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Pirelli responds to fans criticism that tyres are too big an influence on racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Apr 2012   |  7:51 pm GMT  |  335 comments

Pirelli boss Paul Hembery has responded to criticism from fans and drivers that the tyres are too big a talking point in F1 at the moment, saying that the situation will resolve itself soon and the tyres will become less significant.

This week has seen a flood of comment on this site and elsewhere following Michael Schumacher’s criticisms of the tyres in Bahrain. The 7 times champion said that drivers were unable to push to the limit on the 2012 tyres and added, “I just question whether the tyres should play such a big importance, or whether they should last a bit longer, and that you can drive at normal racing car speed and not cruise around like we have a safety car. I’m not happy about the situation.”

Speaking to the JA on F1 podcast, due out on Monday, Hembery points out that the medium tyre used in the first four races, including Bahrain, was the largely same product as the soft tyre which was used in 18 of last year’s 19 races and was the most raced tyre last year. He argues that rather than the tyres, it’s the loss of downforce from the banning of the exhaust blown diffuser which is mostly to blame for teams and drivers struggling this year. “We are using it in a more aggressive environment than last year, such as Bahrain, for example,” he said.

Hembery added, “In motor racing the only person happy is the winner and Sebastian Vettel had a different point of view. Drivers are under pressure; they want to succeed and if they are not then these things get said. It’s the same for everyone and it will still be true that the best drivers and engineers will always win. You drive within the package, If the package is limited by tyres, you drive to 100% of that package. If you drove to 70-80% of the package, as has been suggested, you won’t get any results. Look at Raikkonen, he’s been in rallying for two years so he’s suffered the biggest change and he’s got a 2nd place straight off.”

We’ve had almost 600 comments on this subject since Monday; over 4,000 fans voted in our poll and 46% agreed with Schumacher, with 33% disagreeing.

On Friday I put the fans’ comments to Hembery and he said, “At the moment, yes they are being talked about, but then again we’ve seen four different cars and drivers win the first four races and I’m told that’s the first time that’s happened for 30 years. I think if someone had told you that before the first race, you’d have thought that was amazing.

“Let’s see what happens at the Mugello test. You’ll see that the teams will work very hard on understanding the tyres. I think you’ll find that the tyre discussion will become less and less and the situation will resolve itself.

“We are at the start of the season. At the start last year there was a lot of discussion and you will find that two or three races from now we won’t be having this discussion. Because the engineers will work out how to maximise the performance on the car they will find a balance and a relative level of normality will occur.

“You have to bear in mind what we were asked to do. We were asked to create these challenges. If the sport wants us to go to a one change, zero degradation tyre we can do that as well. But maybe people have short memories, the sport was in huge decline no-one was watching it. There was no overtaking. We know that the majority of fans like to see overtaking.

“For example Bahrain, the last time it was run there were 15 overtaking manoeuvres, this time we had 73. To give you a barometer of where things have changed. We were only trying to what we’ve been asked.”

You can hear all the Paul Hembery interview as well as insights from Heikki Kovalainen, Jaime Alguersuari, veteran engineer Frank Dernie and top driver trainer Nick Harris in the May edition of the JA on F1 podcast, which will be available for download from Itunes and Soundcloud on Monday

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I agree with Schumacher. There has to be a happy medium that favours those drivers who have an aggressive driving style as well as those drivers who have a smoother style of driving. At present these Pirelli tyres only favour those drivers with smooth racing styles. As this is the case we've been denied the full aggression of Schumacher of old. For sure even if you give Schumacher the tyres he wants he's not going to be the man he once was. That's just wishful thinking, but I do genuinely believe we'd see a faster Schumacher. It doesn't just disadvantage Michael. It disadvantages Lewis Hamilton as well. Lewis just isn't as fast a driver in Grand Prix's as he used to be and that's largely down to these tyres. Sort it out Pirelli!


Having both participated as a mechanic and watched F1 since Jim Clark days - I agree 100%.

F1 these days is a devised show - similar to wrestling! Gone are the days of a driver a lap down and driving balls out to get back, the tyres would go off after 2 laps-- it just can't happen under Todt & Ecclestone money grabbing show and the tyres are 90% to blame.

F1 is supposed to be the pinnicle of motorsport but the regulations and tyre rules completely strangle any hope of proper racing with genuine overtaking.


Schumacher shouldn't complain about the tires. For years he had a supreme tire advantage with Bridgestone and dominated. Now he is at a tire disadvantage and complains? He should do what all those other drivers did back in the Ferrari-Todt-Brawn-Schumi days and take his lumps with resignation. Life's tough when your getting beaten, isn't it Schumi?


Schumacher's "supreme tyre advantage" came as a result of loyal service between his Ferrari team and the company. And by his Ferrari team I really do mean HIS team. It's not his problem that all the others decided to screw over Bridgestone in favour of Michelin who everyone thought would be more competitive.


"....Now he is at a tire disadvantage."

No he is not.. everyone is using the same tyres so nobody has a "tire disadvantage".


Schumacher and others aren't happy?

Well I say - TOUGH!

As balls out racers, I'm sure each of the 24 drivers would PREFER tyres that don't degrade and let them go at it hammer and tongs for the whole race.

But guess what, no one here is a race driver, and NO ONE HERE wants to see this. You may all belt on about how we need to see this so we can see them going hard, but we don't!

We've seen this before, and all the forums were filled to the brim with people having a moan about how boring F1 is.

We are not racers, we are fans and spectators - the current situation, whilst some improvements could be made, is FAR better than it would be if we got the tyres Schumacher and a lot of people on this forum are saying we need!


you keep saying WE not I.But most people on the F1 sites I look at are saying that the tyres should not be the main story of F1.I dont like to see all the teams saying this race will be about how we can look after the tyres.Then after the race saying we could not get the tyres to work.If F1 wants it to be about tyres why not give all teams the same car and say set it up to look after the tyres then go race.

Thats not what I would like to see.


i agree with you. But we got to this point because the fans were asking for more overtaking, and the fia over did it.

Hamilton must be feeling miserable for not winning, but he is very much in the title hunt.

But this is f1, let's not forget that speed is the essence of the sport.

We are shooting ourselfs in the foot, trying to please a few.


Paul Hembery said "the only person happy is the winner and Sebastian Vettel had a different point of view."

Well of course he did, similarly Rosberg after his win - the tyres perform far better when leading and all you have is clear air, handing advantage to the race leader.

"Raikkonen’s been rallying for two years... and he’s got a 2nd place straight off.”

I'd say as a result of others (McLaren & Merc) struggling with the tyres.


Peter and all,

I just wanted to try and put in an alternative view driving fast is not what this sport is about. It is about driving a set distance as fast as possible within the rules of the sport. And the real deal with this sport is that it is a team event and the drivers just happens to be the point man.

This sport has never been anything else and if driving fast without limits is required then maybe Drag Racing is Michaels sport.

Never in all my years of watching this sport has it been more about teams from the team boss down to the guys putting air into the tyres and through the designer and guys that build the components.

Every team has the same circumstances to deal with, the other team members get on with managing the change, maybe the Drivers just need too the understand that they need to change as the sport does every year.

Just my view 🙂

Oh.. I cant resist adding that as we get older change becomes more difficult to deal with...


Just as an afterthought, a few years back one of the drivers commented the following - F1 drivers want to go quick, fast driving is for amateurs - unfortunately I cannot recall who said it.


How about a new rule - you will have to complete the race with only 8 gallons of gas? I could drive my Honda Civic which gives 40 miles/gallon and win the race.

The situation with Pirelli is similar. Ok, I exaggerated, but I was just making a point.

There are always various parameters involved in a racing - but, any parameter that deliberately make a racer race slow, should be discarded - and so it the current set of Pirelli tyres. Lets look at the current set of parameters that are involved while racing.

1. Pit stops - Does it make the driver drive slow?

2. Aerodynamics - Does it make the driver drive slow?

3. Team Strategy - Does it make the driver drive slow?

4. Heavier/Lighter car - Does it make the driver drive slow?

5. Oversteer/Understeer (setup related) - Does it make the driver drive slow?

6. Rain - Does it make the driver drive slow - yes, they drive slower because of the conditions, but they still push the limits based on the situation?

7. Dirty track/Sand - Does it make the driver drive slow?

8. Teammate driving slower - Does it make the driver drive slow?

Why should the tyres alone make the driver go slower? That's the point MS was trying to make.


To be fair, engine makes the driver drive slower as they need to save it for multiple races. However I agree with what you've said - these tyres make the drivers deliberately drive much slower than the rest of the package will allow them. With the engines, they set a mode and even though that limits the power available, the drivers still extract every last bit available to them (plus they have 'on demand' performance and the option to use more of the engine in certain phases of the race if they so prefer, etc.). With the tyres, you're at their mercy. The degradation on the tyres is excessive as it is right now. There can be a difference of several seconds between fresh tyres vs. used tyres. Leaving out an odd car (e.g. the Force India in Bahrain), there really is no creativity in terms of strategy. There are usually two practical strategy options in any race and these days going with the one with more stops is a no brainer if you don't want to be a sitting duck or drive around like a drive with the kids to pick up some ice cream - in other words, it is never the winning strategy.


I can't agree with that. F1 might be a tad endurace race, but it's actually a very long sprint... or it should be.

We should remember why the tyres were chosen in the first place; the driver input towards the race result was much smaller than technology, meaning there was a big concern that races were decided more by engineering than drivers. These tyres changed that and now driver input accounts for more than it did before Pirellis. However, tyre managment now accounts for most of the driver input.

Schumacher is right in what he says, he can't push to the limit of the car or himself,

because of the tyres' limit. They are driving results of races and I think that's not right.


However,there is little point in one team having better aero solutions, more efficient engines, more skilful drivers and better pit crews than another if that is all negated by the fact that the tyres are the MAIN factor in determining the outcome of(non wet weather) races - going fastest with limits is the name of the game alright but when one limiting factor controls the game, it's not a true representation of each team's "package" - just their package's ability to work with the tyres.

It's the same for all teams but IMO it negates much that separates the teams.

Marcus in Canada

Nail. Head. Done.


although i agree that we want drivers to push to limit, F1 has always been about the equipment as well as going flat out.

watch interviews with drivers of yesteryear and they all talk about waiting for tyres to go off, pushing a driver as they know a weakness in his machine etc..

and i read a good piece on the bbc by Gary Anderson, an extract here with link, Michael i am sure knows this and is just annoyed that he didnt win...

"When I was involved with Bridgestone tyres with Jordan in the early 2000s, in the middle of the tyre war with Michelin, Schumacher and Ferrari had tyres we were not even allowed to look at.

They cost so much money that Bridgestone could not afford to supply them to everyone. And whenever we did have an opportunity to run a derivative of those tyres, our lap times were much, much better."


Comes down to what you do and do not want to see doesn't it?

I want to see a sport where F1 cars are danced on the limit by outstading tallents to a crash of thunder and a roll of lightning.

Tyres have allways been a primary factor - never have they been the be all and end all limiting factor that they were last year and are this.

I would also strongly suggest that Hembry shows a little more respect for the sport's most successful driver ever. Real motorsport fans, whether they love or loathe him, can all unite together in respect for Schumacher's achievements. Schumacher has earned the right to speak out about any motorsport issue he chooses and be listened to. Hembry's patronising comments about 'other drivers' getting on with it are an easy attack on a great man by a small one. P.S I am not and never have been a Schumacher fan but I do respect his achievements.


Absolutely agree! It must be soul destroying for high calibre drivers having to go much slower to conserve the tyres.



I agree but what is the limit, currently the limit is set by the teams, tyres, conditions and the drivers ensure that they are pushing the car as fast as these limits will can be taken.

I actually think that you have your wish...


100% agree, these are supposed to be the greatest drivers in the world, and this is part of the challenge. The driver who's fastest over 1 lap isn't the same as the driver who's fastest over 70 laps, and that's what makes the races worth watching.


Its race not a sprint


That's very true! - If the driver who was the fastest over 1 lap tried to keep that up his tyres would be degraded in about 5 or 6 laps if he was lucky, and so they drive more slowly.


Completely agree. If the fastest driver over one lap was automatically the fastest over 70 then there would be no racing and the race itself would be redundant. Thats what we largely had during the Schumacher and Alonso eras and towards part of the end of last year as well. These radical Pirelli tyres plus the fact that a number of the teams seem to be capable of winning (McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Lotus, possibly Ferrari if they can sort out their car) if why the races are so unpredictable. Best season I've seen of F1 for a long long time so far. We have the unpredictability of the 2008 and 2010 season in terms of winners plus the great racing we saw in the first half of 2011.


I think you have missd the point! The limit should be the package not the tyres. If a driver cannot push then there is no competition really.


Well tyres can be called part of the package, but they are not designed by the team, the team have no control over their design or manufacture, and they are effectively for the sport a proprietary item supplied by Pirelli.

However the point is that drivers are driving to the limit of the tyres, not the car, given durable tyres the drivers could push much harder than they are currently able to. Look at it another way driver could put far more energy through durable tyres than the current high deg. ones because they degrade so easily.

It's a farce purely done to make more exciting viewing for television regardless of it being completely false.


The tyres are part of the package. It is about maximising the package as a whole, not focusing on one part of it. I think that every driver on the grid would say they could take the Monaco hairpin in top gear and flat "if the package would let them" but I can't remember one driver ever doing that.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Hembrey talks about driving to 100% of "the package"...this is very misleading of him.

He has either not understood Schumacher's points or deliberately decided to side-step addressing them.

The point is that drivers feel that they cannot exploit anywhere near 100% of their ultimate race speed or the car's potential on these tyres.

Give Usain Bolt and the rest of the 100m finalists in London a pair of Dunlop Green Flash to run with. If Bolt says that they do not suit his running style and the guy who normally finishes 6th is winning the races then explain to him that it is about exploiting 100% of the "package"...

If the tyres are only allowing the driver to exploit 70% of his terms of skill/racecraft/car/set-up then the maximum potential of his overall package in is 70%.

Simple maths lesson Hembrey:

70% x 100% = 70%


Hembrey is right in what he says, but so is Schumacher:

If you drive a package that allowes you to go a certain speed over a stint, if you can tame yourself, then you drive to 100% of that package, if you hit that time.

