme degardation in Barcelona during testing, he made a different excuse after the race. He made excuses for the constant delaminations. He made excuses for the amount of pit-stops. He made excuses about having no testing. He defends the tyres one moment, then changes them te next. He talks about the change favouring Red Bull and disadvantaging Lotus and Ferrari.

    Methinks Pirelli are drunk on their own power. They realise how much influence they weild over the championship and cannot resist savouring their moment in the limelight. This issue could have been far more sensitively handled without all the furore now.

    1. James Allen says:

      I’d like to think they are all unbiased!!

      That is our watchword here

      1. David Goss says:

        Many people don’t understand the concept of bias. They seem to think that having an opinion makes you biased. It does not.

      2. Kbdavies says:

        “They seem to think that having an opinion makes you biased” –

        Yes it does. Here is a definition of bias – “Bias is an inclination of temperament or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective at the expense of (possibly equally valid) alternatives in reference to objects, people, or groups.”
        Furthermore – “Anything biased generally is one-sided and therefore lacks a neutral point of view”

        Having an opinion, any opinion, is always going to be at the expense of other opinions. A neutral point of view means NO opinion on the issue. Subsequently, all opinions are biased. My opinion on these tyres are certainly biased!

    2. Mike says:

      Pirelli did not know how marginal the tyres were to become because they did not have access to a F1 car with the correct downforce levels.

      Pirelli developed the 2013 spec tyres last year. If during the 2012 season there was several in season tests, where Pirelli brought some prototype 2013 spec tyres it would benefit both parties.

      Pirelli’s explanation from the Barcelona testing was, at the time, perfectly reasonable because the testing was performed in cold weather conditions. It has only become evident in hindsight that they may have got this wrong. After all the chemical reaction between a tyre and tarmac is not fully understood therefore it is only really empirical testing which can be performed to understand how the tyres perform and this is privy to the atmospheric conditions the testing was performed in.

      Pirelli gave a reasonable explanation for the tyre delaminations, not an excuse. As described in an earlier post all components have a weak point. Pirelli subconsciously moved this weak point in the system after trying and prevent tyres deflating suddenly from a piercing, such as contact with a front wing.

      To think Pirelli are enjoying the limelight when everyone is frankly rubbishing their brand is quite a statement to make. If it continues they could pull out and leave the sport, where would that leave F1? Any car is pretty useless without tyres. Before you state that another tyre manufacture would be willing to step in. Due you think another tyre manufacturer is willing to invest the required millions to develop F1 tyres when the commercial risks, through negative publicity, appear to be so high?

      1. Kbdavies says:

        Not disagreeing with anything you say here, but they are all excuses for the debacle we have on our hands at the moment. Excuses because, those issues you highlighted could have been resolved in a very different manner that would have caused far less ruckus.

        I cetainly do not advocate Pirelli leaving the sport – as long as they can provide what the FIA asked for, and stop playing power broker by meddling with the tyres for no good reason.

    3. Quade says:

      100% agreed. Pirelli got themselves in a corner and have completely messed F1 up. There is no one else to blame.

      They claim that they were told to produce flimsy tyres, but the F1 powers have come out to say that is not so. That casts doubts on Pirellis honesty, a position no corporate body should find itself in. A right shambles that stinks to high heaven. Yes, Paul Hembery is a lesson in how not to do PR.

      F1 should learn its lesson and never have a tyre monopoly again. I wonder if the current position even legal under European bidding and competion rules.

  53. Michael says:

    If Lotus and Ferrari can make their tires work, why can’t Red Bull with all their budget? It’s unfair to change the tires mid-season just because a bunch of cry babies who think they have a right to win every race aren’t blowing away the rest of the field. This could be a very tainted championship.

  54. Chris G says:

    It is a level playing field
    They all received the same tyres and the same information at the same time.
    F1 is an exercise in competitive engineering as well as competitive racing.
    Teams shouldn’t be punished for getting it right. Quite the opposite.

  55. johnpierre says:

    i was going to comment on the regulation 12.6.3. it is as follows:

    Tyre specifications will be determined by the FIA no later than 1 September of the previous
    season. Once determined in this way, the specification of the tyres will not be changed duringthe Championship season without the agreement of all competing teams.

    and how pirelli got around it. here is a possilble answer: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/107487

  56. Andre says:

    Only one made the decision to change the tires and that was Pirelli. But somehow people say it was RBR.
    Pirelli themselves told they had gone too far.
    Okay they complained about these tires but they did it while winning 2 out of 5 races and leading the championship and Vettel finishing top 4 every race.
    So I hope so RBR will win some more races before the changes come even if they dont win anything after that.

    Pirelli made two mistakes, the wrong tires and then deciding to change them, because either way this championship is a farce.

  57. DB4Tim says:

    The next big news to come will be Dietrich Mateschitz threatening to pull out of F1…mark my words.

  58. olivier says:

    As much as I am opposed to the tire formula, I believe they shouldn’t be changed mid season. I fully agree with Boullier there.

    F1 is about innovation. I’m sure Red Bull is smart enough to find a solution.

  59. oniwa says:

    talking about the tyre criticist from ferrari and the comparison with the 2011 spanish race that vettel won with 4 pit stop, i looked up to see how the pit stops went. on that 2011 race vettel won with the time of 1h39m03s and made stop at laps 9,18,34 and 48 (fastest lap 1:26.727 lewis and pole 1:20.981 webber) this year alonso won in 1h39m16s made stop at laps 9,21,36 and 49 (fastest lap 1:26.217 gutierrez and pole 1:20.718 rosberg). i dont know what tyres were used it the race maybe james can help me on this one, but looking at the times fastest lap and pole were slightly faster this year and after the first pit stop wich the did at the same lap, alonso went 3 laps longer before the next stop, then again i dont know what tyres were used on the 2011 race, but if this year tyres are like ice-cream i would say that alonso did a preety good job with them. with todays ice-cream tyres alonso would finish 3rd on that 2011 race. lets see what canada brings us…

  60. Luke says:

    Hi James

    First, can we stop talkiing about Prost vs Senna in modern F1?!!! It happened 20 plus years ago!!!!! Thanks (first slight ranty outburst over)

    Second – it is not cool changing tyres mid way through a season. You can’t change the size of a rugby ball mid way through the season, nor a football. All the teams have built their cars for different operational windows. Everyone has the same tyre – deal with it – Lotus, Ferrari and FORCE INDIA have.



    PS I don’t normally comment on these but this has really got my goat.

    1. Siobhan says:

      Luke, I think it would be right to change a ball midseason if occasionally when you kick it, it deflates and you are left with a damaged ball.
      Pirelli are only working now on stopping the delimation of the tyres which I 100% agree needs to be fixed. Would hate to see a big accident out there.

  61. AlexD says:

    First of all, I am happier now that FIA made it clear what changes are alleed and it is only for fasety reasons. I still do not like the fact, but we shall see in Canada what will change. I have read a superb article from Autosport’s Anderson where he providet a very thorough analysis on the persormance of tyres in the last 3 years and was able to show that is it almost identical. He also brought this point with Red Bull winning 2 years ago and having zero compalin because of 4 pit stops. He gave an explanation that drivers niw push as hard asthey always did and only media are making it look different. He showed it based on lap times. Finally….he made it clear that the whole issue was a smart PR from Red Bull and nobody esle. Fans were made to believe that the problem is massive…

  62. Darren says:

    It’s not often I agree with a Horse Whisperer article, but it does sound like sour grapes from the teams who haven’t done the best job adapting to the tyres.

    Great point of view by Gary Anderson here:


  63. colin grayson says:

    the FIA have spoken !!

    quite right too , any mods on safety grounds only by which I presume they refer to delamination , which I see as a safety increase as the new belt stop penetrations ..if they were really interested in safety they would mandate smaller , stronger , simpler front wings and cut the amount of carbon fibre shreds on the track

    going back to the old belt structure would change the characteristics of the tyre so it will be interesting to see what pirelli can do !


  64. Natoo says:

    Won’t it be ironic that as a result of the tyre change Hamilton beats out Vettel to win the Drivers Championship?

  65. Qiang says:

    As a long time F1 follower, I don’t have any problem with races with 4 pit stops. But I do have problem with both RBR owner and Bernie come out publicly to put pressure on Pirelli. RBR should use their money and brains well to solve their own engineering problem. If they screwed up this year, then be it and focus on next year.

