Lotus: unfair to tweak tyres now
| Source: autosport.com |
Lotus thinks it would be unfair if Pirelli makes changes to the tyres later this season just because some teams are struggling to make the rubber last.
After a number of outfits were forced to make four-stops during the Spanish Grand Prix due to the high degradation, Pirelli has conceded that it may have to tweak its tyres to limit a repeat in the future. Such changes could hamper the Lotus outfit, which appears perfectly suited to the high degrading rubber with its E21.
Kimi Raikkonen was able to execute a three-stop strategy at the Circuit de Catalunya to finish second and move to within four points of the lead of the world championship.
Well aware that there is a push from some quarters for Pirelli to make changes, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has admitted tweaks could be a negative for the Enstone-based squad.
“I think it is not in some ways fair, but we have to deal with it like we always did,” he said. “Everyone has the same tyres.”
Boullier reckons that complaints about the tyres are being focused in the wrong area, and he feels that rival teams have simply not dealt with the situation very well.
“People need to get the right question,” he said. “The question is not the tyres: it is because we did something that allowed our car to [look after the tyres].
“It is the same for everybody. There was some slight change for here [to the hard compound] which was to please the most complaining team.
“But I don’t think Pirelli is going to change anything. They were asked to build tyres lasting 20 laps and they did it. So that is it.”
Pirelli says it will help bring back boring processions to Formula 1 if that is what teams and fans want.
In the wake of a fresh debate about the impact the tyres are having on the sport – and Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz claiming F1 “has nothing to do with racing anymore” – Pirelli has reiterated it is only doing what it has been asked to.
When Pirelli returned to F1 for the 2011 season, it was asked to spice up the show and deliver multiple stop races with high degrading rubber, just like the famous 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.
Paul Hembery, its motorsport boss, is aware his company is facing criticism for what is happening on track right now, but he has made it clear that those calling for a radical overhaul need to be sure about exactly what they are hoping for.
“What do you want?” he said. “We were asked to provide two to three stops and replicate Canada .
“I know some of you would like us to do a one stop race where tyres are not a factor, and you can go back to processional racing where the qualifying position is the end position, if that is what you want in racing.
“What do you want us to do? You tell us, we will do it.”
Hembery suggested that his company was baffled about why the tyre situation was being viewed as so extreme this year, when it has been no different ever since it returned to F1 in 2011.
“It is rather bizarre because we are only doing what we did in the last two years,” he said.
“We don’t understand why you [the media] are all so excited.
“It is a bit bizarre – unless you all want us to give tyres to Red Bull to help them win the championship, which appears to be the case.
“I think it is pretty clear. There is one team who will benefit from a change and that is them.”
Red Bull’s RB9 is widely believed to be the car that produces the most downforce in Formula 1 this year, but it cannot make use of all that peak performance because it puts the tyres under too much stress.
The nature of the challenge of looking after tyres means cars that are more mechanically sympathetic like the Lotus and Ferrari are better equipped when it comes to being consistent in the races.
Kravitz: ”Kimi’s middle stint was too good. Kimi’s middle stint was absolutely fantastic and that was the thing that got that position.”
Video: Ted’s notebook from Spain GP (1:40mins) + Grid Walk with Martin Brundle, talking to Pirelli manager Paul Hembery about Lotus (3:05mins)