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F1 tyres: More show, less sport?

2013-04-05 08:10

LAMENTING F1'S TYRE SITUATION: Red Bull's Mark Webber laments Formula 1's current tyre situation saying that it detracts from the racing action.

Former driver Martin Brundle has defended Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli after criticism of the Italian marque's approach.

Many drivers and top teams, among them Red Bull and Mercedes, have complained that the winter test period and the first two races of 2012 showed the problem was dominating the sport.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber sees it as a balance between competition and “the show”. "I think it's quite good for the neutral, good for the fans and probably good for new people who are following F1. For the old, let's say people who have more of a grasp of the sport and more education of where the sport was.

"It's still a little bit hit-and-miss."


Webber’s gripe is that F1 drivers are becoming experts at tyre management rather than flat-out master race drivers: "You watch Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer and its playing with the lines, it's playing with precision for a five-set match, and we all enjoy watching that but at the moment we're driving at eight and a half tenths, eight tenths. 

“The racing is completely around nursing and trying to make the tyres survive rather than driving a car on the limit. You don't see us really pushing on the limit (now). That's my little rant."

Understandably, Pirelli is bearing the brunt of the blame.

Brundle said: "Pirelli has only done what was asked of it to make the race more exciting. They could easily come out with hard tyres for the next GP but do we really want that? The balance has to be right. I don't think anybody wants to see boring one-stop races.

"On the other hand, five stops would be farcical. Two or three are a good compromise.

"I can understand if some drivers are not happy - we do want to see the fastest guy win, not the best at managing the tyres. It's a dilemma: should the sport have the upper-hand or (should) the entertainment value?  We must never forget that the first could not exist without the second."


Pirelli, amid the criticism and the pressure applied by big-hitters such as Red Bull, has agreed to "review" the situation after the Bahrain GP on April 21.

Ultimately, Pirelli has the support of the ultimate decision-maker in the sport – F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who said: "Do you prefer the racing today or when nobody was overtaking and everybody knew before the start, with a fair degree of certainty, who would win?"

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