However, if you don't tame yourself and put in some blistering fast laps that overheat your tires, they're ruined, as if you had flatspotted them - as a result you'd get 90% from that package or less. So Hembrey is right in that respect.

However: Schumacher and Hembrey mean different things!

Schumacher compares the speed he could go over a single lap to the speed he is obliged to go, when he needs the tire to survive the usual stint of a 2 to 3 stop race.

He is not saying he goes 70% for a stint. The drivers must go about 70% of what the tire could do on a single lap to make it last a usual stint.

To maximize the speed over a whole race, you need to nurse the tires, tame your speed so you don't force too many pitstops.

If however the tire was less delicate while being equally durable, you could go let's say 90% of the raw single lap speed and still have your max race speed with 2 to 3 pit stops.

So what Schumacher is really critisizing is the degredation and pettishnessof the tire, not the durability.

@James: Could you ask some drivers what the old Goodyears or Avons have been like? I remember that 1995 and before drivers like Prost, Hill, Senna and Schumacher also had tires falling off the cliff, but they didn't seem to be forced to nurse them that much.

Being at the Grand Prix' you have the best chance in the world to ask Brundle, Hill and Schumacher about that. I guess people would be quite interested in that.


Despite what DC and Damon think, James, as was pointed out by Martin Brundle, a former world champion (he didn't actually mention the 'former' bit, so it could have actually been Sebastien Vettel) and a multiple race winner agree with Michael Schumacher - who, as you know, is a 7x champ.

That's plenty of race wins and world championships that agree with the view these tyres are not worthy of the cars and drivers. And that's three current drivers, rather than two from yesteryear.

Not to mention Martin Brundle himself, who said the tyres are playing to big a part. One from yesteryear though.


I asked Damon and DC last weekend whether they thought they would have liked to race with these rules today and both said yes. It would have suited DC better than the era he was in


i pity all of get bad racing you get good racing you just do the same.people of your legion are the ones that are detrimental to are all driver fans.not f1 fans.i pity you all.


look at 2007 and 2008 they were great years that went down to the last race and the tyres was not the main story.The cars and the drivers was the story.I am not saying go back to them days but f1 needs to find the right balanace.


Well said. I've been following F1 for 30 years. I am astounded with the amount of people complaining about the tyre issue at the moment. The last 5+ years people moan its boring. Pirelli are requested to spice it up and look at the peoples reaction? Its mind boggling. I'm amazed at MS comments and with folk agreeing with him. It should be noted, he was pi55ed off at the end of a crap race for him.

The MS I remember drove a race in stints with multiple tyre changes.


I agree to some extent, I think the racing is closer, they are definitly more exciting and THE BEST DRIVER WILL WIN.

The best driver is the one who makes the most of what's available. The cars still look as fast as ever to me, the lap times have not come down dramatically from last year? I don't see any problem, just the most exciting racing for 30 years...


It's a very very good point you make there Mike. Paul Hembrey has really come up short and generally does not make sense.

I'd rather take the opinion of a 7 world time world champion than Paul Hembery.


but if MSC had been able to master the tyres his opinion would be very different. He's just frustrated and pointing fingers.

Pirelli have delivered what F1 asked of them, and I for one am enjoying watching.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

And Hembery needs to show some respect to Schumacher. MS has a special place in the sport ...Hembery is not at the same level.

Andrew Woodruff

You make a good mathematical point, however you could argue this either way, and I have a lot of sympathy for Pirelli's position. They have produced what was asked of them, and we have had four marvellous races in which the tyres have played a big part. I don't really see what there is to complain about.

Hembrey is fundamentally right, whatever package you end up with, however it is derived from the combination of chassis, tyres, DRS, KERS and driver, you need to maximise it as a team. Flexible and imaginative teams and drivers (Perez, Kimi, Sauber and Lotus spring to mind) have done very well from this.

As F1 fans I think we need to be careful what we wish for. Four different driver and constructor winners in four races, and no idea who will end up as world champion - we've never had it better.


Going by that approach, a roll of the dice to decide race winners won't be much different in terms of the element of surprise.


I think his point was that in modern f1 there is no such thing as 100% - engines are only run in high modes for small portions of the race as they have to last several races. Plus a drivers concentration no matter how good they can't do qually laps throughout the race.

However having said that I do agree to an extent that tyres that fall apart so quickly and need to be nursed so much that you can barely even do a few laps at 100% without destroying them for the whole stint are not good for the pinnacle of motorsport.


If you were to do 100% of the cars capability on these tyres they would overheat and degrade in a very short space of time. - It's all about energy input.


Respectfully, I would suggest that Hembrey is talking about a package that Ppirelli is only one part of, the tyre part, the package includes aero design, reliability, drivers, Circuits, weather, engine specification etc.

There are a number of people who define the boundaries of this package, the FIA, The technical working group, the team managers and various F1 consultants to name a few.

Many of these boundaries are in place for Safety (engine size) or the sport taking an ethical stance (fuel consumption).

The 100M sprint also has boundaries and external effects, the surface is defined, the speed of the wind can affect final time and I agree the shoes that each athlete is allowed to wear.

F1 is not really different the teams are trying to be the best in the given sport within the given regulations, specifications of the playing field and the conditions on the day.

Finally there are many things that could be changed to make the race faster, bigger engines, less corners, longer straights but these things are defined by someone for some reason (safety normally) all of which have an effect on the car.

Bottom line is that the Driver who can compute all these aspects of the sport on any given day and find the sweet spot is the winner.


[mod], tyres shouldnt be the only deciding factor in F1 and if you look at the races you would notice that only drivers rewarded are the ones who never actually pushed the car to the limit which is what we all want to see. We need a tyre that is beetwen pirelli and bridgstone. This is like modified '05 season where most of the drivers suffer and I hope it wont be benefiting just drivers like Nico who can only drive perfect car. Dont forget he was at williams and he scored shit because he cant push to the limit all of a suden hes good because tyres are benefiting him(and few others) my point is drivers should be able to push to the limit but they cant, tyres can not last hence they just cruising arround instead when they switched from bridgstone they should have increase the number of tyres available. 2 sets of tyres would do the trick at least then we would get some proper racing not the pireli induced coma.




Look what the tyres have done in quali.In the top ten shoot out you only have 6 or 7 cars doing a lap.Why...Because its better to have tyres for the race than to have grid slot.F1 is about going fast as fast as you can not holding back because your tyres will only do 1 fast lap.I think they need to find a balance between the bridgestone days of 1 tyre for the race and what we have now.

I would like a race where theres 2 or 3 stops but the drivers push for the whole stint before the tyre drops off.But thats just my opinion.


But that's not the spirit of f1 that a standard tire is the governing component. For example,car A can take that curve at 200 km/hr, car B 220 km/hr, car C 215 km/hr. But the tires that

use can only do 190 km/hr. The Lucky one will win. What's the point to build a fast car?


Absolutely, the lowest % is the limiting factor and that is the tyres. Hembry sounds overly defensive, and people only usually do that when they can see that the people criticising thme have a valid point.

However, it is F1 itself that is to blame, F1 asked for these ridiculous tyres because it up and decided for all of us that gimmics like DRS, comedy tyres and one move rules were the future of the world's premiere motorsport formula.

The reult:

No more great defensive drives.

A glass ceiling which levels the drivers out, and crushes them all together in one grey band.

Tyres that function as a bleak pit into which all tallent and genius is sucked never to be seen again.

Overtakes that are as choreographed a the cha cha slide.

Superstars neutered.

I dont recall anyone asking for any of the above?


"A glass ceiling which levels the drivers out, and crushes them all together in one grey band.

Tyres that function as a bleak pit into which all tallent and genius is sucked never to be seen again."

Just beautiful, Wayne. Bloody spot on!


Yes fully agree with all you've said about the deficiencies of high deg. tyres. Alonso's problems were to do with bad strategy and the circuit in Abu Dhabi.I certainly wouldn't want him getting past because someones tyres were falling away.


Would you classify Petrov's drive in front of Alonso a great defensive drive at the end of 2010?


Nice to see our overtaking figure for Bahrain being quoted, although he got the 2010 figure wrong 😉


To counter Hembrey's point about only the winners being happy. Michael Schumacher can't beat the world's best karters, but is full of praise for them and karting when he races against them. So despite NOT winning he doesn't complain... and that's because karting allows him the freedom to driver hard without being disproportionality punished (though tyre deg does play a role in karting). It's not about being happy, it's about being satisfied. F1 doesn't give driver satisfaction, which is entirely different to happiness.


Yes, but his reputation is not suffering from carting - he does it for fun, whereas in F1 he has his reputation on the table.


Madmax: I never said the Bridgestones were always better than the Michelins. However you do raise an important point. It was well known that some tracks suited one make of tyre more than the other but what was very noticeable was that on a Michelin favoured track there were 4-5 drivers able to fight for the win - whereas on a Bridgestone tyre there was only schumacher. Now we know that the tyres were not only developed to suit the ferrari but that other non Michelin shod cars were forced to use second rate tyres it is even less of a surprise that schumacher faced so little competition.

The Michelin / Bridgstone tyre war was fascinating at times. The bikes have a similar time now - ride too hard for the first few laps and the tyres go off quickly. Ease them in and they last a lot longer. They used to talk of drivers scrubbing tyres in and of putting a heat cycle through them to finalise their curing to make them last longer.

We should be enjoying the uncertainty that Pirelli have achieved rather than condemning them.


Good point ... until you remember that his reputation is false.

He won with Bridgestone tyres... except he was the only driver who had top spec Bridgstones - all other teams had Michelins or second rate Bridgestones. Read Gary Anderson's articles on the Beeb about how rarely Jordan used the good tyres but went much faster when they did.


John, Schumis reputation false? what have you been drinking? You should remember that Gary Anderson had an axe to grind back in the Jordan days because Schumi rightly or wrongly left Jordan and went to Bennetton BTW Schumi was using Goodyear tyres when he won his first two titles do you consider that to be false as well? I think he has avery good point because another driver called Lewis who has very similar style to Schumi has the same problem look how after a dozen or so laps his pace drops off because he has to look after his tyres, its ridiculous.


Schumacher had a massive reputation built up before he even moved to Ferrari and like said above it's naive to think his tyres were always better than the Michelins.

It isn't as if he is the only driver who doesn't like these current tyres. They probably all don't like them but as good PR machines they are told to not criticize "the show"


Second rate Bridgestone tyres? Now you're just making stuff up.


Your telling me that Kimi Alonso and Montoya didn't get better Michelin's?

Anderson missed the point Schumacher was trying to make.


Maybe he should go back to karting...

Thruth is that all drivers are racing on the same tire, and he's used to telling the tire manuf. what HE wants the tire to do and be like.


The trouble is that non-drivers have told the tyre manufacturer what they want and that is to spice up television for fans who are easily duped or perhaps don't even care.


I think it is pretty simple. Frankly, Uncle Bernie doesn't care if the 'real' F1 fan is satisfied or not. He only cares about viewing figures growing ahead of the IPO.

Trust me on this, I've sold several hundred IPOs during my career, the key ingredient to getting your stock away is showing growth. That is the be all and end all of every IPO. Investors want to see growth.

If Ecclestone can show that casual interest (via the viewing figures) is going up then he'll be able to push his stock off that much easier. He doesn't give a flying fig if the drivers are satisfied or if the fans think that the quickest drivers should not be hamstrung like they are now. When he starts his marketing roadshow he'll just want to say to potential investors that our viewership has grown by 3% this year and 1% the year before, hence we are on an upwards trajectory, blah blah blah.


THAT'S true, but all divers are racing on the same tires.

I don't think that people don't care, its just that theres really nothing we can do about it. Formula 1 hasnt been about the common fans for a long time, its only about the corporate sponsors nowadays. Bernie knows they we will watch anyways.


First advice: never listen to "fans".

Fans' point of view that I had a chance to see on this and many other message boards, time and time again, sounds more like an angry peasant mob than some thought through, articulate and constructive criticism.


Sweet mercy. Please do not compare us to the maniacs on some of the other websites. The discussion on places like .com is not the same as what is done on this website.


That's like giving number 1 advice to politicians; never listen to "voters". They seem to have bought your advice...

F1 exists only because of people willing to watch it. It would never have been the sport it is now without the "fans" as you put it. If the "fans" say the sport isn't fixed yet, they should try their best to fix it. DRS and the tyres helped the spectacle, but it goes away from what made the sport it is. It's the time to stop being pragmatic and start to look for a real solution. Next thing we really will have sprinkles and shortcuts and whatever else Bernie comes up with just to keep up the spectacle.

P.S. Just because people choose not to post a wall of text on a comment board doesn't mean their opinion isn't valid.


I disagree with you. It's the drivers, not the fans who are putting this issue forward. Schumacher was the only one brave enough to speak out. Perhaps because he is not achieving the results he desires, but he has a valid point. It must be immensly frustrating to nurse your tyres to the finish rather than hunting down your opponents with all you've got.

Also the fact that Hembrey keeps lashing out at Schumacher just proves to me that he must have felt attacked on a personal level by Michael.

Oh and on a side note, Raikkonen has a competitive car right from the start. Would have loved to see him in that Mercedes A-Class Rosberg and Schumacher raced in for the first two seasons...


"Angry peasant mob" - no that's not normally the case on James Allen's site. I'd say the quality of discussion here is a notch or three above the rest.



The problem is, some fans (this fan included) has been saying this the last year as well. Have we not seen the same thing last year on a number of after-the-race interviews where drivers saying they couldn't push for a lost position because of the fear of destroying the tires?

Paul Hembery says the tires are mostly the same as last year and all we're actually agreeing with him as the issue surfaced last year.


With all due respect to Paul, the tyres as they stand are patently not suitable to racing - if we wanted a time trial where we manage speed rather than attacking then I would watch that. Perhaps Pirelli were too optimistic and bought too soft a set of compounds to the races.

Having tyres that don't last and that don't stand up to putting in aggressive stints - then it is not racing and certainly not Formula 1 and the pinnacle of technology and speed.

It certainly affecting the racing - why bother with a pole position shootout if teams are conserving tyres for the race? I've stopped watching qualifying now as it is so tedious.

Why do the drivers have to start the race on the tyres they set their top 10 times on? Why not have a set of dedicated tyres per qualy session that are handed back after the session to spice things up?

