F1 Winter Break
Lively first four F1 Grands Prix on the cards as Pirelli mixes it up on tyre choice
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Feb 2013   |  11:26 am GMT  |  183 comments

The first four races of the new season are set to feature plenty of interest and strategic challenges for the F1 teams as Pirelli announced today that it is making some changes to the tyre choices for those races. They have an aggressive plan for both Australia and Bahrain in particular, where there will be two steps between tyres and softer compounds used than before.

So what does it all mean? Well here on JA on F1 we will be leading the way in online Strategy analysis once again this season, as we have for the last three years, and today we will explain what kind of racing these decisions by Pirelli will give us.

Although experts predict that we will not see the kind of mixed up results we had in the first half of 2012, the changes to the construction and compound of the Pirelli tyres for this season, combined with the choices made for the early races, should make life challenging for the race strategists. It should also make for some thrilling (and close) qualifying sessions.

Here are the choices:

Melbourne: Supersoft and medium [2012 – Soft and Medium)
Malaysia: Medium and Hard [2012 – Medium and Hard]
China: Soft and Medium [2012 – Soft and Medium]
Bahrain: Soft and Hard [2012 – Soft and Medium]

For Melbourne, the Supersoft makes sense as it is usually chilly there, especially with a 5pm race start time, and the Supersoft has the lowest (temperature) working range. This is an aggressive choice because there are two steps between compounds and this is tricky to manage from a set-up perspective, however JA on F1 Technical adviser Mark Gillan thinks that the teams will welcome this move.

It will make for an interesting race, where teams will probably want to minimise the amount of laps on the supersoft tyre after the opening stint, but one or two may decide to be brave.

Qualifying is very important in Melbourne and with what looks like a very close field it will be even more important to get the car set-up for the best possible qualifying position. However, with a big split between tyres, you will have to compromise the set-up to be able to race well, which is where the points are handed out. This provides a stiff challenge for both engineers and drivers.

For Bahrain, they have gone one step harder from medium to hard. This is to protect against high thermal degradation, but the presence of the soft will again mean that qualifying will be a spectacle.

As a rough rule of thumb, there is a 0.5s per lap difference in performance between tyre compounds, but the harder of the two usually lasts a little longer. This is the trade-off. There is a crossover point at which it is clearly better to be on one tyre rather than the other and the secret is to get that right; to spend the maximum race time on the faster tyre. The teams work very hard on Friday in the three hours of practice to work out how to deploy the tyres for the fastest race strategy.

As a reminder, drivers must use both types of tyre during a dry race and the top 10 must start the race on their qualifying tyres, which are usually the softer ones.

It looks like the game in 2013 will still be getting the front tyre and rear tyre temperatures in their respective windows as soon as possible for Qualifying (and at the same time) and keeping them there as long as possible for the race, without overheating. This is what proved difficult last year, partly because of the significant amount of wet running in practice, which meant teams had little information about the slick tyres.

It’s about getting the front tyres at the optimum temperature for qualifying; hence the various rim heating devices seen last year and very complex brake/rim cooling devices.

The rear tyres typically need lots of cooling during a race and the front tyres less so. We have already seen teams unveiling clever devices on their new cars to disperse the heat from the rear tyres with this in mind.

In the race drivers are able to push hard, but it’s also about keeping the tyres in their best operating window. If you are too aggressive it overheats the tyres and then it’s impossible to get them back again. In testing you will see drivers on a long run doing a slow lap in the middle of a run, which brings the temperatures down. But in a race you don’t have that ability, so you can easily get a false reading on your tyre wear from doing that in testing.

One final note; Pirelli has changed the wet tyres this year and if there is no wet running in the Barcelona tests, it will be a big concern if teams arrive in Melbourne with no data on crossover points from wet to intermediate to dry. (The full wet tyre was the weakest tyre of the range last year and Pirelli has taken steps to fix that.)

[Additional Technical Input: Mark Gillan]

Watch out for the JA on F1/UBS Race Strategy Briefing and Analysis on the Tuesday before and after each Grand Prix, with a full in-depth look pre-race at some pointers as to how the races will unfold and the likely strategies and then post-race, a full analysis of how and why the race unfolded as it did. Examples here: JA on F1/UBS Race Strategy Report

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What has changed with the wet tyre? Is it just the compound has got harder to compensate the weakness or has the geometry changed?


This summer in the southern hemmisfere Australia has been hit with extremelly high record temperatures. Although that extreme conditions are gone. I wouldn´t be so sure about chilly temperatures in mid March. In Bahrain I don´t expect the soft to last very long. And we could have rain in Malaysia. That´s the only possibility of rain I see early in the season.Anyway I hope the tyres will not be a nightmare for teams to figure out the strategy like last year.


Quick look on the web will show you Melbourne averages nine days when it rains in March.

A wet race in Melbourne is certainly possible.


...and if the rumours about Bernie are to be believed he'll be front and centre doing a rain dance!


Clearly you have never been to Melbourne...



The summer in Melbourne was nowhere near as hot as it has been in the past. I think it was two or three years ago when the summer heat here went nuts. This year, yeah there were a few unpleasantly hot days, but nothing record-breaking as far as I know. And not consistently hot day in day out. We'd get a couple of hot days, then suddenly it'd be torrential rain for a day. Yeah, Melbourne weather...

But yeah, March in Melbourne... could be hot, could be a bit cooler, could be cold and pouring with rain all weekend.


Record temperatures again - every year without fail they spout that rubbish.

I am in Australia, and except for one or two days where it hit 47°C, it actually been pretty peachy here.

I'm sure 47°C will seem ridiculously hot to most of you (especially in England - they usually think I'm lying when I tell them), but keep in mind that the maximum I have personally experienced is 49°C, and that one or two days of that kind of heat here and there is nothing compared to two weeks straight of 40-45°C like we used to get a couple years back.

March will be cooler, especially in Victoria where it tends to be a lot cooler than the rest of the mainland anyway.

In my humble opinion Pirelli have got it right, at least for Melbourne.


Of course in March is going to be cooler. But my point is how much cooler? Let´s say that coming race day the temperature is 27 degrees, sounds normal. Also there is the track temperature. That one is going to be at least 37 degrees. The super soft tyres won´t last more than 10 laps.


The thing is not all the cars have the same type of degradation. So I wouldn´t be suprise if a few cars need to pit after 2 lap. Yes please bring on the rain. It´s going to be a lot of fun there, wet tyres only and no DRS. Hamilton, Alonso y maybe Button fighting for the win



You could well end up being right about the air temperature Anne, and you are certainly correct in saying that the track will be ten degrees hotter.

It will be pushing it if the tyres only last a lap or two, but ten laps could make things interesting - which I guess is what they're looking to achieve.

Nevermind; After all this they'll probably end up using full wets anyway!


I can't wait for the F1 fans to cry out about how F1 should be all about flat out speed.

If we have to live with Deceitful Racing Slipstream devices (DRS), then why shouldn't tyres be part of it too.

I look forward to seeing the intelligent drivers use strategy to its fullest.

