Friday, 20 May 2011

When is a tyre not a tyre?

I find Lewis Hamilton's assertion earlier today that the new super-hard Pirelli tyre debuting this weekend for the Spanish Grand Prix a totally unhealthy viewpoint.

For some reason, many involved directly within the teams, to say nothing of their multi-million pound darlings that sit in the cockpit, have seen it fit to criticise the new rubber on offer rather than try to adapt their driving skill. the result is that their is now a wider differential in lap performance between the hard and soft tyres which should allow the teams a chance to explore the use of more attacking race strategies.

"The super-hard tyre is a disaster," Hamilton declared after the first day  of running at the Circuit de Catalunya. "It wasn't nice to drive and I don't know why they (Pirelli) have brought that tyre because the previous one was pretty good. This looks pretty difficult to get it to switch on, and we're now about two and a half seconds off the pace. We were thinking 'Wow! This is insane to drive'. Then you go out on the soft tyre, and boom. There is such a huge difference between the two tyres. The soft is fantastic, so I  see most people driving that for the weekend, using as short a stint as possible with the new tyre in the race. It's not good." 

Me thinks the double world champion doth protest too much... 

As usual, his McLaren team mate Jenson Button has confirmed that while the tyre is certainly different to the previous spec, there is a job to be done nevertheless: 
"The tyre is seriously hard, and a little bit of a shock but we've all got to work with the same tyre and make the best of it, but I don't think you'd want to do more than one stint (in the race) on that tyre" 

The bottom line is that while not everyone is bound to find them much to their liking, the drivers are all in the same boat and need to just get on with the tyres they have been provided with. Sure they may be a shock to the system but for those who can manage their tyres, chances are that Sunday's race will prove more eventful than the previous four rounds so far.

If Hamilton fails to win in Fernando Alonso's back yard though, there is much to suggest whatever happens,  he could lay the blame for a poor result soundly at the door of Pirelli and given that the company has done more than the Drag Reduction System to promote overtaking, that would cast a negative light over the 2008 world champion.

Hamilton is prone to throwing his toys out of the pram and while no-one can criticise his confidence and commitment in the car, I for one am growing a little tired of his negative attitude towards the tyres. For too long F1 fans have been crying out for entertaining racing and courtesy of Pirelli, we now have the basics of what could and should prove to be a healthy future for the sport in terms of on-track excitement.

Don't tell Mr Hamilton though, otherwise who knows who he'll hit from the pram...

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