Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Bahrain 2012

F1 should fix flawed rules before changing tyres

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Bahrain 2012Michael Schumacher’s words after Sunday’s race have prompted a discussion over tyres in F1.

“I had to drive at a pace to manage the tyres to finish with tyres left over,” said Schumacher.

“We should question whether that should be the case. It’s unsatisfying and not what a Formula 1 event should be.”

There is a debate to be had over how far F1 should go to improve the quality of racing by using tyres that degrade.

But let’s get one thing straight from the off: When Michael Schumacher says an F1 event should not involve an element of tyre conservation, he is completely wrong.

Conserving tyres: Part of a racer’s skill

Schumacher may have seven world championships and 91 Grand Prix victories, but his grasp of the sport’s history is not his strong suit.

This is best illustrated by his reaction to leading a Ferrari one-two at Magny-Cours in 1998, when he questioned whether the team had ever achieved such a result before. Of course they had. They’re Ferrari. In fact, they’d had 41 of them.

If Schumacher’s knowledge of F1 were better he might remember some of the many examples of tyre conservation giving us great F1 races.

Such as the 1987 British Grand Prix, which Nelson Piquet tried to complete without a pit stop. Team mate Nigel Mansell changed tyres, dropped back and passed him for the lead with two laps to go. A similar situation played out 30 years earlier with Juan Manuel Fangio at the Nurburgring.

We could go back even further. Think of Tazio Nuvolari at the Nurburgring in 1935. Nursing his tyres, he was over a minute behind the leaders at one point. But Mercedes’ Manfred von Brauchitsch gambled on finishing the race only changing his Continentals once. As he began to struggle, Nuvolari was there to snatch an historic win.

Schumacher’s quote jars in comparison to this from Gilles Villeneuve, after he had won the 1979 South African Grand Prix: “I waited until the fuel load lightened before pushing the tyres too hard.

“Then when I felt either the front or back tyres go off I adjusted my driving style to bring them back again. Jody [Scheckter] came close and if I had made a mistake he could have overtaken me easily.”

These are just a few examples of races where the battle for first place was shaped by tyre conservation – there are countless other cases of Grand Prix where drivers grappled with the agonising question of whether to make another pit stop or try to hang on until the end.

The idea of giving drivers a set of tyres that can be pushed as hard as possible all race long is a recent development, one which made racing more uniform and less exciting – until Pirelli came back.

Have they gone too far?

Bahrain, 2012Having dismissed the notion that tyre conservation has no place in F1, we should ask if the sport has gone too far in terms of trying to spice up the racing by using tyres that are more prone to degrading.

Other drivers have made this point. In his column for Sky Martin Brundle noted: “I was talking with two F1 drivers, a world champion and a multiple race winner, and they had very similar concerns to Michael in that they can’t push the cars anywhere near their limits. ‘Physically my granny could drive the race’ quipped one to underline how far away from the limits they are.”

Remember that when Pirelli came into F1 in 2011, they were asked to supply tyres that would be more challenging for drivers and produce better racing.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said in 2010: “When we have been working with GP2 and F1, they have said they would like us to take an aggressive approach.

“It would be better from a tyre maker’s point of view to take a conservative approach, so people then do not talk about the drop off of the tyres. But from a sporting perspective, and for the show, we probably want both these tyre choices to have decay.”

Recall also that teams initially struggled to make the tyres last at the beginning of 2011, but by the end of the season they found it less difficult and the racing had suffered as a result.

Following Schumacher’s complaints Hembery posted on Twitter: “At the end of last year we had huge criticism for conservative choices and races were boring. Make your mind up. We are doing what is asked.”

This time last year we often saw drivers make four pit stops during races. That wasn’t the case by the end of the year, not at present, and it’s likely we’ll see teams make further progress with the tyres in the coming races.

Therefore Pirelli should avoid making knee-jerk changes to the tyre compounds. However the rule makers and teams should consider two changes to the tyre rules which would improve the sport.

Change the rules, not the tyres

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Bahrain, 2012First, the ‘top ten tyre rule’ – which requires all drivers in Q3 to start the race with the tyres they qualified on – should be scrapped.

It was intended to encourage some drivers in the top ten to start the race on the harder tyres. Since its introduction in 2010 it has rarely had that effect.

Worse, it now seems to be encouraging drivers not to set times in Q3. In Bahrain Lotus gambled on not sending Kimi Raikkonen out for another run in Q2, content at missing the top ten and saving more fresh tyres for the race. We saw much the same last year.

Forcing the top ten drivers to start the race on worn tyres reduces the teams’ strategic options. A problem which is compounded by another unnecessary rule which also needs to be scrapped.

This is the ‘mandatory tyre change’ rule, which forces drivers to use both types of tyre compound during the race.

