Ready for the off
Melbourne 2018
Australian Grand Prix
Pirelli yields to pressure; changes from Montreal onwards
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 May 2013   |  11:56 am GMT  |  415 comments

[Updated] The chorus of disapproval from affected teams, as well as calls from media and fans to do something about the high degradation tyres has led Pirelli to announce today that it is to make construction changes to its tyres from the Canadian Grand Prix in June onwards.

The Italian company blamed the lack of adequate winter testing in suitable climates for producing products this year that have fallen short of the standard required. They admitted in a statement this afternoon that they underestimated the demands of the current F1 cars on the tyres. Pirelli is conducting meetings at its Milan base to establish whether any compound changes are required as well.

The news will come as a blow to Ferrari and Lotus, which mastered the delicate Pirelli rubber in Spain last weekend to take the podium slots, as well as Force India, but will be welcomed by the powerful lobby led by Red Bull and Mercedes calling for more durable tyres.

Pirelli boss Paul Hembery said, “Our aim is to provide the teams with a new range which mixes the stability of the 2012 tyres and the performance of the current ones. As a company, we have always moved quickly to make improvements where we see them to be necessary.

“After evaluating data from the first few races this year, we’ve decided to introduce a further evolution as it became clear at the Spanish Grand Prix that the number of pit stops was too high. The Spanish Grand Prix was won with four pit stops, which has only happened once before in our history. These changes will also mean that the tyres are not worked quite as hard, reducing the number of pit stops.”

Also spurred on by the recent spate of high-profile tyre failures, Pirelli has decided to return to the kevlar belt construction of the 2012 tyres rather than the steel belt used this year, according to Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport.

It was telling that the TV coverage in the last two Grands Prix, produced by FOM, has broadcast numerous messages from drivers like Lewis Hamiton saying, “I can’t drive any slower” and engineers urging drivers to take it easy and protect the tyres. This has increased pressure on Pirelli and provoked a backlash in the media and among fans.

Having opted to be more aggressive in the 2013 tyre range, Pirelli is having to row back on that, citing the increased levels of downforce the teams have generated over the winter overstressing the tyres. Pirelli also blames the lack of a suitable test car for them to track test the products before introducing them. The 2013 range was developed by Jaime Alguersuari and Lucas di Grassi using a 2010 Renault.

“It was a combination of factors that have come together, “Hembery added. “We didn’t want to make too many dramatic changes, and we do not want to penalise those teams that have taken a design direction to look after the tyres.

“Equally, we had to do something to improve the situation.”

Ideally what Pirelli should aim to do is recalibrate the tyre to maintain the current pace but with slightly less degradation and less wear, to trim it back to 2/3 stop races.

The development tyre tested out in Spain at the weekend was very slow, almost 2.5 seconds off the pace and with very poor warm up, so that is not the answer.

But it is never desirable to change fundamentals part way through a season and inevitably some teams will gain and others lose from this, which could cast a shadow over the outcome of the championship.

Ferrari, Lotus and Force India are entitled to feel aggrieved as they have engineered their car around the tyres that were handed out to all teams in testing and at the start of the season, but there are warning signs that fans are starting to turn away from the current style of racing.

In making the change Pirelli acknowledged the link between perceptions of its F1 tyres and its road tyres and now participation in F1 might affect that,

“We’d like to thank all the teams for their continued and extremely valued support as we worked with them to identify the correct compromise between the pure speed that makes us the world leader in the Ultra High Performance sector and a global spectacle that is easy for Formula One fans to follow,” said a statement.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

4 pit stops ain’t right.

The changes can’t come soon enough.

We need racing.

F1 is a farce just now.


Two wins, WDC lead, and you still want tyres changed to suit your car. What a way to celebrate your 4th consecutive title.


well RGS, what makes you think that the bridgestones were the sole reason why overtaking was most difficult? they were a minor contributor. the reason why overtaking was limited was mainly due to aero problems, not tyres.

why did the FIA go to all the trouble to look at introducing radical body changes to clean up the ‘downwash’? why did the FIA introduce adjustable front wings? why did the FIA introduce KERS? why did the FIA introduce DRS?

you should get your facts straight. the latest changes to the tyres [this season] were introduced to nobble RB and reduce their superiority in technological design.

that is why RB have been so vocal….along with maclaren, mercedes et al. pirelli should not be the arbitrator on who does or does not win races/championships. the teams spend hundreds of millions of $$$ in techno development then they bolt on trash 3 lap tyres and it is all a complete waste!!! you may like to see 84 pit stops in a race but i prefer to see my racing on the track.


I has my fact straight the one unrealistic is you. There wasnt 84 stops just 4 stops, nothing unrealistc. And all change you mentioned were done after each season was over NONE on mid season. Moreoever, if you want facts to be straights, Brawn and the diffuser, it was a crying out for the rest from the rest of teams since it exploit the gray area of the rules but still was between the rules and stayed for more than one season and that is the reason Brawn is not complaining because is the same for everyone, some got it right and some got it wrong, if it doesnt work you dont change it on mid-season you do it for next season as it has been done in almost every year. RB is vocal when their cheating doesnt work and that is fine with me but at least I saw a race in spain no like any other where the guy at front win all the time and there were more overtaking in this race than all the previous spain gp race toguether in the past. You want to go back to parade, no problem, if that for you is racing, well enjoy it. Moreover, Pirelli was asked for this and Bernie was quiet about until RB owner talk to him private so Bernie became vocal, Pirelli change their statement from “I was asked for” to “Im wrong” so that clearly shows manipulation to favor the one with the biggst checkbook that maybe told Bernie I pull out from F1 if you dont change that.

BTW, FIA doesnt change the rules to stop one team, they do it to make the competition more even so they have a better show and it has been done to Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, WIllians, now RB but most of the changes were done after season is over. How do you think would Lotus and Ferrari feel knowing they did their homework? especially Lotus were their budgets is limited compare to the big shots? Moreoever how do you feel if you were the one doing a project to compete for a job, got it right and other didnt and then they change the rules for all during that project becuae they feel was not what they intended at first????

Dont come here to tell me or anyone else to get our facts straight Ive been watching this F1 circus for 30 years or more and I know how it is…at the end it just about about Bernie wallet since he got the rights, the show came later because it wasdamaging the sport to have a parade, no one turn the TV in a sport where there is not real competition on, that is not entertainning.

BTW, each part of the car has a contribution to every race, and manage tires is something that has been forgotten, kids, just get in the car and start to push that pedal without any skill cause the car has would has a great deal of grip. Before the tires, traction control was taken out to separate the boys from men, now tires were added to the equation, nothing new, you just have to work harder. Maybe doesnt work well so then you change it for next season, plain and simple. Moreoever, you want to avoid this issues, let every team has their own tire supplier, yes it cost more but we wont be having this absurd conversation because a bunch of kids doesnt know how to look after the tires .


“In making the change Pirelli acknowledged the link between perceptions of its F1 tyres and its road tyres and now participation in F1 might affect that…”

If Pirelli is so keen to address any open questions about the correlation of F1 and road car tyres, perhaps they should drive the point home at some point, by introducing the LOW PROFILE TYRES that THEY PROMISED to bring to the sport.

Just a thought.


Why doesn’t Motogp or other top forms of motorsports suffer from any such shenanigans ? All Pirelli needs to do is make tires that can last atleast 20 laps in any condition, so we can have 2 stoppers doing sprints from flag to pit to flag. Making tires that give up after 3 laps is lunacy..


No other sport would change the equipment mid-season, especially when it will clearly hurt some teams and benefit others. Quite shocked really.


I will put it plain and simple and no mambo jumbo explanation. Every team tested the tires for this season, every team has to work with what they have, some teams got it right some other didnt but the rules and game condition were place before the season start therefore rules and conditions should state until season end if there is not life threaten circunstance to say the opposite. Changing the conditions and rules mid season is just plain cheating to the teams that got it right. Therefore, the competition becomes a FARSE and a big manipulation of the result. If you agree on that, fine, but dont complain later…have a nice day everyone…


Results after pirelli tweaks.

1.Vettel wins atleast 11 of remaining races by a huge margin .

2. Redbull- another constructor title

3. Vettel- 4th driver title with out any competition

4.back to bridgestone boring one stop races, no chance of wheel to wheel racing, no overtakes, no punctures, 100% reliability.

This is what redbull and vettel fans want.


having just read bernie’s outburst…he claims that they asked pirelli for tyres that lasted ‘half a race’ [50%] what we got was tyres that last just 20%.

big difference. as i and many others have pointed out, the changes were made to specifically penalise RB for having supreme aero delivering prodigious downforce.

i actually despise red bull for their team management but all the same they shouldn’t have been penalised for being successful. they should’ve left the tyre compounds the same as the last half of ’12. we saw some excellent racing then with very little pussyfooting.

pirelli have messed up and now they have been forced to fess up and make changes. all good if it actually happens.


no, they werent, Bernie outburst came after he talked to RB owner. Pirelli is a big company and they wont give you something the boss doesnt want. Pirelli was pretty clear on the first autosport statement after Spain race, if you want antoher change, will give you another but dont complain about parade procession later. But then RB onwer talk to Bernie and Bernie comes out, pirelli change their first statement after the race saying they were wrong. DO you think that seems right? I dont. Pirelli didnt mess up, politics and money messed up, it is just like your wife ,asking you move the furniture around your house several times because she can make up her mind were is the right place to put it…


The Spanish Grand Prix was the best race of the year so far. Finally we got to see cars pushing hard throughout a stint. I don’t care if they stop five times for tires as long as they are going as fast as they can. I don’t want to watch the fastest cars with the fastest drivers cruise around so they only have to for tires twice.


Lately there is not real faster driver, just faster car. Real racers like kimi are dissapearing from F1 due to technology…


No argument there… Technology has always played a role in F1. You could never win without a capable car, but now technology plays too large a role, specifically aerodynamics.


The tire delamination issues only occurred this year. This CAN NOT be just a coincidence (from debris).

At the moment, it only ruins one driver’s race at a time. It won’t be long before a major catastrophic crash pops up and Pirelli’s reputation will be ruined.

I am glad that Pirelli finally admits they are wrong and I had been right all along. LOL


Pirelli need to say they are wrong because it seems Bernie told them to do it. Bernie wanted this for the show but after RB owned summoned Bernie, everything changed and Bernie became vocal about it. Pirelli wasnt wrong, they were asked for and they told on the first statement after the race if teams want a parade, they can go back to a parade, they will do what they are asked for. Then, after RB owner talk to Bernie and Bernie became vocal, Pirelli placed a 2nd statement were they stated they were wrong so pretty strange how both comment contradict each other after te controversial conversation…


Changes mid-season are not ideal, but frankly something had to be done as it was becoming farcical. I find no interest in watching an F1 where the only concern of the driver is tyre preservation. Sure it is a am important factor, but it should not be the no 1, 2 and 3 concern for every driver and team on the grid.


farcical is changing something mid season because other team couldnt figure it out…


I can’t speak for anyone else, but for the first time in many years I turned over the channel half way through the race, as watch I was watching was not racing.

And the team complaining the most about the tyres leads both the drivers and constructors championship.



I am glad they are changing tyres, current situation is not tolerable.

I still hope for more tyre wars with some second manufacturer, but I guess it’s unrealistic at the moment.


I agree that the first four races were a little tire dependent, but the Spanish GP was great. Ferrari going flat out showed the field that you can push on these tires. The tires don’t need to change, the teams just need to figure it out.


According to many publications they have. I dont think there is any doubt it is more than and perhaps twice as much as Lotus who have done a much better job.

Now a smaller team who has done a good job and doesn’t have the budget of rb is going to be disadvantaged to help one of the biggest.

Does this seem fair to you?


Smaller teams shouldnt be in F1. F1 should be pinnacle of the sport and if you put teams just to fill empty spaces, as it has been done for a while now, you always get that no matter what


Does anyone know how the tyres may be pre-prepared for the race? And do the teams take different preparation strategies?

e.g. Can they repeat oven bake the tyres? Inject superglue into the sub-surface of the tyre?


