Ferrari join Lotus in criticising tyre revisions

2013 Spanish Grand Prix

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2013Ferrari have added their voice to the criticism of the forthcoming change in tyre compounds at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Pirelli are making alterations to this year’s tyres following the high number of pit stops seen during last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Ferrari used its anonymous “Horse Whisperer” column on its official website to put forward its objections to the planned change:

“These are difficult times for people with poor memories. Maybe it?s because of the huge amount of information available today that people are too quick to talk, forgetting things that happened pretty much in the recent past. Or maybe the brain cells that control memory only operate selectively, depending on the results achieved on track by their owners.

“A classic example of this is the current saga regarding the number of pit stops. Voices have been raised to underline the fact that various teams, some of whom got to the podium and others who were quite a way off, made four pit stops in the recent Spanish Grand Prix, making the race hard to follow.

“It?s a shame that these worthy souls kept quiet two years ago when, at the very same Catalunya Circuit and on the Istanbul track, five of the six drivers who got to those two podiums made exactly the same number of pit stops as did Alonso and Massa last Sunday in the Spanish Grand Prix.

“In fact, there?s nothing new about winning a race making so many pit stops, even discounting those where it was down to changeable weather. One only has to look back to 2004, when Michael Schumacher won the French Grand Prix thanks to what was a three stop strategy, later changed to a four stopper. That was the key which allowed the multiple champion?s F2004 to get ahead of the then Renault driver, Fernando Alonso, who made three stops. And on that day and we remember it well, our strategy and the tyre supplier were showered with praise for allowing us to get the most out of the car.

“Today however, it seems one must almost feel ashamed for choosing a strategy that, as always for that matter, is aimed at getting the most out of the package one has available. On top of that, if this choice emerges right from the Friday, because all the simulations are unanimous in selecting it, then why on earth should one feel embarrassed when compared to those who have gone for a different choice, only to regret it during the race itself.”

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier also criticised the tyre compounds change yesterday.

2013 Spanish Grand Prix

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181 comments on Ferrari join Lotus in criticising tyre revisions

  1. V. Chris (@vasschu) said on 17th May 2013, 11:37

    I don’t have problem with the number of pit stops. What i dislike about the current situation is drivers with fresh tyres driving gently sparing them. It’s not cool, it’s boring. We saw great races last year with only one stop and full throttle all the way, we saw 4 stops breath taking race in Canada 2011 (6 stops for the winer counting penalties). The quality of the race is decided by the driving, not by the pits. And there wasn’t much driving so far besides aiming target times. Right now there is no car able to go full throttle in few consecutive laps and this is the problem.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 17th May 2013, 14:00

      +1. Exactly this. Finally somebody makes me believe I’m not taking crazy pills.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th May 2013, 16:32

        Exactly…which is why Ferrari’s comments on THW are disingenuine. Anybody actually believe that Ferrari would not be just as vocal as RBR or any other team if the shoe were on the other foot? They’d have brought the hammer down by now in a far stronger way than RBR has.

  2. timi (@timi) said on 17th May 2013, 11:42

    I’m not going to weigh in on the tyre issues. I just want to say that the French GP in 04 was one of MSC’s great drives.

    • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 17th May 2013, 12:06

      True. Like the three-stopper which won him the Hungarian GP of 1998, the pit strategy was only part of the story. It was the incredible pace he kept up, lap after lap, that handed him both of those victories.

      • DaveW (@dmw) said on 17th May 2013, 15:39

        Right. The fact that he could go flat out, between stops, exerting his superior skill and concentration, is what made the race great. Today, Schumacher, on the same four-stop schedule, would still be pussy-footing around the track, several seconds off his maxium pace. So this Magny Cours example is rather a very good argument AGAINST Ferrari’s current comments.

  3. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 17th May 2013, 11:48

    The Horse Whisperer is talking about ’04 French GP but the biggest difference is that in that 4 stopper race, MSC was able to go flat out all through the race whereas in the ’13 Spanish GP, drivers on 4 stops were also forced to back off occasionally.

    This is the primary issue that we are having with Pirelli.

    As far as RBR is concerned, we know who they are!

    • Nomore (@nomore) said on 17th May 2013, 12:54

      Alonso was able to flat out throught the race, and never back off…can you fact or prove that Alonso was told to back off ?