Because of this rule, no-one can gamble on completing a dry race without a tyre change. Everyone knows that everyone else will have to make at least one pit stop and can plan and second-guess them accordingly.

The rule was first brought in when Bridgestone became F1’s sole tyre supplier in 2007, amid concern that the end of the tyre war meant that tyres would cease to be a talking point and Bridgestone would receive little publicity from their involvement in F1.

That is clearly not a concern for Pirelli. Therefore this rule is not needed from a sporting or marketing perspective. Last year 83% of F1 Fanatic readers supported getting rid of it.

No knee-jerk needed

Pirelli’s tyres have produced some terrific racing since they were introduced last year.

Despite a one-sided championship contest, the 2011 season saw our highest rate the race results since 2008. Two of this year’s first three races ranked within the top ten.

Tyre conservation is an important part of an F1 driver’s skill: just like getting the set-up right, nailing a fast qualifying lap, lapping consistently in the races, overtaking and everything else.

Instead of making knee-jerk changes to the tyres, F1 should address areas of the rule book which several years’ experience have taught us are not working as desired.

Getting rid of articles 25.4 (e) and (f) of the sporting regulations would give teams more strategy options, make the racing less artificial, and give the drivers a little more tyre life to play with on race day.

F1 should fix those before tackling the trickier question of whether slightly less aggressive tyres would ultimately give us even better racing.


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Image ?? Mercedes/Hoch Zwei, Pirelli/LAT

166 comments on “F1 should fix flawed rules before changing tyres”

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  1. I feel a storm coming! Haha.. I agree with these points ESPECIALLY a driver having to start on the tyres they qualified on.. The issue for me is the teams have a lack of strategic options on the race day and mixing up what tyres to start on could really make the races more interesting

    1. I agree Schumy is just looking longly at the days gone by when he drove for Ferrari and had special tyres that cost gaziliions and won everything – and racing was boring.

      Allowing a team to drive on 3 sets of softs and no mediums in a race would open up strategy better I agree. And increase overtaking again.

      1. If you take a look at other sports and some of the exterior changes that occured (either by the governing body or technical advances) and the results:

        Football – the Jabulani ball designed to be more erratic in the air to make it harder to save the ball. Result: Players couldn’t control their shots or long passes, many more goals scored due to keeper error and less due to skill. Qualitative loss, quantitative gain.

        Tennis – the courts were slowed down and balls were made marginally bigger to induce more rallies. Result: definite improvement, but it has killed the serve-volleyers. Less variation.

        Swimming – the LZR Racer. A suit so technologically advanced that it made deities of mere mortals. FINA allowed the suits. Results: world records were broken left and right, the common link being the suits (18 out of 19 world records in one year). Some were compounding the benefits of the suit by wearing two of them at the same time! Eventually, FINA came to its senses and banned the suits, saying that the sport should be about what you can achieve rather than what you are wearing.

        American Football – over a number of years, the NFL has been handicapping the defense, no excessive force when tackling a quarterback, no tackles to certain body parts, no helmet to helmet tackles (even if the offensive player ducks) et cetera. Result: More scoring than ever. Four of the five most passing yards in a season have come in the last five years – versus just one from the previous sixty plus years (2011, 2011, 1984, 2008, 2011). The pass attack is, by design, nearly unstoppable. Nowadays, the run game is used to supplement the pass whereas before it was more of a legitimate alternative.

        I think elements of all of the above examples are at play. The Pirelli’s are the Jabulani of F1. These fast wearing tires are making dinosaurs of racers, turning them into formulaic drivers. If perchance, like Mercedes in China, you happen across a good setup, you can go from being in the pack to being virtually untouchable.

        Keith, you rightly claim that tyre management is a part of the heritage of F1, but isn’t defensive driving? When I say this, I don’t mean the dirty air coming off my car is so great you can’t come within 100 feet of me but more the Senna-Mansell, Alonso-Schumacher type duels. They are impossible in this style of F1.

        1. @kodongo

          Keith, you rightly claim that tyre management is a part of the heritage of F1, but isn’t defensive driving?

          Absolutely – but I think DRS has done more to detract from that than the tyres.

          1. Tony Clifton
            1st June 2012, 21:09

            Many moons ago f1 fans voted in favour of removing driver aids. To me KERS and DRS are driver aids and should be banned. The race tyres should also be comprised of a single compound that will last the race without change, while they should have certain degree of degradation from the lights to the flag, the sudden ‘tyre cliff’ should not be the commanding factor like it is presently, this dramatic fall away in performance has already robbed us of potential dog fights this season. Pitstops should stopped and be allowed only to replace punctured tyres, with Slower pitlane speeds and one mechanic per wheel. The FIA also need to tackle the area they continuously keep ignoring and failing to address properly, namely dirty air from the diffusers. Their failure to regulate this resulted in DRS and KERS. Monaco 2012 was a waiting game. Waiting to see who tyres would fade, so that a position could be gained.