If a driver needs more runs in a session than that set of tyres are good for, then they can use a set of race tyres. But whatever happens all they need to do is start the race on the same type of tyre and not the exact set they set their best time on.

Another thing I'm struggling with is why we still need to run both compounds in a race? Why not just allow teams free reign to choose which tyres to run? It seems to be a bit of a silly thing to still have in place.

Having said that, the teams will get better at managing the tyres and the drivers will get used to how they work, so it will improve. But why do we need to go through this again and again and again?

...and now for some happy thoughts 🙂


I don't know what is he talking about, but last year's tires were much better!

Yes, they did go off yoo, they needed to be cared about too, but in no time were they unpredictable!

And what do we have today? By the words of Martin Whitmarsh (if I am not mistaken) on Sunday McLaren lost a whole second!!! compared to friday, which translates to 40 points of downforce! Of course they didn't lose such an ammount, it were the tires, which unpredictably started working differently - be it from hot\cool conditions, track being less "green" or from something else!

When did we see something like that happening last year? Never.

And Paul, you are mistaken, noone asked you last year to change tires the way you changed them. I can only hope your road car tires are made with more consistency in mind.


Did you read this bit?

"Hembery points out that the medium tyre used in the first four races, including Bahrain, was the largely same product as the soft tyre which was used in 18 of last year’s 19 races and was the most raced tyre last year."

This means that it has to be down to the lack of downforce - which makes the rear tyres suffer.


Last year the soft tyre would only last a few laps then you would put a harder tyre on.Where this year there is no harder tyre only a softer one that lasts no time at all.Dont make sense to me


Quoting House M.D. - "Everybody lies".

And this is the case here also. he is trying to play down the ugliness of this year's tyres, what else can he say?!

But as he keeps sayng it, you (and all we) can remember that as well as the compound itself most importaintly the profile of the tyre was also changed.

So considering this, and also the performance\consistency of last year's tyres on all cars (including backmarkers without good blown diffusers) I simply refuse to believe his words. And not at all because I don't want to, but because all the facts say otherwise.


Ne'er a truer word said. I think Paul believes that if he denies the problem enough then it will either (A) go away, or (B) people will start believing the denials.

Mr Hembery has been good enough to respond to my tweets twice (for which I am genuinely appreciative - he stands head and shoulders above anyone else in F1 in terms of responding to the fans, and for that he deserves huge respect) and each time when I've pointed out an issue like why were the compounds so finicky that top teams couldn't switch the tyres on in Malaysia, he has said things like it was a special/one-off situation specific to those conditions/tracks, etc. Hang on, what is so special about rainy weather on race day? Sounds like that can happen multiple times during a season. But there always appears to be some special circumstance, rather than a fundamental problem with the tyres themselves.


Well, I have to say that I don't believe the sampling here at JAonF1 is representative of the larger fan base, and that if Pirelli thinks that "the tyres will become less significant", that's bad news for the fans.

F1Fanatic summed it up quite nicely:

Tyre degradation is an important part of F1, and there are far more important things that need to be fixed. In fact, the current tyres (if we can just reduce the marbling without increasing the life of the tires) are one of the few things we're currently getting *right*.


The article is not bad, but misses the point entirely:

Back then drivers could back off slightly, conserve tires and launch an attack later, or they could go the other way round, or they could do it in waves: Ease off temporarily, wait for a tire to come back and give it some stick again.

Today's tires don't come back at you, you can't conserve to push later.

If you push too hard they're gone in two laps time and ruined forever.

No attack-cool-down-attack-cycles, no sprinting of the line and nursing to the end (Monaco being a special corner case here, because of the special lack of overtaking-opportunities). You don't push hard enough you're a sitting duck, you push too hard, you're screwed for the rest of the race. The temperature window of the tires is far too narrow.

You're not managing tires, you're playing russian roulette with them.

And that's a whole different thing compared to what was the case in the past, according to the article.

These tires are unforgiving and they force a certain 70%-of-what-the-package-could-do-on-a-single-lap pace upon you for the duration of a stint. No tactics involved, no backing off from 90% to 85 to be able to go 95% at the end of the stint. Just clockwork at a slower that satisfying pace with a gun at your tire that goes off when you're pushing a little bit too fast and a soap box that opens when you're going too slow.

The perfect tire would have a wide temperature range, drop off quickly at its end of life but able to take a beating from time to time.


I think F1fantic is a good site but the first part of that article was incredibly poorly wrote and completely misquotes what Schumacher said and then bases most of the article on what he was supposed to have implied.

Kieth basically writes that Schumacher said "an F1 event should not involve an element of tyre conservation" which anybody could see he never said that or wouldn't because it's a fundamental part of racing.

What Schumacher was saying is it has went way too far to the extent drivers are only pushing 60% of their limits.


I'm sorry, but I don't think the points F1 Fanatic makes are entirely fact they're proving to be more in favour of MSC comments, than against. F1 Fanatic gives examples of prior races where tyre degradation and the ability to nurse tyres were key, quoting drivers who chose to last the whole race with one set of tires, or doing one stoppers. That's the point MSC is making....currently, you cannot do that at all, unless you want to get out of the car, and push it for 60 laps!!!




I fully agree with the article. I posted the same article, but for some reason James decided not to post my comment.

Marcus in Canada



What makes you think it not representative? Because the poll is not in line with your view?


I agree, the rules could do with changing, but don't entirely agree with the presentation of the argument on F1 Fanatic.


The F1Fanatic blog is great, but their fan base is even less representative of the general fan base. I think the fan base here is a good sampling of generally knowledgeable F1 fans. If we took the opinion of casual fans, they might like the unpredictability of this season, but they aren't the fans that care about the details in a very technical team sport. I believe the majority of fans here are true F1 fans that follow the sport passionately through highs and lows, and they are key to a sports success so their opinion should matter strongly. Secondly, we might all like the unpredictability now, I'm happy for it to last all year, but I think it would start to lose its luster if it continued perpetually.



People seem to forget how dull races with a single overtake on the Bridgestone tyres were! I personally have never enjoyed f1 more.


+1 on the marbles. If that aspect could be reduced, we would see even more overtaking.


Thanks for the link. I agree that the tyres are one of the good things happening at the moment.


Agreed. Pirelli are doing exactly the right thing and F1 is genuinely exciting again.


Huge +1 mate.

Sry to plug another website but F1 Fanatic is spot on with their article. The tires are fine.

Stephen Kellett



When was the sport in decline? 2002? I don't know the figures but I doubt that's true of 2006-2010 if that's what he means.

The best environment to highlight racing skill, at least insofar as consistent pace, is, in my view, durable tyres and refuelling during pitstops. That way tyres are not the limiting factor behind the need to pit and the driver can race flat-out for longer.

Perhaps to save costs an idea might be to limit the amount of fuel everyone can use during a GP weekend, placing a premium on technical efficiency without hampering the driver's ability to drive aggressively and to their limit.


How many times during the refueling era did drivers wait till the pitstops to overtake their competition?

Schumacher was actually brilliantly successful with this strategy

Hungary 1998, a quite brilliant drive by Schumacher, 3 stopping to get past the Mclarens, putting in 19 qualifying laps and ending up ahead.

Or whatabout France 2003 or 06, beating Alonso with a 4 stop strategy.

Not one over taking maneuver attempted.


Good discussion but it's hard to believe some of the comments here. To suggest that the new era is more representative of a driver's talent is ridiculous. Many of the guys getting in the points today would be pylons in the Senna/Schumacher/Mansell eras. The sport and car performance have been "dumbed down" so much that even average drivers have a chance to win because the truly talented and fast drivers have to drive so slow - how does that make people feel good.? This is suppose to be the pinnacle of motor racing where the best of the best are supposed to compete at the limit of human ability (which in this case means "speed") and the cars represent the ultimate in technology. In 1998 Schumacher was only able to pull that pass in Hungary because he was driving the car to the absolute limit every lap (they needed a second a lap to beat McLaren at the stops) and it is only brilliant talents like him and a few others that could ever accomplish that with a car that was decidedly inferior. Team and tire strategy should complement driver talent, not replace it.


That's not correct. You forget that in 1980s and 1990s pre re-fuelling the cars were full of fuel and the tyre technology was way behind what we have today so they were slower in the race.

People are getting too worked up around this thing with the tyres. The engineers will tell you that the drivers are racing hard and F1 is a long distance race, so knowing when to push and when to manage has been a part of the game throughout its history, with the possible exception of the refuelling era from 1994 to 2010, where a race was a series of sprints. But the racing wasn't good in those days


You could not do that with todays's tires, couldn't you? After 2 of these laps you'd skate on ice and putting in a cool-down-lap won't get them back either.


Definitely not, with the current tyres we are in a much better position to evaluate drivers' skills, in this case, who can change their driving style and face this new challenge.

If they do it like you said: "best environment to highlight racing", you would actually be highlighting how good one car is over another, not really a driver's skill.

So, I think that at this moment the importance of the driver relative to the car has increased a little, when compared for example to the early 2000´s, if back then it was 30-70, now is more like 40-60 (but then again the ban on EBD helped a lot), any thoughts James?


But is it not about all the different styles of cars and driving coming together and who is best on the day not about who looks after there tyres the best.You listen to most of the interviews at the next race and the main thing you hear is its about looking after the tryes and who does it best.When i think its about who goes fastest.


They were asked to make tyre that degrade but not making a lottery. This year tyre is even worse than last year because as he said, you've got different winners at every race, but it wasn't because a fast team/driver won it but rather got the setup right. Of course the one with the best setup has a higher chance to win, but the problem is that the one with the best setup (for race day) has big advantage. Vettel and the Lotuses were much faster than the rest which is strange considering that it was tight at Saturday.

I really hope that normality will occur. If not, then obviously something is wrong with the tyre.

I have a question. Did the compound change? Not just the level of softness, but the rubber itself? the construction? Because this year tyre seemed to be very sensitive to track temperature. If that the case, why don't they use 2011 tyres and just alter the softness? If that wasn't the case, then why teams have a hard time finding consistency in the setup?

I believe the first 4 winner this season just got lucky with the setup.


Got lucky with the setup? Have you listened to yourself?? It's all part of the strategy, either you try to go for pole or you setup the car for race! This is probably the best season for some time, if only they could get rid of DRS.

Many seems to have a short memory, it was last year the tyres where unpredictable...

And don't get rid of the marbles, it's the only thing making racing good once again on all the mickey mouse tracks. If you make a mistake you end up in the marbles.


No the issue is the unpredictability in that no team has, as of yet, come up with anything close to a reliable tyre model. The best car/driver combo is not winning necessarily but those who hit the sweet spot on a given weekend. This makes future development difficult as significant resources are now pumped into 'working out' the tyres.


Nope, I'm 100% standing by my comment. I don't think McLaren particularly setup their car for qualifying (probably the most obvious team that setup their car for qualifying is Sauber at China). From what I remember, even in the earlier part of last season, I don't remember that a team couldn't extract performance from the tyre.. what I remember is degradation problem (most of the team could extract lap times, but some are good controlling the degradation, some are not). This year tyre, from my pov, when someone got their setup right, he can be a lot faster. And the problem for me isn't about just getting the setup right, but the need to get the setup right within the small working window of the tyre in relation to the track temperature.

You don't even have to look the speed difference between teams. Just look at the difference between Webber and Vettel. I don't think Webber as a driver is +1s slower than Vettel, yet in Bahrain he was that much slower (quali about the same, but at race day Webber was much slower).

Look at the example in China. At Q3 there was obviously a lot of difference between someone that make their run at the start vs the end of Q3 and it was down to track temperature. I don't remember something like this happening last year. Sure, temperature will affect the performance, but I don't like it when it affect the performance too much. None of the drivers that was running at the end of Q3 achieve time better than their Q2 run! If you like your lottery, then sure.

I'm saying lottery because you can't predict tomorrow weather accurately down to a few degrees. So if you happen to be lucky with your setup that just within the working condition for race day, then you'll have a big advantage vs someone who is not. Imagine if driver A setup for race day a bit biased towards colder temperature and B for hotter... depending on tomorrow condition, one will definitely be faster than the other.

And whatever you say about marbles, it is bad for racing. It isn't about mistake but more about making the usable track smaller, thus bad for racing. A good race track should have multiple line that you can take, but if those line were filled with marbles, then you basically punish people that want to overtake. Only this time I've heard that someone actually like the marbles.

Of course my assumption about the small working window can be wrong because I'm no expert at this. But if it is true that a small difference in track temperature can affect the performance that much, then I don't like it. If it is just because teams haven't grasp this new tyres, then I'm hoping that they can grasp it soon and the tyre is actually graspable.


This should answer your question!

"Hembery points out that the medium tyre used in the first four races, including Bahrain, was the largely same product as the soft tyre which was used in 18 of last year’s 19 races and was the most raced tyre last year."

Because downforce has been removed the sensitivity of the tyres to temperature change has been exaggerated.


You miss the small but very important word quoting Hembrey: "largely the same" does not mean "entirely the same". And a small difference in construction and material may make a large difference in behaviour.


Like the loss of downforce just came out of the blue.

Didn't Pirelli know there would be a loss of downforce with the banning pf the EBD? Why could they not addapt their tyres accordingly? Or do they themselves not fully understand the behavior of their tyres and therefore were unable to accurately predict the effect this would have?


The winners so far have been Button, Alonso, Rosberg and Vettel. They all excelled last year, and three of them are champions. They won because they were the best drivers on the day.


All these drivers won on the day because the track temperature fell to their advantage. The tyres have a small set up window and on the day the tyres were able to work for them. If you look at all the races where they won, there were several teams whose tyres never worked, hence the problem.


No, it's just ridiculous to say they "just got lucky with setup". As I said, the drivers who have won are mostly drivers who are champions and have regularly won races in the past. They were the fastest car/driver packages on race day given the same set of conditions, and so won the race.


But is it really just the tires? I doubt it. We had the Pirelli's last year as well.

Another big difference this year is that the amount of downforce cars get has been reduced significantly by not having the EBD any more.

Less downforce means the behaviour of the cars will change as well, and THAT will influence how the tires are worked.

It's easy enough to blame only Pirelli, but in all honesty I don't even see a reason to blame anyone.

We are getting a championship that is a lot more interesting as finally I can go see an F1 race and not know beforehand who will win. I like that. And the cream will rise to the top over the season anyway.