Smells like burnt rubber to me. Stinks.


hey James, why don’t you compare the average lap times, or total elapsed time for the winners of the Barca GP for the last 5 years? I assume it’s the same layout, same distance, so we can see just how “slow” these guys are driving in order to manage their tires. As it stands we have a bunch of complaining with no real facts to support any positions. Of course the cars are probably faster today so it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison but at least it’s a start to a rational argument. If the tires are so awful and the drivers are driving SO slow we ought to see some data showing as much.


Quick Comparison 2012 -2013 race lap times:

VET – 1st stint (2012) 1m 31s – 1m 30s; (2013) 1m 31s- 1m 29s; 2nd stint (2012) 1m 28s/29s; (2013) 1m 29s
ALO – 2012 2nd stint – 1m 29s- 1m 30s; 2013 1m 29s – 1m 30s

There seems to be very little difference to be honest.


But looking at the qualifying lap the cars are a second faster than last year, that means they are slowing down more to do those times in the race.

Stephen Taylor

James the fact Bernie came out and had a pop at Pirelli mad me think he was saying CHANGE THE TYRES OR I’LL MAKE SURE THE TYRE SUPPLIER CONTRACT IS GIVEN BY THE FIA TO SOMEONE ELSE! Would you agree with this?


But James you already established that nearly all the cars are substantially quicker this year based on Quali, so does this not mean that based on your comparison above, the drivers are driving within themselves and because of the tyres, aren’t taking all the time that the car can offer?

By the logic above, if I drove a Ferrari to work and the next day a Prius, they would be equivalent cars, because it took me the same time to get there.

Clearly this years cars are faster than last years, but we didn’t see it in the race.


James, do you want to rethink that reply. If they had DRS everywhere this year, the quali times would be even faster again. Which means that having a race pace the same as last year is going backwards.


Yes, but don’t forget they had DRS everywhere last year and not this year, so the difference in pace between Quali and race is less this year


We once had to tolerate the DD diffuser from Brawn GP for the whole season. Then…came the flexing wing and blown diffuser from RBR. We had to suck up with these for the entire season. Roll on to 2013 F1 season…the rubber compound is so bad, it has to be changed…again. What about the teams who have optimised their car design around these tires? How will these teams re-optimise their cars with no in-season testing? I am beggining to doubt the success from the new engine formula starting next season. Can’t wait for the Le Mans.



James, will you or Mark analyze the conundrum that is Mercedes? Has there ever been a car as polar opposite from Saturday to Sunday as the Mercedes W-04?


James is it a coincidence that for the first time in a while that we hear from Mr Matesitchz and then we hear all this from Pirelli ? Maybe at the Barcelona after party he didn’t rock up with his credit card or cheque book and Bernie started breaking out into hives.

I don’t have problem with the construction if there is any concern whatsoever with safety but its clear this is not the reason. A team that has won three championships because high downforce has resulted in maximum grip from tyres can’t now adjust their aero / mechanical set up to be as competitive as teams who have struggled ( and many still are) for 3 years or more .Mercedes haven’t got it right In 3 years & there’s no guarantee they will get it right now either- yet look at what Force India , Torro Rosso and even Marussia have done. Do we forget where Lotus were 2 years ago – that’s the other thing these improvements for some teams have taken up to 2 years being to fruition.

It’s not a question of whether or not this changes the pecking order as it may not-it’s this constant Manipulation to fulfil entertainment over sport that’s got me ticked and certain media, team principals and owners constantly whining to suit their own interests rather than the good of all in the sport and its loyal followers.

No sport this size should be changed mid season – I don’t care if Red Bull had an advantage with blown diffusers or whatever- if the rules say its ok- good luck to them. If its a safety concern – no problem change it every race if need be because that effects everyone.

I said on an earlier post also that Im disgusted by Skysports comments during on board video about how bad everything was – Is their job to promote the sport or to bring it into disrepute ?? I’ve never been a fan of this manufactured entertainment and even the tyres and clearly this year they went too far but why change the compounds now- fix them next at which time we may need bigger, stronger and more durable tyres anyway.!

I’ve been watching this sport for more than 30 but its this constant dribble about it being a show ( which we all know it is) and not being a fair and balanced sport is what’s killing at the same time. Lets see Red Bull or Ferrari beat Lotus or Force India on the same budget now that would be a fair sport !


It´s funny how histroy repeat itself in a certain way. Some years ago there were complains about Michelin tyres and them they were ordered to change it and Ferrari won another WDC and WCC. It was obvious from the TV feed in some curves how drivers were managing the tyres which made them look slower than normal. This is what happens when things are taken to extreme levels, like the testing restrictions whihc has caused a total misreading of reality. How you´re going to have a proper test result/feedback on a 5 degrees circuit if the race will be at a much higher temperature and how Pirelli has been out of touch of how much the teams have progressed in downforce and performance for this year. I remember when 4 stops were simply “crazy” like MSC doing it in Hungary and France, but i have to agree to a certain point with Red Bull´s owner that todays F1 is more about tyre managemente than pure racing, and as a fan i feel races are very artificial adding the DRS “helper”, but is also true that based on regulations there are teams that have made their homework better than others (i.e Ferrari & Lotus). A dangerous change now with the potential of givin and advantage to RBR and also with teams facing very soon a shift on focus to 2014 development. I don´t think we will hear the last about tyres, but certainly F1 should see if the “spectacle” showed this years will move away fans better than atract them


Has anyone stopped for a minute and thought maybe this u-turn by pirelli isn’t to favour rbr, but to change the construction of a potentially dangerous tyre with an inherent design flaw? So many delaminations so early in the season. I remember lewis hamilton talking about a small piece of rubber hitting his finger and his words were along the lines of “it was frickin sore”… lets say we see another delamination on race day in monaco with all the cars so close together. A large section hitting the drivers helmet or upper chest could be catastrophic! I really couldn’t care if pirelli made a tyre that lasted 3 or 30 laps as long as they are safe!


It is far from ideal to change the tyres mid-season but it needed to be done. It’s like watching the Olympics Mens 100m final but where all the sprinters have to wear high heels. It would be fair as it’s the same for everyone, it would certainly be entertaining and the result would be unpredictable But would we really want to watch Usain Bolt hobbling around slowly just trying not fall over?


But the Ferraris were able to push in the Spanish GP. Alonso’s Ferrari was light years (in F1 terms) ahead of Raikkonen’s Lotus.

Perhaps a more apt analogy would be that in the first four races they chose high-heels because they couldn’t figure out how to tie their laces. Once they learned how to tie their laces they realized that they could run full speed, stopping to tie their laces and still end up in the lead.


But Alonso himself said after the race that he was generally only driving at 90%. Driving at 90% is not ‘pushing’ in my book. The teams who are doing better with these tyres are still having to tip-toe with them. When they can’t drive more than 1 or 2 race laps flat out before the tyres are ruined then there is something wrong. The tyres are just not fit for purpose.

I don’t have any agenda here. I hope no team benefits more than any other from this change. I’m just fed up of seeing drivers not even trying to defend their position because to do so will destroy their tyres and leave them worse off than just letting a faster car pass.


But 90% is better than 70% and this race was definitely a step in the right direction. Imagine how great the racing could be by, let’s say, Canada. All of the teams will be on top of these tires by then and we will get to see them all pushing really hard… oh wait, that is when they are going to change the tires and ruin F1, again…

Like another commenter said, I can’t wait for LeMans.


If nothing else it would make a great youtube video…


Best comment of ALL.

Nicely put!


Jean Todt must go.

What is HE doing in all this?

I understand BERNIE wants to continue with V8, but JEAN TODT is the one pushing for V6.

At this rate, we’ll soon see F1 races being held in road cars.


Srinjay Sarma

The Mercs might win the title now…


I seriously doubt that … even if the change in tires helps them, it will likely help others too. They still have a big problem with tire usage. If they can solve that fundamental problem, then perhaps we can see their true speed, though even then I doubt it’s at the level of the RB9 or F138.


Seriously, this is getting old and overblown. This idea that F1 has always been about the quickest and the best is a fallacy that needs to be finally put away. In F1, as with any racing, success is the result of balancing speed, reliability, and consistency within certain regulatory or hardware limitations. You name any golden era, and I can point you to certain aspect that needed to be managed. The best example I can point to is the turbo era in the mid-80’s. Back then, the limiting factor was the amount of fuel you could carry. Nowadays, it’s the tires.

I don’t know how modern day fans would react to the fact that most of the races during the glorious turbo era were fuel conservation races, and that drivers were routinely told to turn down the boost and drive at 7/10 in order to save fuel.

Why punish the teams that got it right from the get go (i.e. Lotus and Ferrari), because some got it wrong?


Ever since the season has started this site and all F1 sites have been flooded with angry fans complaining about the “cheese” and “egg shell” tires (tyres 🙂 ), over and over and over again. Now it is complaining about how this will advantage RBR.

I am Vettel fan, so lets get that out of the way for the 2 people that do not know it.

I liked the tires, there was a clear picture being built that different tracks favored different chassis. Bahrain was Vettel dominated and even if Ferrari had not had their DRS issues they would not have been able to catch Vettel as he could have 2 stopped. Spain and China were dominated by Ferrari. All due too the engineering strengths and weaknesses of each car.

For me and maybe this the reason F1 has never gotten the toe hold in the US I would love them to have F1 has always been less about racing and more about engineering. It requires an investment in time to really have even the smallest understanding of what is going on.

There was just no way Pirelli could continue on down the course they were on. Having a complete 2+ hour broadcast bashing their brand as it sounds the Sky broadcast was is just unacceptable. The blasting they are getting on each and every F1 site, combined with their social media efforts stands to run millions of euros worth of marketing. They also can’t have a spectator, driver, or marshal get killed due to their tires.

I hope they leave the compounds essentially the same. They need to fix the delamination problem though. A race tire needs to be able to withstand running over the debris. Not saying it should not go flat, just not get the smallest puncture and fly apart. If they have to change the compound as well as the belt then so be it.

As for these cars that supposedly designed their cars to run on these tires, I find that hard to believe. Well the fact they got it right and RBR and Merc didn’t even try as some posters would have you believe is not really accurate. No Ferrari has issues just like the rest, they are just better on some tracks than others just like the RBR. The teams had samples of the compounds true, but I thought they were the 2012 spec tires just using the new compounds. Can someone correct me if I am wrong?


How are the Pirelli 2014 – 2017 tyre supply negotiations progressing?

I don’t see the logic in people saying RBR will now run away with the championship with Lotus and Ferrari falling back. Lotus were in tyre saving mode as much as any other team on Sunday and Ferrari went for an aggressive strategy which they committed to before the race started. Vettel stated RBR started on a 3 stop (so started in a tyre saving mode) and switched to 4 because of excessive wear. Had they committed to a 4 stop from the beginning and paced accordingly Vettel could have made the podium. As with the 7 winners in 7 races last year, the winning teams from what I can see are those that decide how to run a race and stick to it. The losers are those that change approach mid race.

I don’t see RBR running away with the championship, I see the other teams, along with RBR adapting to the tyre change.

F1 is an evolving beast. Be it engine maps, flexible front wings, DDRS, there will always be controversy in the sport, tyre wear is the first for 2013.


The argument is that the change is being made to suit RBR and forcing the other teams to adapt to the new tires rather than the other way around. It comes down to this, RBR designed the car, they got it wrong, and now want Pirelli to change the tire to suit their car better. Lotus and Ferrari got the design of their cars right, but now are being forced to adapt because of Pirelli’s changes. Shouldn’t it have been Red Bull to adapt and work on their car to suit the tires, rather than the tires being changed mid-season to suit them?


Here’s what really happened:

Red Bull were the best team in F1. LdM started raising a stink about it, blaming Ferrari’s poor performance, not on themselves but on “too much aero”. The FIA figured it might be better for business if someone other than Red Bull was winning sometimes. So they decided to hinder Red Bull.