        2. Many world records have been broken since the “magical suit” has been banned…

        3. @kodongo “These fast wearing tires are making dinosaurs of racers, turning them into formulaic drivers”

          I think you are totally wrong, we are seeing more skills needed now. i suspect one of your favourite drivers has lost form tahts why you have this oppinion.
          they are still driving very fast, and as shown by mercedes after the terrible preseason and first 2 races tyre troubles, the teams CAN and WILL adjust, as do the great drivers.

          secondly they are all formulaic drivers anyway, they are not gods, they are people like everyone else.

          Its all good and well to drive flat out in the fastest car with the best tyres, like schumacher did for so many years at ferrari, but that doesnt instantly make you the best driver with the best skill.

          if they change these tyres, then they may as well cancel all wet weather races, as the drivers might have to look after their tyres in those races too.

          Everyone looks back at the 1980s turbo era, and there was more tyre management then, and it had great racing. now they and managing tyres again, but the driving is still very fast, the cars are still faster then the turbo or the v10 eras.

      2. We are in 2012 Michael, did you understand the message. You are not in a perfect “for you” circumstances. Whole team isn’t working only for you. The tires are same for every driver. Second driver isn’t driving for you. Did you understand the message!
        Well I never thought that he deserved all of his titles. Yes he was very fast, but if he let go all the dirty moves he puled and just settle for the wins he won with style, he would be a much greater driver in my eyes.

        1. 2003 and 2005 (Alonso) are Kimi’s titles.

        2. @nidzovski

          I’m not sure that’s relevant at all… :/

    2. sid_prasher (@)
      27th April 2012, 20:26

      The merit in starting on used tyres is that people outside the top 10 can reduce the gap by having a fresh set. It also allows the leading guys to recover when they have to start from the back for whatever reasons. However i agree it makes Q3 not so exciting…but that is also a form of tyre strategy.

      What i would like to see change is –
      a) unlimited/very large supply of tyres.
      b) no restriction on mandatory compounds change.
      c) some improvement in the tyre debris/marbles that currently make going off the racing line more difficult.

      1. Dear Sid, your suggestion (a) is incompatible with suggestion c) which I heartily endorse and if you mean (b) no mandatory compound change, then with you there also.

    3. I agree with you, Keith.

  2. Definitely couldn’t agree more.
    Tyres compound is a secondary problem, first one is rules.
    And managing tyre degradation absolutely is a skill manner for drivers.

      1. I have written this comment in the thread itself, and now I will write it here:
        Unbelievable, the hypocracy of some F1 Fans. Back in 2010, people were crying and begging for tyres that wear down quickly; so we can get an exciting race. Now we finally have what we were moaning for two years ago, we complain about the tyres being too fragile? Really?
        Some people tend to have a very short memory. Look at how many processional races we had in 2010. Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Europe, Germany, Abu Dhabi all bored me to tears. Even races such as Japan and Brazil did not provide anything exciting. The Bridgestones were so good that you could do 40 qualifying laps on soft tyres, and still have some decent grip in them.
        If you can enjoy drivers driving on the limit in a snoozefest of a race; then please re-watch all the dry races from 2005-2010.

        1. Fact. Also about F1 fans :)

    1. well a tyre conservation is one skill the driver should have. but the level of degradation is quite outragous where we found that at the end of the race marble begin building up on the outside of the racing line. making the the racing line narower at the end of the race at time where the expect more of the action would came.

    2. Agreed… variables, variables, variables.

      Michael won most of his races and championships in an era where there were few variables in the race. A racer manages the variables to get the maximum result in the race rather than just the one who is the quickest over one lap. In Michael’s era the strategies and variables were mostly determined before the race began which is why we had boring processions and predictable results based on grid positions.

      Throughout F1 history it has been in-race variables that have made for exciting racing, and real opportunities for racers.

      Right now tyres are a significant variable (like they were during the tyre wars) but so are fuel, KERS and DRS. All of this providing exciting racing and opportunities for real racers.

      Personally I’d like to see more variables brought back in rather than the elimination of the variables we’ve got now. The two most significant I’d like to see are:
      – Elimination of the rev limit (or significant increase in the rev limit)
      – Elimination of the blue flag rule

      Rev limit: currently overtaking opportunities are often hindered by cars hitting the rev limit. Without a rev limit it would give drivers the opportunity to “turn up the wick” for overtaking purposes (resulting in more overtaking) but by keeping the engine restrictions it would mean drivers would have to balance higher revs versus engine longevity – hence more variation for drivers to manage and more unpredictability as a result of reliability problems.

      Blue flag: the current rule gives leaders a free pass and allows them to get away without having to exercise their skills in backmarker overtaking. It is also disrespectful to the backmarkers who are also racing and ruins their opportunities.