  66. Andrew Carter says:

    Seems the this no longer matters as the FIA have stepped in and told Pirelli they can’t revert to last years tyres, they can only make small changes to try and stop the tread tearing away from the carcase. So that steel belt is staying and I’d guess largely so will the current charecteristics.

  67. Nick Tantalo says:

    You have to feel for Pirelli and wonder if Red Bull have let all their recent success go their head with the sour grapes about tires after every race.

    Gary Anderson at BBC has posted an interesting article which highlights at the same race last year there was a total of 78 pit stops and this year there was 79. No one complained last year about having to make 4 stops…

    McLaren have an awful car and could just as easily blame the tires for being the major cause of their issues. Instead they have manned up admitted they didn’t get the development right in the off season.

    Meanwhile, the team that can’t control their drivers and has never really adhered to “we give them same equipment and they can race each other” motta. Maybe Vettel is in the back of the motor home crying into Helmut’s shoulder because now he can’t win….

    Leave the tires alone and let’s get back to racing with what we have. DRS and KERS and tires and everything else done to spice up the racing have done what they intended, you can’t go changing things mid-season other wise will remember the F1 of old.

    Not sure what I mean, just watch the Senna movie and see Ballestre state in unequivocal terms “I say what happens” and screw everyone else!!!

    1. Quade says:

      Last time I looked, Vettel was leading the 2013 WDC and team Red Bull was leading the 2013 contructors championship. That makes the “Red Bull lobbying” argument something of a non-starter.

      Before I’m crucified as a Red Bull lobbyist (even though that has nothing to do with the tyre argument), I am a McLaren and Lewis fan.

      Its really a shame with the way partisan postures are taking over sensibilities in F1, but I guess that comes with WWF tyres.

      1. Anne says:

        The way I see it. McLaren worst enemy is McLaren itself. Last year they had the faster car. However they had pit stop problems and reliability problems and they paid a high price.This year they fixed that but at the same time messing with the car´s performance. I hope coming Silverstone they can show changes in the right direction.

        As for Lewis. He has said he didn´t have great expectations for this season. Despite that he has done a great job so far. I think next year he will have more chances to fight for the championship.

        You can´t blame only the tyres. I hate these tyres too but I think we have to wait until next year for a real and must needed change.

    2. Anil Parmar says:

      Once you get used to success in this sport, you’ll do anything to get some more.

  68. TitanRacer says:

    Pirelli is between a rock and a hard place – and so would EVERY other possible tire supplier. asked to develop a product on mere assumptions with a mid-field competitive 3 year old car (thanx teams – you are hugely to blame too) with former and wanna-be F1 drivers is ludicrous! if they don’t “nail” it off the bat, they are forever the incompetant supplier. with the additional FIA regulations in place, I seriously do not understand why even ONE potential tire supplier would not utter profanities and ridicule b4 slamming the phone on the hook, so to speak.

    but, Pirelli cannot be let off the hook. comments made and reported almost everywhere showed either a total lack of knowledge or a complete disregard for their place within the rulebook and structure of F1. their comments re: WE will change the tires as we see fit to get away from 4 stop races, oh, and the delamination is not a safety issue. try a delamination in the tunnel at Monaco or Eau Rouge at Spa (choose your own corner)… that is a personal afront to every driver, every team, every sponsor, and every fan!! I view it as criminal negligence – not because they were regulated to screwed up, but because of the denial and pathetic damage-limiting spin being broadcast daily by a certain Media-grubbing personality.
    ooohh, and the infinite wisdom of the FIA… just how long has it taken them to ostensibly get the legal beagle OK to issue a statement re: what changes will be allowed??? of course, behind the ultimate safety issues, the louder viewpoints of contrived bus stop races, junk tires, touring around slower than GP2 quali times to meet a delta, etc., has been effectively hammered into “the FIA do not care – shut up”.

    having seen the ups and downs of F1 since 1962, this is all IMHO…

  69. hero_was_senna says:

    On Autosport.com this evening

    FIA declares Formula 1 tyre tweaks can only be for safety
    By Jonathan Noble Friday, May 17th 2013, 19:46 GMT

    Spanish GP 2013Pirelli’s planned mid-season Formula 1 tyre tweaks are set to be much smaller than originally anticipated after the FIA ruled that changes will only be allowed on safety grounds.

    Sources have revealed that the governing body has told Pirelli that it is happy to accept – and is indeed keen for – alterations necessary to prevent a repeat of the rear tyre delaminations that have struck at the last few events.

    But, in a blow to outfits like Red Bull hoping further tweaks would help them overcome tyre difficulties they have faced, the FIA has made it clear it will not tolerate further changes aimed at reducing the number of pitstops or decreasing degradation.

    Sorting out the issue must also not lead to a change of specification back to the 2012 tyres, as some had suggested could happen.

    Instead, Pirelli has been instructed to solve the matter by modifying the current specification of tyres. It is now close to finalising tweaks in this direction.

    The FIA is basing its stance on Article 12.6.3 of the technical regulations, which has also been cited by teams to Pirelli amid questions about the legality of a bid to change the specification.

    The rule states: “Tyre specifications will be determined by the FIA no later than 1 September of the previous season. Once determined in this way, the specification of the tyres will not be changed during the championship season without the agreement of all competing teams.”

    Although another clause in the regulations says that changes can be introduced if the tyres are deemed by the tyre supplier and technical delegate as ‘technically unsuitable’, the FIA does not believe that the current high degrading nature of the tyres that sometimes requires four stop races falls under that banner.

    An FIA source told AUTOSPORT: “Discussions between the FIA and Pirelli are ongoing regarding the tyre failures and making changes to prevent them happening again. These talks do not involve the subject of degradation or the number of pitstops.”


    Paul HemberyPirelli has not yet settled on what changes it is making to the tyres, but its motorsport director Paul Hembery suggested on Friday that revisions were likely to be small.

    “Let’s wait and see exactly what changes we will be making, but we are doing everything we can to minimise what will be different,” he told AUTOSPORT.

    The stance from the FIA, allied to Hembery’s suggestion, looks likely to be good news for outfits like Lotus, Ferrari and Force India that had been concerned a wholesale change of tyres could hurt the advantage they currently have.

    Lotus boss Eric Boullier aired his frustration earlier this week at Pirelli planning mid-season changes, but expressed his hope that any tweaks would be minor.

    “That there are changes to come can be seen as somewhat frustrating, and I hope they are not too extreme,” he said. “It’s clear that Pirelli have found themselves in a difficult situation and under pressure from different quarters.”

  70. Quercus says:

    I think, given the test situation, I have more than “a twinge of sympathy” for Pirelli. Where they have fallen down is in not kicking up more of a fuss once they knew they were being forced to work blind. They must have anticipated how this might result in a risk to their reputation.

    If they been prudent would simply have refused to provide new 2013 tyres unless given the necessary development equipment.

    1. Brace says:

      It’s an irony of cosmic proportions, that it’s actually Red Bull and Mercedes who are one of the most strongest anti in-season testing lobbyists.

      I hope that one good thing that comes out of this whole farce, is that teams and governing body realize how absurd it is to have no in season testing in a prototype sport that is F1.

  71. Laurence H says:

    I have no idea how credible this report is, but I hope that it is. The FIA steps in to stop the tyre changes being for anything other than safety.


    The FIA in sensible intervention shocker!!

    1. justafan says:

      Unfortunately for Pirelli’s reputation if the tweaks go ahead it means that Pirelli builds unsafe tyres which needs tweaking to make them safe. I’m afraid this sad fact will prevent many people from buying Pirelli’s road car tyres in the future and ultimately lead to Pirelli’s demise from F1 like it happened with Michelin because people’s perceptions are that they weren’t able to build safe tyres that could be raced at a demanding track like Indianapolis.

    2. Stephen Taylor says:

      To me the FIA rules have little power . As long as Bernie is around . I think James might be hoping there is little change in the pecking order rather than being sure of it.

  72. Charlie says:

    The more I think about this the more disappointed I become. As many people have said above, ensuring safety is one thing, but “changing the goal posts” mid season is absolutely shocking, inequitable and it sets a terrible precedent. Think of the subtle margins and parameters that are built into the performance of the average athlete. Usain Bolt is an incredible exception, but the average 100 meter runner is not a world beater at the 200 meters. Ultimately this is because they train in completely different ways, to maximise different qualities and potential inherent in their bodies. Perhaps the analogue is tenuous, but changing the formula mid season – the formula in which all of the teams agreed to participate this year and for which they all prepared – is comparable to changing the length of an athletics race to suit the needs of one competitor.

