Lauda slams F1 tyre situation as fundamentally wrong

Pirelli 2013 F1 tyres selection

Pirelli 2013 F1 tyres selection

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.”

  • bunko

    completely agree with this. Sure, it has made for some exciting races. But this is now just a tyre management race. You just push tyres to the limit. You no longer push everything else, driver, chasis, engine, etc. all other racing factors is now just secondary. Ever wonder why you never see an engine blow up in F1 anymore? Its not worth pushing the engine since the tyres won’t keep up anyway.

  • Joe

    @bunko engines never blew up at the end of the V10 era with more durable tyres, because reliability improves as they continue with the same formula.

    It is much better than before anyway, where you had cars afraid to overtake each other and instead just deciding to wait for the car in front to pit, as a long term fan of F1 since I was about 6 years old, I can say that I would not like to see it switch to the old format

  • David

    You only have to go back 2 years Korea seb blew his engine in style on the last lap handing alonso the win. These engines have been developed over many years that’s why a blow up is rare. When you know what you are on about then comment until then keep shut.

  • Mark

    I prefer putting back refueling in Formula1 wherein teams can really strategise the whole race and not just tyre changing. Also, I hope teams can choose which tyre brand to use just like before. It will be a competition of engine, aero, pitstop, tyre reliability an strategy. Coz currently, its just a battle of changing tyres.

  • CoolGoan

    This is exactly what schumi had to say last year. This is a race of tyre management and nothing else.

  • AndyP

    To be honest, half the time, well actually a lot more than half the time I wish Lauda would just keep his trap shut. But the tyres, its just daft, He’s right, I spent a large part of Sunday wondering who was where and why, in the end I wandered off and did something else whilst waiting for it to pan out. Its great at the begining but the whole middle phase of a GP is just incomprehesable at the moment. It seems to come together in the last 10 laps.

    Stupid!!!!!

    A

  • bunko

    having an engine failure due to component reliability issues and blowing it up due to pushing it’s revs to the limit are two very different things. I understand how the engine freeze since 2007 allowed for these manufacturer to develop components only if it is for reliability purposes. @david if you cannot respect other people’s opinion, keep your lack of manners to yourself.

  • Hawk

    @AndyP
    I like it that way when I do not know. that middle phase is the crux of the race. I like it when I have to think a little harder whose strategy will take the day. for instance did you envisage that Sutil will collapse on the SS or Hamilton on the second stint of the mediums? very interesting. maybe you should go back to 2011 where at 22/58 you already know who the winner is save unreliability. that would be the cue to walk out, not when it is unpredictable! Melbourne 2013 was such an interesting race. it justified our 4 month wait.

  • samik

    Confusion in this sport in recent seasons due to Tyre management, development of car each race, pit-stop strategies etc are giving the the taste of more excitement in F1….where we cannot predict who is going to be winner….and that’s the reason why fans might be watching the whole race to see what will be the results as per their expectations………………..
    I don’t think real F1 fans would like old boring predictable races rather than new exciting unpredictable races…………..

  • Not Bernie

    He’s right that the tyres are having too much influence in F1.

    Because Red Bull took more life out the tyres for qualifying they were able to get pole. But during a race they started quicker but they quickly wore out. Kimi, not driving as quickly, was able to make the tyres last longer and thereby win.

    Ferrari had a strategy which was in between Red Bull and Renalt. And that’s why we seen Alonso also improving his position, although let’s be honest that Massa was never going to hold up Alonso so that was a feebie position.

    We’re now starting to see marbles off the racing line. And with that we’ll quickly get to the situation where no one can over take off the racing line because of them.

    If I were to propose a solution it would be more durable rubber but with less off it on any given tyre. Effectively keeping the time you can use it for the same as they are currently. This will also increase the braking distances, allowing for other drivers to nip down the inside easier. I’m not suggesting a huge difference, but just enough.

  • Flash Flaherity of the Long Ski

    Grand Prix was once the penultimate sport of hot shot engineers exploring the limits of engineering and brave drivers controlling cars at the limits of human capacity. Now we have F1, where the real formula is about selling tickets, TV ad space – with faked up racing to sell more tickets, ad space and now shares of stock. The tires are just another formulaic step further away from what was once Grand about Grand Prix racing.

  • Quit your crying

    Here we go again. Several cars eat their tires so they cry, Mercedes is about the biggest cry baby outfit there is and with Hamilton the cry baby they have only gotten worse.

    There is nothing wrong with the tires, in fact it brings the cream to the top.

    These softer tires allow the teams to wring more performance out of the cars then a stupid hard tire allows that the team can run the entire race on.

    This way the cars have more grip and are faster and the teams have to know how to set up their car.

    We do not want the old tires back and the never ending single file from green to checker with no passing.

    Lauda I think is losing his mind if he is that confused. But I suspect that the real reason Lauda is mouthing off again is because 1. Mercedes has built another tire eater car. 2. Hamilton is not known to be able to take care of his tires.

    I am not confused, I know what is going on during the race, Kimi and Lotus were fast and they set up their car correctly, in fact Kimi and Lotus were so good that not only did Kimi and Lotus control the race but Kimi set fast lap of the race on very old used tires with I think it was 23 laps on them. That shows the tires are very good.

  • Dennis Jeremiah

    Its are race with all teams having the same tyres situation. The best of engineers will work towards balancing the performance, speed and tyres to win. Others will crib. Winning the first race should not be considered the end of the world. Last year the biggers teams also cried foul in the earlier races, but then they had the answers, but Mercedes could not. Guess that is worrying Mr Lauda. Mr. Lauda try changing things inside your team rather that changing the way F1 runs….

  • mssmryzr

    I completely agree with Mark and disagree with Lauda. Tire degradation and additional pits stops are not confusing. Frustrating, yes, confusing no. Lauda and Dr. Marko are drinking out of the same bottle of whine. There is a tire policy set for the season…deal with it. Don’t like it? Have the regs changed for next season. Multiple tire manufacturers would be great for the sport as would bringing back re-fueling. In-race aero changes would also be great. No….Wait….That would be all too confusing. It’s F1…It’s not supposed to be easy.

  • Hristo Itchov

    Of course Lauda is correct. This isn’t what the concept of F1 is, it has turned into a parade with artificial overtakes. F1 should be all about putting everyone and everything on the limit, not an endurance and preservation exercise. Sure, there should be some tire management, but the current issue is not that the tires wear out quick, it’s that they simply degrade and deconstruct under the loads the car are reaching. It’s like the tires are not build for F1 but a slower machinery. And then there is their narrow operating regime, which despite Pirelli’s claims to have widen it this year, is still way too narrow. You drive them in slightly cooler or hotter conditions and they behave completely different. It’s an abomination for the sport…