Here we are, with two tests down and one to go, and what have we learnt so far?
One of the recurring themes seems to be moans and groans from up and down the paddock about how quickly the new Perelli tyres are ‘going off’. Toro Rosso man Jean-Eric Vergne has even been on record describing his tyres as “looking like cauliflowers” (must be a French thing) after short runs. Sergio Perez said if the tyres continued like this there would be seven to ten pitstops per race, labelling the tyre wear “extreme”.
What seems certain is that the new compounds grain faster than last year’s models, but the question as to why is a little more complicated.
Barcelona is known for being harsh on tyre wear at the best of times, and this, compounded with the cold, almost winter conditions seen at times in the second test are not what Perelli had in mind. As a result we may see slightly less extreme degradation once the cars are on the grid in the Oz sun in a couple of weeks time.
That said it is likely that we will see at least a little more tyre degradation (and therefore more pitstops this year). Towards the end of last season it was clear that some of the pit lane had ‘cracked’ the formula for dealing with the last batch of Perellis and a bit of a shake up is needed to avoid a return to boring processional one stop races.
The balance that has to be reached, however, is to avoid situations where drivers have to be overly cautious in order to look after their tyres. There were rumblings of discontent from the drivers last year about this and it would be a shame if the racing was neutered by this. Of course a fair percentage of the moaning could just be standard racing drivers excuses.
Only time and races will tell.
What do you think about the new tyres so far?
Is more degradation good for the racing or just artificial excitement taking away from the real racing?
Tell us using the comments below.