Pirelli may speed up their ‘boring’ 2014 tyres

Paul Hembrey with Niki Lauda

Paul Hembrey with Niki Lauda

There is a lot of discontent within the Formula 1 paddock in 2014, one of which is the problem of the current generation Pirelli tyres. Not even ultra-dominant Mercedes are happy with the situation.

“Nico (Rosberg) and Lewis (Hamilton) are probably a bit happier (than the rest) as they have a better package, but even if you speak to them privately they say the driving experience is not as pure as it was,” said Coulthard.

In Barcelona, the 2014 Formula 1 cars were on average more than 4 seconds slower than in 2013. The main blame there fell on new rules that have curbed downforce.

On tight and twisty Monaco, however, the cars were also much slower than before, but the problem in the principality was undoubtedly the tyres.

A look at Sauber’s numbers is dramatic. At Ste Devote, cornering fell from 96 km/h in 2013 to just 90 km/h last weekend, while at the spectacular swimming pool, the cars shed 8 km/h in just a single season.

Elsewhere, it was even worse: the fast Casino curve dropped by a massive 15km/h, while at Tabac, Formula 1 cars that had cornered at 149 km/h in 2013 were now doing just 135 km/h in 2014.

Pirelli has taken a much more conservative approach to 2014, following heavy criticism of its formerly ‘aggressive’ tyres of the past, including the calamitous 2013 season.

The situation has been made even worse by a lack of track testing, with Pirelli moving to ensure that their formerly delicate tyres can cope with the extremely high torque of the turbo V6s. But the result is an arguably much-too-hard tyre.

“We could easily be using the compounds that we had in the second half of last season,” Felipe Massa is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Correspondent Michael Schmidt, however, said that Pirelli are not ruling out making some mid-season corrections to their current designs.

“With only four compounds for all 19 circuits, we had to compromise,” the Italian supplier’s Formula 1 boss Paul Hembery said. “We would have liked more options.”

Schmidt reported: “Hembery is not ruling out changes within this season.” (GMM)