Pirelli tyres under fire from top F1 drivers

Hand on a Pirelli tyre. Formula One Testing, Day 2, Jerez, Spain,  Friday 11 February 2011.

Pirelli tyres used during Jerez test

Mar.1 (GMM) Three leading F1 drivers have admitted their concerns about this year’s Pirelli tyres, particularly their degradation characteristics that have emerged in pre-season testing.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel

“The problem is that they degrade too quickly,” reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel said on Austrian television Servus TV.

“By lap 16 or 17 they’re falling apart,” said the German, who said the problems could push drivers up to 10 “or maybe more” seconds per lap off the pace.

Vettel said there is not enough time now for Pirelli to redesign and rebuild new tyres for the 2011 season.

“The hard tyres degrade just as quickly as the softs,” Fernando Alonso is quoted by El Pais newspaper after a sponsor visit to Madrid on Monday.

The double world champion believes F1’s switch to Pirelli tyres is “not good for the big teams”.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso during Barcelona testing

” There will be three or four (pitstops per race) and that’s not good for the big teams,” Alonso added.

“It mixes the situation, just as in football if there was a penalty each half hour, Barcelona and Real Madrid would not be happy. If it’s better for anybody, it’s the small teams,” he said.

Vettel said it is wrong to suggest that sensitive drivers like Jenson Button will benefit the most from the severe degradation.

“The problem is that after a certain number of laps the tyre is finished, no matter what the driver does,” the German added.

Adrian Sutil during testing at Jerez

Adrian Sutil during testing at Jerez

Force India’s Adrian Sutil told Auto Motor und Sport that when the Pirelli tyres degrade, “It’s like being in a touring car”.

“(Or) like being on intermediates,” added the German.

“I’ve tried to drive differently, say 20 per cent slower at the beginning, and that gives you maybe on more lap.

“We will probably all be pitting at the same time, and quite often,” said Sutil.

He predicted that the first impact on F1 is that, due to the limited supply of dry tyres per driver, there will be less action in free practice.

“After the tyres break down you can’t really test anything,” said Sutil.



  • Bec

    But as we saw in Canada that gives exciting racing.

    I makes me made when highly paid drivers want to provide the paying public with boring racing, because it means less work for themselves.

  • http://sparksol.wordpress.com robust

    the drivers are absolutely right ,i just wana say that FIA has gone mad

    i dont even want to argue such mad people

  • Twiinz

    The drivers will always complain about changes in general. But as in years past, the teams that have built a car that is a little easier on the tires or have a well balanced chassis will have an advantage. Most of the time, that is one of the top 3-4 teams. My guess is that it will be business as usual(with extra stops anyway). This will offer more chances for mistakes and should make things somewhat exciting for us fans.

  • Michael

    I don’t like the idea of more pitstops, or bernie’s “make it rain” idea.

    I like dry races with long stints and hard battles for multiple laps (mid 2000’s), anyone else?