Typical of F1 Danes who like their servers losing. I think we are having a great season, I remember back when we all used to complain about the lack of overtaking and now thanks to Pirelli we have exactly that.


I think more important than the tires are the super turbo boost play station kers and DRS buttons that fans dislike. Tires are ok, they produce good racing and the teams have to carefuly decide when to change them. The cliff is very steep, as Raikkonen found out recently.

But DRS is the thing I hate, it's basically a push to pass button and produces false overtaking. Kers is OK because a driver can use it anytime he likes (and IF he has it available), but DRS is unfair.


Fundamental misunderstanding of DRS. The whole point is if someone passes you in the DRS zone and they're almost as quick as you then they'll get you at the next DRS zone. But those cars who can pull out a gap of over 1 second in a lap, they'll continue racing up the field. Its sole purpose is to allow cars to pass someone they're equivalent on pace with but due to modern aerodynamics couldn't actually pass. As Raikkonen himself said, they weren't fast enough to pass Vettel... DRS or not. If two cars are within 3/10ths of each other DRS is near irrelevant.


You've gotten something fundamentally wrong here for yourself: In races with two DRS zones we've usually had only one detection zone. Means: The driver that makes the pass in the first DRS zone may use DRS again in the second zone to extend his lead even further. There's no fighting back. To fight back in a second DRS zone you'd need a second detection zone.

The two-DRS zones and one detection zone idea, is such a stupid rubbish idea that one has to wonder if the ones that conceived this have been seriously drunk the day they wrote it into the rule book.

Armchair Critic

Paul does not mention DRS or KERS when he is talking about overtaking. If we have at least some possibility to overtake provided by these systems I am not sure why we need tyre changes at all.

As a general comment though. I think we are asking the wrong person here. If all Pirelli did was make bad tyres because they were asked to make bad tyres, then surely this question should be directed at the F1 authorities rather than the supplier.


Nope. If HRT brings their 2011 car to races this year then fans (and in fact the FIA) would not want/allow them to race. This is not the fault of the FIA if Pirelli knew that the rules changed but still decide to bring "largely same product as the soft tyre which was used in 18 of last year’s 19 races".

Pirelli knew that the rules changed and all cars will have less downforce in 2012. It is unacceptable for Humbery to blame the banning of the exhaust blown diffuser.

“We are using it in a more aggressive environment than last year, such as Bahrain, for example” What is that? If Pirelli/Humbery did not factor this in their tyre design then shame on them!


Things are great as they are. Last year the tyres seemed to become more durable as the year went on and there was less action. Tyre degradation SHOULD mean a drastic reduction in grip in a short time. Nobody wants to watch drivers just becoming a smidgen slower over a gradual period.


The tires stayed the same last year. It's just that the teams got better at managing them as the year went on.

This there were some small changes to the construction (sidewall, and shoulders), and there is the loss of the EBD so the cars have less downforce when the tires are being loaded a lot. So they have to relearn the tires all over again.


Hembery would have a different view, naturally. Its became the Pirelli World Series. He doesn't care who wins or that extensive engineering programs are wiped out and all comers can win. Yes we want tighter races but races limited by cars and drivers.


As I've said before Pirelli have delivered what was asked for by the powers that be in Formula one, so I don't consider they are particularly to blame, but the person/persons that instructed them are. It has been done to spice up Formula one for television to improve viewing figures, but in Britain the increased interest came about when Lewis Hamilton hit the scene because we had an aggressive driver, in some ways like Mansell before him, that was capable of winning. What we have now is a tyre strategy and conservation exercise which if a particular teams package happens to suit means that they are in a winning position, unfortunately if that is not the case then there is no way the car can be pushed to it's limit to make up the deficit as the tyres run out rather rapidly. I re-iterate this is not Formula one because the tyres do not have sufficient lattitude to push. It's fine for Sebastion Vettel as his style and package suit the tyres, and if you have the fastest car then you simply put it on pole and drive away. During 2011 Vettel was hardly challenged which to a great extent was due to the tyres. Siting Vettel is ridiculous as no-one in a winning position is going to complain. Effectively the drivers are in an ever more complex straight jacket with little room to manoeuver. I firmly agree with Schumacher that the driving must be unsatisfying, and perhaps when some leave to race in other series perhaps lessons will be learnt.


I did not hear the uk fans complain when Kensington button won!!!!!!???????


It was great Button won in 2010, but he had a dominant car for half the year, and was able to stave off the competition in the second half to win the championship on durable tyres.

Hamilton by contrast has never had a dominant car just competitive in 2007/2008 when Ferrari were also very competitive.


Beware the fans, its hard to get it exactly right to please everyone. But I would have to say that I never want to see the type of racing we had when Schumacher won his titles.

It may not be perfect now but its a lot better than it was not so long ago, how soon we forget, never want to see that rubbish again.


Well said, us fans need to be careful what we wish for. Things are never perfect, but this season certainly has me more firmly hooked than for many years.

I never would have thought that 4 winners in 4 different cars in 4 races would be something to complain about.

Let's remember to celebrate what we're seeing this year. Variety, plenty of wheel to wheel racing and overtaking, and races where the result is genuine uncertainty until the last few laps. When was the last time we could say that?


Dear Pirelli, keep up the good work! Loving my sport more than ever.


I think Paul Hembery does a good job and - I know it's been said many times before - Pirelli are simply providing exactly what was asked of them! And I think it's a GOOD thing. I do appreciate what Schumy said - wanting to RACE without having to stop to change worn-out tyres - but I voted NOT in favour of his comments because I agree the tyre degradation is helping to spice up the races - which is surely what we want! The drivers simply have to adjust to take them into account, and good drivers can do this.


You’ve been misled by Paul.

Going back to end of 2009, all teams voiced out were that they were concern about what the new tyre by Pirelli would be like, and it’d affect their design for 2010 cars. There were absolutely nothing about teams asking Pirelli to come up with something that would create exciting racing.

Then Pirelli came out by themselves claiming it’s teams who asked them to create these tyres. This was only followed up and agreed to this by teams several days later.

From this, it does not look like it’s teams who asked Pirelli on what they want, but rather it’s Pirelli unable to make a tyre as good as Bridgestones, so decided to have an under-table deal with the teams and come out putting the responsibility on the teams so that the Pirelli brand won’t be affected by their inability to create a good tyre.


It was FIA (or other F1 sport governing body) who decided on the change of tyres (and Provider thereof), not the teams, in response to fans' desire for some spiced-up racing. I'm not certain about this but they probably even told Pirelli the type of spec of tyres they wanted, or at least 'chose' from a selection of specs Pirelli provided.
SO many times it has been made clear: Pirelli are NOT making BAD tyres!! (and I'm not part of Pirelli, of a fan of any particular tyre). They are simply making what has been desired and demanded of them. They could easily make a tyre that would last the whole race distance, if asked, but they are not being asked - they are providing the tyre that has been requested!!


In my view it should not be Pirelli's responsibility to bring exitement to the races. That's what the drivers and the teams are there for.

The tyre manafacturer should give us tyres that allow drivers to show all their driving skill fighting for points and race wins. I agree that tyres are part of the story of a good racing driver, but tyres should not be the story.

There must be a balance that allows the driver to utilise all his skill to the limit, not a formula that over enpasises one particular skill to the detriment of the rest. The best driver should win becuase he is the complete package, not just because he is the best at managing the tyres. Being the best driver and being the best at managing your tyres is not the same thing.

How many new fans would be attracted to F1 on race weekends to find out who is the best tyre manager? It's about the racing, or at least it should be. We all have to manage our tyres, but racing is about who is fastest!

It's just another sign of F1 focusing on the wrong things, things that are of no relevance to our day to day driving experince.


What's new? People complain if there is no overtaking and races are decided on Saturday and people complain if there are many passes and things look 'artificial'. I've been following F1 for close to two decades and what we see now is by far the best racing with the best drivers. I remember a conversation back in 2002 with a friend who watched a couple of races and couldn't figure out why I watched the races when I knew that Schumacher would win. It was hard to explain to a potential follower how the strategies were interesting or how the fight for positions below the top three was interesting when the result of consequence was unsurprising. That may be good for one team and driver but that's not good for the sport.

Maybe the purists don't agree. No matter what, you can't argue that the best drivers are the ones who adapt best. Alonso was very aggressive on the tires in 2004 but when the regulations changed to allow one set of tires for the entire race in 2005 he changed his driving to suit the regulations. The same goes for Hamilton who manages the tires much better than he did in the Bridgestone days. Formula 1 is not and never was a sport where the outright fastest man won championships. This has always been a sport where the driver who could master his driving around all tracks, weather, rules and conditions won.


The cars at the start of 2009 did not have as much downforce either compared to 2008 (except for the double diffuser trio), but nobody was blaming the tyres. Even the back markers with little downforce could make the Bridgestones work.

If the medium tyres are the same as last year's softs, how come the teams did not complain about the problems with getting and keeping the tyre in the right 'operating window' last year?

If the teams are stuggling to figure out the tyres every race weekend there is a problem. If a driver wins a race like Rosberg did in China without pushing to the limit for a single lap, there is a problem. You don't produce close racing with tyres that fall off after a few laps. To be fighting for position every lap the drivers need tyres that will stay with them without risking an unwanted pitstop.

Pirelli please stop the spin and bring back the racing. We need tyres that reward different driving skills, not just tyre management. We all want to see opportunities for different strategies to win the race, don't we?. Different driving styles are also different strategies to win the race and your challenge should be to give us tyres that allow all the drivers to drive to the best of their ability.


"We need tyres that reward different driving skills"

Sorry, who do you drive for? Of course, you meant to say "You want to see...".

Instead of bagging Pirelli, we should be congratulating them for doing exactly what they were asked to do. If you have a problem with the racing this year (I don't) you should voice your complaints to the FIA who awarded Pirelli the contract to be tyre supplier and asked them to make tyres in the manner in which these ones are made.

If I can think of one complaint, it would be to clear up the marbles. But how do you tell worn rubber to bounce off the edge of the track? Greater minds than I would have to figure that out


I'm a fan, and i think the racing's been just fine.


Jeez. Pirelli tyres are the best thing to happen in F1 since Button's missus started attending every race.


plus plus 1


Plus a thousand for that comment!!

James Lollobrigida

I LOLed 🙂


This tire discussion is very much like that of Ferrari complaining about F1 being too aero, or purists complaining about DRS, etc.

Bottom line, there will never be a formula that is suited to all and equal to all. But there should be a level of flexibility that each team should have in order to optimize the forumla of driver and car.

I really believe that it should be the teams who are allowed to choose their two compounds for each race from the 4 offered, not Pirelli.


Also, anyone see that Coulthard vs. PS3 gamers stunt that Mercedes and some game maker pulled a while back?

It was Coulthard in a Mercedes around a track vs. gamers with same Mercedes and track in VR in the game for the best lap time.

On street tires he said he believed the long life tires (same ones we're used to driving for 50000km+ on) only had one good lap in them. So he warmed them up, nailed a winning lap and then could not repeat the time as the tires kept falling off.

So even the long lasting daily tires we have, under extreme conditions are good for 1 fast lap only.


I would like to know much more about the comparison of race tyre compounds and road tyres. I heard once that they used to test Morris Minors in the 1960's and could destroy a set of standard tyres in 30 miles of hard cornering. This in a car that had a fraction of the power of a modern road car.


Having owned a Mk1 Escort with a tuned engine at 19 I can confirm this is possible, you can also make a road car do F1 levels of fuel economy when driven "properly"


Now this is definitely interesting!


Let's be honest people.Pirelli is absolutely right about everything from this text.As Kimi says: ,,It's the same for everyone.".It's ok if it is same for everyone.Schumacher is 7 time WDC but from his comeback he is part of uper middle pack.He is driving ,,safety car" mostly because of 200+ kilograms of fuel onboard.


As F1 is team sport I guess there should be other variables than just the driver alone. The racing is definitely more exciting than it was in the past, however, it just doesn't seem right purposely making tyres that wear out quickly to spice things up, surely tyres can be made to last as long as possible either soft or hard and the difference in the grip verses wear should be enough to allow various strategies and so still keep the racing interesting. I think we should leave contrived "racing" to the USA


Good suggestion!


in recent years we havent had such an exciting start to an f1 season. all the cars are locked in close to each other and yet people are complaining. Its baffling to say the least.

just look back at schumacher years there was just one car winning all the time and most overtaking was done through pit strategies.

I dont think i will like to go back to that era. Pirelli has been the best thing that has happened to F1. its good to see redbull wings being clipped. no ebd, close racing and a close championship


Hello James,

DO you see McLaren being handicapped or at a disadvantage by not having Button and not 'allowing' Hamilton to not test?

Looking at Ferrari, Lotus so far they have the lead drivers testing atleast one if not 2 days.

Also, why did McLaren opt for this route... as it is the season openers have been quite spaced out with 3 weeks between Malaysia and China and now 3 weeks to Barcelona.... so rest could/should not be an issue.

Hamilton had expressed a strong desire to attend... atleast have him for 1.5/2 days and let the reserve drivers test for the remaining 1.5/1 day? Curiously backward moving decision by the looks of it.



McLaren comes across very, very arrogant there.

Button doesn't want to make his hands dirty if the upgrades are not big enough.

And Lewis who is motivated and keen to improve & learn about the tyres gets overuled.

Isn't it important to keep their drivers happy & motivated?

One day for Hamilton would not have hurt, 80% at racing is about confidence and self believe said some expert recently?

Why do they not support Lewis desrire to improve, why do they not let them help?

It's a public slap in his face to ignore his wish to run in the test, even if ALL other teams run with their race drivers there.

Can you imagine, james that ferrari would Alonso deny to run there? Or RBR Vettel?

Is it because Button don't want to go there, Hamilton has to stay away, too

I don't get McLaren, Whitmarsh stated after one of the last gPs they take nothing for garanted, and now they come across as if they don't need to test.

Are they so confident, we saw in the last race that the other teams have closed the gap or have already outraced McLaren?

Do they have no upgrades, or does Button not tell the truth?

Are they at the end of the road with the development of their car?

One thing is clear, Hamilton & McLaren do not look like they want to continue their association. They would have given him one day if they were keen to resign him.


+1, with a great great sense of disappointment.

Barcelona+Monaco will decide whether I do watch the season or not. Depending on how Pirelli's hold up and not decide the positions and how McLaren deliver.


