Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz says Formula 1 is “no longer about the racing” after tyre management played a huge role in the outcome of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
A remarkable 77 pit stops were made during the 66-lap race with several drivers being told to lift off in certain corners to protect the high-degrading Pirelli tyres.
In an interview with Autosport, Mateschitz said his two drivers – Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber – were not able to push their Red Bull to the limit without ruining the tyres.
Mateschitz said: “Everyone knows what happens here. This has nothing to do with racing anymore. This is a competition in tyre management. Real car racing looks different. Under the given circumstances, we can neither get the best out of our car nor our drivers.
“There is no more real qualifying and fighting for the pole, as everyone is just saving tyres for the race. If we would make the best of our car we would have to stop eight or ten times during a race, depending on the track.”
Championship leader Vettel finished fourth in Barcelona, behind race winner Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, saying after the race: “Our car is quick enough to match them [Ferrari and Lotus] any day.
“But if you talk about a race distance looking after these tyres it is a different game. The car is quick enough but there is something we probably do to the tyres that makes them wear more.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner agreed that tyres were playing too big a role in the results of races.
He said: “It’s too confusing for the fans. When we’re saying to Sebastian Vettel, you’re racing Kimi Raikkonen for position, but you’re not and don’t fight him, that’s not great. Pirelli are a capable company and they can get on top of it, but it’s a bit too much at the moment.”
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said the Italian manufacturer will make changes to the tyres.
“For British GP we will change our tyres again, whether we will do it with all the compounds I cannot say yet,” he said. “Certainly we will work on the construction.”
However, Hembery added that it’s a tricky situation for Pirelli because while Red Bull has been critical of the 2013-spec tyres since the start of the season, other teams are in favour of the current compounds.
“Lotus and Ferrari don’t want to change the tyres and we don’t want to be accused of wanting to make Red Bull won the world championship,” he added.