Ferrari: There’s nothing new about winning a race making many pit stops

Fernando Alonso makes a pitstop on the way to victory at the Spanish GP

Fernando Alonso makes a pitstop on the way to victory at the Spanish GP

Ferrari has sided with Lotus in criticising the decision by Pirelli to impose mid-season tyre tweaks, following early-season criticism, culminating in the furore after Barcelona where the Maranello team won.

Pirelli announced it is making key changes to its controversial 2013 tyres for next month’s Canadian Grand Prix and beyond.

Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez was the first to react, likening the change to widening football goals because one team was always striking the post.

Now, in the anonymous ‘Horse Whisperer’ column posted on the official Ferrari website, Ferrari has lashed out at those who claim four-stop strategies in Formula 1 show that the tyres are too extreme.

Undoubtedly, the Ferrari writer is referring to the kind of criticism made by world champions Red Bull.

“It’s a shame that these worthy souls kept quiet two years ago when, at the very same Catalunya circuit and on the Istanbul track, five of the six drivers who got to those two podiums made exactly the same number of pitstops,” the column read.

Michael Schumacher on his way to a four stop victory at the 2006 French GP

Michael Schumacher on his way to a four stop victory at the 2006 French GP

Ferrari also recalled the 2004 French Grand Prix, when Michael Schumacher won at Magny Cours with a four-stopper that left Ferrari and Bridgestone “showered with praise” within the paddock.

“Today however, it seems one must almost feel ashamed for choosing a strategy that, as always for that matter, is aimed at getting the most out of the package one has available,” the column added.

This is the full transcript by Ferrari team’s Horse Whisperer:

These are difficult times for people with poor memories. Maybe it’s because of the huge amount of information available today that people are too quick to talk, forgetting things that happened pretty much in the recent past. Or maybe the brain cells that control memory only operate selectively, depending on the results achieved on track by their owners.

A classic example of this is the current saga regarding the number of pit stops. Voices have been raised to underline the fact that various teams, some of whom got to the podium and others who were quite a way off, made four pit stops in the recent Spanish Grand Prix, making the race hard to follow.

Ferrari and Lotus have mastered this year's Pirelli tyres and hence the podium in Spain

Ferrari and Lotus have mastered this year’s Pirelli tyres and hence the podium in Spain

It’s a shame that these worthy souls kept quiet two years ago when, at the very same Catalunya Circuit and on the Istanbul track, five of the six drivers who got to those two podiums made exactly the same number of pit stops as did Alonso and Massa last Sunday in the Spanish Grand Prix.

In fact, there’s nothing new about winning a race making so many pit stops, even discounting those where it was down to changeable weather. One only has to look back to 2004, when Michael Schumacher won the French Grand Prix thanks to what was a three stop strategy, later changed to a four stopper.

That was the key which allowed the multiple champion’s F2004 to get ahead of the then Renault driver, Fernando Alonso, who made three stops. And on that day and we remember it well, our strategy and the tyre supplier were showered with praise for allowing us to get the most out of the car.

Today however, it seems one must almost feel ashamed for choosing a strategy that, as always for that matter, is aimed at getting the most out of the package one has available. On top of that, if this choice emerges right from the Friday, because all the simulations are unanimous in selecting it, then why on earth should one feel embarrassed when compared to those who have gone for a different choice, only to regret it during the race itself.

(GMM)