| Source: autosport.com |
Kimi Raikkonen sees no reason for Pirelli to rethink its approach to Formula 1 tyres, as he dismissed the criticism the Italian firm has received following the degradation issues that characterised the opening rounds of the 2013 season.
Red Bull had already been pushing Pirelli to change its compounds even before a Chinese Grand Prix weekend in which the soft tyre proved particularly short-lasting. Leading drivers have also complained that having to conserve tyres is stifling them and forcing them to allow rivals past without a fight.
But Raikkonen, who won the Australian Grand Prix by making two tyre stops compared to his main rivals’ three, does not think 2013 is that different to any other season for tyre management.
The Finn is adamant the onus is on teams to adapt rather than pushing for rule changes.
“I don’t think the racing at the front is any different to what it has been in the past,” he said.
“F1 hasn’t really changed a lot in the 10-odd years that I’ve been here.
“Of course some years you’ve been able to go faster but then you do more stops, and shorter runs with less fuel.
“In those years if you’d put 50 kilos more fuel in you’d have had to look after the tyres. It hasn’t really changed.
“Sometimes now you have to look after the tyres, but if you did six stops you wouldn’t have to look after your tyres.
“It’s your option. Whatever is the fastest way for you to do the race, you try to do it.”
Raikkonen thinks Pirelli as in a no-win situation and would be criticised whatever approach it took.
“You can never please everybody so for Pirelli it’s not an easy job,” he said.
“Whatever they do, there will be teams, drivers and people who will not be happy.
“In the past we had different tyres but some teams were not as happy with those tyres as other teams were.
“Sometimes you have some issues and you pay the price for it. But that’s OK because otherwise it would be easy.”
“In some ways yes [I have a better chance] because we started better. I know the team and I kind of know what to expect and what’s going to come.
“I think we did pretty OK last year so hopefully we can do a bit better this year but obviously it’s a long season and we have some bad races and we might be out. So when we have a bad race we have to try to minimise those and make the most out of it.”
Fernando Alonso says Kimi Raikkonen has had a strong start to the season with Lotus.
Alonso, who trails Raikkonen by six points after three races, said: “Kimi is having a fantastic start to the season and driving maybe better than anyone.”
Sebastian Vettel leads the drivers’ championship at the moment but Alonso believes “championship positions are not really important” at this stage.
“But at the same time, it’s not a big surprise to see Lewis where he is,” said Alonso. “He is one of the best drivers on the grid right now and last year he put McLaren in a competitive position and this year he is doing it with Mercedes.”