    F1 works so well as a spectator sport because fans learn the formula, parameters, rules and regulations as they discover the sport. Better understanding of these parameters gives the fan the ability to better appreciate a great bit of engineering work, or a great bit of driving because they begin to understand where engineers, drivers, tacticians etc are finding relative performance. And this is exciting! Most fans of a specific driver like him because they genuinely believe that they can bring relative performance to the speed of a car. That is exiting to watch. Having the relative performances of cars, drivers and engineers decided for us off the circuit in a clandestine meeting about tyres really undermines all of the work that everyone in the sport has actually done since last season.

    People call the Pirelli formula “contrived”, but changing the tyres for any reason other than safety is…to paraphrase someone from Red Bull…fundamentally not sport.

  73. olderguysrule says:

    6:30pm central time in the US. The FIA has stepped in. Tire changes for safety reasons only. Check Autosport. My take is that finally someone has stepped in to put a stop to some of the nonsense. The tread flying off, that is bad and needs to be fixed. But a 4 stop race in Spain. Well, Talk to Vettal about his 2011 race.

  74. Jim says:

    Don’t have a problem with the decision but F1 is a basket case, a disorganised rabble and an embarrassment to those involved -for this AND the other off track issues that continue to plague the sport.

    The sooner the Gnome gets charged and leaves the better off we’ll all be. We need 21st century management and leadership, not old school amateurism and personal avarice driving short term benefit for a few.

  75. Marian says:

    “It’s a shame that these worthy souls kept quiet two years ago when, at the very same Catalunya Circuit and on the Istanbul track, five of the six drivers who got to those two podiums made exactly the same number of pit stops as did Alonso and (Ferrari’s second driver) Massa last Sunday in the Spanish Grand Prix.
    “Ferrari’s second driver” : James, James, this sentence does not appear in the original I’ve readed in the Ferrari’s web. We all know who is Massa, we don’t need you to introduce him. Why don’t you tell us about McLaren’s second driver or about McLaren team orders.

    1. Yago says:

      This caught my attention too. While for sure JA was not trying to be controversial, I think it was not very fortunate from his side. I think the media has to be bery careful about these things, as what they say has a big impact on people opinions.

  76. Testalozza says:

    Yes the tyres should be made more durable but, also, pit to car radio should be banned so the drivers have to deal with the car and not be constantly told to “optimise” lap times by engineers on the pit wall. It’s a DRIVERS championship after all.

    1. McHarg123 says:

      It’s a CONSTRUCTORS championship as well!!!

  77. Quade says:

    Pirelli should simply not have changed the 2012 tyres. There was more than enough warning last year that the fans absolutely hated their interference in normal.
    They’ve got what they deserve.

    The one thing thats now guaranteed is that Pirelli won’t be pulling the same nasty trick on us, ever again.

  78. mhilgtx says:

    Ferrari spare me the fake outrage. Is there another motor sport team in the world that gets more preferential treatment than these guys? Just look at how much money they get for what amounts to appearance money. There has been a long history of Ferrari complaining and even the ridiculous behavior at the 2005 US Grand Prix.

    Pirelli, pretty irresponsibly I might add has caused this whole mess. Paul Hembry has done his employer and for that matter F1 absolutely no favors by his comment’s in the press. As far as their initial designs and how the tire actually works with the cars it is pretty obvious that they were way off.

    Ferrari and RBR are pretty even on tire wear, only difference is they excel on different types of track. Hence the difference’s in Bahrain and Spain and China. As to why Ferrari hasn’t complained, well I believe they have mentioned the tires as a matter of fact as has every other team except it seems except Lotus. I don’t know if Lotus have the tires figured out as much as they have a lack of downforce. Actually Ferrari seems to have a bit of a downforce issue as well which is why they haven’t qualified as well as we might expect.

    On to the lack of a test car, here is an idea get Dalara to build them a car or two. Make someone pony up a KERS and an engine. Hell buy a few from Honda or Chevrolet, they are similar enough to the new engine for tire testing purposes. Not to optimize the tire, but to make sure it doesn’t melt or disintegrate like this one does.

    As far as Red Bull and Merc’s supposed lobbying if anyone thinks that is what is driving the change they need to rethink there stance.

    When after the Chinese GP Bernnie weighed in and complained about the tires I thought there would be immediate change. But when you combine that with a 2 hour Martin Brundle commercial about how bad Pirelli’s tires were last week and top it off with cherry of the multiple tire delaminations and being unsafe well there was nothing Pirelli could do at that point.

    The teams having these tires to test last year is also a complete exaggeration of the facts. As I understand it, they were a small number of sets (maybe only one)of the old construction tire with what was to be the harder compound that was only rolled out for Spain. Someone correct me if I am wrong, please.

    I like the tires as is, they need some small tweaks to make them fair for all the teams and to be able to withstand running over a grasshopper. Unfortunately Pirelli have waited until too long to make a change and now they will have to be fairly dramatic as they can’t afford more bad publicity.

    Last of all my fellow posters and passionate F1 fans, up until the announcement of the change all we read about was the tires need to change. How this was fake racing and cheese tires and DRS were killing the sport.

  79. Quade says:

    My theory about the delaminations is that, due to the increased flexing of the 2013 tyre, the steel band vibrates and goes into resonance (therefore, generating destructive forces) after exiting corners at a given speed and angle.
    The kevlar band that was used in previous tyres does not have springy qualities, so can’t vibrate in the same way steel can.

    My guess is that the steel band will go, making the tyres lighter. That and less wear will result in cars that are up to 1 sec+ faster, and (or) will require more ballast to stay legal.

  80. Rich C says:

    F1, the Pinnacle of Whining & Carping.

    I’ll bet you a $ right now the decision to leave F1 asap has just been made by Pirelli!

  81. StefMeister says:

    Im actually kind of split on this as while I agree that changing things Mid-season isn’t good & that perhaps it isn’t fair on the 2 teams that got the tyres right, However on the other side I have not really enjoyed the racing so far in 2013 & a big reason for that is the effect the tyres have had on the ‘racing’ so I was hoping to see them changed.

    The problem for me in Spain wasn’t so much the fact we saw a 4-stop strategy, It was the fact that they were having to do a 4-stop strategy on the hardest 2 compounds & still having to conserve the tyres as much as they were.
    Yes we had 4-stops in the past but the difference between 4-stops in 2013 & the 4-stops of 2011/2012 is that in 2011/2012 there was nowhere near the same level of tyre management & you still saw drivers able to push hard & race the cars around them.

    While I would prefer as few pit stops as possible (The 1-stoppers of late 2011/2012 were hardly boring afterall), I don’t mind 2, 3 or even 4-stop races as long as you see drivers pushing fairly hard & racing one another. What we have seen in every race this year is drivers been told to slow down, To hit a pre-determined lap delta, To not race the cars around them & as Button pointed out (And as the lap charts on the FIA website shows) there lapping slower than GP2 cars for big portions of the race (Looking over past data this has never been the case with GP2 or F3000 cars).

    I’ve been following F1 long enough to know that there’s always been some element for drivers to manage, However its never been this bad, its never been this obvious & its never hindered the racing like it has so far in 2013.

  82. AlanD says:

    So I guess if they don’t make changes were stuck with rubbish Non-Racing for the rest of the year just because Pirelli got it wrong?

    Look after the tires, hit this lap time, don’t race him, left front, left rear, let him past, stay on line, don’t defend, slow down.
    Thats all we hear at every race, there’s no racing now your just left with everyone doing there own thing, running to there own lap delta managing these stupid tires.

    Fair to some teams or not these tires need to be changed so that racing fans can actually see some racing again!

    I’ve been an avid fan since the early 70s but Im not sure how much longer I can keep watching this sorry excuse for racing!

  83. Linda1 says:

    All Pirelli & other things like the DRS have done is turn people off, The sharp decline in TV Figures world-wide (Including in country’s where the TV broadcasters have remained unchanged) since these things were introduced in 2011 proves this!

    Also look at fan poll’s & discussion around the interwebs, Its all negative towards the DRS especially but now the anti-Pirelli talk is getting louder & louder with each race.

    There was a poll on the F1fanatic website 2-3 weeks back in which about 80% voted that DRS was having a negative effect on the racing.
    90% of the comments about Pirelli thsi year have also been highly negative.

    Is anyone at FOTA, The FIA, Pirelli or anyone else in or around F1 actually looking at the fans opinions on these things?

    1. AlexD says:

      do not think where you get this from. I have seen polls where more people said that DRS is good.