But instead of transparently implementing rules changes (e.g. making downforce limits or reducing size of wings) or cost, they chose to have Pirelli make tires designed to counteract the benefits of good aero. Goal achieved, albeit at the cost of ruining the season of every team in F1 except Ferrari and possibly Lotus (if you consider getting 3rd in the WDC the best Lotus could ever do).


I am sorry, but BULLPUCKY. FIA chose to make tyres a limiting factor, to force pit stops, once they had to remove re-fuelling. They removed re-fuelling due to safety concerns around pit lane fires (really, search YouTube for “F1 worst moments” or similar and watch some – terrifying).

WIth no re-fuelling, the only reason to enter the pits would be tyres, and the old Bridgestones could go all race. That had to change, and Bridgestone said “No Way!” to making a less durable tyre, so Pirelli were brought in to do what Bridgestone lacked the stones to do.

The key thing is, THIS WAS TEAM INDEPENDENT. Someone on this thread has banged on about UBER AERO, and he is right…without pit stops, and/or DRS/KERS, passing in a modern F1 car is nearly impossible unless they are a front-marker passing a back-marker. Jarno Trulli proved this with his ever un-popular “Trulli Trains” when he repeatedly qualified his Toyota many places above his actual race pace, and the rest of the pack just had to follow him around in circles in a bunch, unable to pass. (N.B. – I liked Jarno).

This is all about AERO, and the ability to actually pass. Not RB versus Ferrari.

Craig in Manila

I don’t understand why they need to start using kevlar belts.

I mean, according to the tyre manufacturer, all the delaminations were being caused by “debris” cutting thru the outer layers and not by any problem with the tyre itself.

As such, why change the belts ?


I don’t recall changes in 2005 despite Ferrari being heavily penalized by the stupid tyre rules that year. 2 victories in a row for Vettel this year and I’ll stop watching F1 for the rest of the season.


I feel the same way.


James, why are Pirelli reverting back to a kevlar belt? On the BBC F1 Forum after the race, Paul Hembery talked very proudly about how the new steel belt design had given Alonso enough time to return to the pits before a puncture deflated his tyre. He was clear that last year’s design would not have withstood this.


Hi James,

Do you think that Ferrari, Lotus, Force India have engineered their cars to use the 2013 tyres well, or do they just happen to have designed cars that use the new tyres well? Did they essentially ‘luck’ into it?

Do you have any insight as to why Ferrari/Lotus/FI are better on their tyres than teams like Red Bull/Mercedes?

Is it suspension? Too much downforce from RB/Merc? Gearing? Traction?

If there are suspicions why this is happening, why can some teams not solve the tyre issue? Merc and RB certainly have the engineers and budgets, but it seems like it is very tough to pin down.

There have been some comments that with ‘normal’ tyres (i.e. hard-wearing Bridgestones) that Red Bull would have the quickest car. Would you agree with this?

There has been a lot of opinion about tyres, but very little information about what the actual differences are as to why the teams have such different experiences.




I have read on a website that a RBR insiders suggests that Red Bull are seriously worried by Ferrari.

Every time Alonso has finished with a healthy car, he’s been ahead.

This may explain why Vettel passed Webber in Malaysia, and maybe ultimately what this is about us it allows RBR to compete with Ferrari.

By all accounts, this years RB9 has some fundamental flaws in it…


The only real solution is multiple tyre suppliers. Perhaps they could make the rules so that costs could be controlled? Something like the engine freeze?


Its not hard to tell from the comments who supports what driver / team 🙂


I support McLaren, who are screwed this season either way…the changes might help them, based upon their higher front geometry generating more wear for the sake of aero performance. But I DO NOT care.

I just don’t want processional racing, regardless of who wins.


Why a 2010 renault? Surely they will have to switch to something more modern soon especially with 2014 on the horizon.


Teams cannot agree among themselves what to use, as they don’t want anyone to get an advantage….

This bit is not Pirelli’s fault!


Then why not have open test and invite all teams to come with their most recent cars and provide data?


Oh yeah, Red Bull voted against testing in-season.


Yes I understand that but they can’t use an old car forever and expect data that translates well from their car to everyone elses. No need for the exclamation mark. 🙂 Could they use a 2012 HRT?


AFAIK they could use some 2011 car if they could obtain one.


Totally unfair decision to my mind. If there were safety issues then fine but that is not the case, this is simply bowing to pressure from a couple of teams which have put in big money in last few years. Don’t see the long standing teams complaining. Part of f1 is coping with unforeseen demands and developing cars in season to deal with things such as tyres. f1 has never been a straight out sprint, really wish people would stop pretending it was.

I think the biggest difficulty for Pirelli is going to be developing cars following the raft of rule changes next year. The 2010 Renault is already out of date, but how do you control test for a formula that has so many unknowns? Mid-season changes to tyre spec’s is expected next year as they learn how the new cars work but to do so this year is simply fixing results so Bernies current pet projects can have their cake.


It is such a shame that Pirelli should bend over backwards to knee jerk reactions. Catalunya is practically the most abrasive surface of the year, it is obvious that teams might have been compelled to do an extra pitstop on this circuit. But just look back at Bahrain, that is also a race that is hard on tyres, and yet most teams only did 3 stop strategies there. People have overreacted to the track that will be the hardest on the tyres. This is like taking extreme conditions, and trying to portray them as the norm. Next week we will be back to more processional type of racing around Monaco. They should at the very least have waited for a few more representative races before just changing the tyres.

There seems to be a lot of myths and falsies going around of late with the whole tyre discussion. F1 and every other motorsport has never been about going flat out. Even in rally where stages are done against the clock, they are not always going flat out in every stage. There is always limitations and rules, the key is to come up with the perfect balance and compromise to be fast under those limitations.

F1 is and has always been about compromise more then anything else. If you design a car with oversteer it will be an advantage at certain places and a disadvantage at others, if you design a car with more understeer then it will have an advantage and disadvantage on other places. If you setup your car with high downforce it will be better in the corners but you will lose out on the straights, if you setup your car with low downforce you will be fast on the straights but lack traction and grip in the slow corners. If your suspension settings are stiff you will lift your tyres off the track at some corners and lose contact with the track, if your suspension setting are to soft then you might bottom out on the straights. If you concentrate to much on being fast in qualifying then might end up being slower in the race. Every lap a driver does is compromised in some way, if he concentrates on being fast in certain sections and corners, then he will lose time in other sections.

Red Bull had exactly the same opportunity as every other team to test these tyres in Brazil last season and again during winter testing. It was up to them to come up with a design and compromise to use the tyres more effectively.

Everyone has the same rules and they have to interpret and apply them to the best of their abilities and come up with a package that works under those rules. Every single era of F1 has had their own challenges, were drivers couldn’t always just go as fast as possible. In some of the previous eras you always had to safe your equipment as the cars were prone to breaking down, or there often wasn’t enough fuel in the cars to last the whole race so they had to drive slower. Even in the refueling era with “flat out” stints, there were always the same compromises. If you wanted to do a one stop strategy for example then you had to look after your tyres and conserve your fuel. Even if you weren’t on a one stop strategy drivers often tried to safe fuel, drive conservatively to go a few laps longer, and do one fast lap at the end of a stint before pitting. Even then they were never just going flat out. On the last stint drivers always used to drive slowly to conserve their equipment for the next race. It is a big fallacy that drivers have been in a position to just go flat out for the whole race.

The teams have always received a new set of parameters every year and it is up to them to work out the best compromise within that set of parameters they are given.

The solution here seems simple, if you dont believe your car is good enough under the current rules, then try to design your car to be better under the current rules.

Pirreli said that their aim was for the teams to be able to do 20 laps in the last race and 3 stop strategies. Lotus was able to do this at a good pace. So one could also say that Pirreli had succeeded in their main goal. One could also say that Lotus were able to apply their knowledge and come up with a solution that works on the tyres. If Lotus can do this then surely the bigger teams are also able to do this.

There is no way that Pirreli would be able to design tyres that works the same on all of the cars. As all of the cars are different and have different characteristics. It is an impossible task. Instead the team on the otherhand were able to design their cars to suit the tyres more.

This new development is completely unfair to some teams like Ferrari, Lotus & Force India, who were able to do a good job with their car design under the set of rules they were given. They have now in effect wasted a lot of money, all of their upcoming updates will also be compromised. Teams like Lotus and Force India simply doesn’t have the resources to completely change their cars now to suit these new changes. Whereas other teams like Red Bull and Mercedes have more then enough resources to try and catch up. They all had the same opportunities at the start, and now these teams are being punished for doing a good job.

Pirelli are also giving in to a small vocal minority. If you look around on the internet polls all of the 2013 races are very highly rated and according to the polls people are preferring the Pirelli type of racing against the Bridgestone era, there are a large group of people who are enjoying the racing this season. These people just dont necessarily go around constantly complaining all over F1 forums and blogs.


You are correct in saying that there are no forms of Motor racing where drivers are always going flat out, but the issue here is that drivers can virtually never go flat out, because the tyres will grain / degrade so quickly that the whole stint will be compromised.


“You are correct in saying that there are no forms of Motor racing where drivers are always going flat out”



Yes,I guess there is drag racing. People can always watch drag racing if they dont enjoy F1.


^ This, many times over.


“Come on Dieter – this is silly!”

I can’t hear RBR shout this to DR Bull.

Honestly – to change the rules while you’re playing is less fair than keeping the existing tyres. I can understand that some people want to see more reacing, but Pirelli supplied ALL TEAMS with the same tyres in testing. They had equal opportunities to get them working.

This is like a theater play:

– Actors: 11 teams

– Script worker: Bernie

– Director: Bernie again

– Stage manager/Inspicient: Dieter Masechesnitz

– Bad guys: Lotus and Ferrari


I think you forgot a co-stage manager that is Toto Wolfe.


Massive PR disaster for Pirelli, who are trying to throw Red Bull under the bus. Red Bull doesn’t care as much about bad publicity, they just want to win and could pull out of the sport tomorrow. I’m surprised Ferrari isn’t squealing as usual. They make Red Bull look like perfect angels.


it’s easy changes tyre compound than develop the car for optimun tyre temperature. How many pits madew 2011 winner?

Pit stop 1Pit stop 2Pit stop 3Pit stop 4

Sebastian Vettel (2011)Vuelta 9Vuelta 18Vuelta 34Vuelta 48

Fernando Alonso (2013)Vuelta 9Vuelta 21vuelta 36Vuelta 49.

No complaints in 2011.



if i was Di Montizemello, i would be throwing that line about aerodynamic grip vs mechanical grip into the debate, right about now!!!




I’m not sure that it will really tip the favor back towards RB.

It would appear to me that all teams will gain from this.

I mean, if RB can now push harder, then Ferrari should be able to as well, right?

A Championship is won/ lost due to a number of things working or not, not simply the tires.

As a Fernando fan, if he doesn’t win it this year, you won’t hear me complaining about the tire design change.


It’s not just about being able to push harder. Red Bull has a car that generates a lot of downforce with aerodynamics, but they can’t utilize that because that would degrade the tires way too much. Ferrari and Lotus have designed a car that does not generate as much aerodynamic stress, meaning they are easier on the tires but do not potentially have as much downforce as Red Bull. This makes sense; why should one design a car that creates too much downforce for the tires to handle it? This design choice means Lotus and Ferrari have more freedom to optimize their car in other ways. If tires are changed dramatically to stand higher levels of downforce, this design “flaw” of Red Bull (which it is with current specs) becomes an advantage to them, while punishing Ferrari and Lotus because now their cars will not generate as much downforce as the tires can take.


Some interesting comments here. But I suspect the change is likely to be less than many expect. I doubt the tyres will be like 2010 Bridgestones. In 2011 we had many races where the Red Bull was fast in qualifying but not the quickest race car, with McLaren losing many races due to the cars being out of position in the early laps. Teams such as Lotus and Ferrari have learnt about how to look after the tyres and this won’t go away. Red Bull is still trying to race in the same way as it was in 2011, so Lotus and Ferrari have a good understanding of what they are racing against.