Bravo Pirelli


How about all the tyres are marked the same and it's a lottery on which type you get at each change, that will mix it up a bit. Or how about everytime the driver pits he does not get to leave the pit box until he answers 3 general knowledge questions correctly, that will give the slow intelligent drives a chance to catch up. Seems fair to me if the aim is to even everything out. 😉


Yeah, how about front left inter, front right supersoft and hard tyres for the rear?


That's exactly what you had in the 80's. Goodyears provided four compounds for the teams. A,b,c and d. One harder than the other. The drivers would choose different compounds for front or rear, left or right and if circuit was anti clockwise or clockwise.

Problem is the audience that watch casually aren't interested in the subtleties, they want instant gratification.


I have yet to work out the difference between blue flag overtaking and DRS overtaking, although the blue flag overtaking seems to require more skill...

Geniune slip streaming WAS/IS the most entertaining and talent based method of overtaking... anything else belongs in the garbage can.

DRS is for pussy cats...


I suppose I have a different view to others regarding blue flags. It used to be a skill getting through back markers with drivers losing/ winning races due to hold ups elsewhere.

One of Senna's greatest abilities was his overtaking back markers. Mansell was also brilliant.

More recently, MSC beat DC at Imola because of how he carved through them, whereas DC complained.

Or what about the classic 2005 Imola GP where Alonso kept back a much faster MSC and Schumacher, the crowd and commentators were waiting for them to get to the slower cars so he could pounce. Alonso was brilliant in slowing down the pace, defending and never got caught in an awkward situation.

Personally, DRS and the blue flag rule is the same if football made the goals bigger and removed defenders! There are times a 0-0 draw has been breath taking.


You might like Grenada vs Barbados in 1994 for rule change effects. It was decided that extra time golden goals would be worth two for goal difference purposes. Barbados needed to win by two goals to qualify for the next stage. Barbados was up 2-0 when a late goal from Grenada meant Grenda would qualify instead. Barbados decided that it would be easier to score an own goal than to score again. Having done that, Grenada spent the remaining minutes of normal time trying to score an own goal and Barbados defending Grenada's goal. Barbados then won in extra time to go through.

Just on blue flags, the performance differential in Senna's time between the fast and slow cars was significantly greater, so it was really about how bold you were. Now there would be fewer cars to lap and the opportunities would be far fewer - it would be Alonso vs Petrov in Abu Dhabi in many cases. When you had the option of using additional engine power on the straights to get by, a more cautious driver such as Prost was willing to lose 2 seconds behind another car, whereas Senna and Mansell took the risk.


I used to hate f1 though when the driver behind would catch up at 1second per lap and then get behind somebody like Micheal S and he would push them in the grass.I think it is pretty easy to block someone and not let them through.


It is a bit of an artifically engineered bloody circus thogh isn't it? Messing about with the tyres in this way is the first baby-steps on the road to artificial rain, roundabouts and other wacky races type gizmos. Personally I think it is a real shame that F1 has to resort to this.


woah - BURN. 'Deceitful Racing Slipstream device'! Imagine Ecclestone's face reading that...


I woulndt worry about full wet tyres. Usually when it's wet enough to use full wets the race is red-flagged 😛


Aint that the truth, the calls are usually led by the lead driver trying to protect his lead or whever is leading the wdc.

I realise I am a Hamilton fanatic but at least the guy is usually calling out to be allowed to race in those conditions!


couldn't agree more, H&S gone mad. When you think back to all the outstanding drives in the wet in the past that we are robbed of.

Also, Paul Dunk, agree again, and although i'm not a Hamilton fan particularly, he is the one stand out driver for wanting to race in the rain.


I'm sure the day will come when the lead driver says.."Charlie, those clouds look very dark and ominous, it's going to be too dangerous when that hits. Red flag it now!"


Next it's going to be their religion for reasons to red flag a race...


Hamilton a stand out driver in the wet? I remember Korea 10 when he wanted to race n spun after the re-start after shouting its ok to go racing or crashing out in 11 behind his team mate


Do you remember his win at Silverstone in the wet (2008) - I think he won by over a minute.

Perhaps not so unreasonable a comment after all.


stand out as in he wants to race more readily in the wet than anyone else.


So true - one of my biggest fustrations with modern day F1.

Maybe not always red-flaged, but we are subjected to 10+ laps behind the safety car unecessarily.

Normally also hearing the guy at the front saying "it's undriveable" on the radio, purely to protect his own interests.


Good call,in 1976 Niki Lauda was pull out by

Allen Jones half dead from his Ferrari when

crashed at Nurburgrig,James Hunt was 35 pt

behind,Lauda return to the grid, in the last

race at Mt Fuji it was simply torential condition James Hunt was 3 pt behind Lauda in

championship,Lauda refused to race and asked

for race to be postponed,the race must go on

was stuwards reply.No safety car, no tyre

warmers,James Hunt come third and won the championship by 1 pt over Niki Lauda,I watched

it live on Ch-9 in Australia, what a race, its

one very reason I fell in love with F1.

Lately to many odd on, to many rules it simply

its not the same.


Or stuck behind a pointless safety car.


I hope one day we will start watching F1 races again instead of Tyre1 races.


The tyres are the same for everybody so that is not an issue for me, but what I do not like is that Pirelli can influence the race to a certain degree by their choice of tyres.

Car A runs better on the soft options than car B. Pirelli can therefore favour a team in any particular race. I am not saying Pirelli have done this or would do it but the fact that it can be done is not good for F1.

I say let the teams select the tyre they want to run.


I think that as much as anything else, it is a logistics problem. PIrelli has to plan for manufacturing a number of tyres, and then transport them to the races. That is a lot easier and cheaper if they know well in advance what they are specifying. I cannot imagine it would be very easy to bring a limitless selection of tyres to every race.


You pretty much have to look after your tyres in all forms of racing.

It isn't just F1.


Well, last year we had a season of two halves, one where lots of different teams struck it lucky [or unlucky] with tyres they struggled to understand. Then from about Spa on, we had the leaders contesting a championship proper. I don't know why a repeat of tyre mysteries would be welcome by the teams...

I'm was kinda hoping tyres would not once again be an additional variable, don't the other variables present enough of a challenge for drivers and teams?


By championship proper you mean the guy lucky enough to have the best car sailing off into the distance and the race being a procession.



Well said.


I agree. But there should be a good balance between managing tyres and flat out racing. In my opinion it's 65/35% in favor of tyre management. I believe it's called racing not management;-)


Nothing wrong with responsibility. Looking after the tyres is a way an F1 driver/team ensure that they are forced to think more.


I'm not sure I can remember a time when F1 cars didn't run on tyres!

Nigel Mansell didn't always bother with a full set, Villeneuve was also particularly good on three but even he usually had 4.


Difference is, tyres then were the best they *could* be. They were limited by technology. We now have technology which is being applied to purposely be sub par.

The only way to ensure that we have tyres *genuinely* impacting the racing, is to have a tyre way. That way the manufacturers are going to go softer and softer to increase speed, but at the same time they're going to want their tyres to outlast the rivals.