      1. Linda1 says:

        i can honestly say i have not seen any recent poll where drs came out on top, everything i have seen from this year has showed that the majority vote against the drs.

        there was 1 on f1fanatic recently as i say.
        speed channel ran 1 in January where 78% voted against drs.
        rtl in germany had 1 that had 86% vote against drs.
        i’ve seen 3 on private fan forums & all have been above 75% vote against drs.

        in 2011 the polls were fairly even on drs, in 2012 they started to slip towards negative & everything i have seen this year has been vast majority negative on drs.

      2. Akira-Fan says:

        linda’s actually right on this, the fans opinion relating to the drs has been changing this year & has been getting a lot more negative. i’ve seen 3 fan poll’s in the last week where drs came out on the losing side by massive margins.

        there has also been a lot of fans who were supportive of the drs who have now begun to turn against it, myself included actually.

        i was open to drs back when it was announced, didn’t mind it too much in 2011, started to go against it through 2012 & am now at the point where i would rather see it banned as so far this year its been stupidly effective.

        watching cars push there drs button when they get into the zone & then just cruise past the car ahead which is left completely defenseless isn’t fun to watch to me, It takes a big chunk of the excitement out of a race seeing a good racing scrap end like that & sadly were seeing far too much of that this year.

        Im also quite worried to see that the drs will be made even more effective in 2014 as the slot gap is allowed to open about 15mm wider to drop more drag & give a bigger speed gain.
        When drs is already producing far too many easy drive-by passes, making it more effective is just plain stupid.

        I’d much rather drs banned so that we get back to some truly exciting overtakes again rather than just a series of easy, boring & completely unexciting highway passes that the drs constantly produces!

  84. Tomcat173 says:

    Whats disappointing is that Pirelli actually succumbed to the lobbying teams and changed the tyres for Montreal onwards.

    The good thing about the double diffuser and f-duct examples was that the rules werent changed mid-championship – changing tyres mid-season surely will have an impact.

  85. fausta says:

    I am against changing the compounds midseason. Making them not fall apart for safety reasons maybe, but keeping them same in terms of wear. Each team had the regs and tested the tires and built a car, it is too bad some did better than others. It is ridiculous that Pirelli even considers it.

  86. LBV says:

    I can’t believe they are changing the rules in the middle of the game… agree with most readers, If RBR has this kind of influence over the sport, it is pointless continue watching this farce. It doesn’t really matter if we are talking about the tires, aero or the engines, looks like they will always have the upper hand…

  87. ShaBooPi says:

    James, could you please give your opinion on the recent report from Autosport that says that the FIA have warned Pirelli that they can only make changes for safety precaution, not to tire degradation? I hope this is true, as it would be the only fair outcome.


    It is really disheartening when the sport you love as a fan allows mid season changes that benefit some and penalize others. It is entirely ridiculous. When Brawn was running away with it in 2009 as much as I didn’t like it, I never wrote in to say ban the technology. They worked within the same guidelines as everyone and deserved their reward. Most of all I’m surprised by how pathetic Red Bull are when losing (and by the way, they are actually still leading). Talk about poor winners. Are they so daft as to not realize everyone will note that they won the same race in 2011 on 4 stops? What is their PR department doing? It strikes me as the knee-jerk temper tantrum of a child, just make noise rather than think before saying anything. This isn’t even suited to the supposed mantra of Red Bull which effectively is about sporting excellence, not bias or favouritism. Hope they encounter serious problems this year as a reward.

    1. AlexD says:

      fully agree with your opinion…

  88. Ganesh says:

    My views:

    The following can’t be a reason to change the tyre:
    1. Number of pit stops – this is more down to strategy and we have seen 4 stops in the past as well
    2. Not able to push – not true – Gary’s comparison of quali lap to fast / avg lap time highlights this.

    More importantly, I’m against changing the rules midway. It is unfair to teams who have managed the best.

    However, safety (delamination) can be a reason.

    What I want to know is if this years tyres gives up if you try to drive defensively and save positions – that’s the feeling I get and that spoils racing. It takes away the driver skill/ability totally. Can we have a comparison data to understand this? Again, this can’t be the reason to change tyre mid season.

  89. etls says:

    The fastest drivers are being restrained from driving fast in the fastest cars.
    This years tires as there are now, is making F1 into an endurance spectical.
    So far Lotus has ended up on the podium of each race this season with a car at best the 4th quickeist.
    Nice for Kim and all those that would like to see him win another WDC, but for me this is not racing, its more like a procession.
    With virtually every team bar two, tiptoeing around trying to stop their sandles from flipping off.
    Lotus are crusing around, starting from way down on the grid yet making it on to the podium with out any sweat of a fight to get there.
    Why is so much being made of their (Lotus) achievement when it is clearly not raw speed that is giving them the podium places.
    I am not Lotus bashing, just stating the facts.
    Rigth now we have 5 WDC’s, four of whom are in cars that could be going at it head to head but for those bloody tires.
    For me, Pirelli’s over the top meddling is limiting only two teams to extract success of what could of been a real head
    on battle if Pirelli had made tires that were meant to let all the cars go at it full on 99% as to 85%.
    With the forthcoming changes Pirelli have annonced, I’m hoping their make it so things go back to cars racing each other and if Red Bull comes out on top so be it.
    I would be sad if that happens, but I don’t think the Bulls would have it all to themselves.
    With more durable tyres, Mercedes I believe would have the freedom to fully push their car.
    Their FRIC (Front Rear Inter-Connected) suspension system being the key to upsetting Red Bull’s apple cart.
    Add in Ferrari’s blistering starts, in no way would it be a rump in the meddow for Red Bull.
    Love to see it all kick off, true racing between all 4 WDC’s. (Five if McLaren can get their act together).
    But alas I feel we will still end up as it is now, with the fastest drivers being restrained from driving fast in the fastest cars.

    1. kallisto says:

      Totally agreed! I’d like to see all the WDC’s fighting their way to the win every race and some good strategies for a while or the midfield F1 cars could emerge and surprise us!
      I wonder what Ayrton would think of F1 nowadays! Losing interest day after day.
      Also i don’t remember Mercedes ever coming out to ask for tyre changes! Thy already have their suspension issues to deal with!
      This sport is changing too much and not always for the good! We went from 2007/2008 which was a pinnacle of racing to 2013 and tire-exercise nursering at its best! Is that what we’re paying for? I’d kinda want my money back should i ever attended a race this year!

  90. Mohammed Al-Momen says:

    F1 wouldn’t be F1 without controversy, would it. I always see F1 as the pinnacle of engineering, teams had a tire issue some engineered their way around it and some didn’t. They should have just let it be and fix it for next year not mid season.

  91. Skanda says:

    I feel Pirelli is the one to lose the most in this volte face on the tire strategy. I dont know how this impacts them as the tire supplier for the 2014 season. I for one dont know where I stand this drama. On the one hand, Pirelli must be admired for their guts to come up with tires that dont last and add some spectacle despite on the perception it could cause to their road car tires (Bridgestone were very firm in not producing wearable tires citing the very same reason), and races have tended to be far interesting than the pre-2010 races. On the other, I hate to see drivers driving lap times generated on the computer simulations, drivers being told not to defend passing cars, the fastest cars on Friday being lapped up on race. I believe the blame has to rest on the FIA for resulting in this fiasco. This should be one of the most tainted championships in years that I could recall.

  92. Tenno1868 says:

    It is funny to see how Red Bull is portrayed as the team who can’t score well enough and is inferior due to the types. While they are not outright superior under all conditions, Red Bull and Vettel still lead both championships. Delaminating types are a problem and this needs to be fixed.

  93. franed says:

    Four stops is fine,we have often had that in past years even going way back to the 70s.

    Pirelli have a very valid point re not having a representative test car. They need to be a lot firmer with the FIA in negotiating the terms of supply for next year.

    1. franed says:

      It seems that those complaining it makes the race too complicated are still counting on their fingers. Buy a pencil!

    2. Tim says:

      It’s the teams, not the FIA, who cannot agree about a test car for Pirelli.
      A Lotus was used previously, but when Lotus then turned out to be good at managing the tyres in the races, the other teams called foul. Can’t blame them really.
      Martin Brundle made a good point at the last race. He said the team principles should not have a say in how the sport is run as they are ‘hard wired’ to do the best for their team. If they can’t make their own team faster then it’s logical to make the others slower. As a result, their own self interest will lead them to harm the sport overall as they are not interested in the bigger picture, just their own little square of it.