Paul Hembry suggests that he wants two to three stop races, which is not too different from Melbourne or China. Pirelli got more conservative with its tyre choices at the end of 2012 and that helped McLaren and Red Bull. For example in Austin it was a one stop race and third place was more than 30 seconds behind from memory.

I suspect the change will benefit Red Bull a little, but won’t help Mercedes that much.

To me this is more about safety and Pirelli looking at tracks such as Spa where there is the potential to generate a lot of tyre heat due to the high speeds.

To go back to 2011 in Spain, Vettel won with Hamilton right behind him. Turn 9 was one corner where Vettel made ground on Hamilton due to the extra downforce, but pretty much everywhere else the McLaren was faster. Both cars were on the same strategy, so that reduced Hamilton’s options to win and the DRS system was as effective as it is now. If you could bring 2013 knowledge on tyre strategy and DRS design to 2011, I believe McLaren would have won in Spain in 2011. And Red Bull would have complained more about the tyres.

Looking back at 2011, what I find interesting is that the teams were generally more interested in running the option tyre for more than one stint. In both Turkey and Spain – both four stoppers, more teams tended to run Soft-Soft-Soft-Hard-Hard. A few teams went Soft-Hard-Hard-Soft-Soft or a variation on this. Pirellis attempts to provide mixed strategy options in 2012 and 2013 have generally failed in my opinion. The prime tyre has almost universally been the preferred race tyre – Lotus is one of the few to not do this.

Possibly what Pirelli needs to do is not try to tailor the compounds to create strategic options, but just consider what four compounds work best for the range of circuits that remain during the season. Its attempts to have teams having a tough decision as to which tyre to use have failed, so may be it should stop trying.

Quite why Pirelli went from Kevlar to steel is not at all obvious, either. I remember Kevlar road tyres in 1991, so it is hardly new technology.


I think that, yes, tires need to be more durable. BUT, DO NOT change the current setups, wait until next year.

Lotus especially have done the smart thing and designed and allowed for tyre problems. Whereas Red Bull have not. Changing tires now is cheating!


Jonathan Noble’s Tweet:

” So, a 2011 Spanish GP where Vettel wins on 4 stops is ace. This year he stops 4 times and it’s the end of ‘racing’. Am I missing something? ”

James, the truth is, even if you reduce the stops to lets say 3 or 2, their will be some teams (like Sauber last year), who will drive slowly and conservatively so that they can manage in 1 stop. I don’t think changing mid-season is right if the reason cited is 4 pit stops.

Of course, for safety reasons, a change is welcome.

What do you say?


Who is Jonathan Noble?…

Can’t say I’ve ever heard of him.


I have just Googled him – he is the Group F1 editor for Autosport.

I guess he must know a thing or two, but I can’t say he is anyone I have heard of.


I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Autosport (though I read their website everyday), but it’s telling some of the folks here (ok, only 2) have no idea who he is.


Johnny Noble is one of the top UK F1 journos, certainly one of the best for news. He’s been around quite a while


This is a joke. Who changes a fundamental aspect of the equipment mid season, particularly with a tight (so far) championship?


totally agree with this.


just to clarify: I don’t like 2013’s tires, but it is wrong to change them now unless it is for safety reasons


Hi James, have a quick question for you;

changing the tires to make them more durable, will that mean they will be harder to warm up for qualifying, or just last longer? Will there be any difference in their operation-window you think?


Read the analysis piece we have done



I thought Ferrari have been complaining about the tyres as well…

Is there any data to reinforce the assumption that with 2 or 3 stops Red Bull would dominate again?


Very disappointing to see James Allen pushing the FIA/Ferrari/Pirelli agenda by spinning the situation as Red Bull “lobbying”.

Red Bull has nothing to do with this beyond that the tires were created to hinder them.

Shame on you, James.

Scuderia McLaren

NotIced this too Michael. It’s fairly obvious where James sits on the matter. But journalists CAN have an opinion too. If you want to see real bias, head over to… oh better not. What the hell, it rhymes with Moe Howard.

Personally, I am just happy Alonso’s title hopes have been dealt a severe blow. But unfortunately Kimi is in the cross fire. At least Hamilton can remain on the lead lap now instead of learning to drive with more mechanical empathy.


Really? And you’ve seen this for yourself within the F1 paddock?


You couldn’t see from the paddock that everyone except for 3 cars was hopeless, limping around at 50%, no one defending, driving as slow as they could, still 4-stopping?

I want competition in F1 as much as the next guy. But Red Bull earned their success fair and square. The least we could do is not make them out to be the bad guy.

If the goal is to hinder them, then we should do it transparently with rule changes reducing size of wings, cost controls, etc. Underhanded tire tricks isn’t the way. F1 needs its integrity now more than ever as it’s making its first impressions on all kinds of new markets.


But Red Bull earned their success fair and square…

When you are in a hole, it’s generally accepted, the best strategy is to stop digging 🙂


Red Bull design a car that is heavy (aerodynamically) on the sidewall of the tyre and complain when it doesn’t work?


Whoops, didn’t mean to send.

It’s a joke, frankly. Very disappointing to hear its happening.

Paul du Maître

Let me add my voice to all those who think that changing now is not fair. As other posts have said before, all teams had tested these tyres, they just have to work on their tyre management and stop complaining! It is possible, as Lotus has shown…

When the ban of blown diffusers was envisaged and tested at the Silverstone GP a couple of years ago, the rules were kept as they were and blown diffusers were not forbidden. At the time, everybody claimed that it was the right thing to do as rules should be held constant during a season. My feeling is that the situation is identical now, and that the tyres should stay as they are.


Whatever happens now, pirelli will come out of it the worse for wear. Tires too soft, Fans complain… state intent to fix the problem, Fans complain.

What people dont understand when they call for tires that ‘Can go flat out for 15 laps before they drop off’ is that if they can go full throttle for 15 laps, the teams will cruise the tires non the less, and make them last 30. Every and any advantage for an F1 team could be the diffrence between a championship or second place, and the biggest time loss is in the pits.

All revved-up

I think there is a lot of spin by both sides. What we want from Pirelli is not A or B, but C.

It is not:

A – tyres that degrade when drivers push them; or

B – a processional race.

What we want is C:

Soft tyres that are 1 second quicker and last 15 laps flat out before they fall off a cliff; and

Hard tyres that last 25 laps flat out racing before falling off a cliff.

If Pirelli says they don’t have the technology to produce this, the put the contract out for tender and have Bridgestone, Goodyear etc step up.


if a change in tires hands Vettel his 4th straight championship let’s not hear how brilliant a designer Adrian Newey is. if he’s so brilliant he would be overcoming any perceived shortcoming in the tires as Ferrari and Lotus have done…just sayin’


Damn if you do, damn if you don’t. LOL.

I think its going to affect Lotus more than Ferrari. Probably pole for Merc & fighting for win amongst RedBull, Merc & Ferrari.

Let’s wait & see.

Michael Prestia

Don’t the teams have to unanamiously agree to the changes? Isn’t this the way it works? Why would Lotus and Ferrari agree?


Perhaps they want better tyres?…


Off topic a bit, but any news on next year tyres, aparantly we might be going back to larger rears again


a victory that is manipulated is not a victory that comes itself. it might serve you in the end, it might not.




It is amazing how fans are never satisfied, and quickly forget how loud the chorus of complaints were about the monotonous races at the end of the Bridgestone era. Now we have calls for a return to these times?

It is also telling the role that FOM have played as highlighted by James in the number of broadcast messages of late in race criticizing the tyres.

Now Ferrari and Lotus will be punished in effect for producing a car that was too good on the tyres. I am sure that if Red Bull or Mercedes were in Lotus’ position and collecting podiums they wouldn’t be complaining as loud. Teams all had the same knowledge of the tyres when designing their cars, Lotus just did a better job, and that should be the end of it.

Money talks- if you can’t beat them, get it banned.


I thought I was watching the Pirelli F1 Time Trials last Sunday. There was no real racing happening. Everyone was on their own pace, and it was darn slow.

Redbull will benefit from this for sure, but Ferrari has a very good balanced car which looks like it could win at any circuit.

I think Alonso could have won in the two races that he had failures in, Malaysia and Bahrain. It is Lotus that will suffer badly, while Mercedes will improve but not sharply.



Great analysis of the situation.

Johnny Canuck

I like Vettel well enough. Greatly respect Alonso’s ability. Am always entertained by Kimmi. Button and Lewis are both great talents. Despite the importance of pay drivers at the back end these days, the field is blessed with several world champions and some younger drivers with good potential. In the end, I don’t much care who wins …. I just want to see these guys allowed to race, not coast around at 85% preserving tires for 60 laps and skipping meaningful qualifying because saving tires is more important. Spain was an embarassment to the sport and hardly qualified as “spectacle” in any sense, though Hamilton’s “I was just passed by a Williams …..” at least provided some dour humour.

Clearly Pirelli got it wrong with the tires this year. While changing them during the season certainly seems questionable, even worse would be watching 14 more races like the last one. No doubt Pirelli has instruction from on-high to make changes, and I for one applaud the move. DRS should help keep the races from turning into the processionals of past years. With luck, F1 will be fun to watch again as the top drivers are allowed to push and show their skills as racers, not tire managers.

As for Red Bull being “sore losers” while calling for changes ….. they certainly did lose in Spain. But last I looked they were 14 points clear in the Constructor’s and Vettel still had a slim lead in Diver’s, even after a couple of tracks that were particularly hard on tires. Some losers! Whatever elements of political gamesmanship are involved in the calls for change to the tires, in the end I think it will be the best thing for the sport and a necessary move to keep fan interest. Tire managament has always been a part of F1, but right now it’s the whole show. Let’s go racing!


not sure why the fans are so turned off. the racing has been great and the best drivers and cars are still at the front. If the tires are so awful and forcing the fastest cars to go well below their potential then it logically follows the second tier cars should be more competitive on a relative basis. That’s not happening so this outcry about the tires is a bit of misdirection. I agree that there shouldn’t be 4 stops and that firming things up is a good idea but the fact is that we have great racing amongst the best drivers and teams so nothing is all that different. Does anyone really want to go back to when 90% of the races were just a procession?


James, any thoughts on how much this will influence the championship. You state that it’s a blow to Ferrari and Lotus. Pirelli says that it won’t change the performance order (which they need to say). Will it be a game changer ?


It’s impossible to say without seeing what they change to.

It may be that the mechanical and set up work Lotus and Ferrari has done will still give them an advantage on the new tyres. Time will tell

Stephen Taylor

I know pirelli said there aiming for 2-3 stops but do you think the construction changes means we might the odd 1 or 2 races that are one stop and which circuits could those possibly occur?


They are


It’s not the racing fans don’t like, it’s the teams telling drivers not to push.

I say, ban team radio and let drivers decide when to push!

Putting more on driver skill is always a good thing imho.

I’d also like to see DRS abolished and the 2 compounds rule and top 10 quali tyres rule abandoned, and drivers given the choice of the full range of Pirelli tyres.


Too bad they realized that only now. They should have changed the tyres after the first race when it became obvious that a few teams have a lot of advantage over all the others thanks to the tyres. F1 tyres should be neutral to most of the teams, not suit only two: it’s just not fair. Too bad the crappy tyres already influenced the championship.


Are you saying some teams were not given the chance to design their cars freely? What is the advantage that was given to Lotus, Ferrari or Force India that was not given to other teams that made them able to design cars that take the specs of the tires into account?


Funny all these so called complaints, me & my friends were enthralled by the race. We were kept guessing about who was going to triumph between Raikonnen & Alonso right up till the last segment of the race. And also when was the last time we saw an overtake for the lead at Barcelona? Senna v Mansell ’91 or Schumacher v Villeneuve ’96.

This so called pressure from fans & media is absolute rubbish, listen to the real fans at the FOTA forums, you’ll see most of them are happy. It must not be overlooked that column inches in the media can be bought very easily with the sort of money Red Bull have. And I’ve known people paid to write favourable reviews for products on the Internet. So why can’t people be paid to become ‘angry’ fans. Would Red Bull stoop that low? Of course they’ll stoop lower than a snake’s belly if it helps them to win, just like their lead driver did in Malaysia.