Surprising, it's an important test


Any insights in into why! So wierd!


James, perhaps you can dig deeper into why Whitmarsh has denied Hamilton time in the car?

There's lots of discussion on the forums about Whitmarsh and Hamilton's relationship (lack of), and this latest episode does seem to correlate with that.

One cannot imagine RBR denying Vettel and Ferrari denying Alonso time in the car.

Discussion is centering around Whitmarsh wanting Hamilton to leave the team in order to support Button and get him a clear #2 driver.


Perhaps a contractual obligation on McLaren's part to give it to the test drivers? Can't think of anything else really! Except that Button said that there are no major upgrades, and seemed very nonchalant about it....playing mind games perhaps?


Not mind games. I fear its Mclaren trying to free up some driver time to be used for sponsorship obligations, which if true, would be the saddest thing Martin Whitmarsh has ever done for Mclaren.


James,thank you for this outstanding blog.I agree with Pirelli`s man.Schumacher is clearly outperformed by Rosberg.I think he is trying to find excuses for his poor performance.I dont believe he is really worried about the spirit of these challenging sport.Great drivers ALWAYS manage to cope with different types of tires.I hope to see you next year in Argentina...


Once again, an incredible over-reaction from the fans... I really hope Pirelli doesn't make any reactionary changes to the tires.

-No, the races are not 'lotteries' now with Pirelli tires. Looking at the driver's and constructor's standings can clearly show that. With the banning of the blown diffusers, and the otherwise consistent nature of the regulations, it's natural that the field has bunched up. The teams that have made the biggest gains are Mercedes and Lotus, so their race results are not surprising. When you have incredibly close fields, you're going to get results like you've seen in the individual races this year. But who's on top of the standings? Red Bull, and McLaren. And still we're worried about the racing being a lottery? Hmm...

- No, the drivers are not driving around like they're behind the safety car. I saw a thrilling battle for 1st place in Bahrain, and I guarantee that neither Sebastian or Kimi were taking it easy in any of their stints. Seb had to sprint out at the start to build a gap, he had to push hard on the soft tires when Kimi was closing in on him, and he had to push to re-open the gap to Kimi on mediums in his final stop until he realized that Kimi couldn't keep up with him. Kimi had to push hard to make up spots in his first stint, and then to catch and be allowed past his teammate on a different strategy. Then, he had to push hard to try to pressure and pass Vettel, and then push hard to try to keep Vettel from getting away in the final stint. I suppose Hamilton and Alonso weren't pushing hard to get past Rosberg either, huh? Ferrari had a tough time getting tires up to temperature all of last year... but somehow the other teams seemed to manage. This year, the teams are just starting to get a handle on the tires... and they'll continue to do so, getting better and better. I respect Schumi's talents, but really, he does himself a disservice with this type of complaining.

The truth is, the tires have created so many different strategies and ways to attack the race. I still saw an awesome battle for pole position in Bahrain, even with someone like Kimi choosing to be eliminated in Q2. Every race will not be like this though! Every track surface is different! The same car setup will not work at every Grand Prix! You can't just start the race on softs, pit halfway for hards and bring the car home. The teams have to work very hard with the limited running they have to set the car up and decide the right strategy for the race. I LOVE the fact that the different strategies out there tend to bring the drivers into battles at the end of the race. How great is it that the races aren't decided solely on the start?

Pirelli... don't change a thing. We suffered through the Bridgestone era, and because we hung in there, we're being consistenly treated to incredible battles and races for 2 years now.


So most of the drivers and Martin Brundle are just lying when they say they cant push even for one lap then?






I'd be hard pressed to thing the Villeneuves and the Sennas of old would survive today's tires. The rear of their cars never settled because the rear was trying to give side-to-side to let up friction, but they would force the rear back in with the steering wheel. The friction only escaped by moving the car forward more. Our boys today can't afford to drive on that edge because the tires just can't take it. Let's make this about the constructors and the drivers, not about the tire manufacturers.


those blokes drove with the tyres they had, now so do these.

seen some good racing lately? hell yes.


“For example Bahrain, the last time it was run there were 15 overtaking manoeuvres, this time we had 73”.

There was a time we used to discuss the QUALITY of the overtaking manoeuvers, nowadays we discuss their QUANTITY.

F1 evolves and changes as time goes on, and at the moment it is being changed to maximise the number of casual viewers, by putting on a "show" rather than what we remember to be a pure racing experience. Ya it has the feel of watching a video game, but that was the objective when Pirelli were given their specifications. If were are not happy, we should direct our comments at the FIA, not Pirelli.


plenty of overtaking out of the DRS zone my friend. keep an eye out, you'll be pleasantly surprised!


Ohh come on...Paul, it is too comfortable to push the blame on the loss of blown exhausts..

I completely agree with Schumacher. Tyres should play a role..but not to the point of discouraging the drivers to push


but then again perhaps you should look at other factors. These days, even though the cars are so much more reliable, they have to nurse engines and gearboxes so they can use them in the next race.

I think it is far too simple to blame the tyres. No tyre needs to be used at the next race but engines have to last at least 3 races and gearboxes even more.

Since refuelling was banned the work an engine has to do is significantly increased - Accelerating 100 Kg more fuel than they used to have on board means that for 2/3rds of a race they are hauling a greater load than they ever used to before. Add 20% to the weight of your car and you will drive a lot differently.


I guess "nursing" is the wrong word when you're talking about the engine and the gearbox.

You can hardly "nurse" the gearbox, because it's seamless shifts with throttle blips managed by the electronics. You may try to take some corners in a higher gear to avoid shifting, but how often have you seen that lately?

"Nursing" the engine comes down to using another engine mapping and rev limit indicator setting and it's done only if there's no place to gain and no pressure from behind, or to save points if the engine is about to collapse during the race. It's hardly of importance for the outcome of a race.

They're not really nursing the engine and gearbox, they're taking it easy when there's nothing to gain and nothing to lose. Still, engines and gearboxes are pretty reliable, more reliable than ever in Formula-1.

Nursing the tires is a completely different beast in this context, it's more like saving fuel.

Having said that: Isn't it indicative for what's wrong with the tires, that fuel saving plays a much less important role in the sport?

Yes, they have to manage fuel consumption, but the difference between someone saving fuel and someone pushing is hardly worth noting, while someone who has gone too hard on his tires is getting passed like he had lost his front wing (Räikkönen being the prime example).


he went into the marbles and lost grip. the tyres changed temperature. he was out. therefore it was his own fault; go off the line a long way and you are in trouble.


+1, I made the same comment in my reply to another post above.


It can seem strange that the teams spend so much money designing these cars to be as quick as they can be within the regs only to get hampered by tires, sometime to the point of being hobbled.

These tricky tires, the push to pass and Kers sometimes seem like gimmics just to add to the show, which isn't too far off doing something like watering down a corner or the whole track at random points in the race to increase the spectacle. There has to be a middle ground and perhaps the pendulum has just swung a little too far.


i think we are all losing the plot.....

F1 is about adapting as is any competition. And to that effect Schumacher seems to have adapted quite nicely.... 22nd to 10th is not bad....

I beleive what he is complaining about is that there is only 1 driving style to use with these tires... no more races like hungary 1998... where people could switch to Aggressive strategy and still make it work (some of them atleast)......

James - is that too much to ask of Pirelli instead of this hugh uproar that we have now....


I have watched F1 since 1991 and I have never enjoyed watching it as much as I am now. Keep up the FANTASTIC work Pirelli.

I have no wish to see the return of anyone dominate the sport in the way that Schumacher did at the start of last decade.

Tornillo Amarillo

Pirelli, it's not fascinating having Kimi dropped from 2nd to 14th in a couple of laps.

Old ladies can drive these tires of course, also because they know better about the temperature changes regarding through the "window"!



Humbery mentioned that "Look at Raikkonen, he’s been in rallying for two years so he’s suffered the biggest change and he’s got a 2nd place straight off." yet he forgot about what happened in China already!

What a cheap shot at Schumacher!


agree !!


Aren't we missing the point?

I thought the current tyre situation was temporary. I thought that Pirelli came along, arguing that they would eventually introduce tyres to the sport that are more relevant to road tyres... LOW PROFILE tyres.

So, why is it that one and a half years later, we're still discussing how these hi-profile, 1960s-style relics work?


..he still does not get it does he..this is now a random sport.

..look at what Martin Brundle said after the race..he was in the car with an ex world champion and a current racer - no doubt Hamilton and Webber and they aligned the CURRENT racing with "something their granny could do" and that it was about being fastest any longer but a tire manager...

..fix the problem paul, CHANGE the tires ASAP..RATINGS, ha, hmmm really, you must being seeing different ratings figures to what i know...they are down on 2007/2008/, um, i think your confused, about a great many things..

They wont understand the tires after the test, YOU have to change them as they no appropriate for F1..they are a bad move, accept it and change it.


My view it that it is a problem of the fia's making.

I think they looked at the bridgestone era's total lack of overtaking and tried to fix it with tyres rather than trying to tackle what a lot of people see as the real problem - cars can not get close enough and follow the car in front because of the aero effects.

On the surface the current overtake numbers look good but there have been very few successful overtakes for the lead.

The racing in the pack has been great from a fan perspective but I think we have ended up with a larger problem with the leader.

The conversion of leading after lap 2 to winning the race in dry conditions is something like 16 out 19 races in the pirelli era. The leader seems to end up with a lead of 5s after another 3 laps and there tyres seem to last another 2-3 laps on a like for like comparison. I'd like to see a few cars able to challenge for the lead but too often they are well gone and we are watching the battles for the minor placings on the tv.


Aero problems are for the likes on Adrian Newey to fix/break. Not necessarily the FIA.

Mercedes fix this problem already this year with the W-duct. but Lotus/RBR want it banned!


Seems to me they just replaced re-fueling with tires. Teams used to have sprint strategies based around managing/saving fuel and now they have sprint strategies based around managing tires.

Hard to argue with four different winners in the first four races. It's been a great season.

James, any thoughts on no re-fueling and no mandatory tire change F1 racing? You'd need new compounds, of course. Lights go green, drivers race to the flag.

And get rid of DRS...


I would prefer to see a tire war. That's not a popular idea these days, but it would remove the problem facing Pirelli from giving the FIA a spec tire. Heck, get Goodyear back into it. And get the wings off.

No refueling and no mandatory tire change - brilliant, and I mean that whole heartedly. Mind you, I'd prefer to see this happen at the same time wings are banned, but one can only hope for so much.

I'd also like to see longer race distances, minimum distance 250 miles/400k, again without refueling, and with tire changes at the discretion of the teams. That would encourage efficiency and encourage engine, drivetrain AND tire development.

Maybe it could even de-emphasize downforce relative to drag reduction, low drag being of more benefit to fuel efficiency. You know: Just as it is on road cars.


As I posted elsewhere, the only change would be to make the tyres performance fall off a little more gradually. We don't want to see Kimi's situation repeated. Otherwise Pirelli are doing fine, but I'd still love to see low-profile tyres give the car designers more influence.

All we need now is more KERS, get rid of DRS and simulators, and bring back public testing.

Happy fans are apparently important to FIA and, and the circuits will benefit from the revenue too.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Too little, too late. The horse has already bolted.

Looks like pro Pirelli people are mainly ones that will be bothered with responding to this post. This will get nothing like the 550 replies mainly against what Pirelli is doing to the sport.

And the teams are paying for the privilege of these tyres?? My advice..get in touch with a company called Linglong in Chaoyang District near Beijing. They could have offered you a similar product at a fraction of the price.


please no.

Enough of china already


Maybe the answer is to give the drivers another couple of sets for the race? That way they can chance their arms with 3- or 4- stop strategy and try to make up the time in between by going flat out. Of course, this wouldn't work for Hamilton, where a one-stopper would probably cost the least amount of time.


I have said it before and will say it again simple way of dealing with it and keeping things fairer for drivers and teams not to mention less chance of disturbing development through any possible confusion,

There should simply be 3 compounds slick intermediate and full wet prob best with a compound that is likely to req one pit stop but yet bordering both 2 stops and even poss lasting the race distance depending on driver style/aggression not to mention effects of the car design/set u[ characteristics.

Does such a subject of tyres really need to be so controvensial?? i thought the core of the sport was to identify the best teams and drivers is really such need for having such spanners thrown into the works??.

One dry compound everything's fair and no petty excuses by say poorer drivers?.


I am not a rubber techknowledgist but I reckon the tyre issue is temperature.I think the tyres must be made with a certain level of "vulcanisation" (cross linking) left to complete. The hotter they get the quicker this occurrs, the end result being that the tyres harden and consequently give less grip and paradoxically wear less.

Therefore set up, driving style closeness to preceding car are added to the mix of DRS, KERS, safety car intervention, starting position and lastly "luck" in determining the outcome. Perhaps one of the mathamaticions out there can calculate the permutation and combinations out of that lot.

Personally I would prefer driver skill to be by far the predominant factor. perhaps all cars should be made to qualify on the same tyre and start the race on the same tyre and then let the race begin.


"I reckon the tyre issue is temperature"

When Rosberg got his pole it was just before temperatures dropped, and the drivers that followed had no answer, the tyres didn't work as well. To me that was the clear indication this year's tyres are more sensitive to temperature, with a much narrower window of optimal performance.



just add Ambient temparature to the mix as well.

Perhaps a toss of the coin now and then but I guess the safety car fulfills that option


i agree with the last comment- Gene. don't you Brits call it whingeing? this season, and last, have been fascinating. and to think Lewis or Vettel or Fernando or anyone is holding back in quali or the race is ridiculous- driving smart? yes. cruising? duh-


Agree with Paul. Drivers drive to the package they've got. If Schumacher has to drive slowly to conserve the tyres then maybe the car needs some improvements to combat tyre degradation??! And yes, perhaps people have short memories, the first 4 races of this season has been 10 times more exciting than the whole of 2010 combined!!!


Paul Hembery, this is Formula 1, not Formula Nurse or Formula Degrade.

I'd prefer to see cars going flat out to fight for positions rather than control their pace and manage this and that etc.


I believe the solution would be to increase the operating window of the tires by 4-5 laps. This would mean that the smooth runners can do 2 stops instead of three and the aggressive ones can choose to push and make another stop while still trying to fight with the 2 stoppers.