      1. In regards to the rev limit issue, I think they should keep the 7 as is, add an 8’th gear, a DRS gear, that can only be used when they hit the limit in 7th with DRS activated, then click into the DRS gear, and just blast past the car in front.

      2. Elimination of the rev limit (or significant increase in the rev limit)

        I think, there is alternative solution to pass rev limit: banning the longest gear (7th or 8th) during the qualification. That would make some room for overtaking without losing benefits of standard rev limit.

        Forced tyre change was especially bad in 2010. Most often we see only mandatory pitstops, so only real option were to skip pitstop, but it was banned. Now the rule is meaningless, because its not possible to drive the whole race with one Pirelli set. The compound part of rule is still effective and could be removed…

    3. And engineers. I think that some cars are better suited for Pirelli tyres than others and on that matter, most of the merit lies with car designers, not drivers. Ask Kimi to manage his tyres driving a Mercedes and he will probably talking like Shcumacher.

      1. I think you dreaming, Kimi talking like Schumacher haha :)

  3. People can look at it from the point of view of “it makes the racing more exciting” which in some ways it does. Having tires that degrade fast does make for some interesting looking racing, just look at china. However, in my opinion Michael’s right. I think it’s more exciting to watch schumacher or hamilton push for 20 laps to overtake somebody than it is to watch Kimi run slightly off line and lose 12 places because of it. It’s gone from being “Michael, we need 20 qualifying laps from you” to “Michael, we need you to SLOW DOWN to preserve the tires.” Shouldn’t it be about which driver can push the car to go the fastest? It must be so unbelievably frustrating for the drivers to have to drive at 60-70% when they could go much faster. I remember China in 2011 Trulli in the Caterham had a quicker fastest lap than Alonso in the Ferrari- that’s not right, fastest laps are now 4-5 seconds slower than pole. That’s what I didn’t like about last year. This year we’ve gone to a completely new level of stupidity. Mercedes isn’t the only team that’s been screwed over by the tires. In malaysia Button was FLYING on the intermediates but then he pulled up behind a slower car that he was racing for position. Because he had to go slower his tires dropped out of the microscopic operating window and he started losing 4 seconds a lap. This is ridiculous

    1. Race laps were 4 seconds slower than pole well before Pirelli tyres came along, which indicates thier has always been something being conserved.

    2. bernieslovechild
      27th April 2012, 12:31

      Yeah wasn’t it great – watching team mates being told to pull over because the No.1 was out of position and couldn’t get past for 20 laps.

    3. I agree with you. I dont even see how you can bring driver skill into it either. Look at Rosberg in China. His tyres worked for him there. However they have not at other race this year so far. Its a lottery.

      The tyres should not of been changed from the 2011 spec. I think we would be seeing much better racing this year had they not been changed to become so random.

      1. As each race goes on, it appears that it’s neither car developments nor driver brilliance that’s deciding which team/driver combination comes out on top; it’s whether or not people can get themselves into the right tyre operating window.

        But has it become too much, and is Schumacher actually right? Is 2012 simply turning in to a rubber lottery – with the outcome of an afternoon dependent on track and weather conditions suiting one car over another

    4. Pushing for 20 laps and all happened in re-fuelling era, with full fuel loads FLap times are bound to be slower than quali pole times. Michael has 2 points, the same as Massa who got all his points in 1 single race. Also, both of Schumacher’s 10th place finishes came after Maldonado and Button retired in Malaysia and Bahrain respectively. Even if Michael says that Pirellis are holding him back, running in non-scoring position for almost all the races he scored doesn’t make it seem like its the fault of Pirellis when his teammate has a race victory already. ‘Schumacher retired from 2 races blah blah’ – he had 2 more races where he didn’t do much either. And Button losing performace on inters was due to him pitting well before others and pushing too far, by the time he caught backmarkers his tyres were gone. For every driver moaning about the tyres there is one team mate far ahead of them, coincidence?

      1. I’m sorry, but on the point about Schuey not doing much in the other races. Are you stupid? He was spun round to last in Malaysia, still picked up a point. Started virtually last in Bahrain, still picked up a point. His other two races he retired from were due to a gearbox problem, and a wheel falling. He’s had rotten luck at every race so far, it’s not his fault he’s only got two points.

        1. @goodyear92 Call me whatever you want, when something goes wrong blame luck. Next in line, God.

          1. Visit Vettel, he knows what to do with you. ((((:

          2. I find it amusing that you think Rosberg is somehow miles ahead of Michael. You’re part of the same group that thought Webber rightfully deserved to lead the championship at any point in the season.

          3. Jack Flash (Aust)
            28th April 2012, 4:24

            @pamphlet: What complete tosh. A two win – fifty point forthnight over Barcelona and Monaco GP weekends, in purely untouchable form; and you say Webber at no point deserved to lead the WDC in 2010. Patently silly statement.