      • John H (@john-h) said on 17th May 2013, 15:09

        After the race Alonso himself said he was driving 90% @nomore

        • Nomore (@nomore) said on 17th May 2013, 15:25

          And so what ? what is wrong with that ? The “flat out” can be archived also with 90%…
          do you really think that this is the only year that drivers push with regardless to the tires , engine, fuel, strategy, or whatever ??

          Since 1950-2013 A driver never pushed the hole year 100%. Never

          In Alonso’s case it wasn’t even no need to push 100% since he and Ferrari were too strong…if Raikkonen was close then he probably was going to push 100%.

        • John H (@john-h) said on 17th May 2013, 16:03

          Sorry, I was under the misconception that “flat-out” meant 100%, seen as you also said he “never backed off”. The 2004 French Schumacher drive was close to 100%.

          Having watched F1 pretty much religiously since 1991, I know they are never driving at 100% but this year the tyres have crossed the line IMHO, and my opinion has nothing to do with it favouring one team over another.

          • Nomore (@nomore) said on 17th May 2013, 16:33


            The 2004 French Schumacher drive was close to 100%.

            Can you prove it ?

            if yes i will be more than happy to read the facts.
            if not it is and it will remain an opinion.

          • Rodney said on 17th May 2013, 21:48

            Anyone with half a brain would know that laptimes are drastically lower in the race compared to the past due to tires and drivers not pushing as hard. If you knew anything about driving, watching the onboards would give u a great idea how much the current drivers are NOT pushing. Early on the decelerator, late on the throttle. Early upshifts, late downshifts. Feel free to browse youtube for prove. lol

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 17th May 2013, 21:55

            @nomore sadly F1fanatic’s lap charts weren’t available then so I can’t give you every lap time but his fastest lap was a 1:15.377, compared to a 1:13.698 for pole position. In Spain this year the fastest lap was 5.5s slower and Alonso’s fastest lap was a 1:26.681 with a qualifying time of 1:21.218 – 5.463 seconds slower.

            It’s self evident: Alonso wasn’t pushing due to these tyres, Schumacher definitely was. I don’t actually know why you’d try and argue that.

          • John H (@john-h) said on 17th May 2013, 22:03

            I thought it was well known that Schumacher did 70 quali laps to make that 4-stop work? Do you want the lap times for each lap or something, because you’re obviously not going to take my word for it. I can try and dig them out I guess…

  4. Yoshisune (@yobo01) said on 17th May 2013, 11:49

    I still think that 4 stops is not the biggest issue, the problem is that the drivers were managing their tyres for most of the time, even with 4 stops and with the harder compounds. I had the impression that if the drivers had pushed as much as Spain 2011, they would’ve ended up doing 6 stops (which they didn’t, because they didn’t have enough tyres).

    Four stops in Span 2011 were too much, but at least there were interesting battles on track. Last sunday we saw 4 stops and driver saving their tyres for most of the time.

    So, no, I don’t agree with the Horse Whisperer, I don’t think it’s a good point, because Spain 2011 and Spain 2013 were quite different. Besides, Red Bull was complaining about the tyres even when they were doing three stops, I think it’s quite stupid to attack them based on the fact that they won Spain 2011 on 4 stops, because that’s not their biggest complain.

    I agree with Boullier, though. Changing such an important factor mid season is not good.

  5. Sri Harsha (@harsha) said on 17th May 2013, 11:50

    May I ask the Horse Whisperer whether there are any battles on track in 2013 just like they had in 2011??
    There lies the Answer for it. We can see a 4 stop even a 5 stop if Drivers are battling for positions and Fighting for wins not for Free passes and asking teams whether they need to fight or not. The Change was done to minimize the Number Pit stops and to stop the Surprise Delaminations by making them Durable.
    Also from a Team point of View No team concern about Racing each other unless it was really needed. But from a Fan point of View every one wanted to see a battle between big teams and big drivers.