Well, the whole car is designed to be sub par why should the tyres be any different. Without these technical restrictions the cars would be rocket ships controlled from the pits.

A tyre war doesn't promote good racing either, as only two or three teams get to compete with the development tyres the rest trail along behind. In fact if there is a winner in the tyre war only one team competes! Ah the good old days.


Tyres did never dominate F1 like it has been the last 3 years. All you hear during the race is tyres, tyres, tyres. Watch F1 races from the past, tyres rarely get mentioned but the racing is.


Do you remember/know Alain Prost? How many races did he win because he looked after his tyres and came through later in the race? Particularly so in the early 80's.

Or do you remember Mansell beating Piquet at Silverstone 1987, all about the tyres.

The indestructable Bridgestone tyre era was the exception and not the rule.


I was too young to remember, so I have a question about the tyre problems of the 1980's:

Were the tyre manufacturer(s) making the best tyres they could, or were they artificially engineered to be poor?

If so, was this due to a lack of overtaking?


They were making the best tyres they could, of course and there was a lot of tyre testing.

In the intervening 25 years, so much has been learned by engineers and tyre companies that cannot be unlearned.

And that's the problem. You need to set the engineers challenges so they push forward on new areas of technology and create areas of variability. Otherwise the racing would be deathly dull.


Exactly, even tyres were the no.1 point of discussion during the Bridgestone v Michelin wars. F1 has always been about tyres.


Watch a James Hunt BBC commentary from 1980s and tell me if you still think that is true....


Aah I see what Pirelli are doing here with these changes >>> they are basically turning up the excitement levels to maximum volume.

Okay, what I get from these changes were you have a big difference between the tyres at some races is that the strategists are going to come to the fore this season i.e. It's going back to being a 60-50 working relationship between strategists and drivers.

I for one welcome this for it will mean the drivers will be able to race hard towards the end of a race because with the harder compound, there will be no saving of tyres and thus pure racing for the purits.

Also qualifying will be fun for with quickly heating tyres, we may have a little bit of traffic jams and desperate drivers as some seek to cool their tyres for another run whilst others just want to get on with it and if you add all that up to the banning of the DRS, well, legends are going to be made in 2013 >>> No doubt about it.


I still suspect qualifying will be key considering the fact in 2012, most race winners emerged from either pole or P2

So yeah, always go for the qualifying set up, says I


It should make for interesting qualifying.

Does anyone know how the qualifying session will change ? It used to be 7 out of Q1, 7 out of Q2, and 10 in Q3 for 24 cars, will it be 7, 7, 8 now?


Thanks for the answers.

I would have liked the 7, 7, 8 format better, it would made Q1 more intense.

Especially if someone in the top teams gambles on using the hards (and save the softs) to get through.


I'd imagine 6,6 10 would be more likely.


6-6-10 probably


6 out in Q1, 6 out in Q2, 10 in Q3.


It will be 6, 6 and 10 in 2013. Q3 will always be the top ten (assuming there always is at least ten :)). Q1 and Q2 each lose half of the remainder.


My thoughts exactly


That should make Q1 more interesting as there will be probably 2 of the "middle order" team cars dropping out each race (assuming Marussia & Caterham are at the back of the grid like last year).


In addition, I think the weather (and not necessarily the tyres) will determine who does well in 2013.

For instance, the wet weather helped Lewis clinch the 2008 title otherwise the Ferrari's pace in the dry would have seen Massa clinch it easily.

Also in 2010, if it had rained in the second half of the season like it had rained in the first then either Lewis or Alonso would have won the title e.g. Spa and China 2010

Further more in 2012, if it would have rained a little bit more then Alonso would have won the title e.g. Malaysia 2012 and qualifying Silverstone

So yeah, I will be keeping my eyes on those clouds for after dry spells in 2012, we're at least guaranteed some wet fun at Spa and Silverstone this time round


and if my Aunty had a moustache she would have been my Uncle!


You guys keep joking about moustache and Mansell is going to end up in some group therapy or leading a pro moustache demostration right next to the Parliament.



My auntie has a moustache and still isn't my uncle! 🙂


Now that you mention it Uncle Bob always did seem a bit funny...


..or something like that


Hi James,

Do you think that this years tyres will help Jenson and put him in with a shout at the title? I just get that funny feeling that things are looking good for him this year.

What do you think?



I think he's already said that he can get the new tyres warmed up much quicker than last years, so he should do okay.


As always, he still needs a good setup though.

Tom Haythornthwaite

This is my annual [mod] against the current tyre rules. Intentional degradation and enforced type changes dilute the pureness of racing. I accept that we cannot go back to exciting tyre wars because of costs (and perhaps fairness for poorer teams). I accept that prohibiting tyre changes was a bit dull. But this artificial and contrived side of F1 spoils it for me.

I call for a single (dry) control tyre that lasts about two thirds of a normal race. Under exceptional circumstances (periods on rain tyres, or drivers whose last name is 'Button') it might last a whole race.

I am not saying that the current rules don't impose a lot of strategy. I'm just saying I hate having that aspect interfering with what I think of as racing.

I will try not to go on and on about this during the season but that's not a promise.

And I'm drafting my DRS [mod] already...

I sincerely look forward to others' opinions. This is a forum (thanks, James) and every opinion counts.


I don't understand what people are moaning saying that its not "pure" racing. All drivers have a choice. Maximise the setup and hammer your tyres to make 3-4 pit stops or nurse them and make 1-2. Surely the fastest strategy will win the race. Using the race strategy calculator last year. There were at least 2 races where racing an extra pit stop actually would have been a faster time than the tyre nursing strategy so the racing is there. The teams are the villains for racing conservatively, not Pirelli.


I think everyone has to now accept that "pure" racing, as it was historically, is no longer a viable option. My view of pure racing is that is was an unrestrained development race to make the cars, equipment, tyres, drivers and team performance better. A part of that was a technology race trying to see who could develop what (be it engine, gearbox, aerodynamics, suspension etc) to make their car faster over a race distance.

We now have the technological capability to build cars that could go faster without drivers and active human input. In short, the technology has outpaced the human and, therefore, the race. So we do "artifical" things to slow the cars down, to improve safety, to improve the spectacle. If the pure race development were allowed to continue unfettered then there would be no overtaking and no racing show worthy of watching. It would be all about the ones and noughts of the progamming software. Braking distances would be so short that overtaking into corners would be an impossibility (and I favour a return to steel brakes to help this matter). The car's computer would control every aspect of acceleration, braking, steering angle, suspension movement and, so, once you have optimised those settings you cannot go any faster hence we need humans to make mistakes so that there is some differential in lap time.

I don't think F1 has still sorted out the big issue over its identity and what it is going to be going forward. If it is to remain a relevant development platform to influence the technology on public and personal transport then the future needs to be about efficiency (fuel, component life, tyre longevity). If it is about the racing show then more "standardised" parts are needed - as other formulae are doing - some aero parts, electronics, brakes. Sort this conundrum forst and then you can say what is appropriate for things like DRS, shorter tyre life (I just have a real moral issue with this element of modern F1) and other "constraints".