          4. @Jack Flash – He’s referring to this thread. I don’t know about saying he didn’t deserve to lead the championship, but I’d agree with him if he was referring to people believing MW deserved to win it at the end.

          5. Jack Flash (Aust)
            28th April 2012, 6:09

            @David-A: Pamphlet may be making ref to that thread and all, but he said “the same group that thought Webber rightfully deserved to lead the championship at any point in the 2010 season”.
            “at any point in the 2010 season” ???
            Webber lost his chance for ultimate WDC glory with a bad mistake of his own making (DNF) in the wet in Korea. That ultimately decided his own fate in not leading again to end of 2010 season. His own fault. That is a different question of discussion entirely, to that stating he was not deserving to lead at any point. — ergo = Patently silly statement.

    5. Could not agree more, Michael was a master at holding an f1 car on the limit lap after lap. Surley that is what f1 is all about, suret yre wear as always been there but we are talking about tyres that self destruct not wear out. This sport is being dumbed down beyond belief just to apeal to the masses, if we are not carefull the americans will start to like it.

  4. Agree, but not entirely!
    What i dont agree is that a driver must be able to push as hard as he can at least for lets say 10 lap! And the to have strategy like: softer tyres faster times with a sec for 10 laps. but just 10 laps and harder tyres slower times but lets say 17-20 laps.
    Now whats happenig is harder or softer tyres indentical times in long runs. Not good

    1. Well, good point…

  5. Dead on, Keith.

    I can’t stand this bandwagon jumping.

    Do you want good racing, or boring racing? I think we can narrow it down to that.

    1. those against Pirelli never said they want Bridgestone (boring era) back! they say what F1 needs is something in middle. neither fast-degrading nor never-degrading.

    2. Do you want good racing, or boring racing? I think we can narrow it down to that.

      Well I for one don’t think we can. I’m not on any bandwagon either.

      Making the Pirreli’s slightly more durable is not a knee-jerk reaction at all. Sure if we went back to Bridgestones then it would be. It also wouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction because we have the whole of last season to look back on and many people. It depends on what kind of ‘show’ you want I guess.

      As I’ve said before, let the aggresive drivers push and stop more, and the smoother drivers stop less and we have the perfect formula. This for me is what Silverstone 1987 was all about. Formula 1 should accomodate different driving styles and at the moment everyone is having to drive conservatively – including drivers such as Schumacher and Kobayashi. The quality (not the quantity) of overtaking has also been poor due to this fact, again this is just my honest opinion and others such as Keith may disagree.

      By the way of course the regs need sorting out too.

      F1 should fixed its flawed rules before changing the tyres

      Why not do it at the same time?

      1. James Allen poll here

        We always say how we should listen to the fans, well the fans (the subset that visit James Allen’s blog anyway) seem to agree with Schumacher.

        I have to say I think Hembury should engage in a little debate, not just dismiss comments from the drivers with a one line response.

        1. Perhaps Hembury is dismissing comments because it has only been 4 races and he thinks the teams will find answers and adapt, and for now all he has done at Pirelli is what BE/F1/FIA has asked of him. ie. why would Hembrey debate when he thinks he is doing exactly as he has been asked? So no wonder he has one line responses. If there is to be any debate amongst the players it should be between the drivers and teams and BE/FIA. And then it will be up to them to direct Hembrey and Pirelli in a different area if that seems appropriate. I think for now BE et al are looking at 4 winners from 4 races which they wanted, and otherwise teams adapting to the tires over time, like they did last year.

  6. dysthanasiac (@)
    27th April 2012, 12:25

    First off, I don’t think Schumacher looked far into the past and used that recollection to justify his thoughts when he said, “It’s unsatisfying and not what a Formula 1 event should be.” He just stated his opinion that he doesn’t find 2012-style racing satisfying. That’s fair enough, and I agree with him, too.

    China was a farce; it was a tire lottery. I find that boring, because you know something is going to happen, you just don’t know what. In this case, Raikkonen made one mistake when he wandered too far into the plethora of marbles that adorned the track off the racing line and lost ten positions in two laps because of it. I just don’t think that’s right for a number of reasons.

    One mistake shouldn’t be that costly, and the tires should be robust enough that they enable trailing drivers to mount a challenge rather than force them to form a Trulli Train because the tires can’t withstand any attempts to pass. They also need to have enough resilience to keep from shedding ridiculous amounts of rubber all over the track, which is likely the biggest obstacle to good, hard racing.

    Tire conservation has always been important and it always will be. But, it shouldn’t be paramount to everything else.