  6. geekracer2000 (@geekracer2000) said on 17th May 2013, 12:03

    Whatever Pirelli tried to accomplish with this years tyres have not gone their way.
    And change has been in the air for some time, why they choose to involve RBR into is unclear to me. Hembery doesn’t strike me as “admitting own failure type”, (Hamilton, di Resta and Massa have tire filures during one weekend and all of them are caused by debris?) might be why he’s been advertising RBR involvement just before announcing news about tire changes at the Canadian gp. No one is wondering why such change or why would Lotus and Ferrari agree to those changes instead everyone is focusing on how this is favoring RBR (which we do not know will.)
    There was too many tyre failures lately, and next one could be fatal and I think that is the reason why we are facing changes now, despite Pirelli not wiling to acknowledge that probably as it would be recognized as failure and they do have market to worry about. This has been going on while you were asleep ;-)
    They change compound just after two races:

    Even though they said they wouldn’t.

    They consider changing tyres yet again

    And bring extra tyres for practice? Why!?

  7. karter22 (@karter22) said on 17th May 2013, 12:08

    Sooner or later, directly or indirectly, Ferrari was going to say something about the issue. And I love the fact it wasn´t Luca directly. Maybe this will teach the drink company a thing or two.

    It’s a shame that these worthy souls kept quiet two years ago when, at the very same Catalunya Circuit and on the Istanbul track, five of the six drivers who got to those two podiums made exactly the same number of pit stops as did Alonso and Massa last Sunday in the Spanish Grand Prix

    It makes no difference if it was on soft/hard, medium/hard , supersoft/hard; the truth of the matter is that

    Today however, it seems one must almost feel ashamed for choosing a strategy that, as always for that matter, is aimed at getting the most out of the package one has available

    MAN UP!!! Quit the B***ing and work with what you´ve got!

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th May 2013, 16:39

      As has been pointed out though, the tires are different than two years ago. It’s not about the number of pit stops. It’s about not having a choice but to do 4 stops and still not to have been able to push the car.

      If Ferrari wants to use the word ‘ashamed’ thats on them. I don’t see them volunteering answers as to what makes this year different from two years ago. They want to make it sound like everything is perfectly fine and it’s only about choosing number of pits stops as being the only issue, when they themselves know it must be about more than that or there wouldn’t be this ‘shame’ as they choose to word it.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 17th May 2013, 21:52

      MAN UP and nurse your hard compound to the end of the race?

      I have sympathy for Ferrari and Lotus, but the examples the HW gives don’t add to their argument at all. And what’s all this being ashamed about strategy? I don’t understand the last paragraph at all in relation to the changes being made. Can anyone enlighten me?

  8. StefMeister (@stefmeister) said on 17th May 2013, 12:18

    As I said in the Lotus article yesterday, The problem wasn’t so much the fact we saw 4-stop’s, It was the fact we saw 4-stops on the 2 hardest compounds & were still having to drive to conserve them as much as they were.

    The difference between 4-stops in 2013 & the 4-stop’s we saw in 2011/2012 is that in 2011/2012 there was nowhere near the same level of tyre management & you still saw drivers able to push hard & race the cars around them.

    I’ve been following F1 long enough to know that there’s always been some element for drivers to manage, However its never been this bad, its never been this obvious & its never hindered the racing like it has so far in 2013.

  9. kimiforWCD2014 (@kimiforwc2013) said on 17th May 2013, 12:46

    Or check Gary Anderssons opinion .

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 17th May 2013, 13:05

      Gary makes some interesting points, but I don’t agree with

      But if you look at the data, things are not so different this year than they have been at any time since Pirelli became the sport’s sole supplier in 2011, or even in the last year of Bridgestone tyres in 2010.

      I think things were quite different in the Bridgestone era (does that point really need to be argued at all?), and singling out one characteristic of the data – the difference between qualifying time and fastest race lap time of the winner – is not a sound way to support that proposition.

      First of all, the 2010 race was a one-stopper, so the tyres on which the fastest race lap was set had been bolted on around lap 10-15, probably, and second, if you would really “look at the data” (which I haven’t, I admit), I am sure you would see that the lap times are much more consistent.

      Finally, what is not easily seen from the data, and which only the drivers and the engineers can accurately judge, is how hard a driver is pushing for all of the other 65 laps. A major gripe these is that drivers are having to drive very, very carefully even on a four-stopper.