      1. Rockie says:

        Very good post

  94. Elie says:

    James I know there is no Concorde agreement, but what are the FIA saying about all this ?-I mean it cant be in the interest of the sport if the perception is so bad that so many people are screaming favoritism.

    Has Pirelli used the same arguments to Red Bull- “You won it with 4 stops in 2011 so your argument is rubbish”. ?
    You would think that this change would need consensus amongst ALL teams. What have the others got to say about this ??
    Its all too narrow focused to the guys with the top dollar investment..Its like “Ferrari…Red Bull is bigger than you..do you understand ”

    Problem we have is that Bernie is too scared to upset Dietrich Mateshcitz with all his investment bucks and now even Mercedes with their growing investment.

    The Horsewisperer is only echoing what a lot of us have been saying these last few weeks. Like I said before it probably wont effect how Lotus and Ferrari, force India perform but it may just speed up Red Bulls recovery to come through and win again. We know they have the technical ability to recover- we saw that last year- this may just hasten things a little more and give them a stronger chance. I hate to say it but I think Ferrari will remain dominant

    I found it hilarious that Lotus posted on their website that picture of gaint truck tyres being lifted for delivery to Milton Keynes with a caption saying “are these hard enough for you”

    1. Anne says:

      I saw that picture on Lotus website it´s hilarious!!!


      If RB is having so much trouble understanding the tyres behaviour. They can hire some tyre expert guy to help them out.

  95. gary says:

    I remember some races have had four stops in the past! But that was when you could go flat out in between your four stops to the end. If you go flat out now it will be eight stops or more. So now they are going slow to make four stops do, drivers are saying they are driving at 80% to stretch the life of the tyre out or not burn it out in a couple of laps.
    The tyres were always part of F1 but now they are the dominating focus for every team virtually taking the driver out of the equation.

  96. Tim says:

    I can’t really argue with anyone who says the tyres should not be changed mid season. Some teams have done a better job (with their design)than others and the ones who are lagging behind need to catch up.
    But, it doesn’t feel quite right, to me at least, that qualifying has become irrelevant.
    I don’t want to see the races finishing in qualifying order but neither do I want to see drivers slipping from pole to 9th.
    I guess I want it all – am I being greedy?

    1. Brace says:

      Qualifying is always going to be irrelevant if your car is 100% oriented at one-lap pace.

      Take this example:

      It would be like, back in the days of refueling, complaining that qualifying is irrelevant, just because pole sitter pitted after 1 lap and finished nowhere in the race.

      In the last 10 years, quali and race are linked because of parc ferme rule.

      That means that your setup will always be a compromise between quali and race setups.

      If someone, back in 2004, put just one lap worth of fuel in their car for quali, you can bet they would have gotten the pole, but would finish outside of the points in the race.

      1. Tim says:

        I understand the point you are making in your example, although I am not sure it was quite as simple as you suggest. If it was just a case of light fuel load and hey presto any team could take pole then why didn’t Jordan, or maybe Jaguar do just that? Get pole every race, plenty of glory and they’re not giving up any realistic chance of a race win – what have they got to lose? No,I think you needed a fundamentally quick car then, just as you do now.
        Anyway, back to the present. Nico stated in his interview, after the race in Spain, that the set up for his car was biased towards race pace and not single lap glory runs. Now, you may or may not believe him, personally I do, but why would a serious team like Mercedes adopt a strategy that would harm their race pace to such an extent? In addition, we have had several examples this season where teams don’t set a time in Q3. Not just the likes of Force India but RBR as well – all to gain an advantage in the race.
        As I mentioned in my post, qualifying should not be an irrelevant part of the weekend. But this season, more than last, it appears this is the case.

  97. McHarg123 says:

    I’ve been reading in the past few hours that the mid season tyre change is in breach of the regulations. Article 12.6.3 of the technical regulations state: “Tyre specifications will be determined by the FIA no later than 1 September of the previous season. Once determined in this way, the specification of the tyres will not be changed during the championship season without the agreement of all competing teams.”
    Surely Lotus and Ferrari will try and block the change.
    Have you heard of this and whats your take?

    1. Half Goal says:

      At least somebody tries to look at it without emotions. Your comment is a gasp of fresh air here.

      I am not a lawyer and not sure what “tyre specifications” means. Is it just marking scale(supersoft to diehard) or the actual construction and technology of the rubber that is determined?

      Legal or not, I still don’t think it would be good idea. These cars are not trucks, even small tweak matters. Or even if it doesn’t, the change would still be a dirty trick, pure disrespect towards the engineers. You work the whole winter with certain data and restrictions in your mind and suddenly, things are changed in very short notice. Teams cannot really test these days so it is easy to go in wrong direction(or in some cases, accidentally get it right). I’m afraid it is another attempt to spice up the game.

    2. Tim says:

      I think the current lack of a Concorde agreement negates the need for a unanimous agreement between the teams.

  98. Can anybody remember a more farcical season than this? What on earth has happened to F1.

    Apparently now the FIA have stepped in and forbade changing of the compounds other than for safety reasons


    1. AlexD says:

      A lot of lobbying from Red Bull, but I am so happy that changes will only be made for safety…no need to give an advantage to Red Bull.

    2. KARTRACE says:

      That is a very reasonable point by FIA. Safety is the only concern that worries me. Since 1965, that I am following F1, tires were always an issue of a race success in its own right. We even lost one of the greatest talents and drivers of the era due to the tire failure in 1968.

    3. KARTRACE says:

      I do not see this being a farce at all. It is just blown out of proportion due to smoke screening by RBR team. There was no lesser issues in 2011 and 2012 for some teams. Pirelli was tasked to create a very unpredictable compound durability and now when they delivered, just by thumb sucking, some teams suddenly couldn’t stop complaining despite that they are currently leading the championship by the margin.

    4. Fireman says:

      Resurrect FIA favors Ferrari arguments in three, two, one…

      Joking aside, good decision by FIA. Just following the technical regs.

  99. Richard D says:

    I would have thought it commercial madness for a tyre manufacturer to produce tyres that wear out so quickly! I’d better check what I’ve got on my car; oh no, they’re Pirelli P Zero!

    1. James Allen says:

      Don’t you think most people can distinguish between a race tyre designed to promote multiple stops from a road tyre?

      1. AlexD says:

        I would assume that even 5-year old would be able to distinguish, but then again…some people have interesting way to drive attention.

      2. Anon says:

        Yes but to casual fans of F1 it looks like they are struggling to build a good tyre that doesn’t explode.

      3. Andrew says:

        I’m sure thy can.

        Most fans can probably also see that Pirelli have utterly failed to meet the brief of replicating the tyre conditions of Canada 2010 and that year by year the tyres more further away from that goal.

        Informed fans can see that Pirelli have continuously failed to engineer the tyres briefed and that their increasingly narrow temperature operating windows are eliminating racing. The uninformed just see races dominated by feeble tyres; tracks covered in discarded rubber and drivers suffering delaminations seemingly at random.

        I can’t see how this kind of publicity is good for Pirelli. As far as I’m concerned Pirelli are incompetent at engineering F1 tyres and I would not use their road tyres on principle.

      4. Bob says:

        Actually James, I’d argue that informed fans like the ones here definitely will understand that. Not sure about the casual uninformed viewer. Here in the US, tire manufacturers like to use their connection to motorsports a lot in their mass marketing efforts, so the casual uninformed viewer feels great about having “the same tires used by race cars”. In that sense, for those viewers to keep hearing commentators talk about Pirelli tires not lasting, degradation, etc. could turn them to avoid Pirelli tires.

        Not sure of the millions of F1 viewers worldwide, how many would fall into that casual, uninformed category, but I wouldn’t be surprised it is a large group…

      5. KRB says:

        The whole “perception is reality” thing. It’s not right, but it’s how it is most of the time. I can’t imagine how the talk surrounding the Pirelli tires can be in any way good for Pirelli’s tire sales.

      6. Well says:

        It’s not about the tyre’s performance people will chose not to buy Pirellis (everyone knows the top brands are all OK for your car). It’s about the image of Pirelli of one that ruined F1 racing.

        I won’t buy their tyres for that reason and will tell everyone I know to buy Bridgestone.

        When you say Pirelli, I think: arrogant company that ruined the sport I loved, turning it into iceskating.

  100. Andre says:

    The only change Pirelli is going to make is going to be minor.
    They said they went too far in Spain, so those tires were not like Pirelli wanted them either.
    I bet that these minor changes will not result in the tires being exactly like RBR/Mercedes want them to be, but more like Pirelli wanted them at first to be.