Fantastic post Bill.

I agree that F1 was already reaching the safety limit for several of the older tracks, with the large turbo engines and Venturi-effect cars of Lotus, et al. Continued development in that area would have led to the need to abandon several older tracks out of safety concerns - and most of them were non-Tilke designed tracks that are rather fetching.

Totally agree that a return to steel brakes would work wonders for excitement - today's braking distances are so short that it doesn't give many opportunities to outbrake someone and pass.

As for Revved-Up's comment, narrow tyres are not the solution in and of themselves. In fact, the biggest obstacle to passing right now is the imbalance between aero grip and mechanical grip. Taking away more mechanical grip will only increase the reliance on aero, and that makes passing hard, resulting in processional racing. More likely, it is aero that has to be reigned in to slow down the cars and yet preserve passing. The problem with that is comparisons to historical cars - today's cars don't equal the speeds of the large turbo era, and removing aero will only make that worse. Can F1 be considered the pinnacle of motorsport when it can't even come close to lap times it was setting 10 years ago?


Well said.

Like so many on this board, I too find that there are too many "artificial rules" in F1. However, coming up with a proper "formula" solving all those artificial rules is difficult - for reasons you have articulated so well.

My simple minded suggestion is this - limit the fuel and narrow the tyres. However, I wonder if the cars would be so slow - you'd not be able to differentiate between the top F1 drivers and the average one.

I have been very impressed by the Nissan Delta Wing (check out Chris Harris Nissan Delta Wing on YouTube for a nice clip) - and wonder if F1 should head in that direction.



In a time when keeping costs down is a priority, I don't understand why there's so much money pumped into developing new tyres every year (there's been a change every year since 2008 at the earliest) and teams need track/simulator/windtunnel time (more cost) to understand the changes.

We got rid of re-fueling for cost saving. Whats the point in shipping thousands of tyres around that last a couple of laps? Surely that's just as bad. Refueling made for great strategies and drivers could push to the limits at various points of the race. I agree the pureness of racing has gone, the drivers typically don't drive to the max.

I don't understand what Pirelli are doing either from a marketing point of view. I don't want to buy their road tyres, I want ones that I know will last...


Pirelli sales are up significantly!


The request from the FIA was for tires(or tyres) that were softer so as to require more pitstops such as unintentionally happened at the 2010 Canadian GP. Pirelli don't have much control over the actual direction the development; their only real options are to either persuade the FIA to change the specifications, do what the FIA ask, or to quit being the supplier.


You really believe in that?


What about controlled engines, tight aero rules, chassis regulations. Everything in this sport is tightly controlled and artificial. The art of the racing comes from drivers and strategists dealing with what variables are left (such as tire degradation) as they occur in real time, while trying to beat the other guys as they do the same thing.


The best things that happened to F1 in recent years is Pirelli.


Isn't all of F1 artificial and contrived? It's certainly bears little resemblance to the real world. Where else would you find teams taking legal action to avoid saving £10,0000,000/season?

In my opinion Pirelli have done a great job in producing tyres that throw another variable into the races.They should be applauded.

At least we no longer know on Friday who will win on Sunday.


What is pure about racing do you think?

You think there is no compromise in set up etc, on dealing with handling imbalances?


Bridgestones tyres were fine. The aero cut in 2009 was sufficient, adding DRS and KERS. FIA fixed what didn't need fixing by introducing this tyre crumble.


Tom's point was echoed by many of the drivers last year when they complained that they were not able to push to the limit...

But I found those comments self serving for the drivers (including one in particular I am a big fan of) who found that the tyres were going away from what their driving styles preferred.

The truth is that in any racing you need to drive to the conditions (man made or natural). What makes any motorsport interesting is the ability for different drivers to use their intellectual strength and practice / hard work (rather than talent) to overcome the various variations they are faced with.

Senna was so good in the rain because he was smart and because of the time he put in practising on the kart track during variable conditions. He learnt to deal with the conditions and reaped the rewards. It should be no different for modern drivers be it because of variations imposed on them either by mother nature or mother Ecclestone.

Tom Haythornthwaite

Racing has been full of compromises since before Colin Chapman said the ideal racing car should fall apart just after crossing the finish line - when speed was compromised *just* enough for reliability (if not safety).

Just today in the Guardian a reader asked what the purest Formula 1 car would look like if there were no rules. All the sensible responses were along the lines of "Then it wouldn't be a Formula 1 car", and "Formula 1 is a formula".

So I didn't mean I wanted pure racing where nothing but speed counts. Perhaps the 100m dash is the closest we come to that (not sure).

What I do NOT like is the otherwise almost perfectly balanced sporting regulations, safety regulations, and business regulations adulterated by meaningless contrivances like 'each driver shall use two types of tyres' [or cars are allowed to be made to go faster when they are within two seconds of a slower car, but you'd better not try it on the second last lap because you may become the victim on the last lap...]


Pure racing is about having cars that have a balance of aero and mechanical grip (not extreme aero as we do now)... wide chassis cars, slip-stream based overtaking (not 100% borefest DRS take candy from baby overtakes) etc.

F1 cars should put driver talent at the fore... otherwise we could just watch races where the cars don't even have a driver... just a bunch of cars that engineers create to burn some fuel. How exciting...


Pure racing sounds like it's based on having no strategy other than hoping for/against rain...

It would only be contrived and artificial if each car had different tyres entirely (a la the tyre wars). The fact that all the teams get the same tyres and have to figure out how to both build a car to handle them and compromise on set up - as well as figure out when to switch over - adds to the whole element of strategy.


Does anyone have any idea about the history of tyres in F1? It's easy to find lots about the evolution of aerodynamics etc, but the tyres never seem to get much of a mention.

In the 60s and 70s for example did any team try to work with tyre manufacturers to improve tyres just for them - it would seem to be quite a cost effective way to have gained performance. All I am aware of are very radical ideas on this front such as the Tyrell 6 wheeler.


You don't have to go back far to find examples of the tyre wars. Ferrari and Michael Schumacher had an almost exclusive partnership with Bridgestone that gave them huge input to the development of tyres that suited the Ferrari. It was supposed to benefit the other Bridgestone customers too but it was never as much as it was to have the tyres designed specifically for your car and driver's style.

All the old major tyre manufacturers have been in F1 at some time - Dunlop, Firestone, Michelin, Goodyear as well as the current Pirelli - and tyre wars were often expensive and produced a situation where the the teams that had the best tyre brand were at the front of the grid and the teams on the other brand(s) didn't stand a chance. There was never parity. A single supplier ensures that all teams now have the same level of performance available to them (if they can get their car optimised to extract it), costs are contained and Bernie is probably a little wealthier as a result. I think the current requirement to use two compounds is a bit like saying to last century's racers "You have to race some laps on a Goodyear and then race some laps on a Dunlop" to provide that parity but also some variability in performance as the cars can only be optimised for one or the other of the tyres or try and find a compromise in performance between the two.