      As for Pirelli, I think we should give them some credit. Any claims they are making these changes in order to make Red Bull champions reek too much of a conspiracy to me. Instead, I would say they are making these changes for the best of their brand, and for the best of Formula 1.

      Lotus and Ferrari have reason to feel aggrieved, but it would have been nice if they could have conceded that a slightly more robust tyre is better for the sport, instead of pushing their personal agenda.

  10. “It makes no difference if it was on soft/hard, medium/hard , supersoft/hard; the truth of the matter is that”

    Of course it matters, because if they used anything other than the 2 hardest compounds (which they had to STILL manage by driving way off their potential pace) – they would have had to have made more than 5 stops, which they physically cant anyway because there isnt enough tyres supplied to do so. and from a spectato point of view, its far too confusing to see more than 4 stops. Did the Horse Manure Whisper mention that their own driver Alonso mentioned that for fans 4 stops is too confusing??

    Its really not right when, with the 2 hard compounds available, you STILL have to drive around way off the pace to manage the deg. Its ridiculous and its not what most people tube in to watch. The only people who are aguring to keep the tyres the same are Raikkonen/Alonso fans, no-one else could possibly ENJOY watching what we saw in Barca because from a racing perspective, it was an embarassement. Seeing drivers wave their competitors past is a shambles.

    This nonsense about Alonso going flat out all race on a 4 stopper is a load of ****, Alonso was being told to manage his front left tyre most of the race and there was points Massa was seconds faster than him when he was told to push.

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 17th May 2013, 13:17

      I agree. Barcelona was incomprehensible to the general public and demeaning to the sport.
      I also have to say that I would have a lot more respect for the Horse Whisperer if he or she used a real name and took responsibility for the sometimes silly utterances.

    • Angelia (@angelia) said on 17th May 2013, 13:56

      And Barcelona has the most abrasive surface of the year, so one could also a call this a knee jerk reaction. This is Barcelona we are talking about I would love to hear about these great racing battles at Barcelona that everyone keeps on mentioning. In one of the recent Bridgestone years I think it was in 2007, there wasn’t even one pass at Barcelona during the whole race.

      People keep on mentioning these great racing battles that has never occurred, so Pirelli are being held accountable for not supplying tyres to a golden era that was never there to begin with.

      • PeterG said on 17th May 2013, 14:24

        In one of the recent Bridgestone years I think it was in 2007, there wasn’t even one pass at Barcelona during the whole race.

        Not true, There has never been any race where no passing has occurred.

        Looking back over recent stats, The lowest number of overtakes at Barcelona was 2 in 2008/2009. In 2010 there was 11.
        2011 was 90, 2012 was 51 & 2013 was 71.

        The issue however is that the 11 overtakes in 2010 & the 2 in 2008/2009 were actually exciting, hard fought overtakes which were great to watch. However the Pirell/DRS passes in 2011-2013 were all totally boring to watch & there was a lot this year where drivers simply allowed the car behind to drive by without even trying to defend which made them even more boring!

        I’d rather see those 2 exciting overtakes in 2009 than the 71 totally boring & easy passes of 2013!

        the racing is so much less exciting now, just a series of easy, unexciting & totally uninteresting highway passes. no proper, exciting racing or overtaking anymore :(

        its why i don’t watch all the races now, no actual racing. it has become like nascar, quantity over quality!

  11. Tango (@tango) said on 17th May 2013, 13:43

    “Ferrari join Lotus in criticising tyre revisions”

    I’d like to have a brilliant comment on that one, but all I can think of really is : “Duh”.
    Power struggle in F1, as usual.

  12. Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource) said on 17th May 2013, 13:48

    I fully accept that tyre management has always been an important part of the sport – and rightly so. And yes, I’m glad the past few years haven’t been a procession. But like most things, it has to be balanced.

    Currently it feels like tyre management is the overriding skill used during a race. Previously a driver that couldn’t look after his tyres well could make up for it in other area, whether outright pace or well times stops or whatever. It made the overall package of the driver the key thing, not a single skill.

    Right now, it seems that the only skill that really matters is looking after tyres. Required skills are so skewed in the direction of tyre management that little else gets a look in.

    It just makes the drivers frustrated, and the same for some fans.