Don’t buy into this rubbish Pirelli, the 2013 Championship is already more exciting than 2001, 2002, 2004 Championships combined. Don’t risk ruining it!


Jon Noble’s tweet sums this up perfectly…

“So, a 2011 Spanish GP where Vettel wins on 4 stops is ace. This year he stops 4 times and it’s the end of ‘racing’. Am I missing something?”

Martin (not Whitmarsh)

@Joe – “So, a 2011 Spanish GP where Vettel wins on 4 stops is ace. This year he stops 4 times and it’s the end of ‘racing’. Am I missing something?”


What you are missing is that in 2011 Vettel was pretty much flat out from start to finish to make his 4 stop strategy work.

In 2013? The exact opposite. Cruising round in a car capable of so much more just to avoid destroying the sorry excuse for tyres that are fitted to F1 cars today.


I think you’ll find Lotus, Vettel and Mercedes were cruising around because they wanted to make a 3 stopper work.

Ferrari were on 4 stops and driving hard.

There is nothing in the rules to say you cannot make 5 or 6 pit stops. The 3 stoppers CHOSE to stop 3 times and had to drive accordingly.

It is a simple trade off, just like downforce/drag.


Very good point. I remember 2011, Fernando was leading on lap 1 and was a lap down when it ended.

James, can you please explain us why the two 4-stop races are so different?

Safety can be the only reason to change tyre compounds mid-season and I understand that point but why the delamination’s took place on the back of the field cars only? I guess the front running teams never had a delamination.


It’s perhaps a little harsh to refer to Ferrari (Massa) and Mercedes (Hamilton) as back of field cars. Both suffered what appeared to be a delamination of their rear tyres – although Pirelli claimed they were punctures.


Right! I couldn’t remember who had it. Thanks!

It makes sense to change the tyres for safety reasons but if Pirelli say that they are changing them so that fans could follow what’s happening in a race then it doesn’t make sense.

I have been following F1 for a decade now and don’t have any problem in following races this year too. In fact I found the Spanish GP intriguing.


To change tire compounds mid-season is unfair. This is not a sport if one team getc favored over other due to this change. Whatever be the fans’ or teams’ reactions, FIA must have stuck to the same compounds for fairness. It is like changing the type of ball in football or pitch after first innings in cricket or goal posts width after one team has been leading in a match. Atrocious to say the least. I never thought RBR could have so much influence over teams like Ferrari or Lotus that have been in F1 over so many years. This shows success breeds clout (e.g. Ferrari in 2000s).


I have to say I’m worried that the wonderful season of F1 we had last year, and even this will be no more.

Just a little tweaking of the tyres toward more durability will surely mean that the richest team will dominate. things were not perfect I grant, but anything is better than the Schumacher years !!


Ain’t these changes mostly to prevent treads coming away when there is a cut in a tyre?

(at least I thought so)


10/10 for Paul Hembury and Pirelli up to now!!

I guess I am a little isolated with what I think??

Frankly i’m utterly bored of this so called tyres saga. Maybe 4 stops is one stop too far but I don’t see what the big issue is with not knowing who the winner will be until the last stop or sometimes not until the last few laps. There have been a number of tyre delaminations which Pirelli need to get on top of but none of them have caused major incidents. I also understand the performance of the cars has increased from 2012 to 2013, but c’mon that isn’t a huge surprise!

I hope the fans and journalists who have been calling for tyre changes aren’t also the ones come November who are recoiling at another predictable Vettel championship, because that’s what is likely to happen now (let’s face it he or Red Bull don’t need any extra help). I just think it is really poor form to change something so fundamental as tyres part way through the season. A football manager builds a team over the summer, perfect their strategy in pre-season training, start the season in top form and then five games in are told that they have to play in wellies with a beach ball – is that fair, would it happen?

Ferrari designed their car badly last year and couldn’t turn on the hard tyre all season which greatly hampered them, that is there fault for not getting on top of it. In the same way its Mercedes or Red Bulls fault for not extracting consistent performance this year from cars that don’t maximise F1’s variables.

There were 7 out of 7 winners last season (using essentially the same rubber) whilst teams got to grip with the tyres, people were lauding Pirelli with creating an exciting Formula. But, ultimately the top teams got on top of handling the ever so slightly delicate rubber and normality resumed. This time round the top teams have been at the front and no doubt they would have improved the handling of the rubber without the meddling of teams, fans, journos, FOM. Lets not forget Vettel romped home in Bahrain 3 weeks ago with seemingly very little complaint.

I accept some fans will be put off, well so be it …. you can’t keep everyone happy but surely the people that have followed the sport for decades are the ones that matter, than the ones which follow whichever sport is in vogue or Sky happens to throw the most money at. I’ve never understood why a mobile operator cares more about a new customer, rather than somebody that’s been with them and paid every bill on time for the past 15 years. Well I do a bit but you get my point.

F1 has been more about strategy than wheel to wheel racing for many years and it has evolved as teams maximise development in each and every area to gain lap time. Rule makers close loop hole after loop hole to try and close the pack and make it entertaining for your average fan, also adding gimmicks like DRS along the way. Engines aren’t able to be developed so teams explore efficiency in fuels for example, aerodynamic constraints are rigid and even pit stops in the last season has seen a huge arms race – with new bearings, hydraulic jacks, traffic light systems etc. With pit stops reaching a limit, the usage of tyres is obviously a critical area to gain time and for all we know some teams may or may not have jeapordised aerodynamics to priorise better tyre usage.

Strategy has always been part of the sport but its critical now and there is a lot of lap time and positions to be won and lost. The sport has evolved and a lot of fans and teams have moved with the times. Apologies to all those out there who miss the Prost v Senna v Piquet v Mansell days but they were along time ago. Far too many people have short lived memories, Vettel in 2011 running away with the title, or similarly Schumacher dominating for years, people were crowing this is the last time i’ll watch the sport. It is so much safer and so much more professional and drivers are less likely to risk accidents because a championship is about bringing the car home time after time. There isn’t the drama of engines going pop a few laps from the end as cars are almost bullet proof.

Pirelli have done a spectacular job, a job which they were asked to do and have delivered in my opinion. Barcelona historically is a boring race but Pirelli brought talking points they brought intrigue and drama to the sport and I for one hope that they don’t write off. There is always an agenda in this sport, and its interesting that FOM play certain driver conversations like ‘Lewis – I can’t drive any slower’ on Sunday’. It plays to fans hearts and they are controlling what people are thinking, those that can’t forge there own opinion. For all we know these conversations could have been going on for decades but fans demand more from the sport, they get more insight and they don’t like bits of it and focus on them.

The sport is fantastic, I watch, read and digest so much of it but frankly i’m baffled by what seems like a majority of schizophrenic F1 fans. I have invested 30 years into following the sport, I am not going to switch off (or threaten to switch off) because my favourite driver or team can’t make some tyres to last in a couple of races. I’m baffled – rant over.


Ben you are not alone, but I guess we are on the “ancient” group of followers nowadays, probably because we don’t do PlayStation racing, and probably because we’ve seen too many engines blow, cars crash, drivers killed and rules change over the years

I’ve “only” been following F1 since 1968 (I guess that is before James Allen was born), and stiil have fun watching, and while Iam not jumping with joy over multiple DRS areas and short lived tyres, I do think they improve the show and up to a point, the racing too, by bringing more challenges to designers/drivers/strategists

Now we have the “fans” who will swear by their drivers/teams no matter how good/bad they are doing and criticize the others, sometimes not politely

Then the “conspiracists” who are sure the powers that be manipulate everything to help/damage the teams involved

And of course the “purists” who want unadulterated racing, no matter what the development costs, no matter how boring it becomes, no matter how one sided for the wealthy teams it ends

I think if you don’t like it don’t watch it, let the rest of us enjoy


I presume the FIA will also now mandate that cars must be full of fuel so that the drivers have to go at full speed (and not save fuel); drivers cannot back off towards the end of the race to preserver the car; maybe let’s stop the drivers braking into corners because we want to see them flat out at all times!

Come on! F1 has always been about driving as fast as possible to win but no faster. It’s always been about managing resources. The tyres were given to the teams last year for them to test with an design their cars around.

This is now the second mid-year tyre rule change that has shafted the Enstone team (remember Michelin in 2006?).


The Michelin saga was in 2003 and not 2006 if i remember right. The problem was with the lip of the tire that started to widen as the tires warmed up expanding to a size that was wider than what regulations mandated.

Michelin agreed that their tires were indeed expanding and changed the compound. In the end Schumacher won the title by a hair’s breadth, and i dont think it was down to the tires. It was more down to the fact that Williams and Mclaren kept splitting each others points allowing Michael to sneak past them.


The tyre change rule was in fact after the Monza tyre tests when Bridgestone/ Todt complained that the Michelin were actually bigger than the regulations allowed.

Michelin had to change the design which was sufficient to derail Mclaren and Williams challenges for the last few races.

The Enstone “shafting” you refer to was in fact the mass damper that Renault had run from 2005. Once again a car which challenged Todt’s Ferrari team was destabilised after the German GP.

Thank god,for a change, Enstone overcame this, winning the championship with Alonso. Lets hope history repeats itself


Thought we were trying to make this a sport less about the aero effect, more about the engineering/racecraft? There was nothing wrong with the spectacle of Sunday, I really enjoyed it.

This is a massive massive give to Red Bull / Mercedes. They don’t want to be wasting their huge budgets in the wrong area and it shows that by pulling enough media/FOM strings they can get their own way.

Smells like 2006 and mass dampeners all over again.


“Smells like 2006 and mass dampeners all over again.”

When Ferrari complained?… wait?… do they do that?…


The joke is that Vettel’s time for Barcelona was quicker than last year, except Ferrari and Lotus were quicker.

Red Bull have only complained when Ferrari has finished the races, ie in front of them!


Some people say that in 2011 Vettel was also on four-stopper. Does anyone remember Red Bull calling to change tyre construction then?



Great news! I don’t care who might or might not gain advantage from the new tyres, but one thing is for certain: F1 fans and F1 as a whole will only win. Give me back racing, pushing, real overtaking and defending!


This is ridiculous and here is why:

in 2005, it was decided that tires will last the whole race and only refueling will be allowed..clearly that hurt Ferrari and that year, 2005, was ferrari’s worst year in many seasons..they only won 1 race ( Indianapolis) because all Michelin teams didn’t race. did Ferrari lobby to change the rule, change the tires?? NO !!! i love how people say FIA is ferrari assistance and all that crap.

After today’s news, it is clear to me that pirelli is changing the tires because of the amount of lobbying and public moaning redbull has been doing..along with mercedes. more so redbull, are so upset they cant get the maximum out of their cars. how is this fair?

people talk about the cars being slow this year.. didn’t FIA ask pirelli to make tires even more degrading than last year? we knew tires would last 20 laps..if redbull and mercedes can’t make that happen, it is their problem.

pirelli said today that the pecking order won’t change that much but that risk is also there, the risk that this decision will favor one team on the other ; ie redbull.

pirelli said the changes are being made for pirelli and not for the teams..that doesnt make sense to me.

I hope lotus and ferrari still come on top after these changes are made, i really hope redbull lose this year because they are the worst losers ive ever seen. I really hope they learn that winning is not given to you, it is earned. i have much stronger words to say, but i will keep them to mysef. very upset.


Did you moan last year when Ferrari broke Massa’a seal in Texas, and moved over half the grid to the dirty side of the grid when they had qualified in a place that gave them the right to start from the clean side?


ahahah your funny…actually, what ferrari did was supper clever ! that was totally allowed and no where did it say that was prohibited. they found a loophole in the rule and used it for their advantage, good for them ! a very clever move by ferrari i would say. besides, that has NOTHING to do with the current argument.