    1. “one mistake shouldn’t be that costly”
      I guess you’re in favor of acres of Tarmac as well then?
      One mistake can put you out of the race (see: Maldonado in AUS)

      1. dysthanasiac (@)
        27th April 2012, 21:01

        I probably could have worded that better.

        I think the margin for error should not be so razor thin that drifting a foot or so off-line into the sea of marbles sets in motion a chain reaction whereby a driver loses ten places in two laps. I think that’s excessive, and I don’t think it’s good racing. It’s attrition via tightrope.

  7. I completely agree with you that the tyre rules should be changed. Also, since 2011, the racing has been very exciting racing, so Pirelli should by no means hurry to change their compounds.

    I do feel, however, that there are certainly grounds to criticise the Pirelli tyres on. To counter the “tyre management has always been part of F1” argument, the question (in my mind), is how far off the maximum a driver should drive to make the tyres last, 80%, 95%? Of course, it’s very hard from the sidelines to compare tyre management requirements from different F1 areas. In fact, one driver who does have extensive experience with different kinds of tyres is Michael Schumacher – and he is complaining.

    In another comment on this site a few days ago, someone argued that the Pirellis are qualifying tyres in all but name, and I agree with him or her. If you push the tyres hard for a couple of laps, or even one lap, their performance deteriorates significantly. This also seems to hold for the harder compounds; you can make those last longer, but you cannot push them harder, or these will also fall apart within 10 laps, if not sooner.

    Also, purely out of curiousity, does anyone remember how similar the Pirellis of 2011 and 2012 are to those of their last foray into Formula 1, ending in 1991? I do sometimes wonder (as did Patrick Head in his appearance on The Flying Lap about a year ago) if this whole degradation characteristic of the Pirellis is only partially intended. They say, “sure, we can make tyres that last the whole race”, but can they, without making the tyres horribly slow?

    1. Michael Schumacher has extensive experience with different types of tyres????

      Oh, you must mean the ones that were made especially for HIM and Ferrari that no one else was allowed to have and that were faster than everything else and were significanlty responsible for most of his WDC’s.

      You are correct then Sir.

      1. @nick101,

        1991, Pirelli; 1992, Goodyear; 1998 (or something) Bridgestone; 2010, Bridgestone again, though now different; 2011 Pirelli. And every season, tyres change and evolve (not to mention grooved tyres versus slick tyres). And before he came to Formula 1, he drove sports cars for Mercedes, where tyre management also plays an important role. The guy has been in some sort of racing for well over three decades. I believe I am correct, Sir, when I say he has extensive experience with different types of tyres.

  8. i feel that tyres have made the races look like a hair & tortoise story. there should be tyre degradation but it should be gradual… drivers should be able to push the car to the limit and not knock the performance out of the tyres. if any driver plans to driver the car to it’s limit he should be able to do it in 3 pit stops & the guy wanting to finish race on 1 stop should be able to do it by conserving the same tyres. Right now the case is that if you push car for couple of laps you finish your tyres…. it’s a sudden death performance which i’m against.

    1. I agree with this. I just want the drivers to have the option to push for a good number of laps. I don’t want them to have destroyed their race by trying to go fast. That’s all.

    2. The Cliff, should be a Mountain. Thats it :)

  9. I, for once, agree with Keith. We have had lots of interesting races so far. My only fear is that these Pirelli tyres might randomly affect the races. I want the best team and the best driver to win. – it’s just that in my books the best driver isn’t the one, who mindlessly drives as fast as he can at all times.

  10. I waited until the fuel load lightened before pushing the tyres too hard.

    With regards to Gilles, he conserved the tyres to use them later. In this day and age, by the time the fuel load has lightened, you are onto your third set of tyres…

  11. too much whining from shumacher, special tyres from bridgestones are history,
    if to change rules i would like to retain top ten tyre rule, but i drop two compound mandatory change, so there will be more strategies, options

    1. alonso won his two WDC on the back of special tyres from michelin …I don’t hear HIM whining ..he is doing the best he can with what he has …as it should be

  12. @keithcollantine In terms of great battles where the tires are what made us sit on the edge of our seats: Dont Forget Senna/Mansell in the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix (even though our Nige had a puncture, senna kept his tires alive enough to fend off the irrepressibly quick FW13).

    Nearly the same thing happened in Jerez 1986, with Nige making a late change and storming back through, only to miss winning (from Senna again – driving the Lotus) by what, hundredths?

    1. At certain circuits where you can’t pass it’s true that tyres can play a great role. The Senna vs Mansell battle of course was great, as would have been the finish last year at Monaco were it not for the red flag. It’s only Monaco and perhaps Singapore & Valencia where you get this however.

  13. @keithcollantine:

    Getting rid of articles 25.4 (e) and (f) of the sporting regulations would give teams more strategy options, make the racing less artificial, and give the drivers a little more tyre life to play with on race day.

