April 15th, 2013 (F1plus/E. Black).- There seems to have been some ongoing belly aching from several people about Pirelli compounds again. The complaints and comments are coming from both inside the sport and out.
Some, particularly drivers, have commented on the degradation rate of some of the new compounds (again). While many can agree that a five to ten lap stint, on soft compound P-Zero's gives many a reasonable argument, the fact remains that it is the same for all drivers. The degradation and wear rates of the tyres are designed to force teams and drivers to adapt.
In China, we saw immediately how those who started on the soft Pirelli P-Zero's dropped in performance quickly in the opening laps. We also saw Jenson Button gingerly manage his medium Pirelli P-Zero's for over twenty laps. One instantly realized why Pirelli made the compound choices it did for Shanghai. If the choice had been to run medium and hard compounds, it would have been quite possible to run a one stopper.
One stoppers are very reminiscent of the old Bridgestone days, where the races become quite processional. Let us be reminded that the FIA desperately wanted to change that aspect of F1 and add some spice and unpredictability. It was through FIA mandates that Pirelli produced and provided more volatile compounds which added to the action.
Purists may argue that this approach is sensationalistic and that results are diluted and skewed. There is some truth to this as the drivers can't really push to the limits as in years past. The counter argument however, is that because the conditions are equal to all, the best of the bunch will rise to the top regardless. I have to believe that this is really the case.
It's not the first time Formula One drivers and teams have had to adapt and learn to manage tyres or fuel. Alain Prost for example, was very good at getting the most from his car while managing its resources.
Some people also complain about KERS and DRS for similar reasons. I suppose if we all come to the understanding that all things are equal for all parties, then it really becomes an argument of preference. We all know that regardless of what the FIA or Pirelli do, they will never be able to please everyone.
Personally, I was skeptical when Pirelli made their debut after years of having a tyre war between Bridgestone and Michelin, then having just Bridgestone alone. I simply wasn't prepared for the changes, but I tried to keep an open mind. Last season however, I enjoyed one of the most exciting F1 seasons in a long time. The unpredictability was both exciting and concerning, but as expected, the best teams and drivers always seem to rise to the top.
I prefer to look at the Pirelli, DRS and KERS era of Formula One with optimism. I too can identify things I would like to change, however, I have no reason to consider my F1 glass as anything other than half-full.