Pirelli’s decision to change the Formula 1 tyres after just six races into the season penalises those teams who have done a better job than others in getting the existing ones to work, Lotus principal Eric Boullier claimed on Thursday.
“Just imagine for a moment that because a football team can’t run as fast as its opponent, the dimensions of the pitch are changed at half time,” the Frenchman said on the team website (www.lotusf1team.com).
“That there are changes to come can be seen as somewhat frustrating and I hope they are not too extreme.”
Pirelli announced after Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix that they would change the tyres from next month’s Canadian Grand Prix, round seven of 19, to make them last longer without producing so many pitstops.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso made four pitstops on his way to victory in Barcelona, with Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen second after three visits to the pitlane.
Ferrari and Lotus are the two teams who have got the most out of the quick-wearing tyres, which have been heavily criticised by champions Red Bull while McLaren and Mercedes have also struggled with them.
Boullier said Pirelli were clearly in a difficult situation and under pressure.
“As with every season, some teams do a better job than others with their designs and some drivers are more adaptable than others to the changes of both car and tyre,” he added.
“It is frustrating when you’ve developed a car from a set of tyre specifications which are available to everyone – for tyres that are the same for everyone – to then be told that they are being changed mid-season.”
Boullier said Lotus, who won the season-opener in Australia with Raikkonen, would be working “twice as hard” to adapt to the changes.
Raikkonen is second in the championship, just four points behind Red Bull’s triple champion Sebastian Vettel.