F1: Pirelli Making F1 A 'Show' Or A 'Lottery'? Photo:
TMR Team | Apr, 24 2012 | 0 Comments
  • Pirelli making F1 a 'show' or a 'lottery'?
  • Pirelli fends off criticism after Bahrain
  • Ecclestone confirms French GP deal 'done'
  • 'The dead live longest' beams Marko after Bahrain
  • Lotus not sorry after skipping team order

Pirelli making F1 a 'show' or a 'lottery'?

Tyres... political dramas aside, that word utterly dominated the Bahrain GP weekend.

Afterwards, Michael Schumacher admitted he was "unhappy" with the situation.

"Sometimes we are driving only 60, 70 percent through the corners," he is quoted by Bild newspaper.

Pirelli did not take the criticism lightly, insisting it has made Canada 2010-style, heavily degrading tyres to order, for the benefit of the 'show'.

Motor sport director Paul Hembery on Monday 're-Tweeted' a message from a follower accusing the seven-time world champion of having thrown "his toys out of the pram".

Moreover, Pirelli said Bahrain is perhaps "the most demanding" on the entire calendar when it comes to degradation.

"As a result, knowing how to manage the tyres and contain thermal degradation was a vital skill" on Sunday, the Italian marque said in a statement.

On Twitter, The Times' correspondent Kevin Eason called Bahrain an "excellent race, although I am not sure we haven't moved from tyre management to lottery".

The roulette wheel didn't spin up for McLaren on Sunday - the team with arguably the best overall car so far in 2012.

"Nobody has added a second to their cars in just a week after China," lamented Jenson Button, "but here we were a second off the pace."

His boss Martin Whitmarsh told Auto Motor und Sport: "Maybe it was the pressures, maybe the temperatures. We really don't know."

The German reporter said Whitmarsh's comment indicates an "uncomfortable realisation" for such a scientifically meticulous team.

Whitmarsh agreed: "It is now more important to understand the tyres than to find a bit more downforce."

The tyre marque's test driver Jaime Alguersuari told Mundo Deportivo newspaper that Pirelli deserves credit, not criticism.

"Pirelli is largely responsible for making F1 the most spectacular it has been in a decade," said the young Spaniard.



Pirelli fends off criticism after Bahrain

Pirelli went on the defensive on Sunday, following criticism in the wake of the Bahrain GP.

British commentator Martin Brundle said the Italian marque's heavily-degrading 2012 product, so difficult to keep alive and in the narrow performance 'window', is overly dominating the season so far.

Also critical after Bahrain, where tyre performance fell away rapidly in the desert heat, was Michael Schumacher, who told reporters he wanted to talk with Pirelli chiefs about how to improve the situation.

Faced with that sort of criticism on Sunday, Pirelli's motor sport director Paul Hembery said on Twitter: "At the end of last year we had huge criticism for conservative choices and races were boring.

"Make your mind up. We are doing what is asked."

Hembery also argued that how teams tackle their tyre strategies will continue to play a big role for only "a few more races, then like last year all change as they get used (to the tyres)".



Ecclestone confirms French GP deal 'done'

Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday confirmed reports France is definitely heading back to the F1 calendar.

Reports earlier this weekend said authorities had "finally agreed" a figure for the sanctioning fee with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

It is expected that the Ecclestone-owned Paul Ricard will share an annually alternating Grand Prix date with Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps, beginning in 2013.

"Yes," the 81-year-old Briton told French daily L'Equipe in the Bahrain paddock on Sunday.

"The deal is done," said Ecclestone.

"We agreed the financial terms with the sports minister David Douillet, in my office on Tuesday.

"We are still discussing a few things about money: 'You give me this, I want that'," he added.

"But, for me, there is no doubt, we will sign it now," said Ecclestone.

He said the outcome of the forthcoming presidential elections in France will not spoil the deal.

"Whatever happens, I don't care," said Ecclestone. "That's a local issue that doesn't concern me."



'The dead live longest' beams Marko after Bahrain

With Red Bull the latest to hold a trophy aloft this year, yet another potential 2012 champion has emerged.

In theory, back-to-back world champion Sebastian Vettel, the Bahrain GP winner, was always a contender for a third drivers' crown this year.

But his RB8 was not a race winner until Sunday, after McLaren, Mercedes and even Ferrari had tasted the first victory spoils so far this season.

It was said that - amid the extraordinary field of 2012 - Adrian Newey's latest creation was simply in the league of other midfielders including Lotus, Sauber, and perhaps even Williams and Toro Rosso.

But as Dr Helmut Marko remarked at the chequered flag: "Those pronounced dead live longest!"

"We never wrote them off," McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh insisted to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, "because we knew that they had a good car and that they only needed to find the key.

"This season is really crazy; more exciting than we would like!" the Briton admitted. "And now we have to say Lotus are also contenders."

German Vettel won in Bahrain from pole, but even he admitted that the weekend was a surprise.

"After Australia it seemed that McLaren had a supercar and it would be difficult to beat them, at least in the short term," he is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo.

So even the experts are at a loss after the initial 'flyaway' phase of the new world championship.

"We know that we know nothing," beamed Vettel after his victory, referring to the oddly see-sawing balance of power in 2012, blamed mainly on the Pirelli tyres.

"It is almost impossible to predict in advance how the different tyre compounds are going to behave on race day," he is quoted by Der Spiegel.

"You have an idea, but nothing more."



Lotus not sorry after skipping team order

Lotus did not consider employing team orders in order to boost Kimi Raikkonen's chances of winning the Bahrain GP.

The 2007 world champion ultimately finished second and even had a stab at overtaking winner Sebastian Vettel.

And he might have had an ever better chance at challenging the Red Bull had his Lotus team chiefs ordered teammate Romain Grosjean aside at a crucial moment.

"Yeah," confirmed Finn Raikkonen, "but there are no team orders and we know the rules.

"I tried to get past as quickly as I can but it's not easy with two similar cars.

"It's always easy to say afterwards 'if we had done that' but in the end we were not fast enough to win and we have to take the second," he added.

Despite team orders being effectively legal in F1, team boss Eric Boullier confirmed that Lotus does not follow that policy.

"We don't want to play team orders, so we let them race normally and what happened, happened," he is quoted by the Mirror.

The most important thing, according to Spanish commentator and former veteran F1 engineer Joan Villadelprat, is that the former Renault team still knows how to win.

"Maybe they don't have the best car on the grid, because McLaren and Red Bull and Mercedes are probably better, but Lotus have made a car capable of competing with the best in the right circumstances," he wrote in El Pais newspaper.


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