    I certainly don’t want tyres that are indestructible. They need to be soft enough to encourage a range of strategies. But from what I can see, it’s the not the degredadtion that’s the main issue, but the narrow operating windows, and the consequences for going outside those windows.

    I just want a bit of balance.

  13. Garns (@) said on 17th May 2013, 13:54

    A few points:
    * I cant see how “The Horse Whisperers” comments are refreshing and while Horner having his opinion is having a whinge- just like Lotus its the big boys pushing their point to help the team.

    *Lotus and Ferrari seem to suit the tyres more, Red Bull not so much and the Mercs pretty bad- the McLarens….well we dont know!!. I agree that if RBR have the car with the best downforce and the fragile tyres hurt that, then that is an bone of contention for sure BUT I can also see where the former can argue a mid season change, if one has done the correct design with 2013 tyre specs in mind, they can well be unhappy. HOWEVER

    * Please lets not prentend for one minute the RBR owner can talk to Bernie and things change BUT The Prancing Horse sits quiet in the background!! Ferrari are still certainly the most influential team on how F1 is run, they are just more professional in how their PR is run. Of course they dont rock the boat when the situation suits but are very fast to respond when things dont (Or may not with the change).

    * Bottom line is the tyres need to change so they can race each ALOT harder than they are now. This will change the pecking order slightly but it needs to be done. We dont want to see 2011 again but if the teams can RACE and have a 2 or maybe 3 stop (a late 3rd stop for rubber can be exciting) I dont think it will.

  14. Psi (@psi) said on 17th May 2013, 13:55

    Spain 2011 – Spain 2012 – Spain 2013
    Every race, was completed in 1 hour,39 minutes and 3 to 16 seconds. Why is everyone saying that the drivers were not pushing as much as they were preserving their tyres?
    Also,on the subject that the drivers were instructed not to defend and let other pass, only RBR drivers were told to. I’m sure there is a reason for that.

    • HCA said on 17th May 2013, 14:15

      only RBR drivers were told to.

      not the case, raikkonen said post race that he was told not to bother trying to defend the lead against alonso because he had to watch his tyres.

      Spain 2011 – Spain 2012 – Spain 2013
      Every race, was completed in 1 hour,39 minutes and 3 to 16 seconds.

      so you think that the 2013 cars have gained zero performance over 2011/2012 cars?

      the fact the race distance hasn’t changed much shows just how far off the pace there having to lap as both the teams & pirelli say the 2013 cars are 2-3 seconds a lap faster than the 2012 cars were at this point last season. in fact pirelli say the extra car performance over 2012 is part of the problem.

      if drivers were able to push hard & not run about to a lap time looking after the tyres, the race distance would be faster than 2011/2012.
      in fact you see that 2010 was a lot faster because the bridgestones did not need to be managed.

      you only have to watch the onboard shots during a race & compare to past years to see just how far off the pace drivers are having to run & this is why the drivers are speaking out now & were not in the past.

      also just look at the times compared to gp2/gp3, f1 lap times should not be slower than gp2 for most the race & should be more than 5 seconds faster than gp3.

      all the data shows is what a pathetic state f1 is in this year!

    • Yoshisune (@yobo01) said on 17th May 2013, 14:57

      Because the 2013 cars are much faster than last year and slightly faster than 2011. Pole time in 2011 was 1.20.981, this year it was 1.20.718. Also, we should take into account that drivers were able to use DRS whenever they liked in quali, so I think it’s resonable to say that this year’s cars are 4 or 5 tenths faster than two years ago.
      Still, it took 13 seconds more than 2011 to complete the race with the same strategy.

  15. Dizzy said on 17th May 2013, 14:08

    lot of people saying that lotus/ferrari were not looking after there tyres & were able to push harder than the rest. however looking at the lap analysis that isn’t correct.

    alonso’s fastest lap was a 1:26.681 on lap 53, however that was 1 of only 2 laps in the 1:26’s, for most of the race he was lapping in the 1:28/1:29 range.
    kimi’s fastest lap was 1:26.757 on lap 47, his only lap in the 1:26’s, for much of the race he was lapping in the 1:29’s/1:30’s.

    what you see from that is that everybody is running well below the pace & as has been pointed out by button there below gp2 times (GP2 Pole = 1:28.706) for most of the race only pulling out 1-2 hot laps.

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