Increasing the pit lane speed limit would also help, thus encouraging the drivers to pit another time but gain a lot on track by pushing the car to the max without worrying about the time penalty.


Open up the tyre regs again - Bridgestone/Ferrari was a good thing for the sport & it is often argued that the more focus mechanical grip means better over-taking without the need for this DRS BS. Would it not be possible to mandate the maximum down force allowable in full configuration leaving the teams to focus on areo-efficiency???


Great article James. Quality work!


James, I do not think his reasoning is sound. Last year they did a great job, but this year their product is simply not predictable. i think they have delivered last year, but nobody wants a lottery.


James, you are missing the point. The cars/rules are not the same.

Humbery appears to know that cars have less downforce than 2011 due to the diffuser ban. Yet Pirelli decide that "the medium(=last year’s soft)"???

If any team (e.g. HRT) decide to brings their 2011 Monza spec to Monaco, us fans will voice our opinions that they shouldn't be allowed to race. This is no different!


"Since Pirelli developed the tires with the teams, I am suprised that not a single team can consistently find the right balance."

The European phase of the season will reveal which teams have got a handle on the tires. I have a feeling at least one or two teams will get on top of the situation sooner than the rest.


The uproar at Indy was because only 6 cars raced. Most fans were disappointed but accepting of the chicane idea if the entire field were to start.

Your other examples are not relevant to technical regulation changes from year to year. What one team does at a specific race does not equate to the entire season.

Drivers and teams need to find a better balance between front and rear and stop whinging.


You asked for "fan uproar over a team’s car configuration", not technical regulation.

Back to Pirelli's. Before you continue to argue about this being the team's fault, I suggest you to read Pirelli's press release back in Jan 25th?

"The key characteristics of the new tyres – developed by Pirelli together with the teams in response to the latest aerodynamic regulations regarding blown exhausts – are: squarer profiles, increased grip, and softer, more competitive compounds with consistent degradation."

"The new compounds are softer, with increased grip, better performance, a longer performance peak, but an unaltered overall lifespan."

Since Pirelli developed the tires with the teams, I am suprised that not a single team can consistently find the right balance.


I doubt the _average_ fan knows or even recognizes the car specs that teams bring to races, let alone protests a particular team's eligibility to compete. Certainly fans complain about HRT, but that is because they are barely fast enough to qualify, not because of a specific configuration. Do you have even one example of a fan uproar over a team's car configuration? I can't think of any.


BTW you comment still does not address the fact that Pirelli decides to make the 2012 medium similar to the 2011 soft, with the knowledge that the 2012 cars have less downforce due to the blown diffuser change.


Oh 2005 Indy F1 comes to mind right away ... at that time one tyre manufacturer calls for adding a chicane, while the competing manufacturer (and/or the FIA) ask the teams that cannot go 100% that they can slow down or use the pit lane instead. Sure enough there was an uproar even for casual fans! Is this a good enough example?

BTW there are more recent ones that you may remember: e.g. Siverstone 2010 with the RBR front wing that was taken off their "not bad" #2 driver, Silverstone 2011 with the blown diffuser rule changes, 2011 Spa Red Bull camber that destroys those Pirelli fronts, etc.


You are missing the point; the tyres are pretty much the same especially the medium(=last year's soft)


Then it certainly seems that there are a LOT of people (from long-term fans to WDC drivers) who are "missing the point".

Surely Schu + Button (+ others) wouldn't be saying what they are saying if the tyres were "pretty much the same" ?


Precisely. When you have the big teams with huge numbers of people, each with ridiculous amounts of F1 engineering knowledge, telling you that they just don't know why they lost a second at this race or that race then it CANNOT be the same tyre. Pirelli say that the tyres are similar year-on-year, but even the small difference is having a huge impact.

When championship-contender drivers say things like "we haven't got a clue" then you know that the joke has gone too far.


"pretty much the same" other than that they have much narrower optimal operating windows. Which is what is making the racing a little fake. It is currently down to who is lucky enough to have the right balance when the race or qualifying starts, not who had the right balance/set up on saturday morning..


Not the case! In fact the tyres are more extreme this year. By moving last years soft tyre to the medium slot that effectively makes the range even more high deg. with the soft tyre degrading faster still, and even more so the super soft beyond that. Admittedly the gaps between them have closed up a bit, but while last year was poor, this year it's absolutely abismal. Drivers are constrain to the tyres, not the car, and therefore it's also very lame. I suspect what Kimi Raikkenon did in Bahrain has raised a few eyebrows, but look how he went backwards in the previous race. All too far too contrived!


James, it seems the volume of marbles this year is greater and they are larger - have you seen much difference?


Ridiculous that as soon as Schumie starts whining a feauture is seen as a problem.


He just said what other drivers think


Yeah the other backmarkers 🙂


Well its not just schumi is it, 43% of fans agree with him.


I have been an F1 follower for several decades. just love it.

Convinced a younger person to have a look at the last couple of races. He was most up set at the short life of the tyres but more importantly gave me a roasting for supporting a sport with such waste of natural resources.

I was a bit lost for words!!

Is this what the younger generation think and is minimising waste of resources while we enjoy our motor racing an issue for the future?


Pirelli did exactly what they were asked to do, so don't blame them.

Get the right balance on your car, that's also part of the game isn't it?


To be fair not many are blaming Pirelli, they are just criticising the tyres which te FIA requested, so the FIA and their pursuit of a 'show' are actually much more to blame.


It's shocking how many people are jumping on the Schumacher bandwagon after all the complains from 2010 and prior about the tyres being too strong and leading to dull, processional races. We have amazing racing with strategy and passing, and people are still finding reasons to complain. This exact type of racing is what people were clamoring for not two years ago.

I strongly suspect that the people agreeing with Schumacher are fans of those drivers who would most benefit from more durable tyres, namely Schumacher himself, as well as Hamilton and a few others.

Four different winners in the first four races is a good thing. How is that a bad thing at all.


It's not a good thing if they got those wins by chance rather than skill. It seems that every team, when they hit the sweetspot in their tyre operating window in relation to track temperature does very well. These years' tyres are very picky in the way you set them up and correlating tyre operating window. Maybe it's because the teams haven't understood them properly yet, but I suspect they were made this way to offer more chances to everyone.

That's not what sport is about. It's like long distance runners recieving power-ups like ones in an arcade video game.

I want drivers to do what they do best - drive flat out. There is a way of making that exciting too, but there has been unwillingness to try.

Schumi has said of the DRS when it was introduced; "It's a start". The real issue is that the forumla has been growing out of control, going in the wrong direction and it will keep doing so no matter how many gimmicks you strap onto it.


The wins are absolutely not by chance at all. The winner of 3 of the first 4 races has been either the pole sitter or on the front row, meaning raw speed is still a primary factor. Malaysia is the only exception so far, and the main reason for that was the weather.

The best racers still shine under the current rules, as we see with wins from Button, Alonso, and Vettel. Schumacher's complaints need to be taken with skepticism, as when he dominated the sport in the early 2000's, Bridgestone were making tires specifically for him.

I am certain that in 3 months time, all the top teams will have developed their cars to the point where the tires will no longer be such an issue.


Fair point, but you have to remember that in first half of the race the cars are loaded up with fuel 150kg or so and so they aren't flat out anyway.


I'd probably put it another way James. They are flat out for the condition and state of the race and what the strategy dictates at that point in time. In comparison to the ultimate performance of the car, they are quite a way off but, at that given moment in the race, they are driving as fast as they can


I suspect the driver can still theoretically race to the car's limits (thereby flat-out) even with the car being heavy and thus non-optimised for performance.


It's bad since it is a lottery (or un-qualifying).

Fan do not like to see Kimi went from 2nd to 14th in one race, and 11th to 2nd in the next one.

That being said. No one had any problem for Paul DiResta/FIndia that solidly qualified into Q3, then nursed his tyres so he can do 2 stops and get a great result.


Dear James,

Assuming that there is no KERS or DRS or double diffuser, and we have the same Pirelli tires on cicuits like Malaysia, Bahrain, Hungary, Monaco, and to some extent you think the drivers will be able to drive on the limit and will there be more overtaking?


SK Anand


best racing since the early eighty's


If Ronnie Peterson and Gilles Vlleneuve were racing F1 in 2012 then they would be nowhere with these tyres....

'nuff said.


In their day, you could say the exact same thing. Although these two were fan favorites and spectacular, they have zero world championships between them. Andretti and Scheckter had softened their approach by the time they won their championships over their teammates, and the added cerebral factor is how they got the job done while Peterson and Villeneuve didn't.


Why is it a good thing if a different driver has won each race? same thing happens in a lottery.


Reading these comments it is clear that many fans don't care what the racing is as long as it's exciting to watch. Well why bother with drivers, and venues at all. Just have the lot created by CGI then it can be made as artificial as television viewers want. Firstly this is a drivers sport and high deg. tyres are not satisfying the basic urges that make people race in the first instance. - Plainly just a joke certainly not Formula one.



Excellent idea. Why don't we have a centralised computer programme with a massively complex physics engine, and teams can enter the parameters of their cars into the computer. Pirelli supplies virtual tyres. Drivers are dispensed with, seeing as they aren't really affecting race outcomes relative to tyres, anyway.

Bernie won't get as much money from from the circuits, he'll have to charge less money but his costs will be less. The circuits will have zero costs on top of their 'subscription' fee so they'll be happy too.


I broadly disagree with Schumacher on this, as I think tyre management and race strategy are important tools in a racing driver's locker and races tend to be more interesting when they come into play. Make tyre wear a non-issue and F1 basically becomes a spending competition, with less opportunity for teams like Sauber to build a 'clever' car as they have in recent years.

Having said that, I do wonder whether Pirelli have gone a little too far with this year's softer compound range. Like all aspects of racing, tyre management plays an important part in the melting pot of factors that is a Grand Prix, but I wouldn't want it to become an overpowering flavour (to push that food metaphor to its limit!)

As always in F1, the best drivers adapt and Schumacher's comments make him look like a bit of a dinosaur. There's never been a time when tyre wear was such a non-issue that drivers could be on the limit all race long. Sorry Michael, but you only have to look at Lewis Hamilton's early years to see that.


From this fan's point of view, I don't look poorly on Pirelli at all for the tires this year, but Schumacher is spot on. Pirelli can't be blamed as F1 is trying to manipulate change in tires to provide fun. Its not an exact science, but that doesn't mean we can't point out when something is off the mark.

I frankly think the tires now are too unpredictable, and apparently so do the majority of Formula One teams, who are the true experts. It may be that Pirelli are right and its more to do with aero rules this year, but tires shouldn't be a mystery novel. I think if Pirelli could reduce the unpredictability by about 30% it would be a happy medium. Still a gamble, but not one where a team can be on top of tires in one race, and then a slight change and they aren't even competitive?

As for fans that seem to want to say this is just Schumacher whining or making excuses, you truly are small individuals. There will always be ignorant fans in any sport. I'm no Schumacher fan and loathed his victories for years, but common sense tells you he doesn't need to make excuses, certainly not to armchair enthusiasts that pass judgement on human motives. A man can't speak his mind after holding every major record in a sport? Get over yourselves.


Bang on. Refreshing to see someone not criticise schumacher when they have the chance.


Perhaps teams should be given more freedom and allowed to choose whatever compounds they want and put these wherever they want on the car (eg. hard on the front left, soft on the front right, medium on the rear left and soft on the rear right). This would grant teams more of an opportunity to optimise the tyre performance with their particular car setup and driver's style.


Though my interest in F1 is gradually falling, I would like to state Pirelli are doing the right thing, and the complainers are also right.

Here's the thing - what hardcore fans see when they watch F1 is very different to what the average fan sees.

The average fans don't see if a driver is at 80% or 100%. It doesn't really come across on TV. The average fan doesn't differentiate between a DRS/tyre overtake to a genuine overtake. What the average fan is getting IS a more excited F1, and thus Pirelli are BANG ON the money.

Now if you are a bit of a hardcore fan what you see is drivers at 70% all in the exact same manner, making fake passes, and in general quite a dull and predictable show. You are right as well, but crucially you don't matter. It's like being a UFC fan and complaining to the WWE saying it's too fake.

I find F1 intensely dull now. It's not that there are too many passes because kart races can often have many overtakes and be massively exciting, but fundamentally the quality and depth has gone from F1 racing and that goes for as much as the drivers as the racing.

If you are a 'hardcore' (tho some hardcore fans like the changes sry for umbrella term) fan you just have to admit and accept F1 is not for people like you. F1 needs to attract the general public who don't have a MASSIVE interest in F1, but just enough to make sure they watch on Sunday and all they want to see is 'exciting' racing.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

The best comment that I have read on this site in the last 3 years.

I could not agree more. This is absolutely spot on.

F1 is now like junk food for the masses...easy to access, quick to consume, and a ring of artificiality about the whole affair. It is no longer a sport for connoisseurs.



I think your spot on mate! It's a shame, but it could ultimately be the truth...


I find it really hard to understand why some find todays style of F1 exciting ( I've watched F1 for 28 odd years ) No one can really push. Having 4 different winners tells us nothing in terms of who is the current best driver or which team has the best car. It's just a tyre lottery.

The endless talk of the "sweet Spot" or trying to "understand "the tyres is tedious. Can we simply not have a tyre that will last approximately 20 laps with a gradual fall off and no need to "switch them on "etc etc.

Paul Hembery seems very sensitive to any criticism, and completely misunderstood what Schumacher was trying to say about using the car to it's full capabilities - not just to the capability of the tyres. It's not rocket science. Also note that his subtle digs at Schumacher are not that subtle. As for counting overtaking - seriously ?, I find zero excitement in a DRS pass.


Absolutely agree! Many people don't know or perhaps don't care what their watching.


A lot of fans are pointing to the fact that we've had four different winners and multiple overtakes. My feeling is so what? How do you equate that end-product with great racing or even a great spectacle?

It seems we're happy to lower the bar quite spectacularly to make for an easy entertainment fix. F1 right now reminds me of the NBA all-stars game where no real 'D' is being played so flambouyant dunks and alleyoops are par for the course.

Problem with both though is all you need to do is know that it's put on for effect and it detracts from the experience.