Nice post: tires have always had an impact on racing in one form or another. Certainly in the 20 some years I have been watching F1. I think the Pirelli approach has been fantastic. Throw the tires into the mix and let the teams sort it out for the race weekend. The teams that do the best job all round will win.


It's not in depth or anything, but you might find this interesting...



The groove tyres were wrong, then it got back to good with slicks. Then Pirelli came in and made it worse again.


I have to agree, I never really liked the grooved tyres. Sure they were suppoosed to be for safety, but they looked ****.

As for Pirelli, a lot of you seem to think the old days when the drivers drove flat out the whole race were better. I agree that the idea has merit, but you seem to forget that for every exciting race there were ten dull as paint processions - but we tend to forget about those and just focus on the good ones (myself included).

Whether it's right or wrong, artificial or not, nowadays we get maybe one boring race for every ten exciting ones.

Isn't that a good thing?


F1 drivers have always had to balance pushing hard with looking after tyres. It's one if the great arts of being an F1 driver and always has been


Always?? In the 60's Jim Clark would use the same set of tyres for several races.


Different times. Go back far enough and you can see drivers stopping for a smoke and a snack during pit stops. Chances of that happening today?


Is that really true? I had no idea - the same set of tyres for several races. It sounds unimaginable. I know there was a general disregard for safety but that seems like a crazy strategy, on so many levels.


Yes, that's what I thought, and the kind of thing that provoked the initial question. Given how crucial we know tyres to be to the speed of the package, why on earth was a genius like Chapman not putting pressure on dunlop for something that traded superfluous durability for more grip. Seems quite obvious to ask you'd have thought...


thank you James! so sick of hearing about how it's not real racing anymore, just looking after tyres the whole time. this has always been the case, from Fangio's heyday through today.


Yes but also let the drivers race. Right now already in lap 5 we hear an engineer voice saying "look after the tyres" when we have 50 or more laps to go. I think hard and medium are enough for a good balance between pushing hard and tyre´s care.


Aura F1, are you forgetting DRS, KERS and the aero cut back in 2009? These alone helped a great deal in not letting cars becoming trains.


The tyres became an overtaking tool. Sorry but I don´t like that.


I suspect the difference between now and then is that you can hear the engineer say the words rather than that they were not said previously.


Answer: give the teams more sets of tyres for the race.


How many times do hear on the radio the teams telling a driver to save fuel? This is under the teams control and as such restricts their ability to race flat out, irrespective of the tyre situation.

What Pirelli are providing is no different to when there were more than one tyre supplier.

Bridgestone just helped to contribute to dull racing as a sole supplier.


We had quite a lot of racing last year. The choice is between tyre's that degrade or junking the focus on aero development.

I agree that a lot of 'racer' fans would prefer the latter option, but as nobody wants to lose out on their advantage in aero design, it's not happening.

Without tyre degradation we'd be back to having incredibly aero-designed cars following each other round in circles after quali was determined.


The soft tyres concerns me greatly. It's ok to say that Jerez was abrasive on the tyres, but the falloff in laptimes was very disturbing. They will only be able to do 7 laps on any other circuit I feel....


Well didn't take long for the 'I'll only watch F1 when it's processional drives round in circles with no strategy or overtaking other than crashes and pitstops'.

One day people will realize that Pirelli did everyone a favour and we got a bit more excitement in our races. Not display circling.



Were all great seasons. 2010 the best we've had in years.

2005 and 2006 were also pretty good

Just re-watched 2003 and that was a close year long battle. People's only disappointment was that Schumacher won again. 2004 I don't remember all that well and am having trouble sourcing online, so even if we say it is a dud, that leaves 2003 and 2009 as the only seasons in the decade pre-Perelli that were lacking

Since Perelli entered we had 2011 which was dull as ****, despite a couple of fun races, and last year which, despite what people are saying now, I doubt will go down to be remembered as one of the all time greats.

It was a case of "if it aint broke; fix it anyway". And these calls for jelly tyres came, when? Mid 2010? One of the greatest, closest seasons we had in a long time!


2003 was good, 2005 was dull. Seriously dull. Aside from the championship battle and the Japanese GP at Suzuka that year, 2005 was dull.

2006-2010 were all good seasons, 2010 being the best.

2011 wasn't really any worse than the previous lot, and only a fool would argue 2012 was not incredible.

So yeah, don't fix it if it aint broke, unless you make it better.


The only boring thing about 2011 was Vettel in his Red Bull walking it in race after race. I don't have anything against him, but it got a tad boring watching him go out in Q1 and 2 on primes and walk it in, then just sit in the garage for Q3 til the end and bang out a lap on options, start from the front for the race and disappear into the distance within a few laps. It was certainly impressive to watch, but I think I got more enjoyment out of watching quali than the races a lot of the time.

But I hardly think that was Pirelli's fault. Not that it would be anyway, given that they're given a spec to work to.


Rose coloured memories.


This is the difference between Olympic wrestling (F1 with proper tyres) and American wrestling (PirelliF1).

Yes, the latter may be more entertaining for the lowest common denominator, but it is not real wrestling.


Interesting analogy - did you know that wrestling is to be dropped from the Olympics?


Depends if you like watching a tyre conservation and strategy contest or real racing. All this malarky is to overcome the problems associated advanced aerodynamics. Eh! I've just thought of a good idea let's make the tyres wear out so the cars go backwards. The fans are so dim they will not notice this and think it is genuine overtaking!


I don't want to see fake challenges, even if it is the same for everyone. Either bring one compound that everyone runs, or bring all compounds and let each driver decide. At least that would be more "pure". If tyres are going to be a part of the story, then let's have a tyre war again.


What is a fake challenge though?

F1 cars are designed to a set of rules. Dimensions, materials, specifications. Is the limit of engine capacity a fake challenge? What about no active suspension? Sliding skirts? No movable aero devices other than DRS?

Unlimited choice on tyres would be a logistical nightmare for Pirelli. How many sets of tyres would they have to bring?

The tyre rules are just like all the others. And the team that can maximise their speed over the course of a race weekend wins. How the teams conquer these challenges is what makes F1 exciting for me.

Tom Haythornthwaite

Good one!

I hadn't thought of letting the drivers choose the tyres. Not bad at all.


I agree with you James, being a masterful racer should be about more than being in the fastest car and staying in P1 for 2 hours.

I hope Pirelli also deliver on their attempt to introduce more pit stops due to higher tyre wear. I do wonder if this is also partly behind the reasoning for softer compound choices?



G. Anderson based on 1st testing data supposed that new RBR is not the fastest car on the field and even is like 3rd or 4th in a raw speed.

So, basing on experiences of last years, is the status quo of 1st testing session highlighted in 2nd session too? (and perhaps in 1st racing probably)

And how unreliable are preliminary correlations?



not G. - H. Anderson


Pure racing. Let's get rid of all this artificiality! Get the drivers out of those technological contraptions and they can all run the pit straight on their pure-racers legs.

