Whitmarsh says criticism of Pirelli’s tyres is “wrong”

2012 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Bahrain, 2012McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has defended Pirelli’s tyres following Michael Schumacher’s criticism of them after the last race.

“If Pirelli make tyres which give drivers and teams a real challenge and add to the spectacle the driver, understandably if he’s had a bad race, will complain about them,” said Whitmarsh, speaking at a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in.

“But on the other hand if they make tyres that are very robust, not challenging in terms of management from either the team or the drivers’ perspective, then I’m sure that the spectators will be critical of those tyres because they haven’t created the right spectacle.”

He admitted McLaren had not always got the most out of the tyres this year: “The tyres are undoubtedly challenging, there have been times when they’ve given us a significant challenge.

“And I think, frankly, the last race in Bahrain was one of those where we weren’t in the right window of operation and that affected our performance in the race quite dramatically.

“But I think it’s probably wrong to criticise the tyre, I think you’ve got to look at what you as a team and what the drivers are doing and how you manage the situation. That’s part of motor racing.”

McLaren have also experienced problems during their pit stops this year. Whitmarsh said: “We have made some changes as you might expect following the last race.

“And I wondered whether we?d have volunteers for some of the more critical elements, but I was astounded by how many guys in the team want to put themselves in those very challenging positions. It reflects well on the spirit within the team.

“There?s been a reasonable amount of practice, some changes in process and they?ll be seen at the weekend. I believe we will have good stops.”

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70 comments on Whitmarsh says criticism of Pirelli’s tyres is “wrong”

  1. SteveLWA said on 9th May 2012, 21:52

    I can’t even be bothered with F1 anymore.
    Ive been watching it since 1962, have attended hundred of Gp’s in that time & simply cannot stand the drs/kers/ crap pirelli era were currently in….. call me when its over & then maybe i’ll consider coming back.

    untill then F1 is dead to me!

  2. GT_Racer said on 9th May 2012, 22:54

    The fans of the current tyres often point out to tyre conservation been a part of F1 in the past & point to drivers like Alain Prost (Called the professor because of how he would look after the car/tyres) & earlier on someone quoted Stirling Moss from the 1958 Argentine Gp saying he had to look after the tyres.

    All that is indeed true, However there is a big difference between tyres then & tyres now.

    Back then tyres were designed to be as good as possible & if/when there was a wear problem it was more because the tyres were been used harder than expected due to track/weather conditions & even in these situations the tyres still lasted for a majoriy of the race & there was usually only the need for 1 tyre stop.

    In Prost’s era, For much of the 80s the tyres woudl last the full race fairly easily, There was never really a need to save tyres & when wear was a bit of an issue you only really needed to go easy for a few laps & you could then start to push again.

    Then in the late 80s/early 90s you had 4 compounds avaliable & real options on how you ran your race.
    If you wanted to run the full race non-stop you ran the hardest compound that was slower, sometimes needed nursing for a few laps but could get you to the end.
    You could also take one of the other 3 medium/soft compounds & push flat out planning to make 1 or 2 tyre stops.
    You could start on one compound & have 1 plan & based on your track position & what others around you were doing switch strategies mid-race & go to another compound.

    You don’t have any of that now, There are no real strategy options as everyone has to make 1 stop to run each compound & the only 2 compounds avaliable at each race both wear at similar levels & the speed difference between each is marginal.

    This is also the 1st time ever that all the dry tyres have been intentionally designed to fall to pieces, In the past tyres did wear at times but they were never designed that way, Them wearing was mearly a case of conditions on that day/weekend & not every car suffered.

    The way tyre conservation is now & the way it was in the past are completely different, Back then it was an option, Now its mandatory & the biggest story/factor of every race weekend.

    Tyres in the past were designed to be the best, Now there designed to be artificial.

  3. Gogog said on 10th May 2012, 0:35

    I dont know, but when the talk is about conserving tyres an conserving engines an conserving gear boxes an not wandering off line unless the next corner is blah blah blah.

    Theres something fundamentally wrong with F1.

    Too much Show, not enough Go.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 10th May 2012, 2:54

    I can’t help but wonder if Schumacher’s criticism of the tyres stems from, his frustration in the races. mercedes have demonstrated that they have pace, but they never seem to be able to prove it. None of the other drivers seem to be criticising the tyres; in fact, most who are asked about Pirelli support them. It’s just Schumacher who is against them.

    • GT_Racer said on 10th May 2012, 13:31

      He’s the only one thats publically come out & critisised, However he’s certainly not the only one that doesn’t like them.

      Don’t forget that Martin Brundle also said he’d spoken to 2 top drivers who shared Schumacher’s views & I’ve heard of at least 6 more drivers that have privately said something similar.

  5. OOliver said on 10th May 2012, 3:12

    Withmarsh wants challenges, he doesn’t want race wins.
    He is more interested in putting on a good show than putting up a proper fight and performing at your best.
    Great, keep it up, Lotus is linning up to blow past.

  6. Dizzy said on 10th May 2012, 14:22

    In the Thursday driver press conference which is been shown live on sky Alonso just said about Schumacher’s comments “I agree with what he said”.

    Vettel also seemed slightly critical of the tyres. He didn’t outright say it but indicated that having to drive to save tyres isn’t as fun as what they did in the past.

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