Soft tyre rule: exciting or artificial? (Poll)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso has criticised F1's tyre rules
Fernando Alonso has criticised F1's tyre rules

This weekend the drivers will once again have to cope with the ?σΤιΌ?£super soft?σΤιΌΤδσ tyre.

It made for interesting racing in Australia ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ but should F1 be resorting to gimmicks like forcing drivers to use un-competitive tyres?

Should F1 drivers have to use both types of tyre during a race?

  • Yes - I like it as it is (26%)
  • Yes - But the tyres should be closer in performance (23%)
  • No (46%)
  • Don't care (5%)

Total Voters: 1,711

Loading ... Loading ...

Drivers have been required to use two different compounds of tyre per race since 2007. But this year the gap in performance between the tyres has been widened.

So in Australia the super-soft tyres were falling apart after a couple of laps, and at Sepang the drivers struggled to get the hard tyres up to working temperature.

The rule was introduced partly to add interest to the racing, and partly out of a desire to maintain interest in how the teams were using their tyres following the end of the tyre war after 2006. It was previously used in the now-defunct Champ Car series, and the Indy Car championship has resurrected the idea this year.

Fernando Alonso has been scathingly critical of the rule in the run-up to this weekend’s race:

We expressed our concerns after Australia, after the accident of Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ it was due to the difference of the speed. He tried to overtake, Vettel was not in control of the car with that tyre, you cannot brake, you cannot turn-in, you cannot do anything. And then Robert had a big crash after that because he damaged the car. And then we expressed our concerns and now in the third race we have the same tyre at a worse circuit. This is something that we need to change immediately.

I think the super-soft on this type of circuit with long, high-speed corners. Super-soft in Turn 1 will be destroyed and in Turn 10 there will be no more left tyre.

One [tyre] will be too hard and one will be too soft. The right tyre is at home! This soft tyre is at home and this happened in Australia as well. And the understanding that this is for a better show, for overtaking. As I said, for better show, maybe we can pick up our number and then whoever picks up number 15 can put on wet tyres, or whatever, and it is a better show and its funny. Like this is not funny.

Although I enjoyed the extra dimension the tyre tactics brought to the first races, I wonder if the artificiality of having races so heavily influenced by tyres might start to become repetitive after a while.

And as Alonso says, it does F1’s reputation no good to expose it to ridicule by having such wide variations in tyre performance purely because of a quirk in the rules.

Has F1 opted for gimmickry over real racing? Is this the first step down a slippery slope that leads to other forms of regulated race-fixing like success ballast and reverse grids?

Cast your vote above ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ and have your say in the comments.

Read more

61 comments on “Soft tyre rule: exciting or artificial? (Poll)”

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3
  1. I don’t mind having drivers use two tyre compounds during each grand prix. It does add another element of strategy to the race, which I think should stay after the re-fuelling ban next season. Buuuuut, to have such a difference in performance between the two is a joke – and not a very good one. If the FIA is all about safety and (some) people are complaining about the legality of the diffusers on safety grounds, why aren’t we looking at these tyre choices and seeing the potential dangers? As Alonso said: “The right tyre is at home!” Couldn’t have put it better myself, and to me the tyre compound separation is idiocy in it’s purest sense.

  2. It is of course a bit artificial having the tyres so far apart. But then of course so is some teams having KERS and some teams not. I refuse to comment any more on diffusers :)

    All it means is that strategies will have to take this into consideration a bit more than before.

    If a team or driver makes the wrong choice then so be it. I like it, as long as it doesn’t compromise safety. Vettel tripped over Kubica because of this imbalance.. However I do expect higher standards from F1 drivers in this context. And so do the stewards, hence Vettel’s punishment. Kubica then having a nasty shunt after this contact has to be put down to Kubica not being cautious enough after the event.

  3. I would do away with mandatory use of the tyres, and each team can use what they want when they want (I know this goes against the cost cutting).

    There should be a marked difference between each of the 4 steps of tyre (super-soft, soft, medium, hard)… e.g. soft is 0.5-1.0seconds a lap faster than medium at its peak, but that peak is a smaller amount of laps… so if teams want use strategies like “hard” for the distance, or “medium” with one stop, or “soft” with multiple stops, or if they are good with tyres “medium” for the majority of the race and “super-soft” for the first/last portion… of course all this would only really work with the banning of re-fueling also.

    I would keep Qualifying as it is with the knockout format but Q3 will be low fuel, (super)soft tyres… banzai!!!

    I guess when it comes to Bridgestone, they would need to bring loads of the 2 soft variants, quite a bit of medium, and maybe a couple of sets of hard …for each team.

    1. which really doesnt do for cost cutting now, does it? That is a load, no pun intended, of tires for them to transport all over the world, dont you think?