I think we might have possibly invented that already, but I'm wanting to give the 'purists' something to hang on to 😉


While other races are about speed, modern F1 is the only race you can win by being as talentless and as slowly a possible. Thank you Pirelli for making us wiser.

Now can anyone imagine Usain Bolt having to wear unpredictable running spikes that he would have change half way down the line, just to make things great for us fans. Praises be!


If F1 was talentless - you wouldn't have the better driver consistently beating their teammate.

Given that Alonso consistently beats Massa, and Vettel consistently beats Webber; today's F1 formula still seems to be able to sort the top drivers from the good drivers.


We had the much faster Perez chasing Alonso in a particular wet race and slewing off the road without prompting while overtaking for the lead (and his first race win).

Perez was only quick thanks to Pirellis mocking about with the tyres.

The season only came to life so brilliantly in the second half when the tyre lottery had ended. Then, it became about the best drivers and engineers.

Pirelli has all the data about how the various teams use their tyres. As it is today, Pirelli's monopoly allows them roll the dice in any direction without question. With such power, they can take the team data and tailor their tyres to the team of their choice. The tools are available to run a mafia like racket if either Pirelli or the FIA desires it.

For us fans, it is about the faster guy and technical wizardry. We must never allow third party influence, otherwise we might as well hand the WDC trophies to Pirelli and the FIA, because they, not the drivers would have won it.


I very much agree with the point that 3rd parties should not influence the results.

Pirelli has an important but tricky role to play in providing a level playing field.


Now can anyone imagine Usain Bolt having to wear unpredictable running spikes that he would have change half way down the line, just to make things great for us fans...

No, but did you know the compound used for the track at the London Olympics was specially formulated to enable/produce faster times?


Well that's just utter nonsense. Name a race in this Pirelli F1 era that fits your claim of someone winning "by being as talentless and as slow as possible".

I think you'll find F1 is FAR from being the only category of racing where tyre mangement is a major aspect.

Imagine Bolt having the best running shoes available, and running against a bunch of other guys who're all barefoot. If you want to take the limitations of tyre management out of the equation, you still won't have "pure" on-track racing. You think with tyres that'll run a whole race no problems that a Marussia is going to be as quick as a McLaren? If you want "pure" racing, it's not just getting rid of the fragile Pirelli tyres and DRS and the like. You're talking about a spec series, where everyone's running the exact same equipment, with the same everlasting tyres, the same fuel load, etc. THEN you're getting towards "pure" racing, down to driver skill (although there is still questions regarding for example driver size and weight and how to nullify any advantages or disadvantages there).

But then everyone complains about the constantly tightening technical regulations that take away clever engineering concepts and prohibit others from ever even being used. So the purity of racing clearly isn't a concern there...

In short: People don't know what they want, but they do like to whine endlessly about how terrible everything is.


Another sorry turn of events.

This is resembling WWE now.

Bernie might even be knowing who the champion is going to be this year...

Really sad.

James - what is your opinion on artificial racing like this?

This is not more outright race to see who is the fastest.. Its a race with "handicaps" at various stages.. Whats the fun in the that?


Why is this "artificial racing" ... Rules define the parameters that the engineers must adhere to in order to race, and that includes intentional limitations.

Otherwise the teams would strap a Saturn V rocket to a skateboard...


F1 could come up with a rule that a driver behind another could remotely control the throtle of the car infront and get past... lots of overtaking no doubt - but also an utter waste of everyone's time...

Rules can be stupid, as they are right now, or they can be intelligent and add to the spectacle.


I take your point about stupid rules, but in what way is the spectacle not improved by the current tyre(s) situation? If you look back at the most recent 'tyre wars' era would you say the spectacle was greater with MSC and Ferrari romping to victory race after race (and year after year)?

Much as I liked and admired MSC, I would have to admit things did get a bit boring.

At the end of the day F1 is a show, paid for by the sponsors - who are selling their product. If the public stops watching, then sooner or later the sponsors stop paying and the cars stop racing.


Given parameters and limitations is one thing, but playing things DELIBRATELY in order to make tyres 'fall off the cliff' out of randomness is another.


Well these Pirelli tyres, KERS, DRS. Those tools makes things a bit artificial.


It's the same for everyone and the engineers seem to like the challenge, so..


James -

Thanks for your comments.

I agree there are considerations for Engineers, as imposed by the regulations, and they seem to enjoy it. Fair enough.

But at the same time, there is a fine line between the need for regulations versus over-regulating to create an artificial handicap.

In other words, handicaps like lower capacity engine, limited testing, etc. are good because they apply to the good of the Auto-industry as cars and engines are more reliable without spending too much money.

However, those handicaps are completely different than making people race with certain handicaps.

The concern is that racing should be flat-out. Period.

That it is not, because the tires are not up to the mark or for other reasons, is surely a cause for concern.

And if that is by design then yes that amounts to Artifical racing.

More precisely, it should remain a sport and not become a Prime time televesion soap.


But audience aren't enjoying to watch all this artificial stuff.


I'm part of the audience, and I'd rather see more 2012 seasons than seasons of follow-the-leader.

What's artificial and what isn't? What about all the regulations on engine specs, materials used, car weight, aero regs, passive/active elements, flexible wings, engine mapping, throttle mapping, etc? They're all limitations imposed on the teams. Should they be removed too, leaving a free-for-all development race? Then everyone will whine that it's not real racing, it's just whoever has the best car (i.e. the most money to develop it).

The more limitations placed on the teams, the more control items introduced, etc., the CLOSER Forumla 1 becomes to being "pure" racing.

That said, I'd rather watch F1 as it is today than a "pure" racing spec series. Not that I have any against the idea of a spec series as such, but I like the developmental and technical side of Formula 1, and that includes challenges like the Pirelli tyres. Ideally I'd like to see spending caps put in place and enforced (I did say "ideally"), but aero regs opened up a bit. Give 'em less money to work with, but let them be a bit more creative with it.


I never stated majority or minority, just said there's a population. As with any case there are two sides to a coin. Same with F1 at the moment there is a population that don't like how the tyres are.


James, surely, as a website host, you must've noticed there is a population of the audience don't prefer the current situation.


Sure, but you were presuming to speak for the majority.


Defintely not... Artifical F1 is quite boring... I don't even care about the results too much, as they hold no real value.

The only reason I keep on eye on F1 now, is to see how badly its implemented. Certainly, it is NOT the pinacle of motor sport. Just a shadow of its former self.

In fact, the only real race this season will be between Hamilton and Nico... and the possibility to see the impact Hamilton has on Merc relative to Schumacher... the rest is just a waste of time, to be totally honest.

F1 is about greed now, and not much more.


Why do the teams have to use different compounds in each race? I'm all for different tyre compounds but surely the tems should be able to pick from all the tyre choices at each race and then pick which is best for them. Having to go on hard tyres when soft suit the car is just a false handicap. What's next? Bernie's wetting the track!


