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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lotus' satirical tweet aimed at Red Bull

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But we will have to wait and see.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was Dietrich wot won it.



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


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

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

Justin Bieber

Sadly I think you may be right..


To Horse Whisperer,

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

As James pointed it has become too much about tyres, and driver skill and the cars full potential speed has become less important.


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


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


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

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

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


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



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


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

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

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


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

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

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



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

1)is not a comparison between qualifying laps, have a look at the race lap times. Everyone agrees that in 2013 they were pushing harder and not coasting, just watch any replay.

2)Even though the Sauber pitted late and on light fuel, they are hardly on leaders pace. That just proves that Alonso, Kimi etc were just coasting, because no one bothers pushing towards the end of races anymore.

3)when Alonso passed Kimi, Kimi was still in with a chance of victory. Drivers in the past would never give up position that easily, even when on different strategies, they would try n hold up the driver behind and take away as much time as possible and try and ruin their tyres or force them into a mistake. These days they don't even bother, they just give the place up.

4)drivers aka Vettel used to only turn their engines down in the last few laps when their was a big gap and they had the win or position in the bag. Even then drivers used to push in the last couple of laps to try and fight for the fastest lap of the race, usually between Vettel and Webber in 2011. However these days they just limp home.

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


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

1.Pole 2011 1.20.981 Webber

Pole 2013 1.20.718 Rosberg

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

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

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


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

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


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

If you think Alonso and Raikonnen were pushing flat out then please explain:

1) the massive difference of qualifying laps compared to race laps, much bigger gap compared to 2011 and 2012.

2)why the fastest lap of the race was by a Sauber that qualified 16th, and finished 11th???

3)why did Raikonnen let Alonso drive past so casually?? I suppose he was being nice?

4)why the onboard videos looked like a warm up lap? Not pushing hard into corners, not bothering to defend, no late braking manoeuvres or outside of the racing line moves (except lap 1 by Alonso)???

Grayzee (Australia)

Spot on Ahmed!


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


Spot on Alex!


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


Don't be so hasty



FIA declares Formula 1 tyre tweaks can only be for safety

By Jonathan Noble Friday, May 17th 2013, 19:46 GMT

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

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

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


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

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


They are just doing that to cover the legal end. So long as Pirelli is making the changes for "safety" reasons, they can drive the bus through the park.

Harder wearing tyres that are to the taste of race attending fans will come in based on the same "safety" reasons.

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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


Why does it cease to become racing if a driver is limited to a speed due to tire deg? Drivers are limited with other factors too, we often see drivers forced to back off at times due to fuel and wear on the Engine and Gearbox.

The tires at Catalunya were not that bad at all, 3 Stops was the quickest on paper, but making the extra stop allowed drivers to push a bit harder. I don't see how anyone who has watched a safety car period happen half way through a pit-stop window, which is genuinely confusing could be at all baffled by the number of pit stops in Spain.



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


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


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


2012 "V3ttel" - you all have this already.

2013 "Vette4" - place your orders now!

2014 "Vettel" - it was meant to be!







OMG...this guy is never going to stop!


Veeeeery funny....


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


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


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


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


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

roberto marquez

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


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


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


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


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


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


Maybe there are people who do, but I certainly don't enjoy watching pitstops.

I couldn't care if there were even zero stops for a whole race. All I want is real action on track.


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


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





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


Totally agree with you.

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

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


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

Stuart Harrison

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

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

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


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


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


What do you mean???

Cars CAN race... Did you see Ferrari and Lotus???


And Ferrari did push to the limits and that is great


Alonso himself said he was driving at 90%.


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


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


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


Which means 80% at best in reality


First, outrage about tires. "Change them or hang Pirelli" they cried.

Now, the tires change, RBR look to benefit, beloved Alonso and Kimi look to not, and the outcry is - "Don't change them, it's not fair!"

First, OMG - so many pit stops.

Now - ahh...who cares about the pit stop count!

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

Or pole time - which I keep mentioning.

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

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


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


Yes. James is very neutral.

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

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


well said. so true



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

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

Her is the link:



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

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

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


Very well said, +1.