  4. HounslowBusGarage
    17th April 2009, 12:28

    The function of this rule is to bring the attention of the audience to the tyres. As there is only one tyre supplier in F1, there has to be something to remind the spectators of Bridgestone’s significance to racing and high performance.
    But is this silly idea of running two types of tyres at each race the best that the FIA and Bridgestone can come up with?
    Perhaps it wouldn’t be so daft if there wasn’t such a wide gap between the two grades of tyre on offer at each GP this year. Option tyres didn’t make an impact on the racing last year, but as I understand it, the FIA wanted a wider gap between the tyre grades, and so we have this stupid situation; one particular grade of tyre on certain circuits will be as much use as carpet slippers on ice. And so teams will run them for the short amount of time before they destroy themselves – five or six laps.
    How does this improve the racing or elevate the profile of Bridgestone as suppliers of high quality tyres for performance vehicles? It doesn’t; it just make it look as though they have made a mistake.
    If this gap between grades continues next year, it will be even sillier as cars will not be able to refuel. So the compulsion to use the ‘naff’ tyres will be divorced entirely from strategy and we could see cars pitting in the closing laps of a race with low tyre wear just to change onto the Option tyre in order to satisfy the rules.

  5. It’s a tough call. On the one hand it does introduce a bit of excitement in the race but it does seem a bit forced.

  6. complete joke.

    Teams should be able to select the piece of standard, legal equipment
    for the job at any given time. Which is optimal for which team may differ.

    Anyway, anyone know what graining really is? Close up photos?

    1. “Tyre graining happens when the side-forces on the tyre cause the surface rubber to roll up and present a non-uniform contact patch with the road, which affects the grip level.”

  7. I am undecided on this one. Part of me thinks that it is artificial and should be got rid of, but then I also quite enjoy it but think the difference shouldn’t be so great that a tyre only lasts a few laps.

    If F1 still went to Indy surely they would have to modify the rule as cars could be forced to come in the very next lap after changing to softs after what happened in 2005.

  8. What they need to do is to design tyres to just last the distance they will be used for, but for their perforamnce to degrade within that period.

    They need to offer tyres that will last a quarter race distance and a third race distance so there is a choice for strategy.

  9. How will this work next season with refuelling banned? Surely the teams will all run the harder tyres for the first stint(s) and resort to the softer compound for the final stint(s). Otherwise the weight of the fuel will surely hamper the effectiveness of the softer compound?

    If all the teams run the same strategy then it’ll defeat the objective of having two tyre compounds.

  10. If it goes on like this, we may end up having F1 Handicap races.

  11. It is quite exciting when the cars are on the starting grid and the tire-warmers are still on and nobody knows what the front runners are running. Any difference in choices between the front runners meant a new twist from what we’d know from qualifying results alone. I like that moment when the warmers come off and the cameras zoom in on the various choices.

    1. I think that would still happen without this rule – remember last year the McLaren was harder on it’s tyres than the Ferrari so they might naturally opt for a different compound (without it begin forced on them).

    2. But that’s just the point–if it’s a natural choice of what suits the car best, there’s no drama to the tyre reveal. The drama comes from the fact that the teams have to make compromises, and that there’s a strategy to it.

  12. i think that the 2 tire idea is very odd. it’s not logical. it is just wasting rubber and not does not fit with the saving idea they try push with engine and gearbox. in general I think, they should go from start to finish with no tire change at all. or if they do change… then at least they should be allowed to use the same type of rubber. i’d like to see more sport (racing) and less pit-stops.

  13. It is a bit gimmicky but at the end of the day its the same for everybody and for sure it beats reverse grids hands down.

    So I’m not against the rule per se, but they definitely need to sharpen up the compound allocation – tyres falling apart after five laps is a joke.

    1. I agree – the super-soft is like a old qualifying tyre, no good for racing.

  14. Fewer pit stops, and at the limit case, no pit stops at all will convert processional races (hello, Valancia) into even more boring spectacles than we would have thought possible. Pit stops do add a uncertainty and the more uncertainty in a race, the better. Though ideally the uncertainty would be on-track, there’s only so many ways to squeeze it on to the track.

  15. I think it’s a bit naff and feel that they should let more than one company supply tyres to the teams. I’m sure in the past they’ve had something like 4 or 5 tyre companies represented on the same grid.

  16. i think its a great idea. it makes teams have to think about their strategies and it adds drama.

  17. I think the widened tyre gap was a good idea but there should just be a hard and a soft tyre, none of this ‘in betweeny’ medium and super-soft nonsense. Without the M’s and the SS’s, the tyre costs would be reduced a little bit.

    But then again, why bother having more than one type of tyre if you want to further reduce costs. Next year when refuelling is banned it should be optional pit stops and just one type of tyre brought to each race weekend

  18. The first 2 races of the season have shown BEYOND ANY DOUBT that overtaking is the essence of motor racing and makes the show.
    As long as “natural” overtaking works, you don’t need to artificially make some cars slower so other may overtake them just by having better tyres.

    1. So what are you saying?

      Virtually all the overtaking in the first few races were tyre related.

  19. In my opinion one supplier is good – cost cutting.
    I have other idea. Not 7 sets of 2 different compounds for every driver and 14 sets of tires but 3 sets of tires from all compounds. In this situation we have 12 sets of tires per driver. And full spectrum of possible strategics for racing weekend.

    1. Toperz, I like your thinking… and you’ve saved a load more money as well, bonus!

  20. KingHamilton
    17th April 2009, 15:11

    i dont think this is a question of exciting or artificial. because i think its both. yes it is artificial, but its also exciting and makes the race and pit strategy more interesting

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.