Lauda: Speaking as a neutral I say Pirelli changes are very positive

Niki Lauda
Niki Lauda

Mercedes F1 team share holder Niki Lauda has hailed Pirelli’s move to alter the design of its 2013 tyres ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix next month and beyond.

Lotus, arguably the team with the best grip on the Italian supplier’s controversial tyres this year, is not happy with the decision.

“It’s clear that Pirelli have found themselves in a difficult situation and under pressure from different quarters,” team boss Eric Boullier said. “I hope they (the changes) are not too extreme.”

Within the pitlane, the bulk of the ‘pressure’ put on Pirelli came from Red Bull and Mercedes.

Mercedes’ W04 is perhaps the fastest car in the entire field over one lap this year, but it chews alarmingly through the tyres over a race distance.

Asked what he thinks of Pirelli’s change of tack for Canada and beyond, chairman Lauda said: “This is very positive, and I’m speaking as a neutral observer and not the Mercedes chairman.

Pirelli engineer with F1 tyres
Pirelli engineer with F1 tyres

“No one understands what’s going on anymore, and there are no more man-to-man fights, because everyone is just focused on the tyres. It can’t be the intention of racing that the slowest man wins,” the Austrian told Osterreich.

“Everyone is just hoping he gets into the window where the tyres work, and often it’s a coincidence only,” added Lauda.

Former driver Mika Salo, meanwhile, has played down Lotus’ fears the team will be overly disadvantaged by the Montreal tweak.

Backing the move, the Finn told MTV3 broadcaster: “There didn’t seem to be any drivers left who were happy with the tyres. It was clear that something was wrong with them.

“But I don’t think it’s anything for Lotus to panic about, as they were also good on last year’s tyres.

“If they are able to use the tyres better now, then they will also use these (new) tyres better,” added Salo. (GMM)