+ 100

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

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

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



Ron Colverson

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


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

Nihad Gluscic

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

Just wondering what sort of changes does require unanimous agreement of all teams.



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

FIA (Ferrari international assistance)

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


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


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


Surely you mean Force India Assistance?


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


Normally, but there is no Concorde Agreement at the moment


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Of course every team gets the same menu.


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


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


There's always an exception.


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


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


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


Sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing.

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

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


Ha ha, keep on dreaming mate!


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

ps i hope your right...


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


The test car advantage is laughable seriously.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


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


An astute business man like DM doesn't "just" express an opinion 😉


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


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


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


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


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

Oh, the story lines to come, eh?


I meant +1 to James K's commentary.

Tornillo Amarillo

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

Can Michelin play any role since it's the Formula "E" supplier for 2014?


Michelin says it will only participate in F1 if there are other tyre suppliers to compete against. They are against monopoly, even if its to their benefit.

I guess their position is dictated more by the economics of a clean image than morality, but its the right way to go.


I am against changing the formula in the middle of the competitive season.

The formula and the competitive specification were set, so that teams could develop their package to maximize theior performance to those specifications. Some teams have done better than others.

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

Be that as it may, this has been going on in Formula One for the entire modern era, and likely, though I am less familiar with it, the entire duration of Formula One racing.

So now it is Red Bull, the heavy-hitting three-times-in-a-row champions, who have been successful. Let us not forget that they paid the price with the double diffuser, in 2009, otherwise, they would have won that year, and let's face it, it should have been ruled outside of the specifications.

But previously, when not REd Bull, the red team made fortuitous advantage of this pattern in Formula One, and the Schumacher era is unflatteringly conclusive evidence; many believe that they got exclusive customer-Schumy tires!

So, in the end, that's just the way it goes.

But who is the real winner? Usually we would look to the real whiners; in this case Red Bull and Mercedes. While it is true that Red Bull will benefit from this change, will their benefit be comparatively better than the benefit to their main rivals?

In the case of Mercedes, even the bullet-proof Bridgestones wouldn't likely preserve their tires on a car which seems to have been designed to use the tires hard, but get the benefit out of doing so. Mercedes just made a fundamental design error, and there is just no easy way to fix that.

The chief rival of Red Bull, is Ferrari-Alonso, and Lotus-Kimi.

Ferrari: the big winners: with their improved tire-management design, they may now be able to match Lotus on one less stop than Red Bull.

But Lotus is not likely to get enough to reduce their need for pit stops further; so they'll get no benefit, keep the same constraints that they accepted to design their car to be nice to the tires, and are likely to get pushed down the order, probably fighting it out with Mercedes, rather than Ferrari.

But who knows...


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


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


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


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


How 's that possible that for 3 years nobody inside Mercedes camp is able to figure out the problem? Waste of time, money and resources!...

Though I hope Paddy Lowe can help them to solve the tyre issues! Really embarrassing race Barcelona 2013 was!


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

Horror! Those new updates are based on the current tyre, so are worth one race only. Horror!

I guess all the teams would suffer in similar ways from the tyre change too.

Alexander Supertramp

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


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


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


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


Disagree I think they will be relatively minor


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



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


And by the way Horse Whisperer is 100% correct.

SELECTIVE MEMORY CELLS - perhaps a Newey invention?

Races are taking same time to complete.

Drivers are making same amount of stops.

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


great comments robert. i wish more people felt this way


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

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


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

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

In 2011/12/13 the fastest race lap was in the 1:26's.

However in 2011 the drivers average lap time was only 1-3 seconds off that & for much of the race they were lapping in the 1:27/1:28 range.

In 2012 the figures were fairly similar.

However in 2013 they were lapping 3-5 seconds off that time & most drivers spent most of the race lapping in the 1:29/1:30 range.

Also in 2013 most in the top 10 never got out of the 1:28 range for there fastest lap while in 2011/2012 most in the top 10 got into the high 1:26's.

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

Also consider this, If tyre management is no worse in 2013 why are we hearing so much more radio messages regarding hitting lap deltas, not racing cars around them & been told to slow down?

