Pirelli have come under increasing pressure from a number of Formula One teams and pundits to change their tyres to make them more durable and last longer into races.
In particular, reigning champions Red Bull have been vocal in their criticism of Pirelli and campaigning for the manufacturers to provide a tyre, which allows for faster driving and more aggressive racing.
Pirelli have refused to yield to the demands of the sports main team and have not changed their tyre range dramatically. They have made one small adjustment to the set, making the hard compound tyre slightly harder and lowering its operating temperature, therefore making it more durable. They have made no changes to the super-soft, soft or medium compounds.
Pirelli have invigorated Formula One with their tyres which wear down more quickly. It has brought the field closer together, making it harder for the faster cars to dominate.
Watching the fastest package stick the car on pole and drive away from the rest of the field is not particularly interesting for the viewers. The Pirelli tyres have made sure that even the fastest cars have to be careful on strategy and manage their race, same as everyone else.
It is this system that gave us seven different winners of the first seven races last year. Managing tyre strategy brings the entire team into play. It provides the viewer with a tactical edge to Formula One and reducing the likelihood of processional racing.
Of course we want to see these supreme racing cars driving to their absolute limits and producing thrilling overtakes and high speed action. We have seen all that before though.
In the Michael Schumacher era of F1 we had that and in truth it was all rather dull. By forcing the drivers to contain their driving and manage their way through a race, probably needing more pit stops to do so, Pirelli have challenged the teams to be more intelligent about how they construct their race weekend.
Red Bull may complain that they cannot drive to their capability on these tyres. Frankly, the watching public don’t care. Every race is different, fresh and interesting since Pirelli took over the tyres of the sport.
The races now are undecided until the final few laps, as the tyres are never far from falling off the cliff and making the cars impossible to drive. That is far more intriguing for the viewer than a first few laps of overtaking and then a procession around for the rest of the race.
Pirelli should be praised for their role in Formula One, not criticised. Let’s keep them exactly as they are.
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