    For those who think Pirelli bowed down to RBR need to think twice.
    Ferrari and Lotus will still be strongest tyrewise.

  101. colin grayson says:

    why is it that so many people who post in blogs like this don’t realise they are a tiny minority , not enough to effect the bottom line in the big business that is F1 ?
    TV viewing figures have dropped because pay TV has become the norm , many casual followers just won’t pay
    the FIA changes rules to make F1 more attractive to joe public , they know the fans here are going to watch whatever they say or do ..and races where the finishing order is pretty well decided by qualifying doesn’t put bums on seats!

  102. Witan says:

    If the changes are for safety only that doesn’t preclude considerable changes.

    If the delamination was due to debris on the track then there are two immediate routes of investigation.

    Is the compound on the tread too delicate and so the tread is shredding too much and creating the damaging debris? Or is it simply to susceptible to damage and any little bit of rubbish on the track causes a complete failure.

    Either way that makes the compound the critical problem.

    On the other hand is the delamination caused by a poor bond between tread and carcass? So do they go back to the form of carcass they used last year: the fibre versus steel question as far as I understand it? That would change the tyre characteristics and cross section in corners.

    It seems to me that if either conclusion is reached there will have to be significant change simply for safety.

    But then I am no engineer. What do I know?

  103. hero_was_senna says:

    God damn those ITALIANS, what a race of cheaters, spaghetti munchers, mafia wannabes, voters of pornstars into their parliamen, hairy arm pitted women, all wearing black…. Should I go on? My name is Carlo in case you believe I’m being as stupidly racist as you.
    Ignorance is bliss they say, but in the 21st century, it has a ready audience with the Internet.

    1. KRB says:

      Surely “wartime alliance swappers” would make most people’s top 6 list of overdone Italian stereotypes, no?

      Are you Italian HWS? I’m Canadian, with English ancestry (with some Irish in there), but have always had an affinity for Italians, to such extent that I married one! (well, she’s Italo-Hungarian, but the Italian side held more sway in her family). I’ve often been mistaken for being Italian (I call it being Gary Lineker English), I guess ‘cos I’m tanned instead of lily-white. I remember having to disappoint an Italian fan trying to rally me to their point of view, while watching the Italy v England WCQer out at a bar in the Fall of 1997 (a great game btw, even though it was 0-0!), and their shock that I was English.

      I wonder if Bridgestone was in the tank for both Honda and Toyota, all those years, and they finally came good for them in 2009 (not Honda anymore, but still Honda DNA in that Brawn)?

  104. sandman says:

    I am wondering why a big team like Mclaren have been silent during this whole issue? So far only 2 teams have criticised the tires and 3 teams are against the change( Ferrari,lotus and force india). So i am wondering where the other 6 teams stand on this issue?

    1. Bradley says:

      Perhaps they’re waiting to see where they’ll get more bang for their boot – when they choose to stick it into either Ferrari, or Red Bull.

    2. Mitchel says:

      The reason: class.

    3. Anne says:

      McLaren is not fighting for the championship this season. Now they probably are concentrated in the 2015 season more than anything else.

  105. Eduan says:

    I think the tyres are a issue but if any changes should be made do it for next year. Red Bull and Vettel are complaning because they are not on top of it. Ferrari and Lotus have done their homework better and this should serve as advantage to them. The same situation as you mentioned James is that of the double diffuser.
    F1 needs to get back where it is about going as fast as you can from start to finish. I read an article this morning saying that FIA will only allow changes to tyres on safety ground and not performance grounds. Vettel and Red Bull should stop complaining and get on with it.

  106. Erik says:

    So pathetic, it seems that the F1 circus can’t let itself survive one championship season without a media crisis. What is wrong with keeping focus on the championship race? Which is a great battle by the way? Every year, our great sport lowers itself to this tabloid rubbish journalism by selecting the latest Kim Kardashian style subject matter. This year it’s poor Pirelli’s turn.

    James, you rightly point out that the teams will tow their own party line, but then you blast Pirelli by saying “Pirelli is at fault for going too far with the 2013 tyres and for making them a larger talking point than the personalities in the sport.” which of course is not fact but only your opinion (and you fail to mention that).

    To me Raikkonen’s season run so far for example is a way bigger talking point, as is the Webber/Vettel battle. Why not give us inside lines on these topics? Get closer than others, give us the in-depth analysis we expect from you. For instance I’m sure Raikkonen must be super-motivated to do well now he’s back, why not go visit him at home, see if the Red Bull whispers have true legs, etc?

    I’m sure Pirelli has had a few long looks in the mirror recently and thought back to a couple of years ago when F1 was tendering for a tyre supplier and were in a real spot for a while there, when GP2 tyres were a likely option. F1 teams are short sighted, they forget that Pirelli is doing F1 as much a favour as F1 is doing for them. Bad publicity aimed at the tyres by teams due to a teams own failure is petty. And Pirelli, spending tens of millions of their own money by the way, can’t possibly be happy about the negative finger-pointing.

    I agree that delaminations are a problem, but I don’t buy into this whole charade about the tyres not being good enough. It’s good enough for the Ferrari cars, it’s good enough for the Lotus F1 cars, so what’s the problem? The F1 teams need to be the ones adapting their cars to the tyres, they have millionaire engineers to do that for them. Not the tyre company pandering to lobbyists.

    Let’s stop the sensationalist rubbish, we seem to have a tabloid headline every year. It detracts focus from the championship, and the protagonists in it.

    You claim James that Pirelli has made a mistake in this regard (taking focus off the drivers) but articles like this have exactly the same effect – take your own advice.

    ‘F1 team factions go to war’.. come on…

      1. Erik says:

        No need to pout mate. Take the higher ground you preach.

  107. DanielDA says:

    I think the so called real fans of F1 who want “True” racing are just biased RedBull/Vettel fans.

    The drivers have been driving to delta the last 3 years, what’s so different now?

    Brundle and DC are hypocrites laughing at Schumacher’s comments when he spoke about driving to delta last year, and now they don’t think it is racing anymore.

    Wake up, F1′s been a farce for quite sometime.

  108. Richard says:

    The fact of the matter is that since Pirelli entered F1 they have had a detrimental effect on the sport in introducing tyres that degrade quickly. In short they have taken the REAL racing out of the sport by the introduction of high degradation tyres from 2011. In an attempt to counter the effects of advanced aerodynamics these tyres have been introduced along with DRS, but have resulted in something that is almost entirely artificial. The result, because the tyres play such a dominate roll, is that any change now will have an effect, and since this is likely to mean slightly more durable tyres will represent an improvement for teams like Red Bull who work there tyres a little more than others. Mrecedes however do still have work to do to reduce the amount of energy they put through their tyres.

  109. aveli says:

    i’d like them to revert to bridgestone spec tyres. kers and drs will ensure overtaking. get rid of the cheesy tyres and let drivers push their cars to the limit. if they want more pit stops, reduce the depth of the thread and they’ll make more stops.
    all areas of technology is geard on reducing lap times only the tyres are geard on increasing lap time. antagonistic to racing. get rid of them and we’ll a more even playing field.
    there should be no one saying “i am playing any more because you’re not doing what i want”. agree on the spec before the season and stick with it.

  110. David Goss says:

    Whatever your view, it’s a shame the tyre debate is overshadowing all the other interesting stuff that is going on in F1. For example, we have a major new engine supplier, the beginnings of a titanic 3-way WDC battle, some great team-mate rivalries, a mysterious technical director defection and the real prospect of the CEO being tried for bribery. Yet we are (still!) talking about the tyres. One way or another I just want to move on…

  111. David Ryan says:

    With the rules of the sport as they stand, dramatic change was never going to happen so I’m not surprised Pirelli has rowed back from its original position. I am, however, pleased to hear they will be making changes to correct the delamination problem, as quite frankly those incidents have been quite alarming to watch. It’s better than having full blow-outs, but that’s not saying much really.

    Other than that, I’d say kicking Pirelli is somewhat unfair – the teams knew what they were getting with these tyres back in Brazil last year, and the FIA knew likewise. If they’d had concerns they should have raised them before the start of the season so that Pirelli could make changes in time for the first race (assuming unanimous agreement of course). I’m no fan of the current tyres by any means, but as they say you pay your money and you make your choice.