Ok, I admit I was trying to be a little bit playful with my question. The problem here is your blaming Red Bull (who lead both championships btw). What you have to blame is the stupid amount of pit stops on Sunday, and commentators from all channels and media telling their watching/listening public this is not good enough, or this has gone to far. Fans have also said that there was far to many stops. F1 and it’s sponsors can’t have this (In sponsors case – won’t hang around for this). Petronas can’t have LH saying I can’t drive any slower for example. I know where many people are coming from, but this is a commercial decision, not a Red Bull one (though I will admit they have been a touch vocal on the issue)

I support Force India, and its a bit surreal at the moment. We simply run what amounts to a test day. We’re not racing anyone, we can’t catch those in front, and we are not challenged from behind. There’s no tense pitstops, where we are say 20 seconds ahead of a Williams with a pitstop to make etc. We get passed by quicker cars on different strategies because we let them by because we are not racing them (and it’s not in our interest to because it uses tyre life – yes tyre life to fight for a position in racing). Of course I want to race Saubers and William’s and win every time, but part of sport is sometimes having the disappointment of coming out second best.


“did Ferrari lobby to change the rule, change the tires?? NO !!!”

You can bet your life they did…


How ’bout the mass damper ban in 2006? That had Ferrari written all over it.


let us assume they did, did anything change for the year of 2005? NO. change was brought for 2006. so it didn’t matter they lobbied. whereas this year, red bull is criticizing but guess what, they got what they want. 2005 is not 2013.


Finally…I’ll reserve judgement until I see if the racing improves.

I commented a few weeks ago that I thought it was strange that no pundit was willing to criticise the Pirelli tyres even though they were obviously having a detrimental effect on the racing.

Now suddenly all of them are coming out and saying its too much. Nothing was different at the Spanish GP to all the other 2013 races with regards to the dry tyres. Who is directing these guys and are we really hearing their true opinions, or just what they are allowed to say.

Also they should make the wet tyres better too. I’ve read that the reason they never race in proper wet conditions these days is because the full wet tyres are terrible. They would never cope in races such as Fuji 2007 and Silverstone 2008.

Pirelli are just full of excuses. “Its testing and its too cold, they will be alright when temps are normal” “Its the high temperatures” “The teams have too much downforce” (from above).

I recently watched the 1985 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola which is well worth a watch, a fantastic race. There is a fair bit of talk about the tyres throughout the race between Murray Walker and James Hunt, alot of it saying how the Pirelli tyres are not up to the standard set by Goodyear. With Murray saying “It looks as though the Pirelli race compound is too soft in comparison with the Goodyear compound” as a good example of how the conversation generally goes. I laughed out loud when I heard that.

Anyway, I think it is time for Pirelli to go and for someone else to have a crack at it.


Mercedes should donate one of their older cars to Pirelli for testing purposes, so the new tyres will work on cars built according to the Brackley rather than the Enstone way.


“Maybe if the media and some teams stop going on about it fans won’t even know.”

So you this atrocity hidden from the fans?


Do you think wrestling fans should be told the truth about that sport, or you prefer that hidden as well?


So the teams that have learnt to master the tyres and can subsequently drive to the max will now lose out to the teams that whined like small children.

Gotta love F1


Amazing state of affairs. I thought Pirelli had more about them. There must be huge pressure from within to have caused this capitulation. Only time will tell if its the correct decision. Who says F1 is boring.


Why not just let ‘Formula 1’ as a name go the way of the old Pylon Air Racing, and just rename the sport ‘Formula Red Bull’?


Or more accurately-



What’s with all the complaining about mid season changes being unfair? Don’t remember all this fuss last year with the numerous “clarifications” issued by the FIA at various stages of the season. This is what happens in life, its all about being reactive to change.


Interesting…that Red Bull became a stronger force than the Ferrari. If…starting Canada, I will see Ferrari and Lotus struggling all of a sudden…I will finally have a real reason to do something else during the weekend. It can be a very positive change for me personally. F1 is not longer a sport…it is pure politics. It was always like this…but this is the first time I experience it so brutally.


Embarassing for F1 , Pirelli is definitly not a world class supplier !


James excuse me my ignorance but the thing I don’t quite understand is that if there’s a track all teams know in and out it’s Barcelona.

So if as a F1 team you do your testing on the Barcelona track wouldn’t you build a car that looks more after its tyres knowing the degradation is so high?

Please clarify?


Far from being ignorant, you’re right.

Ferrari and Lotus seem to have done just that,

Red Bull and definitely Mercedes less so, and now Pirelli is making a change that will be seen to be aiding the latter while punishing the former, which is basically where all this controversy is coming from.

It’s all going to end in tears…

Michael Prestia

Don’t all teams have to agree for the change to take place??? That is what Pirelli said at the last race… now it is a unilateral decision?


The teams can’t all agree – they seem incapable of it.

Pirelli have to make the decision and should make the decision…just hopefully the right decision…


“but there are warning signs that fans are starting to turn away from the current style of racing.”

Maybe if the media and some teams stop going on about it fans won’t even know. I mean, what difference does it make to me as viewer if they’re going 90 or 100%. As long as they are racing. So yes, Vettel wasn’t racing at the front but he was still going the maximum available limit.

Change tyres, but then give free reign on engines, fuel & drivetrain. Then let them loose on a Sunday and see who comes out on top.

F1 is suffering from the hole it dug itself. Fix the real, core problem and stop having knee-jerk reactions to what whoever is moaning about this week.


“Fix the real, core problem…”

And that is??



While I agree that the tyres, especially in Spain, are having too much effect on the racing I fear that this change will now mean Red Bull & Vettel will now walk away with the championships!!

As siad teams like Ferrari & Lotus have adapted their cars to look after the tyres better than other why cant the other teams change their cars to suit as well instead of demanding the tyres to the change?

Pirelli have done a good job to bring some excitement to the races & I dont want to go back to the Bridgestone era of ‘follow the leader’ races


And so much for he genius Newey….


Good news.

As a viewer I’d rather see Red Bull 20 seconds down the road, but drivers actually racing for third than everyone currently doing all in their power to avoid actually racing each other.


Sure you would Mrs Vettel.


This is very interesting James.

I have long team’s a supporter of perelli’s involvement on F1 and have enjoyed the way tyres have spiced up the racing. Initially I was annoyed at a lot of posts from fans complaining about the tyres as I have always been fascinated by engineering challenges the sport requires almost as much as the drivers. However over the last few races it does appear to have gone slightly too far. Watching the pole sitter in barain tumble down the order and then seeing Hamilton dissappear out of the top 10 really killed the enjoyment.

Alonso’s race was amazing but the thrill of last year was the close racing between the best teams and driver’s. When Sebastian and Hamilton are lifting through corners beacuse the tyre will fall apart if they push is just not enjoyable.

Last year there were swings between different teams in terms of performance but that appeared to be due to genuine engineering development. This year does begin to feel like a lottery. How can seb win with a pit stop in hand in barain and then lose by over a pit stop in the following race?

i think perelli have a very difficult task ahead of them. If ferrari or lotus become uncompetitive after the change fans will become extremely annoyed and the outcome of this championship will be severely tarnished.


Sprinters sprint, set the car up, to be kind to the tyres…unfortunately many teams seem to be stuck in the you can only win from pole rut. Alonso has shown that a well balanced car that has adequate quali pace and decent race pace is more than a match for the q3 specials made by merc and rb.


Merc set their car up for the race in Spain.


Should have set it up for Malaysia then…

Alberto Martínez

Do you know if changes in the structure of the tyre will affect aerodynimamics of the car and the weight?


More importantly, has anyone in the FIA considered this?

Will the minimum weight go back to 640kg?


Good questions, and I suspect they should. The steel belted tyres this year total 2 kg more, and kevlar is likely to have different elastic properties to steel so the tyre is likely to deflect differently.

Alberto Martínez

It makes sense!

Besides Mark Gillan has confirmed that the change to the construction of the tyre will probably alter the shape when in contact with the ground, so that will change the flow and aerodynamic balance around the car.


But there are warning signs that

fans are starting to turn away from the current style of racing.


Am not sure any F1 addict would turn away for long even with the banned 2013 tyres for nothing keeps fans curiosity more than a close championship that goes all the way to the end of the season.

Now what would really send the fans heading for the hills is seasons that get settled as early as Spa and drivers winning races by an arm and a leg e.g. 2010 had boring races but thanks to the close championship, the fans were held under the spell.

I hope Pirelli remember this when they’re designing their new rubber.


Some of us turned away as soon as Sky got involved, if I can’t watch all the races live then why bother watching any, bit of pathetic reason maybe… but, there you are.


@ Me


No die hard fan would give up that easily hence the phrase ”die hard”


Fans will turn away not because of the current racing but because of the tools of the trade being changed to favour one team over another.

It now looks like Pirelli are favouring RB over the others. I hate to think what the media would be saying if it was Ferrari whining and getting the tyres changed to suit them!

A fair fight is not one where the tools are changed mid game. Everyone had the 2013 spec rubber to adjust to in winter testing and yet the team with the biggest budget being RB has not made it work and instead of lifting their game they preferred to change the game altogether… Politics are alive and well in F1 it seems. Poor form RB, Merc and Pirelli!

I know which products I will be boycotting.


F1 and the FIA really have no one to blame but themselves. Testing bans and restrictive rules means that teams, even ones with RBR’s resources, really have no recourse to make necessary changes. So they have no option but to whine and complain to the powers that be. Unfortunately, it means that teams that got it right from the beginning are being punished.


It’s swings and roundabouts. Last year Ferrari had warm up problems with the 2012 spec rubber while others had no problems.

Yet no changes were made to the tyres mid season last year. Consistency is the key, they didn’t change the rubber last year mid season so why this year?


“yet the team with the biggest budget being RB”

Sure about that?…


300 million last I heard, and that’s what we know about…

If anyone can top that, let me know.


Read business F1. RB was the team most opposed to the resource restriction agreement and trying to use loop holes to hide payments to a certain Mr Newey.


Yes, Me, I believe RBR’s budget is the biggest in F1. Who do you believe it to be?


So…you’re sure they’ve got the biggest budget?


I read somewhere that Pirelli blamed the old Renault car they are using for testing because it doesn’t have the same level of downforce, surely they can add as much downforce as they like to it because they aren’t governed/limited by any rules…


The 2010 Renault did a 1m 21.3s lap in quail that year in Spain. That would have put it P8 on the grid for this year’s race, so not so far off.

But clearly the downforce levels are higher now.


Ironically, isn’t it Red Bull who are opposing in-season testing? Serves them right.

James, can Ferrari and Lotus veto this change of tires? Surely this midseason change would need approval of all teams.


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

Especially as there is a safety angle with the failures in Bahrain and Spain


McLaren ought to buy that!


Roll on next year for the 2014 McLaren Mercedes Gillette Slim Turbo Honda Renault MP4-29 🙂


Hehe good one Peter


well , I’m not happy about this !

pirelli didn’t tell me in advance so that I could bet my life savings on vettel for the WDC and RBR for the WCC

best thing that pirelli can do to make this change is to go back to the late 2012 spec , all the teams have lots of data on this

it will mean more boring racing of course , but it is what lots of people seem to want



Does this mean drivers will be able to race again? I really hope so. Seeing Hamilton in 12th, and Vettel told to let Kimi pass him is not motor racing, it’s a farce.

“inevitably some teams will gain and others lose from this, which could cast a shadow over the outcome of the championship.”

Not as much of a shadow as having the tyres dictate the entire championship which is what was at risk of happening this season. F1 should be a an equal belnd of various factors, not 95% tyres 5% the rest. Thank god Pirelli have done something about it !


To hear Lewis say he cant drive any slower and all the passive overtaking is too much. I want to watch racing where drivers can drive and racers can race, not this “be careful, watch your tyres now” its like my mum has taken over F1. Boring’ I’m off and I wont be back until racing has been resumed!!!!


So…see you at Monaco?


