Mercedes F1 team boss and TV pundit Niki Lauda has slammed the tyre situation in Formula 1, accusing Pirelli and the FIA of confusing the fans.
“The situation with the tyres is absolutely stupid,” the forthright triple world champion, broadcaster and Mercedes team chairman and shareholder said.
“Artificially creating more and more pitstops is wrong,” Lauda told German newspaper Bild.
“Pirelli can’t really help it as they are only doing what the FIA ordered them to do, but 90 per cent of the time no one understands what is happening in the races now.”
Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel finished the 2013 season opener third on Sunday, while Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen did one fewer pitstop and surprisingly won for Lotus from seventh on the grid.
Lauda said the current situation, with the tyres more influential than ever before, is confusing for the fans.
“My advantage is that I can ask our (Mercedes) engineers. The fans cannot. But even our people are confused.
“When the tyres are so soft, it’s bad for Formula 1. The fans don’t understand if there are more than two pitstops. (For Formula 1) it’s a fundamentally wrong path.”
Pirelli’s Paul Hembery hit back: “Many fans have told us they think the racing is more exciting now.”