  112. F1 is dead says:

    What is shocking most is that Pirelli keep tweeting and saying in interviews how they are stopping RBR from winning a 4th title easily and how happy everyone should be glad about it, by providing these soft low durable tyres that work most against RBR

    And you don;t hear F1 ‘fans’ or the media complain about this?

    This is blatant competition manipulation. Imagine if they said how they are stopping Ferrari winning a title with these tyres, everyone would go nuts.

    This will be a hollow title.

    1. Andrew says:

      Agreed. The speed at which the FIA have stepped in to protect Ferrari (surprise surprice) show that the conspiracy theories regarding Red Bull’s influence and “lobbying” are utterly ridiculous.

      1. James Allen says:

        That’s not what’s happening here.

      2. Andrew says:

        The FIA have suddenly decided that changes can only be made for safety.


        They were very quiet about this when the hard compound was changed in Spain (and they’re not the only ones). This change had nothing to do with safety.

    2. Quade says:

      Paul Hembery just keeps rolling out unhealthy statement, after unhealthy statement.

      Pirelli are only getting away with that nonsense, because teams are usually as popular as their drivers and Vettel is largely unlovable, with few fans.

      Red Bull must have more than enough legal ammo to sue Pirelli by now. I wonder how a company of that size could have got itself into such a pickle?

    3. KARTRACE says:

      Do you think that is a news ? Ferrari and MS were also disputed winning further in mid 2000s as that dominance was hurting the fan base and the revenues. That is why Benetton was allowed to use a controversial balance shifting device on Alonso’s car despite being illegal as per technical rules amongst other rule changes which didn’t suit Scuderia.

    4. KRB says:

      Hembery definitely should not have phrased it like he did, b/c yes, it could be viewed as them (Pirelli) wanting to limit RBR, when instead they should a neutral 3rd party to all the teams.

      I don’t question for an instant that Pirelli is playing fair with all teams, but Pirelli also has to do all they can to be seen to be fair. They can’t expect F1 fans to just trust Pirelli to act on their honour.

  113. Atb says:

    Most hollow title win ever? Schumacher & Ferrari in 03 getting max mosely to make Michelin Change their tyres and handing Ferrari the advantage surely must be up there….

  114. F458 says:

    James, can’t Pirelli be provided with an F1 car from a defunct team e.g. Toyota?

    1. James Allen says:

      Too slow now, not like a 2013 F1 car

  115. Kay says:

    Paul and Pirelli, either make a good durable tyre for F1 racing and stop creating all sorts of different compounds and constructions as you wish, or just simply get out of F1.

  116. Jay Bopara says:

    Hi James,

    Thank you for your blog. Interesting to note from the FIA:
    “Tyre specifications will be determined by the FIA no later than 1 September of the previous season,” says Article 12.6.3 of the technical regulations.
    “Once determined in this way, the specification of the tyres will not be changed during the Championship season without the agreement of all competing teams.”

    This directly contradicts your comments less than a week ago where you proudly proclaimed:

    *”Not at all. Pirelli can change if they want to.”*

    Which you wrote in response to Brace in your article “Pirelli yields to Pressure” who asked:
    “James, can Ferrari and Lotus veto this change of tires? Surely this midseason change would need approval of all teams.”

    Now, you also elaborated a little regarding safety, but what I got from your words was that Pirelli could decide for themselves. Can you please elaborate further?

    1. James Allen says:

      They can make changes, they have done it every year so far.

      But these are detailed changes, not entire changes of specification.

      Clearly if there is a safety issue – which there is here – they they can make changes

      1. DB4Tim says:

        How is it a safety issues when only two tires have delaminated, I am confused if eight teams had multiple tires exploding then yes.

      2. Jay Bopara says:

        Cheers for the reply James. It appears Pirelli are making real changes; more than what would be required for safety.

  117. johnpierre says:

    i agree with almost everyone one today. it is fascinating to see the gradual sea change in the comments for this post. not sure where all of you fans have been. i felt like a lone voice every time i logged in to the 6 or so website and bloggs to post a comment. but from what i have read here, and i read almost all of the comments they are clear and intelligent and have all come to what i believe is the correct conclusion, at most of them. changing tires mid season whether you believe the original compounds are good or not is just wrong. wrong for the drivers that can adapt, the teams that did a good job, the fans that have no problem with the complexity of the sport, and the sport itself. we can debate in a productive way if pierlli over stepped it’s mandate from the FIA. truth is i am in agreement with peoples opinion that the tires crossed over the line, just not all of the arguments that have been presented that some how F1 is not racing anymore. however what’s done is done. and now we have to wait and see what happens. man this sport is so crazy sometimes. i fell is going to drive me to the nut house…

    1. Elie says:

      Sensible comments

  118. Don says:

    Can James (or anybody else) explain why cars have to run at least 2 compounds during the race?

    What is the thinking behind that rule? Anybody?

    1. James Allen says:

      1. To get people talking about tyres in the Bridgestone days
      2. To introduce a strategy element into racing with no refuelling stops

      1. HCA says:

        Would be a lot better for the racing without the mandatory stop to run both compounds though.

        let team spick the tyres best suited to there car & lets go racing.

        its no fun when a team/driver is forced to run a compound there car doesn’t like & great on track fights for position are killed as a result.

  119. Adelaide says:

    Bernie now has to make a change to the Pirelli’s – but if it changes the pecking order F1 risks losing it’s credibility…yet again. XD

    By the way, is the president of FIA mute? I remember him being a very outspoken man…

    Besides, is Pirelli getting anything out of this? F1 may cost them their image. They’ll end up delaminating!

    Dear F1, come back to your senses.

  120. Arnie S says:

    I think most are missing the point:
    The tyres are loosing the treads: safety issue
    The tyres are degrading: not a safety issue- build a car that can handle it.

    Pirelli needs to make a change, but mot regarding degrading.

    1. Andrew says:

      So why did they change the hard compound before Spain?

      1. sandman says:

        To prevent graining, not degradation.

    2. Gilbert says:

      HEMBERY confirmed delamination is not a case of security and it’s why there will be minors changes and he hope nobody will object.

  121. McHarg123 says:

    F1 is a game of going backwards and forwards and in Red Bulls case they’re simply not good enough on the tyre front.
    It would be utterly disrespectful to the engineers of Lotus and Ferrari if Pirelli alter the life of the tyres. For the demands of this season, they are simply better.
    Yes, the Spanish Grand Prix was a bit of a disappointment, but seriously Red Bull, just get on with it and find out yourself how to make the best of the tyres rather than getting Bernie to do it for you!

  122. MrP77 says:

    I know that this won’t happen, but what they need to do is to bring back refuelling, that was excellent at mixing up the field, creating interesting strategy and at pure racing make 100% perfect tyres (or as close as they can) and then put in the ideas of refuelling, do I go heavy or light, what happens when you mix that with drs? what happens when a heavy car manages to use drs to get past a light car coming through the field? in the past 4 stop strategy’s were unheard of… we need to get back to 2-3 stops…. also teams can tottaly control the amount of fuel they put in the car… taking out the element of artifical randomness which has made recent races so artifical

    1. McHarg123 says:

      Interesting, but i don’t think they will bring it back. Incidents like the one in Brazil 2009 with kimi and Heikki in the pit lane will stick to many peoples memories, especially the FIA.
      I did like the old refueling days though.

  123. Elie says:

    Enough already of these confounded tyres I never liked them and even less the rule makers weakness to bow to pressure and change the rules half season. Lets now hope teams that weren’t pushing quite as hard as the others and running a close 2nd can go that little bit harder and win !

  124. Sasidharan says:

    Agreed. I too thought Ferrari pushed to the limit. They didn’t give a damn to what the rest of field said “Conserve”. I enjoyed the 4 four stops.

  125. Tim says:

    Apologies if someone else has already posted this link, but it made me smile.


  126. Paul says:

    If Pirelli are capable of making a durable tyre they should do it and make it slower over a lap and not degrade like the Bridgestones used to. The aim should be to have a tyre a) that is fastest doing a 1 stop and tyre b) that is fastest doing a 3 stop.

    Voila; Ferrari and Red Bull happy, awesome racing due to track position overlap and no need to force teams to use both tyres during race.

  127. IP says:


    When you get bored of F1, would you mind starting some sort of global media empire? Maybe even a college of journalism or something that can help educate others in how journalism and media should interact with the general public, whilst still been informative and entertaining.

    Yours is the first page I open in the morning and almost always the last I check before bed!

    As for this whole tyre issue, I agree, Pirelli are an easy target being the middle men.