Changing the tyres mid season when teams have designed there cars for these tyres is an even bigger mistake, spain would not have been the farce that it was if the drs had been deactivated. F1 does not need drs now we have these tyres so get rid of it


Changing the tyres mid season when teams have designed there cars for these tyres, spain would not have been the farce that it was if the drs had been deactivated. F1 does not need drs now we have these tyres so get rid of it



Good to see common sense win the day and as early as Canada >>> even better!

As regards to the teams that have preferred these raw egg tyres, am sure they won’t feel too hard done by because they too felt F1 was heading in the wrong direction with 4 pitstops, plus, it’s very unlikely that a car that enjoyed good degradation with the 2013 disintegrating tyres would suffer with more durable tyres in fact, I see those teams even doing better on worn tyres.

Phew, totally relieved with this news and mighty glad for teams like Red Bull and Mercedes for competition isn’t really competition when your rivals have one of their hands tied behind their backs.

Now as a personal request to Pirelli, they really don’t have to keep changing their tyres, all they need to do is re-launch the 2012 rubber every season (that degrade but gradually) and leave the rest to the teams.

Right, here’s to looking forward to an exciting reminder of the season, it’s about time the pedal-to-the-mettle racers came out to play.


This is unheard of. James, there are no words to describe my disappointment. Not only is the Red Bull the worst team ever to win a championship (I’m talking about their attitude and their ethos), but they also had a nerve to shamelessly lobby so publicly against something that was equal to all the teams.


Unheard of? Pirelli changed the hard compound before Spain, but people weren’t interested in that because it only effected Mercedes.



This from a Ferrari fan… one has to chuckle…


and right a reply for RB fan maybe?


Real nice Pirelli,

A regulation should be kept throughout the season unless its dangerous. Red Bull are sore losers so they complain, and everybody knows babies having tantrums always get their way.

Just what everyone wants to see, another facinating chamionship won by RBR (NOT).

Its boring as sin. Lotus and Ferarri have just had any chance taken away from them.

The sport just gets more boring and boring because regulations are always changed so the favourite team/driver can win year after year. It just makes it so boring to watch.

If Vettel wins this season then ratings next year will drop like flies, regardless to the new generation 2014 season.


I cant understand how this is possible or fair, all of the teams were given the rubber to test during 2012. Ferrari and Lotus did the best work and therefore are looking strong, to take that away now makes the championship a farce.

It changes everything… as a betting man both Ferrari and Lotus looked good from winter testing, so those who backed them are being penalised because Redbull and Mercedes have spat their dummies out

It’s a joke


They weren’t given every compound to test out. And only during FP1 in Brazil. I could be wrong, but if so I’m not far off the mark.


Yeah, just realized this. Indeed, those who placed their bets based on pre-season test or based on early races will now be feel manipulated.


Yes, but F1 historically has changed things so anyone who bets on it should know that.


There’s always evolution, and sometimes rule changes, but to a certain school of thought this could be seen as an outside influence dictating the championship, which is something else entirely….

Stephen Taylor

That for me sugnals the end of any chance Kimi winning the WDC for this year I fear. On the other SV and LH will gain from this.


Red Bull and Mercedes might gain from this, but think of this:

The Lotus is fast, and is kind to it’s tyres, even when they have all the durability of a soggy Weetbix, so with more durable tyres the Lotus should well and truly be able to look after the tyres…but it will be able to do that while going that much faster 🙂

So don’t count Kimi out just yet…

Stephen Taylor

Yes but they don’t have the resources to develop the car quickly enough, particularly now as James Allison has jumped ship and the fact they operate on much lower budget compared to Ferrari and RBR etc.


That’s a point, but – except for James leaving – that’s been the case for a while now.

Regardless, if there’s one thing Kimi has it’s consistency, so he should be right up there.

I don’t know if I’d say he was favourite to win, but I still wouldn’t count him out.


Isn’t that called a win win scenario?

Stephen Taylor

Not if you’re a Kimi or Alonso fam, like me! Only Merc or RB fans could be happy at this news.


At the end of the day, it’s a show, the customer (i.e. fans) has the strongest voice.

If it stays as such, Ferrari and Lotus are benefitting but the customer is unhappy. If it changes, RBR and Merc will benefit a bit more, but at least the fans will stop being unhappy.


“stop being unhappy”

Except the fans of Lotus, Ferrari and Force India if the changes disadvantages their teams.


True fans are not happy. Fans of processional driving, that just demonstrates the CFD and windtunnel results, might be happy, but those who wants driver skills, team setup of the car etc. to be of importance, are not happy. I for one will reconsider ever buying more tickets for F1-processions (having just been to Spain, best race there for years), and doing other stuff with my TV.


Is that true? Because how will the fans react if Red Bull dominates the remainder of the season because of this change?


Vrrrooom, vrooom….snore. Welcome back to processional racing….

With this cave in, F1 has has basically admitted that attempts to promote more interesting racing via tyre-forced pit strategies is doomed. Now we can watch the cars circle round and round at “really flat out racing” pace…with fewer passes, fewer lead changes, and fewer battles. Everyone will run nearly the same strategy, with the only variation being who gets the undercut. With the current reliability (which in historical terms is outstanding), you will pretty much know most race winners by lap 5.

Now we can watch even more races where the pole sitter disappears off into the distance…and it will probably be a purple or a silver car. Which really is the point of this whole change from Bernie’s point of view….


…and yet everyone bangs on about how good the race in Texas was last year…

…and no one complained about the 2012 tyres did they?


Oh look, everyone is doing a 2 stopper today!

Mr. Horner, the crew asked if we can switch one of the F1 screens over to the Eurovision Song contest…since things are so routine here today.


No that’s only Kimi Raikkonen the one that won in Australia with the fastest lap on the oldest tyres and one less stop.

Sorry boys but Eurovision is not sponsored by Red Bull so you can’t watch it.


I will start to record the races and watch them with fast forward after the first two laps. Have most of the people really forgotten how boring F1 racing was before Pirelli started to supply the tires unless your favorite driver was leading the race?


A lot less boring than now. Back then, there was a point to watching qualifying and the race intently. I spent much of last race reading a book while keeping half an ear on the commentary and still found most of the events telegraphed laps in advance. That definitely never happened in the 2000s. (Last time I remember that happening was Spain 1999, which even at the time was acknowledged to be one of the most boring races in F1 history).


“…but there are warning signs that fans are starting to turn away from the current style of racing”

And what will happen is after the change Ferrari and Lotus will be sent back and will struggle? Fair?


I wouldn´t underestimate neither Ferrari not Lotus, not yet. I´m going to wait and see what take place.


They’re still good cars. They still have a decent package.

Is it ideal, no but there’s no perfect solution to this and you can’t have more races like in Spain.

You could argue Pirelli didn’t intend the tyres to be that extreme, so revising them to meet their original goal – now that they have real data from this year’s cars – means the tyres may be how the teams expected them to be more like from the beginning.

I still think Alonso and Raikkonen will be up there

It’s all about getting the balance right. And on balance, if things have become too unbalanced, it should be corrected. It doesn’t mean it need be a dramatic swing in the other direction. I don’t think we’re about to see Bridgestones.


I guess that tips the scales pretty heavily away from Lotus to RBR when Kimi makes his decision for 2014. Maybe he has already signed.

Very sad that the brilliant adventure that has been Lotus F1 is rapidly losing its crucial components: Allison, Pirelli spec, and most imp Kimi.


The learning from this for Kimi is that Red Bull is the team to be with because they have clout!



do you really believe that this change was due to lobbying from RBR? Or are you only saying that Kimi may interpret recent events in such a way?

My impression is the Pirelli is going to change the tyres as a reaction to the numerous negative comments from drivers, commentators and the general public. But I may be wrong.

On a final note: the current saga demonstrates quite clearly that at present there is no real mechanism to regulate unilateral tyre changes by the sole tyre supplier in F1. Even if the current change can be argued to be on safety grounds, what we have seen is that the tyre supplier could in theory do what they want. (If they do not mind the bad publicity that goes with it, of course.)


the biggest pressure was from Bernie and RB owner checkbook 😛


No of course not, there were other factors

Pirelli say the biggest pressure was from the teams wanting to keep the same tyres


James -Yeah I reckon he’s already signed. But at that the same time all this nonsense might just make him wonder if he should stay inF1. He can drive on any tyre anywhere any time and be competitive but all this nonsense may make him walk- he might have just lost a championship because of word he hates – politics.




Why on earth do you assume this has anything to do with Red Bull? RBR have categorically denied any form of ‘lobbying’. The outrage from the fans about the current tyres is perfectly clear and Pirelli’s number one concern is their public relations.

If you want to go into this “conspiracy” area, everybody knows that Ferrari has always had a special relationship with the FIA and they are more likely to have an influence than any other team. Clearly Ferrari want the current tyres unchanged, do they not have any “clout” anymore?

In my opinion it is much more likely that the FIA are keen to end the period of Red Bull/Vettel dominance than encourage it. Hembery has basically admitted that they don’t want to improve the tyres for the benefit of the racing BECAUSE Red Bull and Vettel will dominate.

I can’t see these changes can possibly have anything to do with Red Bull “clout” anymore than the last changes in the hard tyre were intended to punish Mercedes.

Pirelli have failed to meet the brief or replicating Canada 2010 style tyre wear and have instead created tyres that are ultra sensitive to temperature and therefore suffer unreasonable amounts of thermal degradation. A change is positive for racing whatever team you support.


James Allen has his finger at least near the pulse. He said that Red Bull have clout – you don’t believe it, saying it’s a conspiracy theory.

Who of you two goes to all the races & talks to the people that matter?

Yes, I thought so.


But Renault make the engines….. 😉


But why should they have clout?

It used to be Ferrari who had ALL the clout & to some extent they do still – e.g. extra payments because of their “special” position in the history of motor racing.

Why should RBR have leverage? Is it because F1 is extremely impressed by huge wealth & Mr. Mateschitz has a big lump of cash?

I bet the guy in Thailand who invented the drink wishes he’d got more for it.


This is not about Red Bull in any way. ALL the teams have complained about the tyres, as have most of the drivers. The fans have also voiced their opinions, as have the media.

Why anyone is seeking scapegoat Red Bull on this issue defeats me. Mateschitz is not even the first team owner/principal to voice a negative opinion on the issue. Montezemulo criticised the tyres, Lauda, Brawn, Whitmarsh, Horner…the list goes on.




Funny…Ferrari used to be in that position…


How does a drink manufacturer have clout over the established legends?

Is this to do with Bernie and his bromance with Vettel?

The sooner Bernie goes the better.

I can’t wait for LdM to have his say

Heinzman (Fan of: ALO)

That is very sad if you are not joking James. This reminds me of Ferrari crying about asymmetric Michelins back in the day. From a Ferrari fan: it was not on then and it is not on now.


Well, I guess Pirelli took it too far with these tires. I wouldn’t give up on Lotus and Ferrari title hopes just yet though. They just start making one stop races, when Red Bull and Mercedes makes three 😀


That´s fine with me. But RB will keep moaning for the rest of the season if they can´t make just one pit stop. I´m not sure I can handle that


ONE WORD – POLITICS, MANIPULATION and a complete farce!

Scuderia McLaren

That’s 6 words, assuming we are counting after the hyphen.

It’s probably safe to assume you won’t be happy when Vettel wins title No.4 to equal the great professor Alain Prost.


He should never be mentioned in the same sentence as Prost. That guy barely touched a kerb with 1000horsepower of all or nothing turbo power. Seb would go cucumber farming with 750 horsepower of safe reliable sucked to the ground v8


Sebee, Vettel (is that your name) – Prost took quite a few race wins from Ayrton Senna. Someone at Red Bull struggles and cheats to keep his 36 y/o team mate at bay.


Yeah, I’d like to see a shootout between Prost and Vettel in the RB9. It’s a 2 way street Elie!


Well said.


Equal to Prost?

Did Prost win the 4 straight in a row?

I think not! 🙂


I swear AlexD, this is all just to keep the fans interest via outrage, comments activity anger and protest.

They are doing all they can to not keep us happy. And we’re one unhappy bunch!

First, most were upset at the tires.