Hembery is playing on words a bit, rather misleading so, but that is the nature of these columns. The problem is that driving 100% of the package with Pirelli tyres is not 100% of the package with durable tyres or in other words the tyres restrain the driver from pushing to the limit of the car or otherwise the tyres degrade quickly and the driver goes backwards. It's absolute rubbish purely contrived for television viewers who know no better. Listen to the drivers with experience that know the truth. Perhaps it's time for a new series that displays proper hard racing.


yes but what all journalists, tv presenters, and Paul Humbrey misses is - We don't care that 4 different cars have won in the first 4 races. If all we cared about was random different cars winning each race, you might as well just pick the winner out a hat - if thats what excites you.

What we actually care about is the QUALITY of the racing - i couldnt care less if the same driver won every race, as long as he was battling hard and consistently for it with other drivers.

What is this obsession with the results board, and coming to this odd conclusion that 'it must be exciting, because look! different winners!'

why bother even watching the race then, if thats what interests you.

schumacher, as usual, was Very clear about what he said. he is driving within his own limits, as well as the cars, just to get the tyres to last a stint. many other drivers are doing the same thing. Maybe Kimi could have won, if he had the option to just push to the end, rather than nursing tyres, and we would have seen a proper battle for the lead.

Kimi himself said 'i had one shot' to pass vettel.

Bring back durable tyres - we now have DRS so we dont need tyres which fall apart every 10 laps.


Agree, nicely said.


Good point - KERS + DRS + Degrading tyres - it's a cesspool of driver aids with unpredictable outcomes.

Vettel loves these tyres, because once he gets pole, the race is his. With degrading tyres that get "wrecked" when behind a another (albeit slower) car, passing moves become extremely difficult - you really only get one shot at it (eg Kimi on Vettel, Alonso on Rosberg in Bahrain). Of course, when the tyres go off the cliff, then that is another story, but this doesn't happen much with the leading car (usually only to the guys opting for one less stop).

This pretty much offsets much of the gains from KERS and DRS in regards to the fighting for the lead.

I reckon degrading tyres should go.

Should Pirelli be blamed? Of course not! They were "asked" to create these tyres - by the FIA and the fans. Who in the tyre business wants to be known for creating tyres that are not durable? Pirelli are doing the FIA a favour by manufacturing these tyres! It totally goes against their business model.

If you want to complain, complain to the FIA!


Im astounded people are complaining about the tyres!

F1 has always been about tyre management, never more so than in the turbo era, and this season is only 4 races old and we have seen more overtaking than ever before! The tyres are only part of the story anyway, but long life tyres only seem to reduce strategy options in my view.

Pirelli have done a brilliant job.


Yes but the turbo-era had other limiting factors, chiefly - engine development and reliability. That does not exist now and we're left with the narrow tyre-performance window/sweetspot as the sole decisive factor. Hence why most people agree with Schumacher (the fact that so many have gone against stated prejudice and sided with him speaks volumes).


Overtaking cannot be reduced to a quantitative measure. The quality of overtaking has been poor.


Surely when Pirelli test the new compounds they could build something similar to the old Bridgestones which would however only last 12-15 maybe even 20 laps but not an entire race distance. A tyre with a built in life span so to speak.Is that even possible?

Then we could finally see the entire field pushing hard. With KERS and DRS there would still be plenty of overtaking.


Completely disagree with Schumacher. As that F1 Fanatic article above says, Schumacher has never been one for history. F1 has historically been about tyre and car management much more than it has recently. This is only resetting the balance. The worst era of F1 was the snoozefest we had between 2000 and 2009. Apart from the odd wet race and the occasional Montoya, Alonso or Raikkonen banzai race, that era was typified by races light on overtaking with cars light on fuel sprinting between tyre and fuel stops. That happened to be the Schumacher era. I have no problem with Schumacher, if it had been the Hakkinen era or Villeneuve era or Coulthard era with that same boring dominance, it would be no different.

Personally, I think the best things that the FIA has done in recent years was ban refuelling, bring back slick types and require the Pirelli tyres to be as they are and bring in KERS. It has made the racing so much more unpredictable and exciting and in my opinion, more skillful. The drivers now have so many things to manage, compared to the point and squirt era of launch control, traction control, full auto gearboxes, everlasting tyres and light cars. With Vettel, Button, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Webber and Raikkonen with up and coming drivers like Senna, Perez, Kobayashi, di Resta, Hulkenberg, Vergne and Ricciardo we have probably the most experienced and skillful field in the history of F1. I think we will look back on this current period as a golden era of F1.


There is a difference however between not driving like a lunatic and destroying your tyres and having to race against a delta pre determined by a computer. That's what Schumacher is talking about. Back then they didn't have all this fancy stuff and tyre preservation was a skill. Now the skill comes from putting the percise sector times as dictated by the computer.


Hard to disagree!


I think it's a unfair to blame Pirelli. I think this is the result of constantly tweaking rules in recent year. While last year most in the F1 circle appeared to give a thumb up to the tire. This season a few teams are very close, that alone expose the problem of tires manipulating races too much. I hope the teams, FIA, Pirelli and Bernie should work together to resolve this issue before it ruins the otherwise wonderful season.


This season so far has provided some great racing. We had 8 cars vying for a place in China and the gaps between the cars in qualifying is the closest in history.

We normally have 1 to 1.5secs covering the top dozen cars in quali. That's close racing and is forcing the teams to have a perfect weekend to win races. That's F1!! Get it right or fall back into the pack.

If you look back into history it was not uncommon to have a minimum of 5secs between the pole time and the tenth fastest time in qualifying. The Senna, Martin Brundle days.

Tyres, DRS, Kers, its the same for everyone. We are currently watching F1 at its most competitive. We have 6 world champions on the grid and 4 different winners to start the season. This could be the best season in the sports history.

One thing that hasn't changed is the passion from the fans.


While I agree that the situation with the tires isn't perfect, it's not a bad problem to have. Bahrain wasn't as good as China, but that may be down to Pirelli bringing the Soft and not pairing the Medium with the Hard. Still, I have no desire to see the sport go back to the rockhard Bridgestone era where the race was usually over after the first corner. NASCAR is expiriencing that type of issue at the moment. Goodyear keeps bringing harder and harder tires, and the racing has become quite dull in recent weeks


I like the situation at the moment and actually can't believe the comments to the contrary. 4 different winners, unpredictable races - what's not to like?

Managing the tyres was always a key skill for a F1 driver - at least before the sprint format of the re-fueling era. Do we really want to go back to that? I'm sure Schumacher wouldn't mind - the Bridgestone tyres were tailor-made to his requirements back in those days.


//Look at Raikkonen, he’s been in rallying for two years so he’s suffered the biggest change and he’s got a 2nd place straight off//

Thats a load of rubbish Mr Hembery.Had your tyres not degraded the way they did,Kimi would have won the race.As he himself quoted later,he just had one oppurtunity to pass and when Vettel blocked that,he just didnt have the tyres anymore to challenge Vettel


Kimi went off line defending from Vettel, got loads of pic-up and dirt on his tyres and lost momentum. It wasn't just the worn tyres that did for him


Kimi did go off line, but I expect the marble pick up just about finished his tyres for him, and as a consequence just went backwards thereafter. Had it been just a loss of momentum he would have recovered in due course to hold his position. No excuses the tyres were shot!


F1 fans don't know what they want. For years they moaned about dull processional sprint races and called for more overtaking. The FIA/FOTA and the technical working group massively delivered on the promise to bring back excitement but now we just seem to be moaning that it needs to be more like it used to be.

For what it's worth I actually think the balance is about right now. Great races, lots of overtaking and the best of the crop still seem to be winning but the endurance nature of a race is now back to being important.

I am a massive Schumacher fan, but totally disagree with him on this count. I feel if Merc were winning every race he would be more than happy. Times change, F1 changes and we have now moved on from the procession era into a kind of hybrid between that and the 80s era. I'm glad for one.


I think the majority of people are missing the main issue with the tyres, it isnt the degradation its the unpredictable operating windows. Changing the pecking order in each race depending on how the car "uses" its tyres to keep them at the right working temperature, that is what is causing the huge changes in teams performance race to race, not the teams abilility to build a fast car. which i think is against the idea of F1.


To put it another way, how can a team be expected to balance a car properly on tyres whose properties change so drastically due to relatively small changes in weather conditions..


98% of a race is about conserving the tyres now. All we hear before, during and after a GP is about tyres, tyres , tyres.

This is too much.

The tyres have reduced F1 to a one dimensional event.

F1 with Pirelli is like you have a supersport car , and you can drive it only in the first 3 gears


Please, this is such an over reaction! Always complaining! I agree it's a shame the drivers aren't able to attack at 100% as consistently as in the past, which is a shame personally from the reduced physical demand of a race, making it 'easier' (though would Schumacher be able to cope as well in his 'old age' if that still was the case - maybe he shouldn't be complaining so much?!). However, things are on the whole far better now. You actually get a race compared to the follow the leader processions of old. We've had 4 great races and people are moaning! Ridiculous.

Perhaps the tyres could be a tad more durable but I think it's largely down to the reduced aero performance as mentioned, and engineers being a bit a loss at the moment. But that's part of the challenge. It won't take long before the the teams start understand what is required. It happened last year and towards the end of the season people were starting to lament that the tyres seemed to be lasting too long again and the racing was becoming static with less strategic variation.

And I don't think the racing has been a lottery at all. Sure, the tyres are difficult to get a handle but tough! Again that's a challenge for the engineers to overcome, which they will. And part of the unpredictability in results has been due to other reasons and the closeness of the racing, whether it's the terrible McLaren pit stops, or cars forced to pit and come out into traffic, allowing another driver to capitalise while the the other is caught up in a battle. This last aspect is especially good this year, the fact that the grid is so compact that the top teams can't just wait for a nice gap to pit and come out in clean air. Strategy is much tougher now. Good!

People cite it ridiculous seeing Kimi drop back from 2nd in China. Sure it was embarrassing for the team but that's part of the strategy now and the level of risk you wish to take. People forget Kimi got into 2nd position through gambling and taking a riskier strategy of pitting earlier to get track position. He got the position but the tyres didn't last and it backfired spectacularly. He didn't lose 2nd due to being hard done by, he rolled the dice on trying to get more than he would have done through following the others in a more conventional strategy. These tyres opened up greater strategic plays, which simply didn't used to exist.

Also, I'm sick of this myth of aggressive/smooth drivers. It's overplayed and largely stereotypical. Take Hamilton and Button. There's plenty of evidence of both drivers having races where they can make the tyres last well and attack, or struggle with them, and burn them out too quickly. Similarly sometimes they're amazing in the wet, other time they struggle. It's mostly down to whether they have the car set up and balanced well, rather than this seemingly massive difference in driving style. A lot of people think Hamilton is very much hampered by these regulations - and likely the cause of a lot of complaints. I don't agree. Hamilton only tends to out qualify Button on average by 1.5 tenths or so. Here they are able to utterly maximise the tyre and car performance, but it's not like Hamilton is whooping Button in qualifying like Alonso against Massa, only for him them to fall far back in the race relative t Button due to these tyres clipping his wings! They tend to perform good or bad together.

And why do people think if the tyres were super durable again, you'd get drivers able to race better? Rose-tinted glasses, grass is greener thinking here. It just leads to a procession (due to aero and circuit problems - another issue). Remember Bahrain 2010? Yeah loads of attacking racing there! The argument doesn't hold up. With durable tyres, Vettel would have romped to victory in Bahrain with no challenge and the others in the mid-pack would have been stuck behind each other.

F1 isn't a sprint race. It's about managing all the issues. Plenty of other motorsports to follow if that's what you want. GP2 have a sprint race for instance. And in truth, even in the more durable tyre days, you still had management going on and drivers often cruising to the finish, looking after the engine and so on.

Well done Pirelli. And also well done for providing the teams with fresh challenges to test who really is the outfit with the best brains and team organisation skills, and which drivers can think and plan their way through a race, which will include the necessity to have top notch and aggressive overtaking skills! 🙂


The only gripe I have with the current tyres is that they don't seem to allow a driver who's say P2, running 10sec's behind the race leader and on similarly aged rubber(within 1 or 2 laps) to really push and catch that rival ahead of them because they would be too worried about causing their Pirellis to fall off the cliff and getting passed by the cars behind. Life's all about finding balance and I think Pirelli have taken the cliff edge drop off too far this year. But then again, the season's only 4 races old so I could be wrong. Only time will tell.


I don't blame Pirelli at all.

What I would like to see is some changes to the rules governing tyres. First of all, everyone should have tyres exclusively for qualifying. After quali they are discarded. This way everyone has new tyres on sunday and the top 10 will all run in Q3, with a new set of quali tyres. Next, dump the mandatory use of 2 tyre hardnesses. If a team chooses to run soft and/or hard then that is their choice.

Other rule changes


No DRS in qualifying. Run it all you want in free practice but not in qualifying. Its purpose is to allow overtaking, full stop. There is no need to overtake in qualifying. It does not add to the quali spectacle anyway.

Lastly, no-one is permitted to overtake Mark Webber until the 2nd lap.


Perhaps it's worth to wait another 2-3 races and see how it's going on and whether PH was right, also respecting MS's point.


I think what would be good are two identical drivers in two identical cars on the same set of tyres. One races as fast while the other conserves his tyres that by the end of the race the two meet up on the same spot on the track.

The tyres cannot be pushed and are suitable only for conservation. This has hurt the likes of Hamilton, Schumacher etc. Button has really gained in all this as his style allows him to keep the tyres in tact. Why not tyres that allow the team or driver to do both either conserve and allow for one less pit stop or attack and open a gap but have one more pit stop.

Attacking the track reaps no benefits a driver would probably get 4 or five seconds ahead before the guy conserving starts to catch him due to superior tyre condition.

The tyres are too biased toward conservation and those those with a driving style suited benefit.


I've got to say I'm disappointed Paul has side stepped both schumacher and the fans view completely. He's completely ignoring the questions raised and I don't think it's fair on the fans or the sport at all.

I've tweeted him a few times too and quite frankly his replies are very rude and again single minded.

Tornillo Amarillo

If "overtaking" is the goal we are wrong.

The goal should be speed, if you are faster you will overtake and win, the better wins.

Overtaking should be a consequence of your speed and the power and design of your car, real qualities.

These Pirellis and the DRS are not real factors of competition or speed, the effect of overtaking they produce is just fake.

