Date: 20th May 2013 at 9:38am
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We must confess the talk of about the state of this seasons Pirelli tyres has, pardon the pun, all become rather tiresome.

Manufacturing tyres so that different rubber compounds offer different variables in a race is, in theory, a good idea and since Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli came into the sport the tyres have contributed to an entertaining Formula One spectacle.

With the addition of DRS and KERS, races are no longer the procession of cars going around the track in grid order for 70 laps. Formula One does provide on the track racing for position, while the tyres add an additional variable so spectators expect the unexpected.

Pirelli, being the sole tyre manufacturer also provides a tyre which isn’t suppose to suit anyone team which also adds a different dimension to proceedings, unlike the days of the Ferrari and Bridgestone partnership.

But has it now all become a bit too artificial?

When Fernando Alonso pulls off a great overtaking manoeuvre breaking late on Sebastian Vettel, is it really as great as when Ayrton Senna would overtake Alain Prost?

Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s you knew what the element of driver ability was, you knew who had risked it all to gain that smidgen of time to gain the advantage. But now you have to factor in different variables like a mathematical wizard to truly understand, what tyres were the two drivers using at the time, what part of the race cycle were those tyres on, did he have the aid of DRS to overtake, did he use his KERS button etc etc.

Then of course there are the tyres, we simply do not have the opportunity to see a Ayrton Senna or a Nigel Mansell race full blooded for 30 laps, taking everything out of the car, the tyres and himself.

The current Pirelli tyres mean drivers almost have to nurse their cars around the track on route to a four-stop race strategy, if they raced as hard as they could they’d simply run out of tyres having to pit every few laps.

Unsurprisingly that doesn’t please everyone, yes there’s the argument that its all part of modern day Formula One and something the drivers should adapt to. But many of us want our Motor Racing to have an element of Racing to it.

So thankfully Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has appeared to put the pressure on Pirelli to make a few changes.

‘The tyres are wrong, not what we intended when we asked Pirelli to produce something which did a half race,’ he told the Daily Express.

‘Pirelli know it and they’re doing something about it. We’ll go back to last season’s type of tyres, which gave us some close racing.’

That of course will please some teams more than others, for example Mercedes have been very quick in qualifying but simply cannot manage the tyres in the race. Could the changes benefit them?

Could Red Bull be handed more of an advantage as they have complained that they cannot get the best out of their car using the current tyres.

Or on the other side of the coin what about Lotus? Their performance in qualifying doesn’t tend to be strong but their race pace has seen Kimi Raikkonen stand on the podium on a consistent basis no matter where he starts on the grid. Will a tyre change be to their detriment?

‘It’s clear that Pirelli have found themselves in a difficult situation and under pressure from different quarters. Last year, when we were designing our 2013 car, each team received information from Pirelli and everyone did the best job they could to develop a chassis which would make best use of the tyre characteristics. We even ran with some experimental 2013 tyres at the end of last season, to assist us in confirming our development paths.’ Lotus boss Eric Boullier told the teams website.

‘As with every season, some teams do a better job than others with their designs, and some drivers are more adaptable than others to the changes of both car and tyre. It is frustrating when you’ve developed a car from a set of tyre specifications which are available to everyone – for tyres that are the same for everyone – to then be told that they are being changed mid-season.

‘That said, we have a team of talented designers and engineers who will be working twice as hard to ensure we adapt to these changes in the most competitive manner.’


What’s certain is that some teams are currently not happy and once the tyre changes come in in Canada other teams will not be happy.

Fingers crossed though that the paying public will be!

 

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