Why are more of the drivers, teams, media & fans complaining about it in 2013 while they did not in 2011/2012?

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


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


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

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

I do wonder why teams haven't adopted a blue language set of instructions.

Can you imagine, Jenson or anyone could be called into a stop yet the FOM feed couldn't put it on screen for other teams to hear. Yet when a team wants to mislead opposition, "box in 4 laps"


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

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


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

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


Yeah, this is it.



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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Jorge Gaviria


colin grayson

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

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

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


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

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

VP of Common Sense

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


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


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


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

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

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


>”We need to see him in a bad car for a season”

So his 1.5 seasons in a midfield Toro Rosso don’t count because?

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

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

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


Err, except for every victory he has ever had?

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

>"We need to see him in a bad car for a season"

So his 1.5 seasons in a midfield Toro Rosso don't count because?

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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


par, par, par for the course. 🙂


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

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


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

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


Yes but what's stopping RBR then doing 2 stops, Ferrari 3 and RBR claiming they can't race with these tyres?

Red Bull have been claiming since the winter that these were too soft. Lotus and Ferrari got on with the programme.

After Kimi won in Australia, Ferrari said they couldnt have got through on two stops, have to work harder.Red Bull? They complained.

Such a subtle difference in mindset.


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


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


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

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

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


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


Thank you 🙂


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

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

I wonder what Jenks would've thought of these "fans"?


What a great question about Jenks.

Careful though, most of these so called "fans" you speak of would believe you're talking about the opera singer Jenkins!


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

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


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


Moving the goalposts in the middle of the season is a non-runner for me. The tyres were at their worst in Barcelona but Australia, China and Malaysia and particularly Bahrain saw some superb wheel to wheel racing.

Perez and Button certainly weren't thinking about tyres as they were side by side down the main straight there. Neither were Webber and Vettel in Sepang.

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


'Multi 21' happened because RB were worrying about the tyres.


It's starting to make sense why Vettel passed Webber. He knows full well that Ferrari are exceptionally strong.

5 finishes, 2 wins, not lower than fourth against Alonso, 2 wins, 1 second and 2 incident affected races, yet less than a second place behind...


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

roberto marquez

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


Or like a young child, sits on the ball because he is spoilt and can't score every goal.

Actually I'd love to see them park their cars on the track, I'd recommend the naughty step for both!


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


Sounds good to me...


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



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


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


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

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

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


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

heinzman (Fan of ALO)


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

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


I'm glad you said of 99. Many people who talk of the "good old days " had the good fortune to watch a sport contested by men, not boys. A sport run by piranhas not celebrity. A sport that the BBC showed for free because Sky wasn't interested in it.

A sport where the drivers made more difference than the engineers,

Many of us have a huge appreciation of the history of the sport, there does seem to be a kind of envy of anyone who watched F1 back in the day.

its very much like the media hype of a current musician makes them greater than all the pioneers, simply because they didnt follow them or were not born in that era.

nowadays, the fans need entertaining more, life is much faster paced and the electronic media is very important.

Totally off topic but it may highlight the changes, years ago, from a cinema release to home release could be 3 or 4 years. Now, a blockbuster has 3 months at the box office before its released on Bluray.

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

Heinzman (Fan of: ALO)

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


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

For some, its about getting their moneys worth for very expensive track side tickets. Yet for others, the definition of F1 is a race the fastest wins.

For these two groups, hating the current tyre era is the only option. This type would rather die than switch the TV off during an F1 race, 3rd parties destroying a race is like blasphemy to them. Its F1 passion, I hope you now understand.


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


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

Something had to give.

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

This is one situation where two wrongs make a right.


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


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


Blame Sky deal


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


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


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

Alexander Supertramp

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


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


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

I loved that one. 🙂

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


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


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

In other words, let's wait and see 😉


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

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

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


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


The best two drivers don't struggle.


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


Red Bull won the 2011 Spanish

Grand Prix with four stops and made no complaints at all


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

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

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

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


You seem to miss the irony in your statement.