Now, most will be upset at the politics.

Next, Ferrari fans will be outraged at RBR having an advantage over Ferrari thanks to the tire change.

Finally Vettel will be 4xWDC because of the changed tire – they will say.

Me? I’m mostly unhappy about all this unhappiness!

I think we can agree at least on one thing. You like the tires or not, such change mid season is rediculous. Should we riot like they do in Paris?


I am unhappy about tyres as well, but to change mid season is a farce, manipulation, politics and a pressure from red Bull. What I cannot understand is how Red Bull managed to become a stronger force than Ferrari. And what about a Ferrari veto?


Glad you know about how powerful Ferrari is (how they get more share of TV money etc). That knowledge helps defeat the arguments you are making.

The fans simply do not appreciate the nonsense Pirelli has introduced. Fewer and fewer people have been buying tickets to attend farcical “races” (ask about the current panic at Silverstone). Profits are being lost to fan disenchantment.

The people who like the tyre farce are typically part time F1 fans with little understanding of the sport and who will never watch a race. To make matters worse, those from the football fan World, might come with the footie fans partisan attitude to rules and regulations, but it doesn’t work that way in F1.

It isn’t about Red Bull, Ferrari etc; its about the health of F1.


It’s not necessarily a farce if:

-The tyres are ‘unfairly’ affecting some competitors (however you may define that – randomly helping some more than others through no fault of individual teams)

-The change was unintentional.

The goal is to make the tyres degrade more than previous years (pre 2011) while not benefiting or hurting any particular teams.

Making the change mid-season might either be:

-unfair, because it now unfairly benefits some teams

-fair, because it is removing the unfair benefit to some teams.

It really depends if you are of the opinion that Ferrari/Lotus etc have better performance on their tyres due to engineering skill, or due to ‘how things worked out’.

It is just my opinion, but the inconsistency in teams between race weekends, the huge differences in performance, the struggle to fix the issues despite huge resources (Merc & Red Bull) indicates that the tyres are just very hard/impossible to work out. In other words the unfairness is current and they are working to fix it. That Ferrari/Lotus are better off currently not because they designed a better car, but they designed a car that the tyres happened to suit better. Again, just my opinion at this stage.


*gets out fingers to start counting*


You will soon start counting fingers of Vettel again….enjoy.


Super unfair. So it is very clear from Hembery’s own words:

“It is a bit bizarre – unless you all want us to give tyres to Red Bull to help them win the championship, which appears to be the case.

“I think it is pretty clear. There is one team who will benefit from a change and that is them.”

Red Bull and Mercedes need help, they put pressure on Pirelli….so we can say that starting Canada we will see red Bull domination and a much stronger Mercedes.

So…I assume that this is where Red Bull will say that F1 will be a sport again (super manipulated).


So some think it is fair for the tyre supplier to mention and F1 team?

This is something that has never ever happened before in the history of F1.

The more Paul Hembery mentions Red Bull, the more I conclude that he is out to manipulate F1 results.

…And for the “religious,” I am not a Red bull or Vettel fan.



Luca D M,would never allow it if it would

impede on the red cars in any shape or form.

You can bet on that.


Yes, I was. I was against any changes mid season because it is not fair. Any changes that can come as an outcome of performance analysis of cars is a manipulation to help one team win.


Interesting, because I can’t find any comments from you after that article.


If Red Bull don’t like it, they know where the door is. They won’t be missed!


Hi James,

Do you think that the Lotus had the pace to come 2nd with a 4 stop race?

I think Ted over on Sky suggested that Massa was always set for 3rd regardless of Kimi’s strategy.

Also regarding the strategy, surely the trick here is to set up a position where the 2 stop strategy is about 5sec faster (but on the limit of wear) than the 3 stop strategy?

This way those who push and are aggresive could win on 3 stops with overtaking.

This would have Ferrari, RBR, Mecedes pushing all the way and we could have Force india and Lotus also up there with their well paced races.



No. It will be explained in the Race Strategy Report this afternoon.


ooh, look forward to it – one of the most informative post race articles one can read on the web 🙂

Any thoughts on my suggestion for target tyre types that should be brought to GPs?

I like the idea that there should be at least 2 strategies at play.

I think the problem at the moment is that these strategies (eg in this race) both require too much preservation, there should be one that allows for drivers to push hard.


Yep, Hembrey was saying yesterday that a tyre change would only help Red Bull. And here comes the chane. I’m not sure why, but the hierarchy in Formula 1 seem to want to do whatever possible to give Red Bull another championship. If the tyres stay constant teams can develop their cars to handle them, as mentioned, like Ferrari and Lotus.

In short, the world of Formula 1 is bending over backwards to Red Bull once again and I still haven’t figured out why.


Hey Phil

I dont think this is being changed to suit RBR, this change is being pushed by the fans. I know you probably dont like Vettel and RBR but they are currently leading both championships now and could very well win both with the current tyres judgeing by the tracks still to come especially towards the end of the season. The majority of fans seem not to be happy with the racing, cars are not racing each other on track and it looks (for want of a better word) crap. Pirelli were told 2/3 stops and with there two hardest compounds they cant achive that so it needs to change. A change of tyre will hopefully let all the teams race hard and put their foot down.


It was exactly the opposite until now. All rule changes went against Red Bull …


Disagree Phil, most of the restrictions over the last few years have curbed Red Bulls advantage and made the grid much closer. People have got to stop looking at Red Bull as the source of everthing evail in F1.


IMO, first and foremost F1 is a showbiz and then all other businesses that fly around. Of course, Mr Ecclestone is the owner and knows well how to pull the ropes to maximize benefits. Though we the fans might believe sport is the most important thing in F1, in truth the sport is only the basis to support the necessary showbiz glam. I suspect that a young driver that consistently breaks all records is most appealing for showbiz right now. This might not be the full equation, but it is an important term of it.


That may be so but the flip side of that is vettel storming off into the distance from pole and winning a fourth championship, personally I would rather a bit of variety over the same person breaking records.

Knowing who is going to win is guaranteed to lose viewers, as it did in the Schumacher era


“Ferrari, Lotus and Force India are entitled to feel aggrieved as they have engineered their car around the tyres that were handed out to all teams in testing and at the start of the season”

Rightly so, and if these changes are solely the result of political lobbying then it makes the ‘sport’ even less appealing. However, tyre changes should absolutely be implemented following yet another delamination on Sunday. Cars not achieving optimum speed is a problem for the teams; a driver suffering a huge and unexpected puncture at 200mph is something else entirely.


The championship has just been manipulated.


It’s never good to make a change like this mid-season, but they already had (the hard tire in Spain). What if the tires were the same high deg, but incredibly hard to get into the right operating temperature? Then Mercedes (presumably) would be blitzing the field, with everyone else huffing and puffing in behind, and would that be fair?

Maybe Pirelli should’ve had the 2013 tires ready by October 2012, and each team could have a testing session with them using their 2012 cars.


This is something NASCAR has been accused of. I thought F1 was above that. Sigh.


If F1 drivers moan and complain about a bit of slipping and sliding because of tires, just imagine what they would say if as some suggest AERO was taken away in F1 and it was all about mechanical grip?!

Yeah right! I imagine Job Action would be immediate. Driver’s Strike!


Anyone objecting to reversing the dominance of AERO in F1, as you seem to be, simply has not thought it through logically and to completion.


Is that 2013 you are referring too, or just a comment on the championship in general ?


Good one!

Just don’t like such a major change mid season. And I enjoy Vettel’s work as you may know.

I would have preferred if Vettel and RBR had to work around this challange, instead of having it solved for them. I thought the first races were quite enjoyable myself.

I looked at pole times, race distance times and felt that F1 was quite fast considering the stops. Just because the cars weren’t planted on rails below the drivers and they didn’t like the sensetion we change mid season?


Re-manipulated you mean.

Why did Pirelli go so agressive on this years tyres? To benefit Ferrari of course who couldn’t get the 2012 tyres to work as well as they’d like. The fact it’s destroyed any form of racing is not how it was meant to work out for them.

The uncomfortable truth.


I’m not naive. It’s always been manipulated.

But whatever the formula is, it should remain for the duration of the season. However, we’ve had plenty of rule refinements in past years that hurt one team, benefited another. I guess this just adds to the precedent.



Val from montreal

I would rather have a championship that is fought on the limit of SPEED rather than tippy-toeing around …, Schumacher was right last season , F1 cars going at safety car speed is stupid and boring and NOT F1 …


I showed you that race times and pole times were comparable to previous years. In fact, nearly identical. So this “slow” argument is flawed.



Maybe, well, just maybe, the engineers managed to gain some performance from last year…

Given how good these guys are and the amount of resources, I’m gona bets its a very probably maybe…

So, what you mean to say is that race times are identical… so, Pirelli has given tires which are slower by close to the amount of performance the teams gained in a year.

I’d say that’s poor performance tires. Worse, they are not structuraly strong, and they don’t allow racing (please look up definition on some good dictionary if needed ;)).

In the comments by Paul Hembrey, he said teams gained 2/3 seconds from last year. I guess we’re about to find the true pace of this year’s cars from Canada onwards.

Actually, personally, i couldn’t care less if they are going slower of faster, I do want to see them RACING and FIGHTING without fear of having no tires mid-race. If you saw F1 in the 80s n early 90s with qualy tires (and turbo engines which lasted 20kms – out lap, qualy lap, in lap or thereabouts), then surely you can appreciate we’re not far from that in tire wear… as for tire performance… well…


“The chorus of disapproval from affected teams, as well as calls from media and fans”

I think this sentence would be more accurate if the fans disapproval came first and foremost

– “the chorus of disapproval from affected FANS (as well as the media and certain teams)”

Hembery was bombarded with messages on twitter and the Pirelli facebook page couldn’t delete the comments on their wall quick enough to keep up with the angry fans. When interviewed on the BBC his first comment was that the “fans” were clearly not happy.

Certain people probably want to paint this story to appear like Red Bull ‘lobbying’ (which Red Bull deny) is the primary driver for this change, but the fans have caused this change and the media (begrudgingly) tend to reflect the opinions of the fans eventually.


Well, Red Bull and Merc fans alone would be enough to flood the FB comments. Meanwhile, Lotus and Ferrari fans are happy and wouldn’t bother to comment. So I don’t think ALL fans disapprove.


Also, a fair few Force India fans are unhappy despite at least some of them acknowledging their team is benefitting from it.


But is it not just RB and Merc.. Button also complained about tyres so clearly mcLaren were not happy too. Agree it is unfair on Lotus who have been able to manage tyres (not sure yet if it was just right conditions for Ferrari on Sunday like it was in Bahrain for RB, to get the most out of these tyres). Hopefully, although a big Vettel fan, RB won’t runaway with the championship so we can see a lot more action and quieten the people who think Pirelli did this just because of pressure from them (not just them)



Paul Hembery mentioned that they don’t have a test car and they are basically guessing (no doubt through some sophisticated computer models) what the wear and degradation of the tyre will be.

Do you think the teams need to work with Pirelli, to help them get some actual on car testing time and real world results with these tyres? Then if its a bit more collaborative the blame game we are currently seeing will be lessened somewhat.



The teams do need to work with Pirelli, 100% agree, but the trick is getting the teams to work together with Pirelli, instead of just pushing their own agendas.


The big culprit is the FIA. The in-season testing ban is ridiculous. Only having two sanctioned test sessions during the off-season is ridiculous. And Pirelli having to make do with outdated equipment is ridiculous. I remember back in the day (late 80’s/early 90’s), Goodyear would have two or three tests in-season to test out new rubber, constructions, etc and would invite all their teams. Add to that huge amount of testing year round meant a huge amount of available data. Now, we’re left with simulators and guesswork, which while very good, is no subsitute for real world experience.


It’s the teams that want the in-season testing ban, not the FIA.

They had another vote on it last week and pro-testing proposal only got 3 votes.


Why don’t they have a testing day on the Monday after a few select races? This would reduce the cost and they’d already be at the circuit they were going to test at anyway.