    Personally, if I had my way, we’d have young driver testing only on thursdays or early friday morning, a saturday practise and quali session and fresh tyres for all starters on sunday. Take 3 compounds to the race and maybe make the teams nominate 2 that they will race on, or force them to use all 3 in the race.

    1. James Allen says:


      I may well do some educational stuff down the line. I’m very interested in helping young people to get on and get opportunities; proud to be a patron of F1 in Schools for example.

    2. McHarg123 says:

      I’m very keen to follow journalism, especially in the automotive world.

  128. Nick says:

    Are Pirelli even allowed to change composition/ specification/ performance (whatever you want to call it) of the tyres MID-SEASON???

    There’s clearly no unanimous decision amongst the teams to do so, it’s not a safety issue, there’s no other technical problem, other than the fact some teams got it right and other’s didn’t, so how do the rules permit it? And is it fair? Agree it’s not good to hear drivers saying they can’t race flat out but it’s worse when you start changing things mid-season that could artificially change the pecking order of the competition.

  129. aveli says:

    bridgestone and micgilin are professional tyre manufacturing companies but pirelli are mere adventurers.
    what happened to the idea of making f1 greener by introducing kers and heat energy recovery systems to improve efficiency? is it greener to have more pit stops?

  130. Matthew Yau says:


    This is all getting a bit silly. I don’t think I can put it down to uninformed opinions but rather as evidence that the sport is moving fast than people can follow.

    So let’s slow down for a bit.

    I think most people agree that tyre management isn’t something new. And cars getting more reliable, teams are now able to put more time into understanding tyres than ever people.

    From reading the comments here, it seems that most people are frustrated with the fact that teams are unable to push at 100% for a prolonged amount of time during a race. But in reality, in race conditions, teams rarely push 100%. It just isn’t necessary nor smart strategy.

    In which you would argue: “well, they are unable to push to a pace that challenges that drivers.”

    Again, not true. Though I admit that drivers aren’t quite pushed in terms of raw speed during race conditions, they are still under heavy spells of concentration whereby they are not only managing the pace of their but also managing the constantly changing conditions of the tyre.

    But again, the counter-argument from many would be that they feel F1 cars just aren’t being driven to their potential pace. This is an argument I can agree with. Certainly with the Red Bulls, during race conditions they are not going as fast as they should be.

    But this is no fault of Pirelli. The teams have had since the final race of last season to understand the tyres. Failure to do so is simply down to the teams. Both Ferrari and Lotus have a good grasp of the tyres while Red Bull and Mercedes are struggling to find a set-up that has an easier on the rubber.

    Part of this is down to the qualifying-race compromise. Neither Red Bull nor Mercedes want to squander their qualifying advantage because they know their race-pace is worse than Red Bulls and Mercedes. Therefore, Red Bull see a change in tyre compounds as the easiest way to maintain their qualifying advantage whilst improving their race-pace.

    To be honest, I’m not adverse to tyre compound changes. After all, all teams must adapt to the equipment and rules. But a change mid-season is totally unjustified. Hopefully, they make only minor changes just to stop the delamination that’s been prevalent in recent races.

    Any time Red Bull spend complaining is just time they could have spent working on the relationship between car and rubber.

    1. Lol says:

      All red herring arguments used by Pirelli themselves.

      I.e., rewriting F1 history to suit an agenda.

      1. Mike from Colombia says:

        100% agree.

        Pirelli advocates argue that F1 has always been like this. Need to look after tyres, endurance racing etc….

        For all those purists who don’t like the lack of wheel-to-racing caused by Pirellu – we must be all soft in the head.

        There are those that point out to us the similar lap qualifying and race times to last year….as if this would remedy everything.

        Fact – when you get a driver being told not to defend because he should concentrate on a lap delta and not destroy his tyres – this is NOT racing.

        When you cannot attack another driver in a non-DRS area for fear of destroying your tyres and ruining your entire race – this is NOT racing.

        No, let’s concentrate on the pole position time and then overall race time. Now that the pro-Pirelli bunch have pointed this out to me, this will make a world of difference to my take on the next race. I just never got it.

        After watching F1 for over 30 years, I cannot think of a darker period. Not even 2005 was this bad.

        There is little point following the sport between races now.

        Just wait until Saturday afternoon to see who bothers going out to qualify. Then wait for the randomness of the tyre situation on Sunday. Plenty of thrilling 2-second pitstop action.

        A joy to see driver’s struggling on tyres and falling backwards. Wonderful sight seeing those Pirelli marbles off line.

        After the race we can then hear about not being able to get the tyres working from several drivers. No testing, so very unlikely that the lagging teams will get to catch up.

        What a joy. Sunday, as soon as the race finishes, TV goes off and the hope that things will change in 2 weeks starts.

  131. aventurus says:

    Regarding tire test cars, would it not be beneficial to introduce a rule whereby all teams that score no points in a season are entered into a lottery, and one is selected to provide a test car to the official tire supplier? This would function similarly to other pro sports where last-place teams get the consolation prize of choosing first in the rookie draft.
    The clear advantage would then go to a backmarker team, but we could expect this advantage to last only one season while they move up the order a place or two. Over the course of a few seasons, this could go some way to correcting another oft-lamented issue; namely closing the gap between the front and rear of the grid.
    Of course it’s possible that frontrunning teams may attempt to manipulate their customer teams into this position, but the lottery system should guard against that.
    And if all teams score championship points in a given season, then just flip a coin between the bottom two. Also, wouldn’t that be a good thing for fans?
    Just trying to solve 2 problems at once.

  132. colin grayson says:

    red bull are there to advertise their product ; they fully understand how to run a press campaign and the concerted effort to get their advantage back rather than compete on an equal footing is well co-ordinated
    they are the masters of the aero game and now aero is not as important as it was with these tyres they have tried everything they can to get their ball back !

    the truth of the matter is that it is too much importance of aero that has spoilt F1 , the correct way for the FIA to improve the racing was to make a drastic cut back in aero , not to demand marginal tyres …they have gone a small step towards that for next year , but not nearly enough in my opinion

    1. Uhm says:

      So you are celebrating the fact that the tyres dominate the result, not a team doing the best they can on their car?

      Lol, so how was the American Wrestling match you visited yesterday?

  133. Tom says:

    Formula 1 should be the simplest “Formula” of motor racing there is.

    Put the fastest drivers in the world, in the fastest cars in the world – qualify on Saturday, race on Sunday.

    At the moment, we are not seeing the first part of this equation.

  134. John says:

    I agree that Pirelli had difficulties in securing a car for the tests. That is obvious. However, where they are at fault, I believe, is that they should have announced that they will change the tyres due to safety reasons. Since they didn’t want to announce something in that direction, they led everybody believe that the tyres require too many stops so they are making the changes due to pressure from some teams and fans. This led to a big controversy which is not doing anything good to F1.

  135. Matt W says:

    Pity the Horse Whisperer wasn’t around in 2003 when Ferrari spoke to Max Mosley and have him personally intervene which resulted in the Michelin Tyres being declared illegal right at crunch time in the championship. But y’know, short memories and all that. They also seemed to forget that even Alonso was critical of the tyres after Spain.

    I’d also challenge the assumption that this move will help Red Bull. Red Bull and Vettel seem to have done pretty well on the current compounds, year to date, hence why they are leading the championship. If anything, changing the tyres will assist Ferrari who (like it or not) haven’t had the pace of the Red Bull over the 5 races competed so far.

  136. DMyers says:

    So there is this suggestion that “the fans are confused” by all the tyre stops (four stops). This is put around by journalists without any sort of empirical evidence, as far as I can tell. Has anyone actually gone out and measured the apparent level of confusion versus the level of non-confusion? No, of course not, because we’re talking about the work of journalists and agenda-driven team bosses rather than those taking an objective view.

    One of the greatest races of all time was at Donington Park in 1993. Prost made as many as SEVEN stops, whereas Johnny Herbert did the entire race only stopping once. Nobody was ‘confused’ by the number of pit stops that day, and the technology available to fans to allow them to follow what’s happening was limited to what they could see on the TV or hear described to them on the radio. There are timing apps and suchlike available on the internet or people’s mobile phones, plus team radio and telemetry information supplied to the TV feed by the FIA. There is a surplus of information, so how is it hard to follow?

    In short, if Christian Horner is saying, “The fans are confused,” it actually means, “We don’t understand how to make the tyres work.” Sorry about that, Christian, but it’s your team’s job to do a better job. Work on that instead of whingeing. And if the journalists can’t follow what’s going on, step aside and let someone else do your job.


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