When Pirelli says “You have to bear in mind what we were asked to do. We were asked to create these challenges", you can read between lines that they are taking some distance of the outcome of this tyres and pointing the finger to the FIA, like FIA is responsible for this outcome.

Why this?

To improve the spectacle, they say.

I think fans of the likes of Schumacher, or Hamilton, don't think the spectacle has improved.

If you have only few laps with your tires (not too much) and if you are at 1 second or less of the car in front, everybody KNOWS that in the next "DRS zone" the car behind certainly will overtake...

It's like the actual rules establish the car behind must overtake in order to improve the spectacle!


Anyone feel that the current rules, combined with the 2010 bridgestone like tyres would make for a cracker? Drivers at their full limit, with full confidence on the tyres?

We need not look far back. Hungary 2010, Mark Webber doing 20 odd qualifying like laps to get the lead.

Agreed we have seen some wheel to wheel racing, especially in China. But I somehow feel drivers are restricted owing to the nature of tyres they're driving. Any like minded opinions? Or any other opinions on how we could make these pirellis 'one' of the parameteres, but not 'THE' parameter, as is the case now?


pirelli did what they were asked (and did a fine job) there are bigger wider issues at force here. Everone moaned when we had domination, the action has been spiced up and the tesams able to get the best out of every aspect of racing on any given day (like NASCAR)win. the bottom line is the true fans appreciate the sport as it was, the majority of viewers who tune in who are largley uniformed are the ones we seem to be bending too.


I can't believe people are now blaming the tires for... something or other.

Maybe I've been watching the wrong series, but I saw fiercely contested races with no team - let alone driver - dominating.

F1 racing has been about making the most of what you got since I first watched it.

If it were just about what each driver could theoretically possibly do with a package that let's them use 100% of their theoretical speed then we wouldn't need a series, we could settle this in a simulator and compare each driver's theoretical ability.

If someone can not make use of what he considers his 100%, then his 100% is not in line with the hardware he has got available. In my book that's over-driving the car or abusing the tires.

Perhaps before Pirelli there was little to no punishment for driving beyond the limit. It would have cost you a bit of time on the lap but carried no lasting effect in the following laps.

Maybe some of the older breed can not adapt to new "packages" as easily as others can. Button, Alonso, Rosberg and Vettel have shown they can, at least at specific venues. Three of them have displayed it when their team mate ended up far, far behind them.

If this season hasn't become all about the driver I don't know what could be considered a season where the driver matters more than hardware.

I welcome that.


I always liked the trye rules from the 80's and 90's..





Q - Quali

Any tyre on any corner of the car at any time. There should be no limit on the amount of tyres a driver can use in a weekend.

If Merc has to run the hard tyres in the race, but they can do zero stops, good luck to them. If the Lotus can run C's all race an run 2 3 stops, go for it.

Problem solved.


Also - It's not about the number of overtakes... its about RACING.

Monaco 91 for example.. good RACING even though the faster car couldn't pass for the lead.

Imola 05, 06 - Same thing.

Lawrence Lavery

Firstly, I am appalled at the spelling and grammar demonstrated by most people posting comments. Secondly, Mr Hembery is right in a few races this 'problem' will not be a problem and if it is Pirelli should investigate it.


Maybe Pirelli should introduce a sprint tyre - which would allow aggressive drivers to really push for 10-15 laps without degradation - to complete their tyre range.

I'm personnally sick of all the praises about said 'smooth drivers' who can only get a result in the bag by doing one less stop than the others.

This is Formula One. Drivers should be able to perserve their tyres or blast through the field if the strategy requires.

That being said I still love what Pirelli is doing. They kicked the boredom out of F1.

I'm not amazed Schumacher isn't pleased.


Mr. Pirelli here seems to not know too much about Formula 1. If he thinks Raikkonen got onto the podium just 4 races into his comeback, while Schumacher has struggled, it boggles the mind that he cant see what kind of performance deficit the Merc had compared to the Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari in 2010 and 2011. Only this year has the Merc been anywhere close in terms of qualifying or race pace, and in both the races that he qualified properly, he was taken out with no fault of his. Grosjean and his pit crew made sure he couldn't challenge for anything worthwhile.

Kimi was super lucky he got into a fast car on his comeback. Taking nothing away from him - you still need the skill and race craft to take a fast car to the podium but it's unfair and a cheapshot to say Schumi isn't capable of doing so and hence is blaming the tyres. You'd think a 7 (yes, S-E-V-E-N) time world champion would know better than to make lame excuses.

Like I said - Pirelli might think they're getting great coverage because everyone's talking about their tyres, but I know which brand I will NOT be buying when my car needs new tyres.


Theis whole story about tyres being a problem because the cars have less downforce just does not fly. It is nothing but an admission of failure, failure to adapt to the rule changes.

Pirelli knew last year, as did everyone else in F1, that the 2012 cars would have less downforce due to the loss of the EBD. So why did they not adapt their formula accordingly?

F1 cars have had less downforce before, as recently as in 2009, but nobody was talking about the Bridgestones after every race.


No need for a long and convoluted argument Paul. We just want hard smart fast motor racing, not tyre nursing drives!!!


On a side note will you attending the test in Mugello?


No, but I have someone out there


I think a lot of people are missing the point. If the tyres only last 2 laps at optimum levels before a driver the has to then spend 15 laps nursing the tyres then thats not motor racing.

Drivers are afraid of going faster because it ruins their tyres. Drivers that are terrified of making a risky moves off the driving line because of the marbles that litter the track.

When drivers are forced to slow down to 70/80% of their ability and are scared to make overtakes because of marbles and ruining tyres....then it means something is wrong.

Nobody wants a return to old days but surely a happy medium can be found? Tyres that can go 8-10 laps at full on qualifying speed then degrade as they go from their?


These pirelli tyres are are the best thing that has ever happened to F1 . F1 is a team sport and if your team cant figure out how best to maximize the tyres for your driving style and the race track then you don't deserve to win.

These tyres have meant a reduction in team domination as teams makes mistakes concerning the tyres helping others to win.

You cant just look at overtaking because drs will skew these figures.

Yes drivers cant go all out on these tyres but if they changed the tyre rules as 95 suggests this isn't a problem.

At the end of the day we have fantastic unpredictable racing now.I garuntee were the racing still relatively dull everyone would be complaining about how dull it is compared to the 70s.

Keep up the job pirelli.


I'd argue that we're witnessing F1 at one of its lowest points in history.

Absent tires, the regulations have produced cars that are now virtually indistinguishable when judged by their inherent levels of performance. This is borne out by the fact that so far the 2012 season has seen four different constructors win the first four races. The regulations are so tight - and contradictory - and avenues for improvement, i.e., testing, are so limited that no team or driver can produce a demonstrable advantage over their rivals. The results are dependent upon weather and luck and nothing more.

The low point comes in, I think, because if one were to remove the two clearly most artificial aspects of the sport these days - silly-putty tires and DRS - the very elements that have provided what some term "excitement" would be completely removed and everyone would be confronted with mind-numbingly boring races, because there's no way for equal cars on equal strategies to create compelling racing. One must then conclude that no one is really excited about F1 right now; they're excited about tires and wing flaps.

F1 used to be more than that. But, now the very band-aids F1 has used to avoid addressing its problems have become the stars of the show. I think that's sad.


There's no pleasing some people..


First of all, I don't think Schumacher is trying to propose Pirelli to scrap this type of tires completely. I think a bit of tweak to make the tires more manageable is the answer. So far, wins have been by luck only. I prefer to see everyone's (i.e team engineers/mechanics) hard work yields result, rather than wins by lottery.

As for current F1, I really feel that it is more artificial than ever (inc last year). Sure, the stats will show more overtakes than ever but overtaking a sitting duck in a straight line is a complete joke! Anyone who can drive can do that. it really does not highlight driver talents.


I think that the reason many are upset with what we have now is that its a band-aid & not a proper fix & because peopel within F1 believe these band-aid's are working there now doesn't seem to be the drive to fix what needs fixing to bring the sort of proper racing fans want to see.

Do not forget that when DRS was annouced for example we were told it was a temporary thing that would be around untill the new regulations were introduced in 2013 that would reduce aero & limit dirty air to allow cars to run closer & produce some real racing without the need for high-deg tyres & things like DRS.

However the regulation changes were pushed back to 2014, Ground effects were dropped, Aero was reduced however not enough & DRS is still in the regulations & seems to have now become a more permanent thing.

I was never the biggest fan of DRS when it was in was announced & don't especially like the current tyres, However I didn't/havn't complained to this point because I thought it was only the temporary solution we were initially told it would be.

Since both now seem more long term things I've become frustrated that the sort of racing I was hoping would be a part of F1 under the next set of regulations now seem like they will never see the light of day.

For all those dissilutioned with F1 & the current DRS/Pirelli formula, I recommend you start following the Indycar series.

There new car (which uses ground effects similar to what was planned for F1 in 2014) & new V6 engine formula has produced some brilliant racing over the 1st 4 races.

They don't have tyres that wear, They don't have things like DRS or KERS & they havn't even been using the Push 2 Pass system they have run in past years, However the racing has been fantastic.

There has been lots of good, close racing & a lot of really exciting overtaking.

Indycar this year is no silly gimmicks, No artificial BS, Just pure racing & its so much more exciting as a result.

here is some highlights of the truly exciting barber race-


The sport, if we can call it that, needs to get back to genuine hard racing.


Oh, I freely admit that it's unlikely F1 in its current guise will ever please me. When I became a fan, teams brought out new engines every once in a while, they tested new concepts and new drivers more than once or twice a year, and the idea that the weight distribution, for example, would be standardized would be viewed as absurd. Certain facets of that reality were untenable and had to change, but this is just a bit much, and it's not what I signed up for when I became a fan.

What's the difference between F1 and NASCAR these days? Budgets, and that's all.

I'm cautiously optimistic that the turbo formula in 2014 will restore some semblance of F1 order. But, I fear this growing addiction to artificiality will ruin it for me.

Either way, it's just racing. I'll live.


"how dull it is compared to the 70s"

The racing wasn't as good in the 70s as many seem to believe it was.

People seem to believe that in the 70s & pre-aero in the 60s there was tons of overtaking when in reality there wasn't.

The racing in the 70s as far as overtaking goes wasn't that dis-similar to what we had pre-2011 in that overtaking was still extremely difficult & in frequent.

Take the 1973 french gp, Emmerson fittipaldi stuck behind Jode Scheckter for 90% the race & ended up driving into him while trying a bit of a dive-bomb overtake at the final corner.

people see races like dijon 1979 or the monza slipstreamers & think thats what racing was like back then when in fact those races were the exception & not the rule.

the reason those races stand out & are remembered like they are is because that sort of racing was something you didn't see that often.


To put my opinion in one sentence....

F1 should be a sport in its core and a circus - or entertainment event - as the "secondary purpose", not the other way around. This is what Mr.Hembrey and his "clowns" (just using his logic in a semi-funny way, not insulting) are failing to notice.

"Secondary purpose" pun very much intended, considering the events of this year....


I never really agreed with this "chocolate" tire idea, for me it's more artificial than even DRS. I agree with Schumacher that these Pirelli tires wear out too easily and prevents drivers from driving at the maximum.'

I know that there was a lot of clamor for more exciting races after Canada '10 (when the track surface unexpectedly made the Bridgestones degrade faster), but that race was brought about due to the nature of the track. The people running F1 are trying too hard to turn it into an entertainment show nowadays, and forget it is a sport. As with all sports, sometimes circumstances produce an very good and exciting event, and sometimes (a lot of times, even) not. I think F1 is the only sport where people are constantly tweaking things and occasionally dumbing it down to produce spectacle.


Driver skill, car technology, engine performance, package reliability.

It's a delicate, albeit constantly shifting balance.


Hi James,

Diff topic... Any news on Ferrari new car passing crash test before they attend the coming up testing?


Do you think Red Bull and Lotus were nursing theirs tyres ?? One full second faster than everybody and 3 pit stop no more !!


They were going as fast as they could on Pirelli tyres without overly degrading them. If they had pushed more the tyres would have been destroyed very quickly. The reason they were faster than anyone else was they had the balance of the car sorted to suit the tyres.


A couple more races I think will reveal the pecking order.

After the 4 races I'm fine with this year so far.


"But maybe people have short memories, the sport was in huge decline no-one was watching it."

Thats actually not true, Both TV & attendance were just as strong before Pirelli came in as they have been after.

F1 was not in decline & more people than ever were watching in 2010.

"There was no overtaking. We know that the majority of fans like to see overtaking."

There was overtaking, statistically 2010 featured more on-track overtaking than any season since 1989.

As a fan, Yes I do like to see overtaking, However I like to see real overtaking, real hard fought for overtaking & not easy passing due to DRS or because one drivers tyres are a few seconds slower than the others.

Its true that since 2011 we have seen a massive increase in the number of passes, However very little of it has been that exciting as most of it has looked way too easy due to DRS & tyres.

I would rather see 1 real overtake than 10-20 easy passes caused by DRS, KERS or silly tyres!


You know what the problem with current F1 is? The fact that people only look at overtaking as a number & that people want this number to be as big as possible.

In the past we had less overtaking, However the overtaking we did see was truly exciting to watch & the lead up to it often had you on the edge of your seat.

Now we have tons of passing (Its not overtaking) & very little of it is actually exciting to watch, I actually find DRS passes to be extremely dull & unintresting, Passes caused by tyres is just as bad.

Its fine to say "we had 73 passes" however if 95% of those passes were boring to watch then its just as bad as having watched none.

Last time we were in Bahrain there may only have been 15, However at least those 15 were real overtakes that were exciting to watch!

Simply having 73 passes doesn't make a race exciting as its the quality of an overtake that makes it exciting!


Alexander Rossin was commentating on the GP2 races over the weekend. They also use Pirelli tyres that are similar to the F1 tyre & that includes high degredation.

He said that compared to Bridgestone or Mchelin tyres, they feel like driving at 85-90%. You can’t slide the car at all, and he compared it to driving in the wet. He thought it was the tyre construction – softer sidewalls.


Wondering why MS didn't complain while he and Ferrari were winning 5 championship's in the expense of others, while having a special arrangement with Bridgestone valued at $20M. Pity you Micheal. He Knows why Ferrari is struggling. The link between MS and Ferrari's struggle is, the missing BridgeStone tires and the special arrangemen