I think you meant to say red bull feels the only way to beat Lotus and Ferrari is by having an advantage.

Bear in mind, Ferrari and Lotus are happily fighting each other, as historic race teams do, it's RedBull that wants the advantage back.

So they have more downforce, it's their design direction which is at fault


At that time not all teams got reprimanded for testing parts on filming days, after the FIA had discovered the engine maps and deemed they did not contravine any régulations Ferrari and others called for the rules to be changed mid season which is the same as is happening here. Also with the camber your right Pirelli provided advice on the camber however the "rest of the world" didnt say its your problem they changed a recomendation into a regulation mid season, a mid season change of rules recommended by Pirelli ..... just like now. I am aware of the history of the F1 team changes but I dont think that makes the older teams morally entitled to influence or that they behave in a better manor. All teams are self interested and regardless of age, and i was just trying to point out that even the older teams kick up a fuss sometimes.

Im not saying I agreed with the the proposed tyre change and as long as they can get 2/3 stops out of all the remaining gps it should be fine once they stop the tyres falling apart.

Id like Ferrari and FA to win this year but I just dont see the need to bash Redbull and SB. Anyway have a good weekend


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


All teams use filming days to test parts for their cars, they also use young driver tests for the same reason.

Ferrari didn't complain about engine maps, it was discovered by the FIA delegates and they told the team to change it. Much the same as over the recent winter.

It was also the FIA who asked for wing loading tests and flexing tests to be introduced. Wasn't it in Monaco last year that Red Bull were ordered to change a hole in the floor as it contravened rules.

The camber change was something that PIRELLI advised the teams. In Belgium 2011, RBR ran their tyres as aggressively as normal and found blistering on their inside shoulders. They became little divas asking for new tyres and the rest of the world said, if you choose to ignore safety advice, it's your problem.

As to Lotus provenance, their naming may be 2 years old but this team dates back to the early 80's. Toleman became Benetton in 1986. In 2002, the team became Renault until the Crashgate scandal gave Renault a chance to get out of F1. It was named Lotus after that.

Does it have anything to do with Hethel, of course not, nor did what has become Caterham.

Does Mercedes have any link to the team of the 50's?

Tyrrell became BAR and then Honda before Brawn bought the team.

Force India? They started as Jordan in 1991.

Even Red Bull date back 16 years, Stewart F1, Jaguar and then the current operation. All working out of Milton Keynes.

But you're right, the lists always go on, depends how you wish to see things


@ hero_was_senna

Hmm... I don't think so.

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

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



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

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


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


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


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


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


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


Referring to the extra brake pedal...

The funniest thing I ever heard Ron Dennis say, was how Ferrari were using illegal traction control. They weren't, just developed a gearbox that changed gears so quickly it could act as a form of traction control.

In April 2001, at the Spanish Gp, they reintroduced traction control for all teams, Mr Dennis told all the media how you would now see who was running TC as they effectively would fall backwards as all the teams would be using it freely. His inference being Ferrari.

As we all know, Mclaren got worse and worse, Ferrari became a juggernaut, dominating for the next few years.


Mr Allen,whether over the time one agreed

with The Horse Whisper or not, this time

they are spot on,they back it up with facts.

Sadly the ball is in Pirelli court,and only

Pirelli can make it right, that is to make

sure that the rubber does not peel of the rim

and leave the compound to its original design.

Luca D.M has not come to the fray publicly as

yet, however one feels he will and to my knowalage he has not lost the forum.

Mr Allen,bit outside of the above subject, in

my parts of the woods the rumour mill say it

a warrant by the German Court for the arrest

of Birnie E is imminent,is rumor mill a lot

of hot air or it has some currency?.


I am sooooooooo loving this for Pirelli.


Benetton had some tasteless advertising years ago, victims in hospital beds etc. made major headlines around the world. They replied honestly, no publicity is bad publicity.

Same with Red Bull after Malaysia and certainly with Pirelli. I would imagine their only concern is images of delamination, not teams playing games with the press. 🙂


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

But no publicity is bad publicity? Depends.