    I understand that it will give more strategy options, but why will it give the drivers more tyre life to play with on race day?

    The problem is that for top teams, they have to use all new tyres in quali, and if they don’t, we get a boring quali. This then gives anyone who doesn’t use all their tyres in quali an advantage, which i personally think is wrong. Perhaps a simple rule to give more tyre life on race day would be to replace one set of the option quali tyres with a brand new set of options for race day? The replaced tyres would be those with the most life, so there would be no benefit from saving a set by not running in quali. This would give more exciting quali AND more tyre life in the races.

    I agree with everything else you’ve said about changing the rules. Both of them have proved to be pointless.

    1. @jleigh

      why will it give the drivers more tyre life to play with on race day?

      Because the top ten won’t have to start the race on used tyres.

  14. Like Dev (above) I think there should be gradual tyre degradation – not the current fall off a cliff stuff.
    But the thing that really gets me annoyed are the marbles. We’ve seen so many shots ths year (wet track excluded) where just off the racing line is strewn with lumps of discarded rubber. This must make it impossible for a driver to launch a passing manoevre into a corner because he’ll lose traction on the marbles on the way in and his tyres will be so dirty that his adversay will re-pass him on the way out. “Oh well, I’ll wait until the DRS zone instead”.
    What’s the point of a track that’s ten metres wide if five metres are impossible to race on?
    Someone is going to ask “How do you make a tyre that degrades gradually, but which doesn’t cast off marbles?” I don’t know. I’m not Pirelli. But I do know that marbles are distorting the racing and always have done.

  15. No Keith, agree with everything expect this fact,

    Why is an F1 car in the race now doing identical lap times like with the GP2 car in qualifying? Does this now mean that the HRT simply needs to buy a GP2 chassis, put on two pairs of Pirellis P Zero, and just barge on to the F1 field?

    PS*. F1 Race Lap times Bahrain 2012 / GP2 Series Qualifying Lap times Bahrain 2012.

    1. “Why is an F1 car in the race now doing identical lap times like with the GP2 car in qualifying?”

      I dont get your point

      An F1 car starts a race with 140+kg of fuel..

      1. Jean-Eric Vergne’s laptime on Lap 44 last lap (low fuel) of the race, was slower than a GP2 lap. Sorry I cannot post links, but yes, its true.

        1. Thats making the presumption that he was pushing on his last lap.

          His tyres may have not had much life on them and/or he could have been fuel saving/low engine modes et al.

          GP2 car in Q would have a/ been pushing limits, b/ on fresh tyres, c/ on fumes

        2. That a light-fuelled GP2 car on fresh tyres driven by a decent driver can do a comparable time to a fuel-heavy, F1 car with worn tyres is hardly surprising. But you’re not comparing like with like.

          Sergio Perez topped Q1 in Bahrain with a 1:33.814, making the 107% time 1:40.381. Davide Valsecchi took GP2 pole with a 1:41.200. So HRT would be well-advised to keep their current chassis, at least it gets them within 107%.

          Besides which, why shouldn’t GP2 cars be within touching distance of an F1 lap time? The series exists as a proving ground for aspiring F1 drivers, so should offer lap speeds approaching those of an F1 car. If the fastest GP2 drivers were doing qualifying times that would put them in the middle of the F1 grid with similar tyres and in comparable conditions, then it would be worth worrying about.

        3. there has been examples of this in years past, with the slowest f1 car sometimes having a slower lap time then the fastest gp2 car, that has got nothing to do with the pirellis.
          Also the rules are always being changed to slow down f1 cars, but not so for F3000-GP2 cars

  16. I realy wanted to know how these kind of decisions are taken. I mean, I think they (FIA, FOM, FOTA) have the resources to run some simulations and based on that take some decisions. Or, maybe, Bennie just wake up in a morning and says to himself, what if …

    1. Bernie ‘only’ owns the rights of Formula 1 (FOM), he has no say on the rules.

  17. Keith, i think you blow your own argument out of the water with your very first example. A driver should have the option of either pushing like hell and needing another set of tires, or looking after his and perhaps saving a pitstop. The way it is now, everyone simply has to preserve the tires at all cost. Its not possible to even drive flatout at any stage of the GP. That situation is just plain wrong as drivers are driving to delta laptimes and not to the limits of their skill, tire management included.

    1. I lean this way as well. I do think the rules need to be changed but I also think that the tires need to be looked at. I know it’s not as simple as just requesting they change rubber and it’s that easy but I think the strategy should be to make a tire that can be pushed for 10-15 laps, hard, or run more frugally for 25-35.

      I agree that tire saving is a strategy that has led to brilliant races, but so has the strategy of burning through sets doing flying laps and pitting often.