A handicap is an advantage or disadvantage imposed on a competitor in order to level the playing field. The Pirelli tyres are nothing of the sort. If the teams were allocated different tyres depending on where they sat on the table, so the bottom guys were running tyres that gripped like a super soft but lasted like a hard tyre... yeah, then there's handicapping going on. But of course, everyone is working with the same compounds. If your car handles beautifully on softs but on hards is more like a bus, you've failed in the design or set up of the car.

With 22 cars on the grid, Pirelli will have to bring 242 sets of dry compound tyres to each weekend (I'm assuming they bring a few more, but that's the dry allocation). Assuming the total allocation of dry compound sets remained at 11 for each team, if the rules allowed the teams to pick any compound for any point of the weekend, Pirelli would have to bring 968 sets of just dry compound tyres to really be fully covered. You don't see a problem there?


I never said it was about making life easy for Pirelli. If I wanted life to be easier for Pirelli, I'd be agreeing with everyone who's whining for durable tyres. I'm sure they'd have a much easier time of than that designing tyres that work in narrow windows and degrade in particular ways.

It's about it being an absurd waste of money in times when the sport is supposed to be cutting costs. Manufacturing and logistics also don't only have a monetary cost; wastefulness in these areas isn't particularly "green" either. Neither is massively increasing the number of never-even-used tyres that simply end up being recycled. Sure, recycling is "green". Never even making the thing that never gets used but you shipped pointlessly around the world anyway, that would then take energy again to recycle it... that's MORE green.

It also means more cost for the teams. Who do you think provides the fancy expensive wheels the tyres are fitted on to? Don't the teams also store all their tyres blanketed too? Speaking of which... where will the teams store their quadrupled dry compound allocations?

It's all well and good to say, "Wouldn't it be great if...", but in reality there's a lot more to it.


The sport of F1 shouldn't be organised to make Pirelli's life easier. They want to be the sole tyre supplier. If it's too much hard work for them there are pther tyre companies who would love to take over


Last years problems were about temperature operating ranges, causing a lottery style performance advantage to whichever team happened to have the right chassis for the circuit and track temps to hit the tyre's sweet spot. (until teams made quite substantial developments to control this more.) Which it appears they have tried to address with the new tyre construction. So now what they do with compounds simply affects strategy/number of pitstops, so it should be good and this is not "fake" racing like the beginning of last year.


Would like to add that i think it was Mercedes who struggled most with tyre temps last year, Ross Brawn was the most outspoken about how hard it was to understand the tyres in 2012. I think we may see a much better season from them this year without them having to devote so much R&D into tyre temperature control...



Lets just have every car have all the best, heavy-duty parts that never wear out or break, or have to be cared-for, and all use some Italian 'customer cars' and the racing will be "pure."

Oh, wait, that's Indycars already! nvm

Tornillo Amarillo

If F1 is a show, Pirelli's challenges ensures no-processional races, so could be good.

The challenge could be hard for pay-drivers, though (and for Mercedes, 🙂


l like the idea of seeing different strategies fighting it out for the top spots. A one stop (Button/Perez/Massa) vs two stops (Vettel/ Alonso/Kimi) vs three stops (Hamilton /Webber).

I can't remember a time when tires in F1 did not play an important part in the racing. Managing tires is part of what you need to learn to be considered a good driver in each and every form of racing.

l am glad as a F1 follower to see an effort made toward widening the scope of strategies.

Now let see if it brings us just that. Marc


Me too! Love to see a smooth steady driver race against an aggressive one who needs one more tyre stop.

I also wished we had smaller capacity more fuel efficient engines, race against larger fuel hungry engines that require more fuel on board, and hence one more tyre stop.


Second only to "you must start the race with the fuel you qualified with", the rule to use both sets of tyres is the artificial manufactured bs that F1 has ever seen - I have always recoiled over it.

In my onion these rules should have been gone since KERS & DRS were introduced - and refueling should return to F1. Refueling + DRS + unrestricted KERS and turbos would be the best formula.


I believe the fuel stops were done away with to save the cost of the refuelling rigs and their transportation costs.

Personally I quite like the 2 second tyre stops now - it's like a race within a race - and allows the pit stop guys to be part of the race.

If cars refueled, the tyre stops will be more leisurely, as it takes longer to refuel than change tyres.


Well said James. I remember the days of Mansell and his famous last minute diving into the pits for fresh rubber, running more than a second a lap quicker and gaining more places or even victory.

Shame no one on the grid wears a flat cap these days though ah well. My glasses may be rose tinted.


Mansell is a good example.

Managing the tyres in the turbo days mid 1980s was a big thing and he got the hang of it and started winning.


Yes James, but tyres back then were still made to the best, but delibrately played with by the manufactuerer to do this or that in order to have a certain outcome. In this case Pirelli delibrately make tyres not last some distance, or even fall off the cliff randomly.


And don't we all remember the huge dissappointment when he got it wrong in Australia and lost the title when his tyre exploded? They were exciting times.



Is n't Pirelli running the danger of being accused of manipulating race results in favour of a particular team when they have freedom to decide when to go for tough tyre choices and when more predictable tyres are offered, albeit far more importantly towards the second half of the season, for example:

Scenario 1: Team A marginally ahead in WDC and Pirelli chooses to mix things up with difficult tyre choices for teams to increase the uncertainty of race results.

Scenario 2: Team B comfortably ahead in WDC and Pirelli adopts conservative tyre choices making more predictable tyre choices for teams to minimize risk of Team B losing ground in WDC.


Yes - I believe there's always a risk. Not sure how big the risk is. It looked to me that the last few races in 2012, Pirelli were deliberately conservative with the tyre choices.

I think it would be awful if tyres that failed to last the final few laps decided a championship. Hence, an inclination to be conservative.


The tyres aree chosen well in advance, in blocks of three or four races at a time (as in this case)


That leaves plenty of races in the second half of the season for Pirelli to make choices to steer the outcome of the championship depending on who is leading the WDC and WCC.


Hi James and all posters on this forum,

I'd like to say that I hate this site as it's the first site I go to everymorning when I get in the office (grin)!

I love the articles and I love the intelligent and sometimes comedic conversations about my favourite topic.

I've recently been demoted... through personal choice as my excuse was to spend more time with the family. The real reason was so I could spend more time on this website.

All the best James and fans. May the best man win in 2013. My prediction is.....the winner will win on Perelli tyres.

Hope to see some of you in Melbourne.


That's ridiculous! But thanks for the support!


How about teams have a free choice of which tire they choose, as long as they choose two different compounds during a race..


Pirelli would have to bring all the tyres they have to a race, which would cost a fortune and be a logistical nightmare


The tyres are individually allocated (barcoded etc.) to each team/driver prior to arrival aren't they?

Surely teams could nominate their 2 compound choices in advance (as happens now by Pirelli) for the next 4 races (or how ever long Pirelli require due to manufacturing, logistics)?

It'd certainly be interesting to see what they would go for and how different the choices are. I think Monaco will still be a no brainer but somewhere like Silverstone could have some interesting combinations.

Going down this path could potentially have teams choosing the same 2 compounds and setting their car up around that for the whole season so might require a regulation mitigating such a practice.


