‘Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing’ said a wise man once, and you could forgive Pirelli for saying the same thing this week.
The current furore about tyre degradation is a puzzling one. No one wants to see the entire field going round at 70% nursing tyres but on the other hand tyre management is, and always has been, part of being a F1 driver. This is not rallying.
The problem is, if Pirelli were to suddenly bring significantly more durable tyres to the party, the rich would get richer and the poor poorer. The ‘real’ racing that Red Bull hierachy and others call for is largely just code for ‘let us qualify on pole and win every race by 2 laps’, and that is just as bad, if not worse, than what we have now. As Pirelli’s Paul Hembrey has said;
“It’s bizarre unless you all want us to give Red Bull the tyres to win the championship. It’s pretty clear. If we did that, there would be one team that would benefit and it would be them.”
Certainly, and by their own admission, Pirelli got it wrong in Spain. But to jump on them is unfair. It can be strongly argued that their contribution is largely responsible for the current ‘golden age’ we are living through of unpredictable, exciting racing.
The real problem to my mind is not the number of stops needed, but that the numerous ‘simulations’ that all the teams run. Simulations that must be telling them that the quickest way to complete the race is to go easy and not to blast the tyres rather than to go flat out, stop and then blast them again. It is this which causes the problem rather than the tyres themselves.
What is the solution? I’m not sure, but how about a few suggestions;
1) Having special tyres only for Qualifying. Lets get rid of the ‘will they, won’t they’ element to Q3 by giving the teams 2 sets of tyres for each qualifying session. These would not be available for the race.
2) Either drop the ‘you must start on the tyres you qualified on’ rule for the top 10. Or make it apply to the entire grid.
3) A more extreme idea would be to make the tyres a little more durable, but have a compulsory minimum number of pit stops. It would make the racing harder, maintain an element of pit and tyre managment strategy and be ‘fair’.
4) Change nothing. Maybe no solution is required. The rules will never be perfect, teams will always moan and what we have now is a lot more preferable than the processions of old.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments or on the forum.