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

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

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

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

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


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

Last year they were doing 3 stops in early part of the championship. After mid-season one stop.

What´s the difference from this year? They did 4 stops in one Grand Prix...

What´s the problem? Do whatever you think is fast an adapt, as you did last year.

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

If RedBull starts win easy i surelly will stop too see F1.

The tyres were there in the begining of the year, so built a car around those tyres or go fishing..



And by the way, this is a disrespect for car manufacters and teams with 30 and 50 years old, that a drink company with 8 years old in the sport have such a power in the decisions

This is a farse, this is not F1, this is comercial and politics stuff.

I want to see Ferrari, Lotus, Macs, Mercs,Williams, Honda racing each other, not RedBull, Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fairy.

The fans of F1 are linked to the cars manufacters... I dont think the tiffosi would like to see a new team to have such power in f1, and i´m not one of them... But i can understand that this could be very dangerous for the real F1, wich are the old teams


I could not agree with you more. Great post.


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


All Pirelli talk is PR and hot air.

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


It still is not right from the standpoint of the regulations, set up by the FIA and accepted by all teams.

As is states very clearly in artikel 12.6.3. form march 9th 2012:

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

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

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


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

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

F1 in abit of a mess just now


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


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

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


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

Then the drivers really will have to drive carefully.


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

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

Tornillo Amarillo

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

By the way, the FANS are always right!

Tornillo Amarillo

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


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

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

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


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




Truth or Lies

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

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

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


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


Has anyone noticed that no one has ever seen James and the Horse Whisperer together in the same room...... 😉


Oh yes they have! Many times...


That´s look suspicious:)


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


What a great reply by Ferrari and Lotus. I still think that the only way to stop RBR BULLYING is for Ferrari to retire from Formula 1 and watch it go bust. We all know: every race has full red stands which obviously are Ferrari fans, the greatest part of the merchandising is turned by tifosi money. So the only solution is let RBR be the new Ferrari with their caffeine drink!

It's not fair to change rules almost half way through to suit them. This is sheer arrogance. If you're not able to perform with these tyres, try harder.

In my job I strive for perfection knowing that I will never obtain it 100%! But I play by the rules.

I think Bernie forgot that he got rich through Ferrari's myth. And the FIA? Why has Todt stayed silent. The FIA wanted weaker rubber tyres so the last word should be hers.

I would like some feedback on these thoughts.


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


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


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

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

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

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


Great points, especially #3


Last race, Alonso himself said that the number of stops would have been confusing to the fans. Alonso cannot be described as unintelligent and I'm sure he is his own biggest fan.

Lets not forget that Alonso also drives for Ferrari.


Alonso is having problems with the combination of soft front tyres and stiff front suspension. His quali performance will be boosted if front tyres are hardened. You can see he is the driver with less gains in lap time between the harder and softer compounds during practice and quali. Actually, he has been the overal fastest with the harder compounds since the begining of the year.

Perhaps he thinks going to harder compounds will be beneficial for him, while not that bad for his car performance. So balancing the situation, he finds that a change in the tyres could be a good thing for him.

That said, I am specting bigger differences between him and Massa from Canada onwards. But of course it depends on the relevance of the changes made from Pirelli, which if we listen to Gary Anderson are going to be marginal for the front tyres.


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


good idea about tyres but they must be safe.


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

Seriously impressive and very well written.


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


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

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

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

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

Pirelli have no one to blame for this debacle. They should have kept quiet and simply got on with rectifying the issue.

Instead, Hembery keeps talking, making excuses, apportioning blame, incessantly flipping, and stoking embers of favouritism. This should be a lesson of how not to do PR

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

That is our watchword here


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


"They seem to think that having an opinion makes you biased" -

Yes it does. Here is a definition of bias - "Bias is an inclination of temperament or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective at the expense of (possibly equally valid) alternatives in reference to objects, people, or groups."

Furthermore - "Anything biased generally is one-sided and therefore lacks a neutral point of view"

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


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


It is a level playing field

They all received the same tyres and the same information at the same time.

F1 is an exercise in competitive engineering as well as competitive racing.

Teams shouldn't be pun