They would all work out what was the optimum and then they would all choose the same two compounds. It would just shift the choice away from Pirelli and onto the teams, but the outcome would be the same


Chaps + Chapesses,

I think a dose of big picture medicine is required here.

look at it this way; F1 is an entertainment business, it lives or dies on its ability to provide a spectacle that we all want to watch and pay for. It's just like the movie business or the music business or tv. But there is one difference that sets motorsport in general apart from the other entertainment industries, and that is that it that it involves cars and engines and tyres, which are all massively profitable industries in their own rights.

So companies like Pirelli, Shell, Ferrari etc are in it because it is a great way to publicise their brands in a way that is not just straight advertising, which they all know we are somewhat inured too. Hence they are all looking for ways in which they can get their brand mentioned. In the case of car manufacturers that's by winning races and/or signing big names. Mercedes, for example, have probably got more exposure just by signing Lewis that even if he won the wdc for them. Instead of looking like a brand for middle aged men with prostrate problems, suddenly they are mentioned alongside the coolest racer in years. Well worth the measly 19 mil a year.

Pirelli, though, have a problem. Since they are the only tyre supplier they will always win every race and every wdc/wcc. 'Pirelli wins Monaco' is not a likely headline is it? So they have to come up with a strategy that will get them mentioned. Hence the more aggressive compound options. Endless talk about tyres equals more times the word 'Pirelli' is used equals more tyres sold. It's all about marketing I'm sorry to say...

but what keeps me watching is that despite the best efforts of the PR gurus and the Rons and Bernies of this world, F1 sometimes delivers those great moments where it's all about who has the biggest cajones at the moment, and I'll take all the marketing BS in order to relish that. So maybe the marketing men have it right all along...


I really don't care what the tyre-supplier does as long as no individual Team gets a discernible benefit.

My view is that the majority of the issue with tyres is that there is too much realtime strategy being controlled by people who are sitting in front of computers and not enough by the person in front of the steering wheel.

As such, vast majority of strategies will be decided by near-identical spreadsheets and, voila, vast majority of Teams end-up running near-identical strategies. Doesnt really matter what tyres are used : the computers will all come to basically identical conclusions anyway.

Personally, I'd remove all pit-to-car electronic communications and (you ready for this?) make the driver actually decide how fast the car should be driven instead of some engineer telling him the "optimal pace" for the strategy that the computer selected as best.


Has there been any change in the rules to try and make sure all 10 cars do a proper qualifying lap in Q3?


Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe only Mercedes did this last year being that the championship/car performance was so close and it wa after all notoriously tough on its tyres. Very prevalent in 2011 but almost not a problem in 2012.


OK let's see. Pirelli "promises" to spice up the action selecting compounds to make for aggressive and interesting strategies. The winners from these races will feature mid field teams...

Then after criticism (from the big 4 teams)they will fall back to conservative compounds where 1-2 pitstop strategies are the norm again.

First why the need for 2 different compounds? Get rid of this rule and bring back refueling then F1 will be good to watch again.


Are you saying it wasn't good to watch last year?

I'm sorry but I disagree, I've worked in F1 for 24 years and last year (once we'd got over the weirdness of the first few races) was really exciting.

You never really knew who was going to win, or what the podium would be.


I kind of liked the weirdness of the first seven races. What are the chances we'll ever see that again?

Maybe they should go with a Mario Kart scenario - chuck a few bananas on track, let 'em throw a few shells at each other, and every one in a while have the crowd throw out a magical star that eliminates all mechanical failures....come to think of it James, do you have Bernie's number?


"You never really knew who was going to win, or what the podium would be."

If that's based on equal skills among the top 6-7 drivers, then yes I'd agree with you, James.

However, with the current situation, it is not based on equal skills but random tyre reaction / consequenses for different drivers due to Pirelli playing with chemicals back in the lab creating whatever they wish to create.


Yes that was the case until Singapore. After that one it was all very predictable despite Brazil but even in that case rain played a big role. The only exciting thing was Lewis in the U.S.


I am sick of hearing people complaining about 'artificial' elements of the tyres. Pirelli have only done what has been asked of them by the teams and F1 management, why else would a provider go out of their way to may their product wear out more quickly? This was part of bridgestones fear in doing just that.

It just so happens that this choice has actually given them good PR as the majority of the public, and the paddock think that it has worked well and there is far more interest in the sport in recent years compared to other years. Even pay Tv is getting in on the act in a big way as they see the value the sport in its current form gives them(whether pay tv having the rights is good is another debate all together).

As far as the tyres being artificial, this is complete nonsense as pointed out by many. Tyres have always played a big role in F1 and most other forms of motorsport. What was more 'artificial' in my opinion was one driver with the fasted car and optimised tyres for their driving style getting pole, and remaining out front for the whole race because as soon as another car gets into dirty air, the 'artificial' effects of each car having so many aero tricks prevents the following driver being able to use their skill and attempt an overtake, as they are prohibited by the laws of physics to get close enough to have an attempt. Every car pretty much would follow the same racing line and driver skill is then much more about training, repetition and practice than raw talent.

At least since Pirelli became involved drivers have had the chance to get close engough and then it becomes more of an exhibition of skill between the two drivers rather than the race just being effectively a time trial. For example it may be inevitable that ultimately during one stint a driver will be overtaken, but anyone who has watched the races over the last couple of years would have noted that drivers with the most skill have the nack of being able to hold off a rival far longer, and overtake far quicker when they need to. This is often what earns them higher finishing places in the race. We have seen some incredible examples of skill in recent years with drivers remaining within inches of each other for a sequence of corners, showing respect incredible talent. Of course, there have also been the odd crash, which demonstrates where a driver is maybe a bit raw and inexperience, but this variance in experience and skill would not be so evident in days gone by where a driver would follow in the wake of another car on the same racing line for lap after lap.

Of course there is a balance, and Pirelli acknowledge that but it is far better than watching a procession every week which owed far more to the technology that the actual driver.

As pointed out previously, the rose tinted brigade bang on about the good old days with unrestricted development etc, but if there was no 'Formula' restrictions on certain areas we would be watching a procession of auto-piloted space age rockets flying around the track with the team with the biggest budget winning each year. The only talents on display would be the engineers.


Hear hear!!

BTW, anyone that doesn't spend some time watching NASCAR probably hasn't heard the same conversations between drivers and pits about tyres (or tires over there) really needs to do so. They are NOT running Pirellis. They DO have tyre degradation. They DO have to strategise. Why do you think F1 would be any different?


With this big difference in tires, it is very likely that several drivers will sit out Q3 altogether, so that they can start on a fresh set of the harder tire. Then switch to the softer one only for the final stint, when the car is at its lightest.


An ugly possibility indeed 🙁

I wish there could be two F1 tyre companies at least. That would knock off all this nonsense.


How about tires that are meant to deliver the max performance instead of the mockery they are now...they are utterly and completely fake tires... Why don't they just put a device in it that randomly causes a tire to explode!

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