      The rules changes I would want to see are: 1-bring refuelling back — this might negate any need to fool with tire compounds because it would allow teams to push more on low weight. 2-get rid of or reduce DRS — part of the reason that a driver cannot afford to run fewer stops and expect a podium is because they cannot defend against a driver behind. A driver on older tires is automatically slower (especially with the current rubber) but adding in DRS means that they cannot defend.

      The issues are beyond just rubber, but they include it.

      1. I disagree with bringing refuelling back. It discourages overtaking when you can do it in the pits.

        I do agree with taking out DRS, though. It is overrated.

        1. Without refuelling you can’t push for at least the first third of a race or the tires vaporize. If you make the tires strong enough for the first third on heavy fuel, they will be too strong on low fuel, meaning 1 tire change the whole race. Boring.

          Reintroducing refuelling would allow aggressive tires because you can push on low fuel which will likely create less wear, so you can push more. Then you can either push and refuel/retire a lot or push less and pit less.

          By having no refuelling everything is about the tires, and that is the problem. There is no other strategy once the race has started other than tires.

          1. that is re-tire (new tires), not retire (exit the race).

    2. @dasman BOOM. My thoughts, right on the money.

    3. They can push to the limits of their skills, it’s simply not desirable strategically. You didn’t read the examples very well. Even in the past, drivers have had to do the same thing. Never has F1 been about doing qualifying laps for the entire race. At this level, a degree of endurance is required to be balanced with your speed. If you want an all out sprint, there’s always GP2.

      1. Never has F1 been about doing qualifying laps for the entire race

        It can be, but you might have to pit 6 times. That’s just too many. If you have to pit 4 times and the smoother guys 3, then you have a race on your hands between drivers with differing styles.

    4. I agree too and I really don’t get how the opinion of a 7-times champion is so easily dissed by Keith Collatine or anyone else. Schumacher not knowing Ferrari’s history is not the same as Schumacher not knowing what he’s on about when he says he, as a driver, isn’t pushing enough because the tyres don’t allow it. The same applies to citing two current drivers saying the tyres are making drivers drive far below their maximum – and then apparently ignoring this evidence! I don’t get how this opinion can be disregarded. For me that’s already more than enough evidence that tyre conversation is too dominant.

      Other gripes: the ridiculous rule over tyre allocations, penalizing those who make it into Q3 and encouraging just one or even no runs to compete for pole position. I find it simply incredible that this hasn’t been addressed when it’s been an issue since last year. Qualifying is now a total anti-climax, yet we’re told it’s all about the show. How does that make sense??

      And DRS has severely detracted from the value of over-taking. It would be tolerable if the rest of the race wasn’t about tyre conservation. But as it stands, the tyre conservers, bless them, who are less likely to risk their tyres by hard driving and attempting to overtake now have the bonus of being able to get past without compromising their driving style.

      In sum, it annoys me that the excessive concern now with tyre degradation, DRS-free-overtaking and years of crackdowns on ‘aggressive’ driving have meant that the most exciting (fastest, most skilled) racers now have to plod around with the slower drivers to make the ‘show’ work.

    5. @dasman

      A driver should have the option of either pushing like hell and needing another set of tires, or looking after his and perhaps saving a pitstop.

      You mean like Di Resta did in Bahrain?

      1. @keithcollantine Yes, however the drivers on 3 stops could not ‘push like hell’. they still had to drive well below their ultimate pace. I do agree the rules need changing, however I think the balance between tire management and racing is off and needs fixing too.

      2. He meant like Michael Schumacher in Hungary 1998.

  18. I think you are bang on target with your opinion. I agree the rules are the things that are making the sport not so F1-like. Especially the rule requiring top 10 qualifiers to start on the same tyres they clocked their fastest lap. Hopefully things will change for the better.

    As for Schumi, being a Schumi fan ever since I started watching the sport, it was strange to hear this from him. Perhaps he is just too close to the action to know better.

    1. And it’s just that he does like more the sport Formula One, not the show.

  19. I agree with the rule changes that Keith is suggesting, but I think the problem runs a lot deeper. The tyres are causing the kind of lap-time fluctuation that is needed to provide interesting races, but it shouldn’t be solely the job of the tyres to achieve that. The cars and circuits need to provide a tougher test in order to create that effect – at the moment drivers are able to lap so consistently that you will never see anything other than a procession. The tyres are interfering with that and shaking-up the running order, but it’s not a good fix because it does appear to be a lottery. It doesn’t seem to be a case of predictable degradation which can be managed – it is more like a life-limit that appears from nowhere and doesn’t allow much degree of driver influence. Race positions are being decided by pit-crew mistakes which is also not satisfying. Pit-stops and tyre changes are needed to spice up the racing when the cars and circuits are poorly devised to provide proper racing. If the regulations were right there would be no need for drivers to keep making pit-stops to make the race a spectatcle.

  20. Grammar in Title needs fixing.

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