This year’s tyres remained a big talking point in the Monaco paddock on Wednesday, with Fernando Alonso suggesting Red Bull’s criticism of Pirelli was a result of them not being able to handle defeat.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel defended his team, insisting that the reigning world champions were not the only ones to be unhappy about the aggressive tyres while his team-mate Mark Webber said Formula 1 needs to have a think about where it’s headed.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton said that it’s wrong for a driver to be able to start second but drop back and end up getting lapped – as he did in Spain – because of fast degrading tyres.
After the Spanish Grand Prix, Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz said F1 was “not racing any more” because the focus was on managing the tyres through the race rather than pushing to the limit. Red Bull have not been able to exploit the full potential of the car because of that.
But Alonso said: “Barcelona was a good race, not so good for some of our competitors. Some of these competitors claim they have a super car but the last three pole positions were for another car when the tyres are new. When you win too easily for some years, it’s difficult to lose some races.”
However Vettel, who leads the drivers’ standings while his Red Bull team head the constructors’ championship, says it is not only his team who are unhappy with the tyres.
Vettel said: “It is because [between] quoting Red Bull or quoting Marussia, you guys prefer to quote Red Bull. So it looks like we are complaining. But I think generally, I hear the drivers’ voices in the meetings we have together.
“Even if you pinpoint Lotus and say they have the best car for these tyres and these conditions, still their drivers complain. They have the same problem as us, just to a lesser extent. That doesn’t mean no-one else is complaining.
“If you compare some overtaking in the past to now, waving people past to save tyres and do your own race as fast as you can, that’s not the idea of racing.”
Webber added: “I don’t think there is anyone who is comfortable with these tyres. Fernando passing Kimi for the lead of the Spanish Grand Prix wasn’t much of an event; Sebastian and Fernando racing each other in Shanghai wasn’t either.
“We have to find a better balance for the fans and the drivers, because at the moment I think we’re too far the other way.”
Hamilton said: “I definitely don’t think you should be able to be second on the grid [as Hamilton was in Spain] and then get lapped. But that’s the name of the game at the moment. The tyres are controlling everyone and making it really hard to control.”
Pirelli are making changes to the structure of the tyre before next month’s Canadian Grand Prix. The teams met with the Italian manufacturer on Wednesday afternoon to learn more about the scope of the changes, but it seems they will not be extensive.
The Lotus, along with the Ferrari, is very good on its tyres, and Kimi Raikkonen remains hopeful the changes won’t affect his team too much.
The Finn said: “The fairest way would be to keep the same [tyres], but there is a lot of pressure to do something. They did some changes [before] and they didn’t really affect us. I don’t think it is going to make a lot of difference whatever [changes] they make, but I might be wrong.
“I am sure we are not going to start complaining if we are going to have some issues. If they make stronger rear tyres then we could go faster, and it could help us. I don’t really see that it suddenly makes one car faster than the others.”