Date: 9th May 2012 at 9:27am
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It’s a fair assumption to make that seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher is not a fan of Pirelli’s Formula One tyres.



It’s not clear if he’s just not a fan of this years rubber compounds or if he felt this way last season as well, but the German driver, now racing in a competitive Mercedes, has left it pretty clear where he stands on the tyres in recent weeks.

Speaking after the race in Bahrain Schumacher believed that Pirelli have created tyres that do not allow a driver to race at the limits of the drivers ability or car.

He said: ‘The main thing I feel unhappy about is everyone has to drive well below a driver’s, and in particular, the car’s limits to maintain the tyres,’

‘I just question whether the tyres should play such a big importance, or whether they should last a bit longer, and that you can drive at normal racing car speed and not cruise around like we have a safety car.


Since Pirelli returned to Formula One as the sports official tyre supplier, the Italian tyre manufacturer has been working to a brief set by Formula One, to make the racing more exciting, by re-introducing tyre strategy to F1 racing.

Last season there was a lot of talk about the tyre degradation, which obviously suited more drivers better than others. Those with a smooth style of racing such as a Vettel, Perez or Button were able to get the most out of their tyres in comparison to Webber or Hamilton.

But generally it was thought by most in the paddock that Pirelli had contributed to a entertaining Formula One season in 2011.

For 2012 Pirelli have altered the design of their tyres slightly to close the gap between tyre compounds. In Malaysia and Bahrain, teams were split between making two or three tyre stops to race at the cars optimum race pace.

With around a second a lap difference between the tyres pace and then different windows to make the stops, some teams struggled to get the most out of their car, including Mercedes.

Formula One teams are heard talking more and more about the sweet spot at a race weekend, the point where they can make the tyres run to their optimum performance, if they manage it they can go on to glory, ironically like team-mate Nico Rosberg did at the Chinese Grand Prix, if they can’t find it, they are likely to be uncompetitive.

Schumacher told CNN ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix: ‘I just think that they’re playing a much too big effect because they are so peaky and so special that they don’t put our cars or ourselves to the limit.

‘We drive like on raw eggs and I don’t want to stress the tyres at all. Otherwise you just overdo it and you go nowhere.’


However it would seem it’s a view that Schumacher holds, but isn’t shared by team-mate Rosberg: ‘I don’t think it is an issue, I think it’s good.

‘It’s a challenge – it’s a different challenge, about tyre management. It’s very interesting; it makes the racing fantastic also, a lot of overtaking thanks to that as well.’
Rosberg told Sky Sports.

So a clear divide in the Mercedes garage in regards to the tyres, but whose view holds the most weight? A one-time race winner, or a seven-time World drivers champion?

 

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